looking for good hydrometer and voltmeter recommendations

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Megunticook
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looking for good hydrometer and voltmeter recommendations

Post by Megunticook » Fri May 03, 2019 6:08 am

My voltmeter bought the farm the other day (not exactly sure what happened but it's acting loco), and the hydrometer I have came with a plastic cylinder that has a crack/leak. Thinking I'll replace both of those.

Can anyone recommend any specific products that they've been happy with?

Thanks.
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Re: looking for good hydrometer and voltmeter recommendation

Post by provo » Fri May 03, 2019 7:17 am

I like the Hydrovolt better than anything else I've seen. I have two, because
the first one I bought gave readings about 10 points different from the cheap
"floating arrow" type I was used to. The second was much closer to my
expected readings, and, yes, the fact that two units would give readings
so far apart me concerns me.

What I like about them is how consistent the readings are when repeated,
ie, take a reading of a cell, take another reading, how close are they? Even
if the value isn't right, it's a more useful tool for watching how the SG's change
over time.

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Re: looking for good hydrometer and voltmeter recommendation

Post by Mike Curran » Fri May 03, 2019 7:39 am

I agree with provo. I recently got a Hydrovolt and the difference in ease of use, compared to a traditional glass bulb hydrometer, is amazing. Simple to use, repeatable, what more can you ask? Makes the task of taking multiple SG readings much less tedious, and you're more likely to take the readings with it as a result..

I use a Fluke 115 DVM, which can measure pretty much anything. I especially like the audible continuity checker.

Neither of these are inexpensive - the Hydro volt cost twice what I paid for my glass bulb hydrometer, before shipping cost. But both are worth it.
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Re: looking for good hydrometer and voltmeter recommendation

Post by Kurt Lundquist » Fri May 03, 2019 7:50 am

Have you used a refractometer to measure S.G. before? You don't need to temperature compensate the readings and they are generally more accurate than hydrometers. Make sure to get one tuned for reading battery electrolyte. The ones for homebrewing read on a different scale.

For voltmeter I like Fluke. The 376 Clamp Meter is a wonderful troubleshooting tool. It is a current clamp and voltmeter rated for both DC/AC all in one. AC voltage only reads to the tenths but I find that is plenty accurate for my needs. At over $400 it might be a bit more of an investment than you are looking to make. The Fluke 115 is sub $200 but doesn't include a built-in current clamp. Whatever you buy make sure it is True RMS rated.

Cheers,

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Re: looking for good hydrometer and voltmeter recommendation

Post by Megunticook » Thu May 09, 2019 3:30 pm

Thanks for the recommendations everyone. Time to do a little shopping now. Not sure I'll spend $400 on a meter at this point but I'll have a look at all those products and make a decision.
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Re: looking for good hydrometer and voltmeter recommendation

Post by pss » Thu May 09, 2019 10:01 pm

I have a Triplett 9325 meter. Cost in the $130's and has worked flawlessly for me for the past 4 years. Very happy and saves money. does everything the others do for a little less. If you are not using this on the job or having a company pay, then this is the one I recommend.

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Re: looking for good hydrometer and voltmeter recommendation

Post by raysun » Fri May 10, 2019 1:30 am

A fluke 117 is a capable meter for about $175 in the U.S.

If you want a clamp amp probe (you will eventually) the fluke unit is about $135.

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Re: looking for good hydrometer and voltmeter recommendation

Post by ralphday224 » Fri May 10, 2019 4:09 am

I have all 3. Good glass bulb, Hydrovolt and refractometer. I've gone back to the old reliable Glass bulb. It's the type with little glass tits on the float to keep the float from sticking to the sides of the fill tube. Works great. To truly make it work well you need a good thermometer. I bought one from a local high end kitchen shop for under $20. 10 seconds with the tip in the electrolyte and you know the exact temperature of it, so you're temp compensation (a chart) will be reallyl accurate.

The Hydrovolt is hard for my old thumbs to squeeze the rubber bulb on, but it's pretty good, not as accurate as the glass bulb for temp comp when compared to the chart. The refractometer is indeed accurate, but you need to calibrate it each use/time. Distilled water at the same temperature as the electrolyte. I keep a baby food jar with some in it in the battery box, pretty close to the electrolyte temp. Here the digital thermometer comes into use again. Test the electrolyte temp, wipe and check the H2O temp. Adjust the H2O temp to the electrolyte temp (put in freezer or fridge until it's the same, or warm the jar in your hands until the same, then calibrate the refractometer with the H20. There's a "water line" that's adjustable with a little screwdriver on the tube...then you check the electrolyte SG. A lot more work if you're doing each cell.

I usually check temp of electrolyte on just a few cells and adjust the bank readings accordingly (fudge factor...if I read 1.255 and the adjusted SG is 1.265 then I write a note on that month's readings on the tables).

JUst remember to invest in a good digital thermometer so whatever method you use you can accurately temperature compensate. You can find a chart on-line for quick reference, show temp, adjustment, acutal SG and corrected SG.

Ralph

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Re: looking for good hydrometer and voltmeter recommendation

Post by Megunticook » Wed Jun 12, 2019 3:11 pm

Thanks for the recommendations everyone.

I ended up ordering a Fluke 115 for $150. Hopefully this will last a long while.

Going to stick with the old fashioned hydrometer for the time being, but will upgrade eventually. Seems like I've been plagued with a thousand little household repairs/expenses lately that really start to add up. I can get by with my old-school hydrometer for a bit--maybe I'll ask Santa Claus for a refractometer.

Then again, isn't Father's Day coming up...nah, she'd never spring for one of those...
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