View Full Version : Height gage.

08-26-2009, 09:40 PM
Hi, I recently bought a cheap chinese height gage and unfortualy, its buttons are rather, unresponsive.. usally on the first few presses the buttons just don't work, they tend to work most of the time after a few presses.. so im wondering if anyone knows how to disassemble the head and if anyone knows any tips on fixing those buttons?

08-26-2009, 10:23 PM
Thanks BMs.

I notice that you didn't say you bought it new - so I presume it is "used".

The "rubber"?? caps that you press can be pulled straight out and put back - carefully. Check the contacts while you are at it.

I had a similar problem with a digital caliper type DRO. It worked fine after that "treatment" - and still does.

08-26-2009, 10:28 PM
Nope its new (afaik, battery in it came dead. grr, came in a big box with everything though, includeing that wax paper over the ground base) at least, I think/hope/was sold assumeing its new. Just kinda hopeign they did a bad job cleaning up flux or something.

08-27-2009, 01:19 AM
Sounds like a warranty problem.

The first thing I would do is call them. Maybe they will replace, or they will know what's wrong and can give you instructions on the simple way to fix it.

If yours does it chances are there are other in the batch.

08-27-2009, 10:44 AM
yea gonna do that... though it was e-bay.. *shrugs* I notice now its not even the same one as pictured. buttons seem to work 90% of the time.. kinda iffy on the return.. though after taking a good look, the one he sent me is the exact same one 800Watt advertises, and we all know how 'wonderful' his 'stuff' is. (Explatives replaced with quoted euthimisms)

Took it apart and the buttons on the surface are a hard plastic, under it is some rubber plastic buttons but I can't remove them from the pcb to clean under them.

Anyone know where I might be able to buy a new caliper head for it if it comes down to that? seems to me the 'face' circuity just kinda bolts on.

(edit) Actualy now that i play with it a little more, the ABS/Zero button hardly works at all.. the other 3 buttons are more or less ok but rather unresponsive.. I guess I can get by without that button.. still annoying, and the other buttons arnt 100% reliable.

08-27-2009, 06:17 PM
send it back, get a refund or something. is it not suppose to be working as advertised or was it a "as is" sale ?

08-28-2009, 01:18 AM
it was a $70 item with $30 USPS shiping. Not exactly worth sending back.
Definately says 'New' in the action -_-;

Most disappointed in the seller for sending me 800Watts model insted of the one pictured.. (one discribed also says it has a magnetic base, this one does not) I HATE sellers who can't send the ITEM PICTURED... Im amazed how complex that consept is.. want to sell item? take picture of ITEM and use it. Not someone elses random blury photo. Don't just start selling some other item under the same action, start a NEW action.

(For those who don't know, 800Watt sells some of the poorest quality dropshiped chinese junk on the face of the planet. 98.5% feedback or something poor like that, Anything he sells is best avoided like the plauge)

seller hasent exactly replyed to me either.. I told him he could send me a new 'head' for it insted of a whole new unit..

BTW is it just me or is ebays new policy 'buyer pays' for return shiping of 'not as discribed' item? Thats just BS. Why should I have to pay for HIS scam?

Am I asking to much to think that the seller should have to
A: Fix it, he pays all shiping for parts, and any parts he wants returned to him.
B: Give me a full refund, shiping to me included, and shiping the item back to HIM included if he wants it back. Its broken AND not as discribed.
C: IDEALY: take this one back, shiping both ways payed by him, and send me yaknow.. the one I thought I was buying by the discription and picture..

Yea, in any case he loses money.. because he sent me a broken unit thats not even as pictured and I don't think businesses should profit from shady subsatution activity, and definately I should not have to pay for HIS screw up/scam.

More likey i'll just end up accepting the $100 loss, personaly blacklist the seller even though he has 99.9% feedback, and leave a negative. Shame he has some other stuff I might want but thats business.

this was the one I bought:

This is the one I actualy got:

Iv also just noticed the 'fine adjustment' screw is striped and the adjustment knob thread is so oversized you can just slide it along the adjustment screw.

