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Old December 2, 2014, 02:23 PM   #1
Cowboy_mo
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Digital Caliper Problem. Anyone ever?

Okay, I have a Frankford Arsenal Digital Caliper. It has worked well for the 2 years I have had it.

Yesterday I was going to load some new rifle rounds. I opened my caliper box and the instrument was going crazy flashing from one measurement to another. I pushed the on/off button to try and turn it off and nothing happened. So, I took the battery out thinking this would create a reboot situation similar to turning off a computer. When I put the battery back in, the same thing happened.

Simple solution, buy a new caliper which I did. But my inquiring mind is still wondering what could have gone wrong while the instrument was safely stored in it's case? Anyone have any ideas?
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Old December 2, 2014, 02:40 PM   #2
hooligan1
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Battery is dead, mine does the same, I justbreplace battery and its fine.
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Old December 2, 2014, 02:44 PM   #3
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My ideas?-- Have a little redundancy in your system, for instance a pair of dial or even veneer calipers to use when the new fangled letrical types go toast on ya.

Of course I'm kinda primitive in my equipment, and have yet to own even a digital scale. , which may be the subject of my next thread. jd
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Old December 2, 2014, 03:25 PM   #4
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I have nothing against digital calipers.I have been told some of the Mitutoyos hold up well to coolant.
The FrankfordArsenals,etc are certainly inexpensive.

For myself,just my preferences,I like the good old Browne and Sharpe/Tesa type mechanical dial calipers.

And,on my reloading bench I have a nice old 6 in vernier.I don't have to worry about a dead battery or a powder granule in the rack.I do have to take a few extra seconds to squint in order to see which lines are lined up,but,part of the fun!
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Old December 2, 2014, 03:31 PM   #5
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I agree that it was a bad battery...
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Old December 2, 2014, 03:44 PM   #6
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Now if I could just replace this old slide rule with one of those lettronical cypherin thingys that I see the kids using these days. jd
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Old December 2, 2014, 04:22 PM   #7
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Frequently low batteries will blink, flash or do something "OFF" to let you know there is a problem. Try a new battery first as others have suggested.

Some calipers only auto OFF if they are reading "00.0" so do a zero as you put them away if there is no ON/OFF switch as such.

FWIW I keep a fresh spare battery in the case so if there's a problem I'm prepared.
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Old December 2, 2014, 04:45 PM   #8
madmo44mag
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All my measuring tools are old school.
Back in my machine shop days I saw more screwed up parts from guys using digital mics and calipers.
Nothing beats a good tool that holds "O.000" after it is dropped.
Do that with a electronic device and you have to recalibrate, if it survived the fall.
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Old December 2, 2014, 05:48 PM   #9
pathdoc
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Mine did the same thing recently. New battery failed to cure the problem. I am getting a dial caliper for Christmas. It doesn't go wonky in the cold, and will never need batteries.
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Old December 2, 2014, 06:05 PM   #10
Cowboy_mo
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Thanks guys. I will have to locate a new battery and give it a try. If that fixes it, I will have one for backup.

JD: if that old slide rule ever breaks, let me know. Pretty sure I have mine from college in the basement. It hasn't been used since 1975
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Old December 2, 2014, 06:23 PM   #11
Bart B.
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A lot of times, leaving the battery out overnight lets a lot of the circuits discharge completely. Put the battery back in the next morning. But cross your fingers, first.
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Old December 2, 2014, 08:10 PM   #12
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I've noticed the same thing with mine. Batteries discharge when off in mine. I keep 2-3 extra and haven't had anymore problems.
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Old December 2, 2014, 10:31 PM   #13
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Check out E-Bay for the batteries, much, much cheaper. I usually get a couple of cards of 10 each, the lazer we use for a kitty toy takes the same batteries. Also a couple of my pen flashlights take the same batteries.
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Old December 3, 2014, 04:06 AM   #14
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The Frankford Arsenal are cheap Chinese junk. They eat batteries and don't hold zero well. I have Mitutoyos with year(s) old batteries. They are very dependable and worth the money.
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Old December 3, 2014, 06:47 AM   #15
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I never had that happen with mine that I bought at Harbor Freight. But I do have a dial caliper for backup.
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Old December 3, 2014, 11:04 AM   #16
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I have several sets of digital calipers fro 4" to 12", a good Mitotoyu digital micrometer, and a digital height gauge on my surface plate. Every one of their displays blink when the battery gets low.

