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Woes of My Digimatic

Nothing last forever

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Simon Williams 313/01/2019 17:20:02
654 forum posts
82 photos

My digital caliper I bought from RS

Mitutoyo Digimatic, one of the best,

Is now but a spanner with a number ever changing

Which bears no relation to size or dimension.



I’ve changed out the battery, no difference I fear

The numbers keep rolling, too fast they appear.

If I press the OFF button, the display clears correctly,

But with “ON” reappears with more numbers directly.



So I took it bits, took the circuit board out,

And cleaned it with alcohol, got a lot of muck out.

Then reassembled, with a battery new,

The same indication, oh bother and blow!




So now I’m quite stumped, my caliper’s duff,

I’ve fiddled with the perishing thing quite enough.

If anyone wants a nice kit of bits

To make a vernier from it, just to see how it fits.




You’re welcome to have it, I’ll post it for free,

All you have to do is to PM message me.

With an address of a home for Mitutoyo retirement,

And I’ll nip down to Aldi and buy a replacement.



Edited By Simon Williams 3 on 13/01/2019 17:20:38

Phil Whitley13/01/2019 17:26:14
1443 forum posts
147 photos

I may have an answer

to this Gordian riddle

The next time yer shopping

Just get one fron Lidl!

Chris Evans 613/01/2019 21:11:17
2057 forum posts

I've had a couple of Mitutoyo callipers over the last 30 years or so. The first one died and was replaced with another, I then bought one from Aldi to use as an everyday thing to save the posh one. Well the posh one never came out of its box again and was given away. I preferred the readout of the Aldi job which was just as accurate as the Mitutoyo. When Aldi had an offer on I bought three of them one was converted to a tailstock readout for the lathe the other two are used one by the lathe the other by the mill. All have good actions and long battery life.

D.A.Godley13/01/2019 22:37:29
120 forum posts
39 photos

Simon ,

Some while ago , I had exactly the same experience with my 10+ year old Mitutoyo , which was most upsetting, I removed the battery and consigned it to a vacant spot on a shelf , resorting to using a cheapo in its place .

Always wanting to have the Mitutoyo back in service I considered sending it away for an overhaul, however , to my surprise some months later , when I got it out and put new batteries in , it functioned perfectly , and has done for almost a year now .

Hang on to it for a while , give it a rest having removed the battery, hopefully yours also will rejuvenate itself as did mine . I do hope so .

Vic13/01/2019 22:37:46
3074 forum posts
8 photos

My Mitutoyo is still going strong after very many years use. The Lidl one I bought a few years ago as a backup ate batteries and finally packed up after about 4 years. I won't be buying any more £9.99 specials. Anyone know what these are like?


Samsaranda13/01/2019 23:08:21
1430 forum posts
5 photos

Simon, it will be the cold weather, I have a Moore and Wright which performs faultlessly during the warmer months but as soon as the weather chills down the display starts misbehaving ; the remedy is to take out the battery and warm it gently then put it back and the fault should resolve. My workshop has background heating which maintains about 10 degrees but this is cool enough to cause the display to misbehave.

Dave W

Martin Connelly13/01/2019 23:20:07
2137 forum posts
222 photos

I have read that for some of these calipers as well as removing the battery you may need to short out the battery terminals to reset the electronics.

Martin C

John Olsen14/01/2019 00:00:57
1250 forum posts
94 photos
1 articles

With my ones, which are not Mitutoyo, I have found that they can misbehave when the track gets dirty. This is the part with printed on numbers that runs down the length of the body. Underneath is actually a fancy little printed circuit that the digital part reads capacitively to figure out how far it has moved. But if it gets too dirty, especially with the nice conductive graphite from machining cast iron, it will misbehave. The dirt does not always show much, but a good clean can make a big difference May not apply with Mitutoyo of course.


Grindstone Cowboy14/01/2019 00:16:25
859 forum posts
64 photos

+1 for taking the battery out for an extended period, and shorting the terminals probably wouldn't hurt either. This fixed my (non-Mitutoyo) calipers when they misbehaved after a battery change.

Howard Lewis14/01/2019 19:30:02
6116 forum posts
14 photos

A lot of digital devices seem, somehow, to "load up". Removing the power source for a minute or two seems to allow the memory to discharge itself, and things return to normal ,for some time, before needing a repeat.

Cleaning the track, and / or the contacts on the board is also a cure in some cases.

(Has not worked with my Tailstock display which steadfastly refuses to switch off. Having been sans battery for some weeks, maybe I should give it a try, before buying a new one at Ally Pally?)


