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Digital Caliper - again, sorry

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petro1head09/12/2021 12:42:09
770 forum posts
152 photos

I know, over the years, there have been threads asking about digital calipers but I thought I would start a new one

My old daya to day garage calipers have finally broken. So I thought I would look at buying new and bought these . They look promissing as the display was nice and bright and they seemed to actually turn off, not the usual putting the display asleep but still draining the battery. However it turns out they are faulty so have to be returned.

Now I do have some Mitutoyo ones but they are workshop only

So any advice/reccomendations. Dont have to be super accurate as will be for general stuff but I feel the most important aspect is that when you turn them off they are actually off so not draining the battery.

pgk pgk09/12/2021 13:19:26
2549 forum posts
293 photos

I have a workshop Mitutoyo also but as a cheapo option I own a couple of lidl/aldi type sub £10 jobs and a card of replacement cells and keep a couple of spare batteries in the caliper box and don't worry about battery life - the cells are cheap enough on eBay and quick to swap out.


Thor 🇳🇴09/12/2021 13:27:17
1598 forum posts
45 photos

I have a similar one with CR2032 batteries, it has worked well for several years, and yes it does turn itself off. I like the large digits, easier to read for my old eyes.


SillyOldDuffer09/12/2021 13:39:59
8469 forum posts
1885 photos

Posted by petro1head on 09/12/2021 12:42:09:


I feel the most important aspect is that when you turn them off they are actually off so not draining the battery.

None of mine have a true ON/OFF switch: they all switch off the display only.

On investigation turns out all my Digital Calipers draw a miniscule amount of power. It's a few micro-amps, not enough to explain why cells go flat in under a year. I don't buy cheap batteries off the internet. I've had old stock nearing it's use by date, and a brand where the cells were about 20% lighter than Duracell - ie fewer chemicals inside!

Why do some calipers flatten batteries more than others, when then all test about the same? Something else is going on. All the calipers are kept together on a shelf in my unheated garage workshop.

I noticed the battery in my most expensive caliper, made by Dasqua, lasts much longer than the same make fitted to my cheapo rough work models. The difference appears to be that the Dasqua has an IP56 rating and its battery lid is fitted with a rubber seal.

My hypothesis is condensation kills the batteries. Damp air gets inside ordinary instruments allowing moisture to connect the positive and negative poles of the cell, which are close together all around the rim. The resulting slow discharge reduces battery life rather than cause an obvious fault.

If I'm right, storing a cheap caliper inside a resealable plastic bag with a silica gel absorber would extend battery life. Or buy a caliper with a high IP rating - I see this Mitutoyo is IP67.


speelwerk09/12/2021 14:41:39
439 forum posts
2 photos

"Or buy a caliper with a high IP rating - I see this Mitutoyo is IP67."

Have that one and use it daily, have not kept track of battery live but it certainly is long, I guess somewhere 2 years.

However I would not buy it again since it has the disadvantage that you cannot zero it to measure differences without the need to re-calibrate again. The other type Mitutoyo 500-181-30 I have is much handier to use. Niko.

Edited By speelwerk on 09/12/2021 14:42:14

Keith Wyles09/12/2021 14:57:19
94 forum posts

Also have a cheap Lidl one. Great for the price.

petro1head09/12/2021 14:58:59
770 forum posts
152 photos


I came accross this site a few weeks ago, makes interesting reading. In a nutshell buy Zinc + Silver Oxide batteries and not Zinc + Manganese Dioxide

Mick B109/12/2021 16:13:55
2157 forum posts
117 photos

I use Moore & Wright valueline - normally around £25, smooth operating, pretty reliable within their 0,01mm/half-thou resolution and a battery can last many months or more of regular use. I'm on my third one in about 7 years of use - they don't stand being dropped or struck very well - but as a general workshop gauge I think they're at least good enough.

The Aldi and Lidl types do seem to have much heavier battery consumption and are much more prone to the 200 thou/5,08mm reading jump that seems to be a sporadic fault of the genre.

Edited By Mick B1 on 09/12/2021 16:14:44

old mart09/12/2021 17:12:14
3717 forum posts
233 photos

Petro1head's calipers look very good for the money. My last Lidl ones were not as good as earlier versions, but I like the CR2032 cells used and keep a supply at the museum where they also fit the quill dro's of the mills. My Mitutoyo is old and uses the small SR44 silver oxide which lasts longer than the cheap alkaline LR44 which might leak if unused for some time. The Mitutoyo's used to get a new cell every 6 months when I was working as they do need to be switched off manually. I couldn't resist buying a Tesa Twin Cal IP67 early this year, but they are so pretty that I haven't yet taken them to the museum. They use a CR2032 and have automatic switch off, they are in the same class as Mitutoyo for smooth action and quality.

