I acquired a Talyvel Level outfit. Today I was checking calibration and
adjustment. So far I have not been very successful. Any owners out there that
would care to converse with a 'grasshopper' (new user)? I can use some help.
I snagged one on eBay last year. I had only seen them used before.
What model do you have? To use it as an absolute level, turn the two
micrometer dials on top fully counterclockwise. It should read zero
within a very small amount. (Mine didn't, either.) You need a very
flat surface level in two axes to really set up the level. Even if
you level it in one direction, very small errors in the other direction
will throw it off.
Of course, when you get something truly level, you can turn the
level around and the reading will be the same, regardless of the
I have a Talyvel 3 with one sensing head. The setup for that is
to set the adjusting dial on the readout to 500 (that's a 5 in the
little window, and 0 on the dial). Then, using a known level
surface, you adjust a little screw in the side of the sensing head
to get it to zero. This would be with both mocrometer knobs all
the way out.
You secure the sensing head by screwing both micrometer dials all
the way in (clockwise). This pushes the sensing "carriage" down
until it bottoms on a damping fixture that keeps the pendulum
from banging around. the pendulum is a tiny piece of aluminum
suspended by 5 hair-thin wires. An iron plate on top of the
pendulum moves back and forth between two inductive sensors.
If you are measuring relative alignment, you can bring the reading
into range by turning the micrometer dials down a bit, and then
twiddling them back and forth to tilt the carriage.
If you are not familiar with the Talyvel, they are REALLY sensitive!
I can walk from one end of my lathe to the other and see a change
of 1 Arc Second. That's the concrete floor slab bending under my
If the sensing head has been placed on its side, it may take 10
minutes or more for it to recover. There is an oil drop between
the pendulum and the carriage for damping. If the head is on its
side, the drop runs to the side, and the instrument behaves a
bit oddly until the drop is back in the right place.
You can call up your national Taylor-Hobson factory reps and they will
gladly send you out a manual. Just tell them the model you have.
I have a Talyvel 1. From your write-up the leveling units appear to be the
same. My display has three ranges: 50, 100 and 8. I have the original manual.
The needle on my display flickers very noticeably unless I am making and
adjustment for zero or balance. Does yours do that? I'll probably check it some
Mine came with two leveling units. One is in an 8" square fixture.
Thanks for the reply.
The Talyvel 3 has a digital readout, and a very uncalibrated small meter for
help bringing it into range of the digital display.
Do you mean yout needle flickers unless you are turning the knobs on
the readout box? Could be a sign of dirty potentiometers. There is
a spray you can get for those, usually used to clean noisy volume
Mine is VERY steady and quiet, when properly placed on a good surface.
If it is on a rough and unflat surface, the sensor can rock which
will cause unsteady readings. Just a very light touch on the level
will cause it to rock, and you can pretty easily detect that problem.
Does it do the flickering with both sensors? That would pretty much
point to the meter unit as the problem.
Yes. The needle flickers on both sensors.
Is yours battery powered? Batteries for mine are not available anymore. I
hooked up a small transformer used for small items like radios. I found 7 1/2
volts put the needle in the red zone which means good batteries.
If the meter is bad this project would be history.
Is the 7 1/2 volts regulated or not? It may just be that the unit needs
reasonably constant dc not the rectified ac some perhaps even most of these
power supplies put out. Batteries what ever there faults do ok at this.
Yes, it uses two big Varta triangular Ni-Cd packs. These are available, but
would cost a bundle. Fortunately, putting them on the charger for a couple
of days brought them back to life.
Batteries for mine are not available anymore. I
Maybe you need more filtering. Did you put a capacitor on the output
of what I assume is a "wall wart" supply? If that doesn't work, you
might try putting 5 Alkaline D cells in series. If that works well,
you might also try 6 Ni-Cd D cells, and you could use your wall-wart
as the charger.
Remember, these are REALLY expensive tools. The current price for the
Talyvel 4, last time I looked, was about 3750 GB Pounds!
Another possible consideration -- how far are you from a major
road? You may be reading vibrations from passing semi-trailers and
As a way to check that out, get an old inner tube, and half
inflate it, and place a big slab of steel (or a surface plate) on it and
put the sensor on it to see whether it still flickers.
If you want to (or need to) level it, try three smaller inner
tubes (say for something like a wheelbarrow tire), and inflate each
half-way, then use a gentle flow of air to bring it up to level.
Vibration isolation on inner tubes is common in vibration-sensitive
optical work. There are even big optical tables (6" honeycomb between
two plates of steel, with the top tapped in a regular grid, and the
bottom mounted on three or four legs with inflated supports (connected
to dry nitrogen, and valved by a set of sensors which add or remove
nitrogen to restore precise level after you add or remove something
heavy to the table near that leg.)
OK guys! As a long retired surveyor, I'm familiar with dumpy levels,
engineers levels, quick-set levels, and have heard of
(cheap-for-builders and DIYers!) automatic/self-levelling "levels", (not
that I would have been involved in such imprecise gadgets!).
I've used everything from chains, tapes, bands etc to 1" Kern,
Microptic, Cooke and other theodoloites (Computer and laser stuff came
in after I retired), but what on earth is a "Talyvel" level. I know of
the great firms of Watts, Taylor Cooke & Hobson, Kern etc, but never
heard of this device.
Would any kind soul please enlighten this aged guy?
Dave - UK.
They are probably right down the lane from you. And they are made by
The level system for the most part is two pieces. A meter with needle reading
on a scale and a sensitive level unit that incorporates a pendulum and is
electrically connected to the meter. The level unit is put on a surface. If the
surface is level the meter should read dead center. Any deviation left or right
and the needle moves in that direction and indicates the amount from level. It
has other features too.