In this blog I will be reviewing the Protimeter MMS2. After reaching out I was sent a unit for review. To put this review in context I already have extensively used the Protimeter Surveymaster and Mini for a number of years so I have a good idea of the general functionality of the unit so I will not be talking as someone who is inexperienced with the Protimeter brand. I will be giving an overview of the moisture meter as well as my own perspective on its use.
I have the Protimeter BLD8800 which is the standard pack, there are four other variations which come with different attachments such as deep wall probes, hygrostick humidity probes and hammer pins. These different packages will have various utility depending on the type of dampness survey you are looking to carry out.
This version of the MMS2 has been on the market since at least 2014 and seems to be fairly unrivalled in what it sets out to be. This is to create an all-in-one device that can be used to measure and detect moisture in buildings and building materials. A device that can measure temperature, humidity, sub-surface and surface moisture levels.
The BLD8800 package comes with the following:
- The moisture meter
- Short humidity quickstick
- Wired pinned probe
- Calibration check
- A 9V battery
The case it came in is a grey semi ridged compact design which easily holds all of the above items very nicely with its foam cut out insert. I really like the colour scheme, look and feel of this case which is much better than a soft pouch which tends to leave the items rattling about inside.
Placing the battery inside the meter was a bit of a pain. The 9V battery snap connector was a touch too long but not long enough for me to place the battery in the other direction. This left some excess wire which meant I needed to compress it in to fit the cover which left me slightly concerned that the connector might eventually come loose.
Pinless Moisture Measurement (Non-Invasive)
I am starting with this setting as it is my favourite method of measuring moisture on flat surfaces to establish the possibility of penetrating dampness. The pins are great and don’t cause too much damage to décor but the pinless search mode is very useful for establishing a base line with zero damage. Within social housing, there will be plenty of occasions where there are call outs only to find there is no dampness issue. This is where the pinless option holds its own as well as being great for dense surfaces where pins do not cope well like tiled walls.
This way of measurement allows the user to investigate beneath the surface to a depth of around 19mm and gives its reading as a wood moisture equivalent.
It has a reference mode where you can take a reading and then store it and compare in real time to find out if other areas have higher moisture levels. For me, whilst this is a useful function it’s not one that I think I would really use.
Pin Moisture Meter
The pin function on the moisture meter or the pinned probe will be the commonly used items. The pin meter can give actual moisture content readings in wood and wood moisture equivalent (%WME) readings in other building materials. I will be going into the limitations of using a pinned meter and going into more detail on the wood moisture equivalent readings in a follow up blog.
Using this function is very simple by making firm contact on the surface that is being tested and checking out the results. The pinned probe is great for harder to reach areas like behind a unit or under a sink. There is no need to push the pins too deep into the surface which has the benefit of causing minimal damage.
I tested out a hygrostick that I already had and the quickstick that came with the meter. There was a 1°C difference in the temperature reading initially, It would be good practice whenever taking humidity and temperature readings to give it enough time to acclimatise to prevent false readings.
The quickstick is quite handy as its small enough that it can stay connected while using the pin moisture meter. The hygrometer can take multiple psychrometric calculations, the dew point setting is the one that will be most frequently used for me. This feature is great as it will give you a better idea of the internal conditions when in a property. If you’re explaining relative humidity on site to a tenant, a representative reading to show them could be really useful to get the point across.
The Protimeter MMS2 has an infrared thermometer can measure the surface temperature remotely. It has beside it a red laser pointer which helps by giving an indication of exactly where the measurement is being taken from.
The IR thermometer in conjunction with the hygrometer allows for the unit to carry out a condensation risk assessment by assessing the difference between the surface temperature and the dew point temperature. If there is less than 3°C of difference the meter will state that there is a risk of condensation, this will be represented by a yellow progress bar. If there is no difference or a negative difference between the surface temperature and the dew point temperature the status will show as ‘condensation’ with a red progress bar.
By going into the settings and then the set logging option you can set up the device as a data logger. My initial thought was that it would have made more sense to place this option in the psychrometrics tab. To view these data logger results you need the software and cable which does not come with the BLD8800 package. Luckily you can download the software online and the cable is a USB 2.0 Hi-Speed A to mini-B 5 pin data lead which is readily available if you own a PS3.
I was able to download the software and test the data logging function. The software seemed a bit clunky to use although it does have the basics you need to review the results by report or graph. It seemed the drivers required for the device also sends windows 10 into test mode as the driver was unsigned.
The main issue for me when using the software was that when I took two distinct logging sessions and the software showed the results as one continuous graph. When using data loggers I like to name each logger as the respective room it was taken from so that I can compare and contrast the findings easily. You can’t do that with this device as it only allows you to name the session as a number, comparing different sessions is therefore not ideal.
The data logging function has a limited use for social housing as you would be very unlikely to leave the meter within a tenanted property to carry out a survey over a longer period of time. The new Protimeter BLE certainly has more promise of completing this function more effectively.
The MMS2 is a fantastic device and if the durability of my Mini and Surveymaster is anything to go by I am confident it will last for years to come. It’s curved design and anti-slip rubber frontage allows for a good grip for the device which means there is very little chance of accidentally dropping this device.
The MMS2 is competent at delivering its four main functions of being a pinned moisture meter, a pinless moisture meter, a hygrometer and a thermometer. Its display is clear, easy to navigate and professionally laid out. The hygrometer and pinned probe attachments are very easy to use via a simple plug and play set up.
The data logging function is not the devices strongest selling point but this does not detract from its overall prowess as the industry’s leading moisture meter. Also the new Protimeter BLE data logger might just bolster and accompany the MMS2 to form part of the surveyors tool kit. I am hoping to also review the BLE meter soon and my expectations would be two fold. Firstly more simplistic user friendly accompanying software and secondly better data analysis and reporting functionality.
I will be looking to carry out case studies with the MMS2 to further show off its capability but in the mean time you can check out the case study I competed using the Protimeter Mini here.
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