DiogenesII09/12/2021 17:42:46
517 forum posts
202 photos

Buy a new Absolute Digimatic for the workshop and relegate the older ones to the garage?

RD Barrett Small Tools - 0-150 mm Mitutoyo Absolute..

Bill Phinn09/12/2021 17:46:38
732 forum posts
103 photos

My first ever set of calipers were a set similar to the ones in petro1head's link. Even if they gobbled batteries they were fine while they lasted. The trouble was they only lasted about three years before they went haywire.

I subsequently bought a Mitutoyo digital caliper, which has been great, except I hardly ever use it, preferring instead my Kennedy dial caliper, which was bought at the same time as the Mitutoyo. Even though its resolution is not as fine as the Mitutoyo, for some reason I prefer seeing a needle going round a dial to digits coming up on a screen - on some things at least.

Peter Cook 609/12/2021 18:06:52
258 forum posts
73 photos
Posted by SillyOldDuffer on 09/12/2021 13:39:59:

Posted by petro1head on 09/12/2021 12:42:09:


I feel the most important aspect is that when you turn them off they are actually off so not draining the battery.

None of mine have a true ON/OFF switch: they all switch off the display only.

I only have one cheap pair that switch off properly. They are a pain. If I put them down and they auto-off then they have to be re-zero'ed when switched back on. The Mitutoyo set I have, a Mitutoyo fake I also have and some cheap £20.00 ones all just switch off the display and remember position.

petro1head09/12/2021 18:12:06
770 forum posts
152 photos
Posted by old mart on 09/12/2021 17:12:14:

Petro1head's calipers look very good for the money.

It was nice but when reading some of the lower star reviews they had the same problem as my. After a period of time being off, they would not turn back on again except if you took the battery out and put it back in again

petro1head09/12/2021 18:12:51
770 forum posts
152 photos
Posted by DiogenesII on 09/12/2021 17:42:46:

Buy a new Absolute Digimatic for the workshop and relegate the older ones to the garage?

RD Barrett Small Tools - 0-150 mm Mitutoyo Absolute..

As I said in my first post I already have some of those

stuart jones 209/12/2021 18:30:34
13 forum posts

I use my old vernier calliper for general use if i can find my glasses ? And my cheap digital callipers for closer work. And take out the battery when not in use. More hassle but the battery lasts longer

Simon Williams 309/12/2021 20:51:55
652 forum posts
82 photos

Dunno how to test the theory, but I have read in connection with battery life in quartz watches that how long the battery lasts is affected significantly by how much the battery was handled while being replaced. The proposition is that sweat or grease or general gunk off your hands bridges the battery terminals and provides a path for a significant proportion of the stored electricness.

I bought a Starrett digital caliper a couple of years ago having previously coped well with el cheapo ones. At £138 it was a special occasion. Eventually I have managed to catch it with the tail of my coat and knocked it to the floor. The expensive ones don't bounce any better than the Lidl ones.

It's lost the function of the inch/mm swap-over button. Not sure if that's it's retaliation for the ignominy of being dropped. Time for another new one (Santa, are you listening?)

Season's Greetings All


Peter Cook 609/12/2021 21:41:31
258 forum posts
73 photos
Posted by Simon Williams 3 on 09/12/2021 20:51:55:

It's lost the function of the inch/mm swap-over button.

Strip it down, clean it out, reassemble. The bit of plastic under the button cover has got stuck!

Emgee09/12/2021 23:06:05
2404 forum posts
285 photos

I see the description states: Preciva digital vernier caliper is made of high quality hardened stainless steel, rust resistant and impervious to dust and splashes of water from any direction.
The Specification states material is Aluminium, which is it ?


petro1head09/12/2021 23:24:07
770 forum posts
152 photos

So I am looking at the Moore and Write ones and I see Machine Dromis part of Allendale Stores which is a supplier in Amazon. As I now have credit it makes sense to buy from their Amazon store.

However I am confused but these two listing as in the face of it they seem the same mode, but different colours. See here and here, are they the same?

Bill Phinn09/12/2021 23:31:54
732 forum posts
103 photos

They're probably the same colour but photographed in different lighting.

The first says it comes with five batteries (though the review section tells a different tale), the second with one battery (though again some reviews say differently).


Edited By Bill Phinn on 09/12/2021 23:35:38

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