Jim Shaper
08-28-2009, 01:57 AM
Ask for a full refund of monies paid (you pay return postage), and if he balks, then take it up with ebay/paypal buyer protection. The item is not as described. Ebay should refund your payment in full.

08-28-2009, 02:12 AM
I still wonder why I should have to pay return shiping on something thats not only not my fault that its the wrong item, but broken to boot.
IMO buyer should only pay return shiping (And not get shiping refunded) when he wants to return the item because of his mistake. (doesnt fit, incompatable with what I own and did'nt ask before hand, etc)

IMO seller should pay all further costs or refund ALL money spent to make it right if HES at fault. Especialy at double fault. Or tripple fault, Now that I found a 3rd flaw with it...

08-28-2009, 07:33 AM
Magnetic base height gauge. Must be a new design, that would serve no purpose as height gauges go.

08-28-2009, 11:51 AM
It would work great on my cast iron surface plate, but yes.. generally I'd be sliding a non-mag version around the part;)

RE:800Watt... I don't beleve he gets "a grade worse" then anyone else. I've bought from him a few times and for the same model find it is exactly the same as the other suspects supply - Enco, CDCO, Shars etc... Never had a problem.. but then I was deliberately buying Chinese Ltd. stuff and paid accordingly. The collet blocks and 5C collets were actually quite good, but for my intended purpose (holder for band sawing) I sure wasn't going to use my Lyndex. The machine lamp was exactly the same as the one I bought from Enco/MSC, but 1/2 the price delivered.

08-28-2009, 12:02 PM
I still wonder why I should have to pay return shiping on something thats not only not my fault that its the wrong item, but broken to boot.
IMO buyer should only pay return shiping (And not get shiping refunded) when he wants to return the item because of his mistake. (doesnt fit, incompatable with what I own and did'nt ask before hand, etc)

IMO seller should pay all further costs or refund ALL money spent to make it right if HES at fault. Especialy at double fault. Or tripple fault, Now that I found a 3rd flaw with it...

Techically... if it's clear in the auction description those were the terms you agreed to at purchase... but.. I'd press the seller for a full refund as "wrong item". Most sellers I've had problems with gave me a full refund no matter what the boiler-plate language said. Some even credited me my postage back or had UPS pick it up. If the seller has a UPS account, ask to send it back on that. His rate will be about 1/3 of the "counter rate" calculated by ebay... (another nice profit for a seller, but I've done it so...;) )

I always buy though paypal via a credit card. I get two stabs at the seller. The credit card company will often reverse or hold the charges immediately - that gets paypals' attention quickly. Amex will want to see a tracking number for final credit, but if the seller won't communicate they will do it anyhow. If you used a credit card, try that approach.

Paul Alciatore
08-28-2009, 12:48 PM
The $30 shipping probably included a bit for packaging, etc.

There are cheaper ways to ship. Try USPS for one. If it fits in one of their flat rate boxes, you can get it there in about the same time as UPS or FedEx ground and at about 1/2 the price. Best kept secret in the shipping world.

08-28-2009, 01:09 PM
I tend to wonder if that seller *is* 800Watt under a different name. I had a very similar experience in that I ordered an analog twin-beam model from 800Watt and got the same Electronic model you got. I wrote them (through Ebay...and wrote again) and waited a month for a reply and then gave them negative feedback. Then they gave me negative feedback and then had the gall to write me saying "gee what's up...write us back and we will help you out" in response to the message from Ebay that you get when someone leaves negative feedback. I wrote them back telling them that I had already made two attempts to get the problem solved (and waited a month for a response) and that I had to use the item so I moved on. They suck and I have opted not to buy other items from them...which is too bad because they have some decent stuff at reasonable prices.

That "just send them one of these" thinking is totally unreasonable. If they don't have what I ordered, they shouldn't be selling it. IN my case, I wanted an analog model because you can extrapolate to tenths with it...not so with the digital model. On the other hand, an analog model cannot be zeroed at any position...which can be really handy.


08-28-2009, 01:10 PM
Send it back, get a refund & buy one of these:

I just got one and it works very well.

