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  • Chinese Caliper Woes and Batteries

    I recently got worried that I could not complete a job on time. Was using an HF digital caliper, and it was skipping at certain points. I had heard that was caused by dirt. So I disassembled it. A brass chip had gotten in and scratched part of the sensor and a line along the scale. I removed it, cleaned the sensor, and reassembled, and it worked just great.

    Except, it didn't.
    It skipped again. It had been crying "new battery needed" for a while, so I got one.

    And it works agian.

    Do Mititoyo or other high quality calipers get flaky with a low battery?

  • #2
    Yeah, I usually take the batteries out of the
    'occasional use' calipers I have as spares or at home.

    The calipers seem to draw the batteries down in only a few months...

    t
    rusting in Seattle

    Comment


    • #3
      Calipers

      My digital calipers are not bad at all as regards battery use.

      I don't buy the calipers - or any battery-operated tools - or the batteries from what seems the be our equivalent of Harbour Freight in the US.

      I only buy mine from suppliers that deal directly with and cater for "the Trade" and where "Handy-man" and the DIY crowd are not really catered for. The "for cheap" crowd are wasting their time going there. In short, they cater to those who not only rely on those tools to make a living. Most of their business is "return" and "by referral". Most businesses will pay the premium for the better item, service and warranty as time and reliability and service are "money". I get "Trade" prices and service. I get emailed or "text" when an item that I have ordered that was not in stock comes in or when it is posted or picked up by the courier.

      I never have a problem with digital tools - now that I don't leave the batteries in when they are not in use. All of my digital stuff lives in its box in a drawer. The battery is removed when the tool is not in use. I test the batteries before I put them back into the tool and when I remove the battery. If it is not "green lined" the battery gets junked. I keep ample spares.

      I had a battery leak once and it really stuffed the terminals and the inner works - it has never happened since.

      Batteries and the lesser digital tools (calipers etc.) are really "consumables" just as welding gas and consumables, cutting oils, files etc. and even taps and dies - milling cutters too - and lighting, heating and ventilation are as well.

      All of my precision stuff has its own box or drawer space and that's whre it goes as soon as it is finished with.

      Don't expect better than the caliper specifications:






      This "plastic" yellow "dial" "rack and pinion" MTI (made in Switzerland) is
      my preferred day-to-day "knock-around" caliper of choice.



      http://i200.photobucket.com/albums/a...g_caliper3.jpg

      I use it everywhere for everything - welding bench and out in the weather included. I've had it for many years and there is no stopping or killing it. It just goes on and on. Being black markings on a yellow or white back-ground it is easy to see. It takes any drops that happen etc. and just keeps going. It is about as accurate as a digital caliper as well. "Gunk" and $hit on it or in it seem to do it no harm. I have never had to dismantle it for any reason.

      I occasionally and randomly check my calipers against my slip guages and they are always within their specified accuracy.

      I really cannot see the justification in my shop for "Mitutoyo" anything - calipers included.

      Same applies to "Starrett".

      Comment


      • #4
        Another vote for dial calipers..... they give you all the accuracy you can expect, and need no batteries...... plus they don't "fool you with resolution" into expecting better than you should for match of measurement to actual part size.

        The thing I like about Mitutoyo, and various German, Swiss, etc brands, and to some extent about Starrett, is that when buying them used, I have pretty good confidence that they were at least good at one time.

        Therefore if they are not good now, there is a problem, which may be fixable. Maybe the gibs are loose (number one problem I see with calipers), etc.

        With others, they may never have been very good. A good readout does not a good caliper make...... The machining of the parts needs to justify the reader accuracy.... While that should be easy with CNC, it isn't a given.
        1601

        Keep eye on ball.
        Hashim Khan

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Teenage_Machinist
          I recently got worried that I could not complete a job on time. Was using an HF digital caliper, and it was skipping at certain points. I had heard that was caused by dirt. So I disassembled it. A brass chip had gotten in and scratched part of the sensor and a line along the scale. I removed it, cleaned the sensor, and reassembled, and it worked just great.

          Except, it didn't.
          It skipped again. It had been crying "new battery needed" for a while, so I got one.

          And it works agian.

          Do Mititoyo or other high quality calipers get flaky with a low battery?
          I don't know about Mitutoyo with a low battery. I thought all of them would run untll the battery quit.

          Many of the "lesser" caclipers come with the alkaline SR-44, LR-44 or equivalent battery. I got a tip from a friend that those batteries are no good for calipers. I was told to change to a silver oxide Energizer 357/303. I have an inexpensive Chinese caliper (Not HF) that my son gave me. With the SR-44 it would only go two weeks before quitting. Since I changed to the 357/303 Energizer (silver) it's been going six months and it's still good.

          If you buy them on eBay, beware of sellers who claim that the alkaline SR-44's are equivalent to 357/303's.

          Comment


          • #6
            I got cheap calipers and the low battery thing does cause them to skip more and more and more, you'd think SOMEONE would invest in a 'low battery' symbol in the corner of the LCD, thankfuly it usally skips so far its impossable to consider it the correct reading. '9.232"?, This is a 6" caliper so don't think so tim)
            Play Brutal Nature, Black Moons free to play highly realistic voxel sandbox game.

            Comment


            • #7
              The cheap digital calipers, as well as early generation name brands, tend to draw more power than the Mitutoyo's. Some will last just weeks, while the Mitutoyo's often last many months -- even more in light use.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by oldtiffie

                I never have a problem with digital tools - now that I don't leave the batteries in when they are not in use. All of my digital stuff lives in its box in a drawer. The battery is removed when the tool is not in use.
                You only put the batteries in for photo shoots then ?

