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By Blister
Hi , Can anyone recomend a decent vernier caliper , I have a battery opperated unit and every time I want to use it the battery is dead , Not much use :(
Last edited by Blister on 27 Jul 2020, 13:53, edited 1 time in total.
By sunnybob
I gave up with battery anything in the workshop. (hammer) several years ago.

Any vernier caliper is fine for woodworking, even if its made of high impact plastic. Mine is and its now four years old and still gives repeatable measurements to 0.1mm.
By heronviewer
I take the battery out after every use if I am not going to use it again that day. Before that, I had your problem. No problem now and the battery lasts for ages.
By Inspector
Good callipers do not run batteries down. A work we used Mititoyo digitals and the batteries were good for years on a tool that was rarely used and at least 6 months or longer with daily use. They used the small button batteries and lasted longer than the coin batteries of the Starretts.

As for a true vernier any of the better tool companies like Chronos will have good ones even if made in China. Don't buy cheap ones sold by the lowest price junk seller.

A good dial calliper is a nice compromise and easier to read. If not dropped to often or abused will last forever.

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By MikeG.
I had Vernier calipers. Too much of a battle reading it. I had digital ones........the batteries were always dead. Now, I have a dial caliper, and it is an absolute revelation. Instantly readable to two decimal points , and 3 with a bit of effort. Cheap, reliable, and easily read: I couldn't ask for more.
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By robgul
#1370897 - cheap and cheerful - does the job. I too gave up with battery/digital as either the battery ran down or the slide moved after zeroing and gave incorrect measurements
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By SkinnyB
Same issue here with my battery operated calipers.

If you want a fix:

Get yourself a single AAA battery holder.
Solder the wires to the correct points on the callipers.
Glue the battery holder to the back of the callipers.
Job Done.

Mines going 3 years on a rechargeable AAA battery.

Lr44 button cell 100mah 1.5v
AAA Battery 1500+ mah 1.5v. Will last 15x longer.
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By Robbo3
Dial calipers. Easy to read & graduations every tenth of a mil should be accurate enough for anyone. You need the type where one rotation of the needle = 10mm (0.01).
Other scales & imperial are also available.
I have nylon ones for general use & stainless for lathe work. As long as you relieve the sharp points they can be used safely to size the rotating wood.
By Rorschach
The batteries in my Lidl and Aldi calipers last the best part of a year between changes, they are used pretty much everyday, multiples times.
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By Eric The Viking
Digital calipers (cheap ones): My experience so far:

  • unit #1: Tchibo: Nicely made, but cracked the LCD and finally lost it somewhere, probably under the floor in my upstairs workshop (full of way too much stuff/junk presently to look). Decent, reliable and infuriating (that I lost them), ate batteries though.
  • unit #2: Chronos, I think (but they no longer sell that model). I Still have them - inconsistent, small screen and a thirst for Joules - remove batteries after use and keep a spare in the box.
  • unit #3: Lidl - large button cell: needed wet+dry to remove the sharp edges and improve the movement BEFORE use. Inconsistent. Waste of the small amount of money it cost - only suitable for comparing items of similar size.

I have decided I need three things from a caliper:
  1. Consistency and reliability and reasonable accuracy - mostly woodworking, but +/- 0.01mm would be useful.
  2. Decent battery life: the compartments aren't designed to have cells removed/replaced on every use, so the things just have to draw a lot less power. I can operate an on/off button so auto-on is simply a waste.
  3. Fractions! I waste so much time converting, even though I have the equivalent of Zeus tables. So it has to do both metric and inch fractions and switch in use.
So I am swallowing hard and looking at either Mitutoyo or Moore+Wright. Buy cheap buy twi..., er, lots of times.


PS: I have been suckered into two Gem Red-style products - the little "digital spirit level box" and the digital angle gauge. Box: Actual GemRed, but complete rubbish. Angle gauge: present one (GemRed) OK-ish, but literally binned the first one (GemRed copy).

The reason is really simple: both devices work in a very similar way to the calipers, using changing capacitance as the measurement unit moves, but the pattern is segments of a circle rather than linear. If in manufacture, the centre of the pattern is not EXACTLY aligned with the mechanical centre of the unit, it has a repeatable but awkward error, which changes depending on the size of the angle it is measuring - some will be worst at 45deg, some at 90, etc., all depending on the errors introduced in the factory process.

They are hard to check. I would love a good one, of either design, but have decided I will get by without. They are overrated too: accuracy of 1/10th degree of angle is NOT good enough for a lot of tasks (angle subdivision is usually a matter of geometry and fractions, not decimals), and anyway, worse than that I can easily get with a protractor...
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By Lons
I have 3 battery ones Blister 2 of which are Aldi / Lidl but also a mechanical Mitutoyo which I've had for around 40 years and that's the one I reach for 99% of the time. The only issue is that it gets harder to read without specs and I've been looking for decent dial ones for a while. Using good quality tools usually means it's hard to go back to using inferior ones. I'd like a dial Mitotoyo but they're not cheap!

That said, most of the cheapos are perfectly adequate for woodwork.
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By Eric The Viking
Lons wrote:That said, most of the cheapos are perfectly adequate for woodwork.

Not if they are inconsistent.

That's the problem I have had with both the linear and angle types.
By Just4Fun
Lons wrote:That said, most of the cheapos are perfectly adequate for woodwork.

That has been my experience also. I have 2 cheap ones. They meet my needs and do not eat batteries. What more can I say? I have never used a high quality unit so cannot compare.
By Rorschach
Just4Fun wrote:
Lons wrote:That said, most of the cheapos are perfectly adequate for woodwork.

That has been my experience also. I have 2 cheap ones. They meet my needs and do not eat batteries. What more can I say? I have never used a high quality unit so cannot compare.

I have a set of a Mitutoyo Vernier and I have used a set of Mit and Starret Digitals. Undoubtedbly they are nicer to use, far smoother and more "solid" feeling. They are no more accurate than my cheapies though, 25.00mm still measures 25.00mm no matter which set I use. My Mit vernier lives in the boot of the car so I can measure when out shopping and no need to worry about batteries, I find it too slow for workshop use compared to digital.