08-28-2009, 01:29 PM
after some stern messages sent to him. guy politely says hes gonna give me a refund or find me the 'one pictured', we'll see if he follows through and if he trys to charge me for further shiping. Im willing to give him posative if he fixes this outta his pocket.

I did some statistics on his feedback.. kinda intresting. 0.1% negative over 12 months, 0.14% over 6 months, and 0.4% over the past month! Bad month for him it seems. (my negative would push it over 0.5%)

I kinda doubt its the same seller, but he probley imported from the same place, or bought from 800W or something.. the big problem with 800Watt seems to be an inability to make contact with customers, often shiping the wrong thing or nothing at all, and while often his prices are the best, thats only because the junk he sells, other people have marked up even more.
Given 3 items: $50 for item A from 800Watt, $60 for item A from someone else, $70 for item B that functionaly is the same as item A but just appears to be a diffrent model, I'll buy the $70 one just because its likey A sucks. And I consider myself very cheap and price to be the number one decision when I buy things most of the time, I avoid bad reputations like the plauge

also generaly I just am VERY weary of anyone below 99.8% feedback. 98.4% feedback and you might as well be a leaper IMO.
And the only reason 99.8% is ok is because about 0.2% of people are just impossable to satisfy. a few more % will cost the seller money to satisfy.

If hes willing to actualy give up his profits to make things right, thats a seller I will return to! Because that means he values his customer over short term profits. a happy customer will bring back friends. Even if that customer is a jerk, maybe his friends are big spenders. Some people may abuse the system but abusing your paying loyal customers because of them is silly.

(This is one big reason I give props to princess auto. Its like harbor Freight except they have a policy of 'No sale is final' And 'No recite needed' (linked into your account via phone number). Don't consider what you got worth the money you payed? Just return it. simple as that. What could be more honest?)

pcarpenter: Definately, if you don't have what you are selling.. well, you arnt selling it are you? Might as well be selling bags of rocks like the old con game.
DICKEYBIRD: Getting harbor frieght items is a little hard in canada.. though it might be worth it to get that, if it comes in a reasonable box...
my height gage came in a like 1' by 1' by 2' box filled 95% styrafoam and 5% with height gage, hence why it cost $30 S/H
Ok i'll stop ranting now...

08-28-2009, 09:24 PM
Ah.. Canada.... forget all our cheap freight methods:D

08-29-2009, 12:45 AM
Send it back, get a refund & buy one of these:

I just got one and it works very well. I just got one also - however the buttons (up & down arrows) for "adjusting" the display readings are "unresponsive" on my unit, much like the original poster. I'm not worried about it though because I don't see a need for them anyway. :confused:

08-29-2009, 03:13 AM
Frankly, those height guages - vernier and digital - are a PITA. Mine works very well but it hardly ever gets taken out of the box as it just simply is awkward to use on a machine table. Here is mine - with my surface guage on my HF-45 mill table with the milling head pretty well up and nothing in the spindle:


There is pretty well nothing that I do on the height guage that I can't do with the surface guage.


I can mount dial indicators or a scriber. These can be rotated to any position around the mast - but that cannot be done with the height guage. The vertical adjustment is as good as the height guage. I prefer the surface guage scriber for marking-out. If I need "marking-out" accuracy I will use a good shop ruler. Any thing better gets the slip guages ("Jo" blocks) or the test dial indicator for use as a comparator. It is a lot shorter or less high than the height guage even "as is". The mast can be tilted from vertical to horizontal forward and backward. I have a selection of shorter masts as well. It can get into places that the height guage cannot. The scriber can be adjusted to stick out as far or as short as I like where-as the height guage cannot. Its base has a smaller "foot-print" than the height guage. Its base is ground flat as well. It does not need or use batteries and has no electronics so I have no problems with flat batteries or lack of them or electronics failure. It is harder to knock over - and it can take a lot more abuse than the height guage can.

These are all attributes that were developed over many years for use on machines and marking-out tables.

I, like every Apprentice, was trained to use surface guages and vernier height guages together as there was no "One size fits all". I've used my digital height guage and after a while I put it away and never missed it as I went back to my surface guage.

08-29-2009, 04:23 AM
How about centering square stock in the lathe? I thought height gages where really good at that.

