Regardless the level of your oil analysis program it is good practice to visually check and use the business card check before sending the sample out. Be sure and use a clear sample bottle to visually check the oil and a clean white paper business card. The simple tests of viewing the sample can be a quick alert to oil condition before the sample is analyzed. We use the check to determine if we have a good sample and to identify a range of concerns. We visually check for water, contaminants and color.
Leave the bottle set to settle out any water of contaminants The business card check has been around for a long time, fold a business card longways, shake the sample and pour a small amount on the card allowing it to run down the card letting gravity separate out any particulates. It's a simple test that lets you identify a range of oil condition concerns. If you have a magnet handy you can use it on the back of the card to separate out any ferrous metals. The magnet also woks on the settled contents in your sample bottle.
Reader tip submitted by Tim Vachon, Engineer, APS / Cholla Power Plant
Thanks for the reader tip Tim. Your Reliability Elements T-Shirt is on the way!