Tool of the month: Portable CO2 meter

Name: Portable CO2 meter 

Cost: around $185 

Available: hardware stores and Amazon

Intended use

This device is used to measure CO2, air temperature, dew point, wet bulb temperature, and relative humidity. This is an ideal instrument for indoor air quality (IAQ) diagnosis. 

Air quality in poultry barns

Controlling the humidity is the key factor in controlling other gasses such as CO2 and ammonia in poultry barns. Maintaining humidity levels of 50 to 70% can create ideal gas and particulate concentrations in the barn. The maximum level of CO2 is 5000 ppm. If the CO2 levels go beyond 8000 ppm, the birds’ performance will decrease.

How does it work?

The device is powered by either 4 AA batteries or a DC adaptor. The portable CO2 meter uses NDIR (non-dispersive infrared) technology to ensure reliability and long-term stability. It helps with air ventilation control.

Using the device

To use the device, follow the following steps:

  1. Press the “SET” button to turn the meter on and off. At power-up, it emits a short beep and performs a 30 second countdown for meter warm up. Then it enters normal mode with current CO2, temperatures, and humidity readings displayed. *Try not to hold the device close to your face in case exhalation affects CO2 readings.
  2. Press the “DP/WBT” button to switch the temperature display. The lower left display will cycle from air temperature, dew point temperature, and wet bulb temperature.
  3. You may want to freeze the readings by pressing the “HOLD” button. Press the button again to cancel the hold function.
  4. You can activate the backlight function by pressing the “MODE” button.
  5.  To read the minimum, maximum, and weighted average readings, press the “MNX/AV” button. 
  6. The device features an audible alarm to give warnings when CO2 concentration exceeds the limit. You need to set it up for the alarm threshold. The device emits beeps when the CO2 level goes over the set value and stops when any key is pressed, or readings fall below the set value. 

Set up the alarm threshold

To set up the alarm threshold, hold down the “SET” under normal mode for more than 1 second to enter setup mode. To exit setup, press the “CAL/ESC” and it returns to normal mode. When entering setup mode, P1.0 and “AL” are displayed on the LCD. Press the “MXN/AV” button to go into P1.1 for setting the CO2 alarm threshold. The current set value will be blinking on the LCD. Press the “MODE” button to increase the value or the “DP/WBT” button to decrease. Each press tunes 100 ppm and the alarm ranges are from 100 to 9900 ppm. When the preferred alarm value is set, press the “MXN/AV” button to save the setting.  

CO2 calibration

The device is calibrated at standard 400ppm CO2 concentration in the factory. It is suggested to do manual calibration regularly to maintain good accuracy. The manual calibration is recommended to be done in fresh outdoor air that is well ventilated and during sunny weather. 

To Do: Place the device on the calibration site. Turn on the device and hold down the “CAL/ESC” and the “MODE” buttons simultaneously to enter CO2 calibration mode. 400 ppm and “CAL” are blinking on the LCD while performing calibration. Wait about 5 minutes until the blinking stops and the calibration is completed automatically and back to normal mode. 

*Make sure the batteries are full voltage during the calibration to prevent any interruption or calibration failures.

About the author(s)

Research Associate at Poultry Innovation Partnership | + posts