General Tools 3" digital fractional caliper

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merrill77

Master Scrap Maker
Chris
This review of the General Tools 1433 Fraction Plus Digital Fractional Caliper, Carbon Fiber, 3-Inch will be very short: Avoid this tool!

I have a 6" analog fractional dial caliper that it a too big to fit comfortably in an apron pocket - so I am always misplacing it.
I saw this at Lowes and thought it would be handy due to the small size.

The first one barely made it out of the box before I had to return it. The sticker showing an example measurement (for shelf display) is held on with glue that is much stronger than it needs to be. While pulling off the sticker, the glass protecting the LCD popped out. I returned it and they did not have another. I bought a second from Amazon - the glue was still strong, but I was more careful and got the sticker off without incident. But within a few minutes of usage, I found that moving the jaws too quickly will cause a malfunction of the device. In some cases, it would show impossible measurements (such as -82.61 inches) or the display would continue changing values erratically when the jaws were stationary. The second unit has been replaced and I will not try again.

Save your pennies!
Chris

31caitmITnL._SL500_AA300_.jpg

 

ehpoole

Administrator
Ethan
Just an FYI for those interested: All digital readout calipers (including equivalents for mounting to planers, tablesaws, drill presses, CNC, etc) have a maximum slew rate, or the rate at which they can reliably read the capacitive encoder that allows them to calculate distances. If you open or close it faster than that maximum slew rate you will run into interesting calculations such as those of the OP.

That said, most decent quality calipers have a slew rate sufficiently high enough that you would likely risk damaging either the caliper or yourself to exceed it.

It is also worth mentioning that digital calipers (and their alternatives) are *always* on, even when turned off (only the display is blanked to save battery life). They have to remain on so that they know what position the caliper is in when powered on (otherwise you would have to re-zero the caliper every time you powered it on). This is why the batteries inevitably run down even when the caliper has not been used in some time.

For routine shop measurements, I actually use my traditional fractional (1/64") dial calipers and my 0.001" dial gauges far more so than my digital calipers ... with the sole exception of my Wixey DRO on my thickness planer, which does get regular use and is indispensible (IMHO).
 

cpw

Charles
Corporate Member
Chris,

Thanks a bunch. My analog is a PITA as well, for various reasons, and I am looking to upgrade. I was eying those a few days ago but I was in a hurry so I thought I'd check it out later.

Cheers,
Charles
 

merrill77

Master Scrap Maker
Chris
It is also worth mentioning that digital calipers (and their alternatives) are *always* on, even when turned off (only the display is blanked to save battery life). They have to remain on so that they know what position the caliper is in when powered on (otherwise you would have to re-zero the caliper every time you powered it on).

This particular caliper DID need to be re-zeroed every time I turned it on. I suppose that implies that that it is NOT always on.
 

ehpoole

Administrator
Ethan
This particular caliper DID need to be re-zeroed every time I turned it on. I suppose that implies that that it is NOT always on.

Interesting, the first I've seen like that in a long time... I guess now we are regressing in time for the sake of cheapness.
 
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