Here's the big diff. The plants are looking pretty good after all that I put them through. The foliar growth of those on the left is comparable to those on the right -- and remember the pics on the left had 2 days (TWO) of no light and shot up. This is a great picture of the difference in the size of the leaves, which are larger in the ones on the right. With regular watering though these plants are doing much better than the previous batch. So the seedlings are very susceptible to underwatering which causes leaf yellowing. But this is still fairly early on. So, I'm still waiting to see how these perform for the long run.
Now the meter...umm...I don't think it works. The soaked plants from outside were reading in the middle of the "moist" range so I got curious -- what would the meter read if it was in water? Water is apparently in the middle of the moist range too -- not wet like I would expect water to be. The pH was the same so I decided to test the wet clay soil outside....humm same. The potted soil in a 8 year old Japanese maple and 1 year pomogranate had a slight pH change (+0.5). I think this was $$ not well spent. But I am hopeful that other meters will have better results. I just need to find a good one not a cheap one from Home Depot.