Neil Wyatt14/01/2019 19:32:58
19040 forum posts
734 photos
80 articles
Posted by Martin Connelly on 13/01/2019 23:20:07:

I have read that for some of these calipers as well as removing the battery you may need to short out the battery terminals to reset the electronics.

Martin C

Yes, the display clears with the battery out but they can run for a while on stored charge.


Ian P14/01/2019 21:21:30
2590 forum posts
114 photos
Posted by Vic on 13/01/2019 22:37:46:

My Mitutoyo is still going strong after very many years use. The Lidl one I bought a few years ago as a backup ate batteries and finally packed up after about 4 years. I won't be buying any more £9.99 specials. Anyone know what these are like?


I have the Arc one in the link and it has been reliable and certainly does not eat batteries.

I now have about accumulated about 10 different calipers and have one or two favourites that get used the most. I find that there is little difference in accuracy and repeatability between the cheapest LIDL and the dearer Mitutoyo. The more expensive ones have a better 'feel' and smoother action but regardless of price I prefer usability.

Auto power off (especially if its too quick) is very annoying, even more so if the reading resets when switched back on (the Arc one does that). If I am measuring pitch centre between holes and have offset the zero, I want it to remember that number until I want to change it. This is also even more important if the caliper has been adapted to use for example, as a slide DRO.

Calipers with fractional displays might be useful to USA woodworkers but make no sense even when working in drawings dimensioned in imperial decimals.

Ian P

Iain Downs15/01/2019 07:41:19
857 forum posts
751 photos

God! What a pile of geeks!

Simon - can I congratulate you on your addition of some art into this forum of nerds (and Phil for responding in kind)?

Anyone on this forum can face a bar in a lathe, but who can write a poem about it? Neil - perhaps we need a competition ?


P.S. Please note the nerd writing this post declined to attempt a poem in reply...

SillyOldDuffer15/01/2019 10:38:30
8698 forum posts
1967 photos

Posted by Iain Downs on 15/01/2019 07:41:19:


Anyone on this forum can face a bar in a lathe, but who can write a poem about it? Neil - perhaps we need a competition ?


Be careful what you wish for. As Mitutoyo is Japanese, I offer a 5-7-5 syllabic Haiku:

Swarf in my duff gauge
A flat battery perhaps
Blame the beast of the east

My gold-standard poet is the great William Topaz McGonagall, of whom this example is typical:

’TWAS in the month of December, and in the year 1883,
That a monster whale came to Dundee,
Resolved for a few days to sport and play,
And devour the small fishes in the silvery Tay.

So the monster whale did sport and play
Among the innocent little fishes in the beautiful Tay,
Until he was seen by some men one day,
And they resolved to catch him without delay.

and so on



Simon Williams 315/01/2019 20:35:19
654 forum posts
82 photos

I’m tackling titanium, it’s difficult I know,

I’ve never tried it out before, so I thought I’d have a go.

There’s a lump I’ve had for ages, I don’t know where it’s from,

So I’ve clamped it firmly in the chuck. What could possibly go wrong?



Don’t let the stuff work harden, if the tool rubs you’ll regret it

Keep the feed free cutting, if you stop you can forget it.

Be bloody bold and resolute, but calm and reasoned too,

But don’t be heavy handed, a dig-in’s not good news.



Let the machine do all the work, the feed in automatic,

The heat it seems to generate is really quite dramatic.

But the swarf is long and stringy, razors in a caddle

It’s just as well the handwheel is the right side of the saddle.



According to the internet it might just set on fire.

Jeopardy’s exciting, the risks could not be higher

If I burn down our conservatory I’ll get absolutely slaughtered

And my wife’s long lost relations will all revel in my torture.



All is going swimmingly, my workpiece size is thinning,

The finish something excellent, for a short time I was winning.

But suddenly a horrid noise, a nasty clonky clunk.

Oh damn! My brand new lathe tool is missing a great chunk.



So I’ve had to change the carbide, and set it back in motion,

Approach once more with confidence, forgo my normal caution.

It’s nearly down to size by now, if I tweak the cross slide higher,

I’m sure I’ll hit the tolerance, and satisfy my buyer.




This endeavour’s just a past-time, I’ll enjoy while I may

But I need to stretch the boundaries, keep the brain cells from decay.

The alternative’s too awful, Eastenders’ not for me.

Or lounging on the sofa with reality TV.


Edited By Simon Williams 3 on 15/01/2019 20:36:21

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