Jim Shaper
08-29-2009, 02:04 PM
If you've got a DRO, you wouldn't need to use anything else.

Put a bar in the tool holder (or just use the tip of the tool), run it up to the work and look at your dimension, rotate, repeat.

Same trick works on anything in a 4 jaw.

08-29-2009, 03:50 PM
Nope, no dro (yet)

08-29-2009, 07:53 PM
How about centering square stock in the lathe? I thought height gages where really good at that.

They probably are.

I put the scriber in the surface guage with the straight point outward towards the job. I use "visual" - at least for the start and depending on accuracy required.

Point the flat on the top, and with the same setting on the surface guage, rotate the lathe spindle 180 degrees and re-point. Adjust 50% of error out with the 4-jaw chuck etc. until required/acceptable Total Indicated run-out (TIR) is achieved.

For a better TIR, reverse the scriber - "curved" end to the job - "curve" downward and scriber sloped downward. Adjust the mast until the curve on the scriber just touches the centre of the work flat - using the Mark 1 eye-ball. With the same settings on the surface guage, rotate the job/spindle 180 degree and repeat for the "reading". Adjust the 4-jaws chuck to remove 50% of error. Repeat on all faces until TIR is acceptable.

At this stage, if a better TIR is required, fit a good test or shop dial indicator to the mast of the surface guage, put it on a flat, move the spindle until the indicator reads the same across the flat. Note the reading. Turn the spindle 180 degrees and repeat for the dial reading. Adjust for TIR as required.

That's it doing it entirely with the surface guage.

Depending on the job, I'd get it as close as I could with the sharp end of the scriber - which should get it pretty close.

Then I'd put a 4" - or preferably 6" or longer - piece of thin lightly sprung/tensioned "spring(y)" steel in the tool-post with the other end resting on the job face/s. I'd put the 1" or better/longer stroke dial indicator onto the surface guage and have the plunger set on the top of the " flat spring". As I rotated the lathe spindle, the spring would rise and fall to "follow" the flats and peaks ("corners") of the job and the indicator would follow the the spring. The spring will be at its "lowest" when on the flats. Its easy to see and "feel" as you rotate the lathe spindle (by hand). Set the indicator to zero, rotate the job 180 degrees, note the TIR and remover half of it with the 4-jawed chuck etc. Repeat on all "flats" until a satisfactory TIR is obtained.

The "square" in the lathe is now accurately "centred" to be co-incident with the late centre.

The surface guage is a very easy and accurate tool to use for aligning/centreing a "marked-out/scribed" job in the lathe as well. I use mine - on my "glass" surface plate-cum-marking out table with my rotary table, protractor, centre-square, angle blocks, bevel guage, slip guages, ruler, angle-plates ("fixed"/90 degree and "tilting") as well as angle-guages etc. on the marking out table (glass plate on my mill).

It takes much longer to explain the process than it does to actually do it.


09-06-2009, 09:03 PM
Got the replacement today, free of charge. Its WAY better then 800watts version he origionaly sent me, its about twice as heavy easy, and the main beam is nearly twice as wide and thick. Also has lots of cool functionality. Like min/max tollerance settings you can enter in, or an offset for whenever you hit 'zero' to preset it to.
(min max tollerance settings then display a little 'up ok down' symbol depending on if if its over/on/under tollerance)

Lesson of the day: Complain if not sent exactly what was pictured and if broken/damaged. don't accept anything that looks like something 800watt is selling, its gonna be the worst of the worst chinese clones. Having the two side by side makes this painfuly apparent
(Things wrong with the cheaper version: Most of the buttons don't work reliabley, the fine adjustment screw is striped/malformed, the knob has the wrong thread or oversized thread, the included battery was DOA, the preset up/down buttons don't seem to do anything.. though maybe I did'nt know how to use them or they need SPI or something to be useful. The base and collumn are smaller and lighter too, the only thing going for it was slightly larger number display)

09-07-2009, 12:10 AM
I would definatly disput it with pay pal, e-bay and your credit card co. since pay pal is paid from them. I wouldn't stand for it. Sent you something other than what was pictured.