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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    Lee\'s Summit, MO
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    Default recommended refractometer?

    I've seen refractometers on Ebay from $30 to $85. I'm interested in getting one but have been warned to avoid ones that aren't meant for honey. I can't tell what I'm looking at.

    Does anyone have a refractometer they'd recommend? I am only 2 years into this with 3 hives that are going to produce honey this year. Are there any ones I should avoid?

    Any help would be appreciated.
    Ninja, is not in the dictionary. Well played Ninja's, well played...

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Madison Heights VA
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    396

    Default

    Are you checking for the amount of water in the Honey? If you are you have to get one for honey. There are many different refractometers, they are used for many different tests. Honey tests for moisture content. I use the ZGRB-90ATC.
    Curtis

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Oxford, Kansas
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    1,988

    Default

    i use the rhb-90atc to measure moisture content in the honey i got mine from national industrial supply phone 310-748-6858 www.NISUPPLY.com i havent had a bit of trouble out of this refractometer it is heavy built of aluminum not plastic like some cheper models. believe it or not i bought it off you said it ebay the differnce betwen the model I use and the one curtis mentioned is his is illuminated to help read in low light if I was to choose another it would be the model he has. however low light has not been a problem with mine.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    berkshire county MA
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    1,472

    Default

    How much does a good one set you back?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    Lee\'s Summit, MO
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by berkshire bee View Post
    How much does a good one set you back?
    The first one mentioned in this post sells for $84.99, the next on is listed for $54.99. These are the prices listed on eBay. This does not include freight.
    Ninja, is not in the dictionary. Well played Ninja's, well played...

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Wheatfield, IN
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    2,069

    Default

    I'll have to check the name on mine... I got it online for around $70 a couple of years ago and it seems to work well.

    you might ask J. Fischer. It seems to me that I remember hearing him talk about refractometers at some point. He might be able to recommend one or two.
    Dan Williamson
    B&C Honey Farm http://www.flickr.com/photos/9848229@N05/

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Plano, North Texas
    Posts
    318

    Default

    You have to order one that measure water percentage in the range where it's important for honey. 12 - 27% seems to be the common range. Don't get one that only measures Brix or Baume Specific Gravity.

    I got an RHB-90ATC (Auto Temperature Compensation) on ebay from an importer from Hong Kong. They have been good to me both times I've ordered equipment from them. Mine was $28.99 plus $9.80 S&H. They also offer a "heavy duty" one for $59.99 and less S&H.
    Mine works fine and is spot on accurate, judging by what honey has spoiled and what has not (while I was testing). You can see the one I got at
    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...m=230117802928
    even though the add has expired.

    My advice, if you get one, is skip buying any pipettes. I just use a toothpick or whatever is handy to put a drop of honey on the glass. You don't have to measure the sample, and their pipettes wouldn't help much if you did.

    On the other hand, I wish I had bought calibration oil and a calibration block. I'd like to be able to double check that and I can't get any substitute to work. They offer a bottle of oil and a block for about $10 when you get a refractometer. I emailed an inquiry and they will send me the same deal, even though I didn't order at the same time. They are currently out of stock on calibration oil, but should have more shortly.
    Last edited by TX Ashurst; 07-13-2007 at 12:02 AM.
    "Before I speak, I have something I'd like to say. . . . I will try to keep this short as long as I can." Yogi Berra

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Wheatfield, IN
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    Default

    Checked mine last night... The name on it says
    Spec Scientific Honey Refractometer (made in China)
    Dan Williamson
    B&C Honey Farm http://www.flickr.com/photos/9848229@N05/

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Sparta, Tennessee
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    Default

    Are any made in this country, and if so, do you know the brand name?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Anchorage, Alaska
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    Default

    All the well-known beekeeping suppliers carry them. I finally broke down an bought a decent one last spring from a Glory Bee sales flyer for about $65 including shipping.

    In all liklihood it will come with the moisture, ºbrix, and baume´ scales.
    http://www.bee-quick.com/refractometer.jpg

    (Incidentally, if by chance, you live in a maple syrup producing region you can use the ºbrix scale for finishing your syrup at 66 ºbrix.)

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Location
    New York City
    Posts
    3,401

    Default

    Yes, the RHB-90ATC (and variants on that name) is the import that
    one can buy for well under $100, and works fine. It is the
    middle-priced refractometer that Dadant sells (don't buy the
    cheapest one they sell, as that one is junk.)

    You really want the "ATC" - Automatic Temperature Control.
    You don't want a cheaper model without ATC, as you don't
    want to be standing by a hive trying to do math in your
    head to compensate for the difference between 20 C
    (68 F) and the 90-plus temps in the beeyard.

    I had a ATAGO that cost hundreds of dollars.
    It went down the stairs end over end, and died a horrible death
    on the concrete floor below. Stupid, careless beekeeper.

    I was skeptical of anything that was so inexpensive, but it worked
    fine - I had zero complaints. When checked against the refractometers
    of honey judges, it was "spot on".

    One minor point that has prompted a few folks to e-mail me.
    The instruction sheets mention calibrating to 78.6 Brix (on the
    center scale). But the calibration fluid being provided with
    the unit has a little label saying that the fluid is 60 Brix.

    Well, they changed the fluid, but not the instruction sheets,
    so if the fluid is "60 Brix" then you calibrate to 60 Brix, regardless
    of the number printed on the instruction sheets.

    And DO take it out to the bee yard, and use it to check
    supers before you pull them. That is what it is for. It is
    waaay too late to use the tool until after you have extracted
    honey, as by then, if you have "wet" honey, it is a problem
    to deal with. Left on the hive a while longer, the honey will
    be "dried out" for free by the bees, which is the safest and
    best method of dealing with honey with too high a moisture
    content.
    Last edited by Jim Fischer; 07-14-2007 at 06:40 AM.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Brenham, Texas
    Posts
    208

    Default Isn't it ok if it is capped?

    Not exactly a refractometer question, but isn't the honey ok if it is capped?
    If ALL the frames you pull are capped, won't it be below 18%?
    Will it dry more once it is capped?

    Fuzzybeekeeper

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