                .
                .

                Sir John , Earl of Bligeport & Sudspumpwater. MBE [ Motor Bike Engineer ] Nottingham England.



                Comment


                • #9
                  I have a rake of these calipers kicking about, every machine should have one but waht happens is i finish up with 3 or 4 on one machine or the bench.

                  At the prices they are I rate them as consumables. never switch them off unless it's the big ones 12" and above that tend to live in boxes.

                  I buy a strip of 10 batteries from the local dealer for a couple of quid and they seem to last a fair while, I don't count. I was told not to use the cheap batteries in them as they do cause damage so I use SR44's as I was told the S meant silver and the L in LR44's meant lithium and not to use them.

                  Mine are a mix of Mitoyo's, decent Chinese and cheap Chinese, can't say as I have noticed any difference between them. Possibly the Z axis readout on the Bridgy suffers the most, probably 6 months between batteries.
                  Given this does ooddles of work I don't begruge it a battery every now and again, you feed the dog don't you and that does less work.

                  They are brilliant for what they are, general calipers, if you need absolute accuracy you have the wrong tool.
                  You wouldn't dream of filing a big lump of steel to finished size with a smoth file would you ? No you'd rought it down with a big course file and change to finer grades to finish, time honoured way of working, why is measurement any different ?

                  Rule, caliper, micrometer
                  .

                  Sir John , Earl of Bligeport & Sudspumpwater. MBE [ Motor Bike Engineer ] Nottingham England.



                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I see not reason to use digital calipers at all.
                    In my eyes, they are useless crap. Even if made by Mitutoyo or other top brands.
                    A caliper won't do much more than 0.025mm resolution. So I only use a caliper when I don't need more precision. "Analog" calipers do have the advantage of being faster to read and not pretending accuracy that doesn't exist.
                    So when doing precision work, I start with the caliper to come close to the desired size and then switch to a digital mike.

                    The best and nicest and finest to handle caliper I have is a Mitutoyo with prismatic guides. Also have a chinese clone of the Mitu, not so good, average. Also have a Mahr that also isn't as nice as the Mitutoyo.

                    Also have a few Chinese digital calipers somewhere that I never use.

                    So the analog and prismatic Mitutoyo is the best caliper you could get. But it also has a high price tag. Still worth every penny!


                    Just my two Euro-cents. You know, they are more worth than the US-cents

                    Nick
                    Last edited by MuellerNick; 02-14-2010, 04:46 AM.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      What a relief!!!

                      Originally Posted by oldtiffie

                      I never have a problem with digital tools - now that I don't leave the batteries in when they are not in use. All of my digital stuff lives in its box in a drawer. The battery is removed when the tool is not in use.
                      Originally posted by John Stevenson
                      You only put the batteries in for photo shoots then ?

                      .
                      Of course John - of course, of course, of course.

                      Why would I ever not?

                      I am so very glad you realised that at last - I was getting worried!!

                      Only if I think it will be of value to some one - poseurs included.
                      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poseur

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Cheep, cheep, cheep

                        Originally posted by Black_Moons
                        I got cheap calipers and the low battery thing does cause them to skip more and more and more, you'd think SOMEONE would invest in a 'low battery' symbol in the corner of the LCD, thankfuly it usally skips so far its impossable to consider it the correct reading. '9.232"?, This is a 6" caliper so don't think so tim)
                        BM.

                        Do I read you correctly to say that when its skips the first time you just leave the battery in and keep using the caliper - and then complain about it?

                        Buy a good (cheap of course) battery tester as it will save more than it cost as well a lot of unnecessary angst.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by MuellerNick
                          I see not reason to use digital calipers at all.
                          In my eyes, they are useless crap. Even if made by Mitutoyo or other top brands.
                          A caliper won't do much more than 0.025mm resolution. So I only use a caliper when I don't need more precision. "Analog" calipers do have the advantage of being faster to read and not pretending accuracy that doesn't exist.
                          So when doing precision work, I start with the caliper to come close to the desired size and then switch to a digital mike.


                          Nick
                          So what stops you using a cheap Chinese one to come close to the desired size then switching to a mike ?

                          .
                          .

                          Sir John , Earl of Bligeport & Sudspumpwater. MBE [ Motor Bike Engineer ] Nottingham England.



                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Black_Moons
                            I got cheap calipers and the low battery thing does cause them to skip more and more and more, you'd think SOMEONE would invest in a 'low battery' symbol in the corner of the LCD, thankfuly it usally skips so far its impossable to consider it the correct reading. '9.232"?, This is a 6" caliper so don't think so tim)
                            BM,
                            Some of mine [ not sure which ones or how many ] flash BATT in the top corner or just a B when they want changing.

                            .
                            .

                            Sir John , Earl of Bligeport & Sudspumpwater. MBE [ Motor Bike Engineer ] Nottingham England.



                            Comment


                            • #15
                              The usual chinese digital scales, calipers, micrometers, and DTIs don't actually turn off. All the 'OFF' button does is turn off the display, which really doesn't make much difference to the battery life.

                              One solution to this is to buy a remote display box that plugs into the data port and powers the 'read head'.

                              I've bought a few bits and pieces from the clearance table at Chronos. Often digital stuff is on there becuse the display is blank. Plugging them into the remote display box not far away often reveals that they're working just fine, but the diplay isn't. The 'ON' switch could be faulty, or the display may just need cleaning and re-mounting. It's usually worth a punt for £5.
                              Paul Compton
                              www.morini-mania.co.uk
                              http://www.youtube.com/user/EVguru

                              Comment

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