Harbor Freight electronic calipers warning
Three recently bought electronic calipers from Harbor Freight turn
themselves off after a few minutes of inactivity. Some turn on again if moved
(12 in version), the others (8 in version) need be manually restarted. The 8
in. one shows zero when turned on & the 12 in restarts with some of the same
numbers but not all. bleep, bleep, bleep. Anyone zeroing calipers on a
reference and expecting that to hold longer than a minute or two need find a
source other than Harbor Freight.
Any suggestions on electronic calipers that hold their reference? I was
thinking of trying Enco's versions. If anyone here has one that works, please
Mitutoyo Absolute digimatic is the winner! Mine is
off and the battery lasts a very long time. Silver
oxide 347. Several
years ago I bought a pack of three and I still
have one left. My mill
has a Mitutoyo DRO made in 1980 and it too has
turned off. Good stuff........ You are wasting
your time and money
with junk cheapies from HF.
* Hul Tytus :
Your Vega sucks so you're gonna replace it with a Yugo?
Just bite the bullet & invest in some quality tools.
Long after the pain of the original investment is
forgotten you'll have something that still works.
I don't have a specific recommendation, I prefer analog.
* Edward A. Falk :
I generally prefer Starret. Yeah probably not the best value, you're mostly
paying for the name. But I like the feel & that they're made in the USA,
to me the premium is worth it.
The last time I was in the market for a 6" caliper J&L happened to have them
for ~$10 or $15 less than most anywhere else. The model # was slightly
different, but what the hell, a Starret's a Starret, right? Wrong, this
one's made in China (model #1202A-6)! I should've sent it back, it pisses
me off every time I pick it up.
While I'd certainly invest more in "name brand" if it were for business
use, my HF calipers (6" and 12" varieties) purchased a few years ago
have not given me any usability issues. They do tend to eat batteries,
but for a home shop it's no big deal to pop the battery out when you're
done using them.
Well ... if you are willing to put in serious money, some
Mitutoyo ones will not only hold the reference, but also can hold both
a temporary reference, and hold the absolute zero, and switch between
them by holding a button a few seconds.
Well ... I have a Starrett, a Mitutoyo Digimatic, a no-name
import (cheap from a hamfest), and a couple of B&S (really made by Tesa,
I think) which need cells which are no longer available -- the mercury
based PX-625 IIRC -- or is that PX-13? I would have to go down and look
to be sure. Anyway I have verified that I could run them off two 2032
cells if I modified the battery holder, and will probably do that
sometime. (Oh yes -- this is just the 6" digital calipers. I also have
a 12" Mitutoyo which is a beautiful tool.
Anyway -- of those, the Starrett, left to its own devices, burns
out two 2032 cells faster than the Mitutoyo does one SR-357. I simply
opt to live without the memory for zero and push on the holder for the
cells to slide it far enough to disconnect whenever I put them away.
Doing that, I get very nice battery life.
I also have had two Starrett 0-1" digital micrometers fail, so
I've written off their digital instruments. When the Starrett digital
caliper finally dies, I will probably get another Mitutoyo. (I keep one
near the big lathe, and another near the little CNC lathe.
Of what I have, the nicest is the Mitutoyo Digimatic, with two
memories (absolute zero, and convenience reference zero) which carry
though turning it off and storing it.
If I ever get around to modifying the battery case for the
B&S/Tesa, I will probably add a convenient switch, because those really
eat batteries. :-)
Does it work? What kind of battery life do you get from it?
A lot of photographic lightmeters used the mercury PX625 button cells.
When mercury went away, the fix was to go to a silver oxide cell with a
germanium or schottky diode in series, to drop the voltage back into the
Now, I bet that a caliper will work just fine if driven by a silver
oxide cell, even if the voltage is slightly high.
Starrett seems to have been hollowed out. I love their old stuff, buy
it used and clean it up. I regularly use micrometers that have to be 90
years old, and work perfectly.
But their new electronic stuff isn't competitive, and I don't know why
they cannot solve the problem. I have Mitutoyo and HF digital calipers.