First-world problem in a third-world setting…

This really annoyed me…

I needed my digital caliper for the first time in a long time, only to find its battery dead. Okay, no sweat: the battery didn’t owe me anything and I have a Plan B dial caliper. But it’s like the difference between a digital powder scale and a beam-type scale: Once you go late twentieth-century you really don’t want to go back.

So I put a new button battery on my shopping list for the next time I went to town. And guess which town didn’t have anything close, in any store there? Literally my only solution was Amazon, where of course I had to buy four. I didn’t want four.

Happily it turns out the caliper case has a place for a spare battery, so at least I’ll know where there’s one spare next time I need one – five or six years from now.

About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
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17 Responses to First-world problem in a third-world setting…

  1. Bradley says:

    I’ve experienced the same problem often enough – there is, seemingly, an “automatic battery discharge circuit” designed into the tool so batteries last only a month or so – that I donated the #*%& thing to Goodwill and replaced it with an all-mechanical, non-battery dial caliper. Which, I add, has worked flawlessly now for several years.

  2. RD says:

    I’ve owned a couple of these, one at home one at work. Good news: they have an auto shut-off where if it hasn’t moved in a while it shuts down. Bad news: they have an auto turn-on where if you move it it turns on automatically. Super-bad news: how does the auto turn-on automatically detect movement??? by always being on to monitor the movement !!

    Yeah… I buy the batteries in a 10-pack.

  3. Robert says:

    Kept finding a dead AA in the same slot in my 3-AA headlamp. Yup, that one cell has a slight drain keeping the fancy electronics somewhat alert. Remember the good ole days when “off” and “on” meant what they said?

  4. WJW says:

    My wife has the same problem with her calipers that get used about every two years. We started taking the battery out and putting it in the “extra” battery hole and that seems to help but is slightly slower when she needs it. I’ve stayed with my dial and vernier calipers that I’ve had for 45 years.

  5. jed says:

    All the cheap digital calipers have high drain when “off”. I remove the battery when I’m not using mine. Some day, I’d sure like to get a Mitutoyo – they have a significantly lower “off” current draw.

  6. Klaus says:

    I leave the battery in the space provided for the spare and pop it in when i need to use the caliper. If you leave it in it will be dead when you go to use it.

  7. Mark Matis says:

    You ain’t lived until you’ve used a VERNIER caliper:

  8. Ben says:

    I never buy button batteries at the drugstore, not when I can buy a package of them on Amazon for what a single one costs at the drugstore! Yes, a PACKAGE of them might last me the rest of my natural life, but they are easy to store so I consider that a Feature, not a Bug.

  9. Nolan Parker says:

    I pull the battery and lay it in the case.

  10. bill says:

    What is it (caliper) and what is it used for?

  11. Douglas2 says:

    • Obviously, when items aren’t available locally one will order them from where they can, but I’m pretty sure my last orders of button-cells from amazon were convincing-looking counterfeits. They’ve a problem of intermingling stock from all the various people selling an item of any specific ‘sku’, so even buying with Amazon listed as the ‘seller’ hasn’t helped get me cells with the lifespan and lack of leakage that I expect.
    • For the most common sizes, Dollar Tree rather surprisingly will usually have them on an end-cap display — but be sure to get the right composition: CR for lithium — the LR alkalines and the bulk-card-of-every-size&type are generally bad news.
    • You know how many button battery products ship with a little sliver of plastic that one pulls out to allow the battery to work against the battery-contacts? I’ve used whatever scrap is conveniently to hand to replicate this, so that I can leave an item pretty-much ready-to-go, but not draining its battery.

  12. Robert says:

    Like a slide rule- it helps if you know about what the answer should be.

  13. Wyowanderer says:

    I guess I still have Luddite tendencies – I keep my Craftsman Vernier caliper (made in America before Sears threw itself on the sword of marketing and then bankruptcy) next to my dial caliper and use the dial caliper to check my work on the Vernier. The ‘lectronic offerings are great, but i get everything I need with my old stuff.
    Now if a nice Starrett electronic caliper fell out of the sky and into my lap…

  14. Joel says:

    Yeah, I was trained on vernier calipers in tech school when dial calipers were too spendy for the likes of me. But they require more ability to deal with numbers in your head than I could muster on most days. About then affordable calculators came available and I quickly learned the charms of any gadget that would just display the numbers on a screen and get it the hell over with so I could move on to the reason I was taking the measurement in the first place.

  15. RCPete says:

    I have a couple of dial calipers (6″ Craftsman, 12″ bought at a home machinist’s club sale), a 25 year old Mitutoyo, and the Enco height gauge is vernier. I can get into trouble in multiple ways. 🙂

  16. Ritche says:

    Long ago, a set of tools came with a *fractional* vernier caliper. I still have it, but have not had a need for it, with a fraction/decimal/drill chart on the closet door.

  17. I have a cheap Chinese caliper and the batteries last eons. Mine must have flunked QC and the Battery Discharge Circuit doesn’t work right.

To the stake with the heretic!