What I think most people don't realize is that the on/off button on these devices is a software on/off. It's not a mechanical power switch that fully disconnects the battery, or you would feel it click. What it does is greatly reduce the power drain by putting the electronics into standby mode, but still awake enough to sense when you push the on/off button again to bring the unit back on line. This is also the reason you can turn one of these devices off with the jaws open, and when you turn it back on it still shows the same measurement. It draws enough power to remember where it is. Bottom line, the off switch does not shut it down completely.

You have to remove the battery when you store one of these devices if you want to maximize battery life. Just bear in mind that batteries all have a small amount of reverse leakage current so they eventually run themselves down even if they aren't being used. That's why they have a shelf life. If you go purchasing batteries in quantity, be sure you will use them up before they can lose too much stored energy that way. I try to buy a quantity that I will use up by about the time half the shelf life is gone. Near the end of published shelf life they already are not lasting as long.
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Old December 3, 2014, 11:48 AM   #17
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Quote:
A lot of times, leaving the battery out overnight lets a lot of the circuits discharge completely. Put the battery back in the next morning. But cross your fingers, first.
IDK about digital calipers, but some digital instruments (my Delmhorst moisture meter comes to mind) can lose calibration if completely discharged, either by a battery going bad or being removed completely for long periods .....

If you were going to "keep a back-up" it might be a good plan to keep a dial caliper that did not rely on batteries, which would be the most likely cause of failure in your digital caliper, as your "back-up".
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Old December 3, 2014, 11:48 AM   #18
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So one day my chick calls me up from the Goodwill store, and says, "I think there's sumpthin down here you might be interested in."
I headed down there after work, and here's what I got for twenty bucks. The calipers are Mitutoyo, and the dial indicator Chinese, but not too bad. Calipers alone would cost -- up around a hundred I think. Sometimes it's better to be lucky than smart. jd

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Old December 3, 2014, 12:38 PM   #19
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If you've been getting away with referring to women as "chicks" these days, I think the lucky part is a given.
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Old December 3, 2014, 02:20 PM   #20
jdscholer
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Quote:
If you've been getting away with referring to women as "chicks" these days, I think the lucky part is a given.
You probably just have no idea how young and hip we are. She's my chick, and I'm her dude. What she DOESN'T like is "my ol' lady", and "the old hen" is outa the question. jd
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Old December 3, 2014, 03:31 PM   #21
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I guess Im lucky if you can call it that.,...Ive been using my late grandfathers Brown & Sharpe 6" dial caliper for the past few years..never could warm up to the digitals...
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Old December 3, 2014, 04:47 PM   #22
riflemen
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I had a pair of hornady digitals go bad, I have the frankford now, they were $15 so if they last 2 years I would be happy I guess, I have a pair of brown and sharps with my machining equipment, but didnt want to spend another $300 so I bought the cheapies for the reloading bench, I know if I take my "good " pair down to the reloading bench I will be running back and forth moving them aorund and its not worth it...
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Old December 4, 2014, 08:54 AM   #23
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I'm still using my 40 year old Craftsman vernier calipers. Remember those?? They never need to be rebooted. Wait, let me get my slide rule over here...OK. I'm ready. don't need no stinkin' batteries...
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Old December 4, 2014, 09:54 AM   #24
Don P
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Quote:
Mitutoyos
You get what you pay for. These are probably one of the best on the market. Frankfort's, Harbor Freight are cheap inexpensive digitals. I own both digital and dial calipers. Best thing about dial calipers is no battery to go dead. Mitutoyos can be found on Amazon for around $150
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Old December 4, 2014, 09:59 AM   #25
mehavey
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I have several old verniers (now comparatively a PITA, but what the heck...)

I also have an old Do-All digital from the early `80s which has been used/abused/BAT
compartment held on by tape -- and it still works fine (flashes screwy w/ the BAT starts dieing/-
but accurate even up to that point]

I have a semi-high dollar Starret digital which is great [has the 'wake' feature UncleNick speaks
of but doesn't seem to drain the battery]

And I have a Frankfort Arsenal which stays in the gunbox and goes everywhere/does
everything and gets subjected to freezing temps continually. THAT battery likes to rapidly die
off over a year of so [constant low temps and wake feature not real compatible?] but
in that case the screen contrast gradually dies off/not screwy. I just carry a couple extra [LR44?]
batteries in the gunbox. Given that, `works fine.

Last edited by mehavey; December 4, 2014 at 05:45 PM.
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