A bit of info. for anyone in the UK looking to buy scales. I recently spent a day and half researching digital scales available in the UK (as at Jan, 17).
It seemed a lot of mixers used American Weigh LB-501. They are available in the UK for a hefty £70 (amazon) or so, it was cheaper to order from the states and pay the postage. Total cost around £50 - which still seemed excessive for a Chinese scale. (Yeah - I thought from the name they might be US made but no - Shenzhen rather than Seattle.)
In the end I bought an “On Balance” NV-500 from creamery supplies. I think I paid about £14 all up, but they’re a pound or two more expensive now.
Something that didn’t switch off after 60 secs whilst I answered the door.
Max weight 200g or more.
Resolution of 0.02g (0.01g preferred)
Backlit display &/or big digits.
Linear performance. (So that adding 0.02g to an empty bottle registers the same as adding to a bottle with say, 100g juice already in it.)
Stable and repeatable performance.
Did I get what I wanted? Well yes and no. Yes I got something that’s way better than the cheesy £5 eBay street dealer stuff and no because nothing short of lab. quality will have temp. compensation or total linearity. BUT the big deal for me was that is cheap and good enough for mixing when, if you’re going for 30ml+ mixes, the odd .02g here and there won’t kill you.
Keep reading if you want grisly detail otherwise just give the NV-500 (aka Envy 500, hmmm! ) a try.
Does it switch off after 60secs inactivity? Yes, you can set it to 60,120,180 secs or “never switch off”. Before I got my stash organised and a smooth routine sorted the “never switch off” option was great. Now I use 120 secs as I always forgot to switch it off manually. Note: The backlight switches off after a few secs inactivity come what may, but it lights up again when you start adding stuff again and you don’t lose your weight.
Max weight is 500g. You can calibrate it with a 500g calibration weight which is NOT supplied. (I’ve lost my calibration weight but I’m guessing it won’t make too much difference whether the thing is calibrated or not.)
Resolution is 0.01g but this is a bit irrelevant as one drop of most liquids register as at least 0.02g. It does increment in 0.01g if you’re really careful and the winds not blowing. I always stick a full 30ml bottle on the stage before I start weighing to dampen air flutter and get the gauge into a more stable range.)
Backlit display. It has that. More importantly I find it easy to read with my rheumy eyeballs. As mentioned above, the back light will go out after a few seconds of inactivity (non configurable) and, as the electronics are poorly regulated, the indicated weight will flutter briefly, but settle back to where it was. Bit disconcerting that was!
Linear performance. Not measured but gut feeling says it’s pretty good - at least in the range of weights I use. So if I need to add say, 0.1g to a mix, I know from experience that will be about 5 pipette drops and so the scale says it is, whether the bottle is empty or has 50ml juice in it.
Stable, repeatable. Stability: Good but keep reading*. Repeatability also good to within 1% I’d guess (wildly).
Temp. compensation. Not a chance*.
Mains operation. Not a chance - well there is but soldering irons and butchery required.
This scale suffers from fluttery readings the same as every other strain gauge bridge type digital scale so you have to give it all the help you can.
a) Let it acclimatise to the air temperature of wherever you’re going to use it (say 1hr). Don’t say, store it in the cold with your flavours and then bring it into a warm kitchen. Readings will creep as it warms up.
b) Put a dead weight (30ml concentrate bottle say) on the stage to move the scales’ operating point away from zero and add a bit of mechanical inertia to combat draughts. Didn’t explain that well, hope you get the gist.
c) Err… obviously … keep away from direct sun and draughts.
Do all that and these scales are pretty good.
The included trays are useful to catch drips. No chance of goop getting into the innards.
The case/feet are not true. Rocks on a flat surface. Dreadful shortcoming for a scale but I stand it on a non-slip mat and it’s not a problem.
Tare function sometimes needs 2 or 3 prods of the button to succeed properly.
Edit: - Occasionally it has “Quiet time”. You add a drop or two - no change in reading - then suddenly it wakes up and you’ve got another .06g. It pays to drop “heavily” rather than drizzle gently.
Still reading? I recommend Diazepam - it will all seem so much less important!
Tried a few mixing by weight sessions and was unimpressed with it. Gone back to my old glass syringes, much happier with this method. But after nearly 5 years of doing it this way. It was always going to be difficult to change my mind on the benefits of it tbh.
Will use the scales to measure my rubs and cures for meat and bacon smoking, so it is still useful to me.
A rose by any other name! Sorry they didn’t work out for you. Reading the Amazon comments was instructive - a couple of diy mixers liked them and someone used them to weigh baby geckos! Great to have a second use for them!
Re-read my reply. It may have sounded the scales were the problem. They work fine. It just the method of measuring by weight didn’t suit me and I saw no real benefit to it, over my old method of mixing. That said, it doesn’t mean it won’t work for others. It clearly does and will continue to do so.
The ability to knock the auto off is a must on any scale when it comes to mixing or any other need for weighing ingredients imho The Ops and mine both have that function and it is a Godsend. If I got one that switched itself off every 60 seconds it would drive me mad.
I’m just revisiting this topic to revise my opinion of NV 500 scales.
I’ve noticed that there is an unacceptable difference in displayed weight between when the backlight is on and off.
Backlight On - indicated weight 0.18g
Backlight Off - indicated weight 0.25g
If the lower reading is correct, then that’s over 33% error. Not impressive!
I can see a bit of electronic butchery is going to be needed or yet another set of scales. They’re piling up!
Just a quick question… If you enjoy a bit of the herbal remedies and the police ever have a reason to search your premesis and find your juice scales and herbs, can they not use that as “evidence” against you?
Well there’s a thought! Besides vape stuff I have lots of chemistry for making printed circuit boards - mostly white powder in baggies. Then there are the syringes and needles for applying solder paste etc. Guess I’d better hand myself in right now. Bye! … Oh wait, perhaps not, they’ll just see the massive amounts of fertiliser and weed killer in the garden sheds and realise I’m just a harmless old gardener. Phew!
Hi and thanks for posting a UK review of scales. Ive been vaping for 18 months and was spending around £40-£80 per month on premium e liquids. Now I’ve decided to go the D.I.Y route after spending the last 2 months reading the process and places to get the ingredients needed to make what I like.
I tried out the Russell Hobbs digital scales tonight and found them to be useless for this type of mixing. Looking online it seems the best scales are the American Weigh Scales LB-501 which are not easy to get hold of in the Uk so Kudos to you for posting this subject.
Im now looking at getting hold of some new scales and Maplins seems to have a good selection.
Thanks for the recommendation @MixedUp2 those LB-501’S I’ll be looking at in the future. With just starting out I thought between £40-70 for those scales (inc import tax ect) was a bit high. @Lolly posted something more within my price range at the moment and they’ve been great. For the scales and a calibration weight came to £21 with free delivery so cannot complain there.