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Thread: Digital caliper problems

  1. #1
    Member kodiakrain's Avatar
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    Default Digital caliper problems

    Just returned from some travel and went out to try new OAL tools and my digital Caliper (Hornady)is "all over the place." I can still read the numbers on bar manually but not very precisely. So I changed the battery with no change.
    Symptom: if I pull and reinstall the battery it works well for about five minutes then the numbers on screen start jumping all over the place, it won't Zero or turn off.

    This is not one of the New tools, I've used it with no problems for a month or so, then left it outside in semi cold for a month

    Did I freeze it? it was out in garage in Kodiak weather, only maybe a few below 32F while gone. Was surely left off. I used the "new" battery that came as a spare, so i guess I'll go get another battery and try it, any experience with this.

  2. #2
    Sponsor ADfields's Avatar
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    Just a guess but sounds like condensation may have got in it at some point. The only trouble I have had with digital calipers is gunk messing up the little wheel that tells it where it slides, well and batters.
    Andy
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    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
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    If you think it got moisture in it, drop into a ziplock bag with some rice. Have used this method to dry out a pager and a cell phone. Worth a shot, takes about 24 hours.

    Good Luck

    Steve

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    Member kodiakrain's Avatar
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    Default Battery fixed it

    Ok, feel kinda foolish on this one, I got some new batts and it works fine now, I figured the extra batt that came with it would be good but it wasn't. So fresh batts have fixed the problem,

    Thanks for the help, I like the rice bag idea.

  5. #5
    Member kodiakrain's Avatar
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    Default Trying Rice

    Ok, it's foulin' up again with brand new batts so I'm trying out the rice bag idea til tomorrow morn. Then sending back I guess

    Any ideas on the best to invest in, should I just stick with a dial Caliper versus the digital, I think I spent quite a bit on the Hornady one, hopefully they'll back up their product. Only used for hours at this point

    and Yes, I ordered a RCBS precision Mic to solve a lot of issues.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by kodiakrain View Post
    should I just stick with a dial Caliper versus the digital,
    Probably, I don't use a digital much, myself.

    Smitty of the North
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    You can't out-give God.

  7. #7
    Member kodiakrain's Avatar
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    Default Listening to my Dad

    Well, the rice bag trick seems to have worked for now, my malfunctioning Caliper is working after leaving in a bag of rice near the woodstove for a day......we'll see

    Smitty of the North, reminds me of my Dad, a fifty year aircraft mechanic with Pacific Northern, and United,
    As I am buying my reloading gear several gear sellers are promoting the high end expensive digital Calipers as this is a "big part of reloading" you will NEED IT for absolute accuracy !! As in you gotta buy this expensive one.

    As I am hearing this, my Dad's distant voice is whispering in my head saying something like this,"if you really need absolute accuracy, you better stick with the machinery one, Not the digital one."

    So, ME, I go ahead and get the spendy one as," I am of the digital age now right?"

    A month later, my Dad was right and I am now looking for a "Machinery one, as in the Dial Caliper as I need absolute accuracy, and one that does not run on A Battery !!! So now I'll have two, and backup is always good (?)

    Hopefully getting smarter every day, as in "more like my Dad" even tho I am 49 now for Pete's sake and should know better

    He's just turned Eighty, by the way, and doesn't seem very tired

  8. #8
    Member thelast2's Avatar
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    Any ideas on the best to invest in,
    I myself would stick to the dial caliper but either way if you want a quality precision tool Starrett, Mitutoyo, or Brown & Sharpe all top of the line tool makers.
    Jesse
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    Sponsor ADfields's Avatar
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    Well I hate to say so but of the thousands of Digital calipers i have seen, hundreds I've used, and 30 or so I've owned, all of them made after about 1992 have the very same China made electronics in them. No matter what brand or if you spend $150 or $15 you get the very same guts. Some of the bodies are better fitted than others but they are all about the same for accuracy and durability. Digital is slightly more accurate and less susceptible to grit damage than dial but not enough to matter at all for reloading.

    For value It's hard to beat the digital ones completely made in China and sell for under $20 at places like Harbor Fright. Yes the more expensive digitals look and feel better but you can get 2 China digitals for the price of a cheap dial type caliper and (not that it matters in reloading) they are more accurate. If you go dial go with a good maker like Starrett but they are not cheap.
    Andy
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    Default Part of the difference in price:

    Shielding. Part of the difference in prices of electronic instruments is the shielding against extraneous electromagnetic influences. You can either go with expensive internal shielding or use distance. Keep your calipers, electronic scales and such as far away from florescent lights, microwave ovens, magnets, electric motors and such and see if that improves things at all.

    Science, sufficiently advanced, is indistinguishable from magic." Arthur C. Clarke

    I'm not saying it's so, just suggesting you try it. For myself, I stay away from the electronic stuff when I can.

    Lost Sheep
    Last edited by Lost Sheep; 03-27-2010 at 22:54. Reason: spelling

  11. #11
    Member kodiakrain's Avatar
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    Default Flourescents, eh?

    That's wild I thought of stereo speakers, for the magnets, but did not realize Flourescent lights can affect them, I have a huge "four bulb" light just overhead on my "measuring area" figures, eh?

    So I imagine my Hornady $70 something version is shielded fairly well? It's still jumping around a bit, maybe it's the unheated garage I load in at 40F messin with it also?

    Hmmm, still waiting for my precision Mic from Sinclair, man those guys are Fast at the warehouse, got the, "it's on it's way," email mere hours after it was ordered.
    Ten Hours in that little raft off the AK peninsula, blowin' NW 60, in November.... "the Power of Life and Death is in the Tongue," and Yes, God is Good !

  12. #12
    Sponsor ADfields's Avatar
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    Electronic scales and florescent lights don't mix. The new compact florescent lights are not too bad but the kind with a ballast can do strange things form 10 feet away. Never had any problem with digital calipers though and since they have a physical input from a wheel and not sensing a change in resistance like a scale I think itís possible but not near as likely.

    Electromagnetic fields from overhead power lines is the latest suspect they are looking into in the runaway Toyotas saga, some strange things happen with electronics and magnetic fields.
    Andy
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  13. #13
    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    While I have a few digital calipers, I also have some old analog ones and find that I just use the analogs since the batteries died in the digital ones.

    I don't buy that the digital calipers are any more accurate than the analogs. I'd suggest getting a good 4" caliper from a machine shop supply house, Mitutoyo, Starret, B&S all excellent tools that will last you a lifetime.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul H View Post
    I don't buy that the digital calipers are any more accurate than the analogs.
    More accurate may or may not be the correct term but digitals have less lash due to less moving parts and the numerical readout takes the guessing out. In government aerospace work all the tools had to be inspected often and most dials came in repeatable +/-.0006” and most digitals +/-.0004”. It takes a couple hundred grand in measuring equipment in a clement controlled inspection room to tell the difference. They are all only rated to +/-.001” so it's generally a non issue any way. One thousandths is very hard to acutely measure, a 1” steel bar can change .003” or more and unevenly with the temperature change from inside under 76* AC to outside in 90* air, add sun and look out. I cut my teeth on dials and find them faster, easier, and more instinctive but good dials are not cheap.
    Andy
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    Member Big Al's Avatar
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    Back when I switched over I bought all the same brand ( Mitutoyo) That used the same batteries (357) same as my wrist watch I still have some of my old analog measuring tools but have not used them forever. It's a heck of a lot faster to use the digitel than the older style. I have found the newer stuff to be a lot tougher. A good set of standards is worth it's weigh in gold.
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