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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
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    bridgewater , nova scotia
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    717

    Exclamation good refractometer

    Hi i am confused on what makes a good refractometer, not ever owning one before, i am relying on this forum for information. i don't want one that is 200 bucks, i spent way too much money this year and can't afford much.

    Beemaid sells them for around 90bucks and up , but i don't know if that is a good one or not ?

    http://www.beemaidbeestore.com/searc...chSearchType=1

    Please help

    Thank you
    Ben

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Gaston, SC
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    269

    Default Re: good refractometer

    nearly all the bee suppliers have one, I think Brushy mountain has one for under $80

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Crenshaw County, Alabama
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    Default Re: good refractometer

    Did you look at the link I gave you in the Maxant 1400 thread? That one seems to work well and surpised me at the cost. I checked calibration when it arrived with it's calibration kit and it checked out on the money. Compared it with my mentor's and it was right in line with his.

    Ed

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Suffolk, VA
    Posts
    2,655

    Default Re: good refractometer

    Quote Originally Posted by Intheswamp View Post
    Did you look at the link I gave you in the Maxant 1400 thread? That one seems to work well and surpised me at the cost. I checked calibration when it arrived with it's calibration kit and it checked out on the money. Compared it with my mentor's and it was right in line with his.

    Ed
    Does this one you got off ebay have glass optics or plastic? I got one off ebay many years ago and is glass, but ones I've seen lately are plastic. They may work fine, but not sure how well they will hold up over time. Not talking about the daylight plate, which is plastic on all of them, but my concern is the prism.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
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    Crenshaw County, Alabama
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    2,001

    Default Re: good refractometer

    AstroBee, I'm not real familiar with refractometers but I'm taking it that where the honey is placed is one side of the prism. That surface is highly polished and hard BUT...the instructions warn against leaving the honey in contact with the prism for more than 30 minutes or the "honey will "corrupt" the prism....". This makes me think it is hard plastic...and with the low cost, yelp, probably plastic.

    Ed

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    jackson county, alabama, usa
    Posts
    4,639

    Default Re: good refractometer

    ben, the digital ones sure are nice, but more expensive for sure. i really like the one i got from atago, i found it for under $300. if you happen to be in a club, this is an easy item to purchase as a group and share.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Hudson, WI USA
    Posts
    2,211

    Default Re: good refractometer

    Ben just to add to your info. Here is an article I bookmarked on honey moisture, and drying honey. It is interesting reading and describes a method used in areas of Canada to dry honey without even a dehumidifier. http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/aa249
    I have been using my dehumidifier in my box room and will be posting that data when I have got it together.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Saskatchewan, Canada
    Posts
    282

    Default Re: good refractometer

    I just got the economy one from beemaid as well. My first one, it seems heavy duty but I can't compare it to anything. They do not give you calibration fluid with it. The refactometer is the same economy one other bee suppliers have. I found it easy to read and use but for now have to trust it's calibration. Not sure if beemaid sells the fluid. It is able to check the water content from 12-27%.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    bridgewater , nova scotia
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    717

    Default Re: good refractometer

    i saw a youtube video on calibration and the man used virgin olive oil , because it holds the same moisture reading all the time.

    here it is http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SI-tAnwGEus

    Ben

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
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    Crenshaw County, Alabama
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    Default Re: good refractometer

    The instructions with my cheap refractometer gives a definite warning to keep the little vial of calibration oil away from children. Quoting, "MOST IMPORTANT: Please keep the dioptric oil away from CHILDREN!". It's smell is unlike olive oil, also.

    While I had the instructions out I looked a little further and it warned against letting the oil come in repeated contact with the flip-up daylight plate. It states that the oil will eventually fog up and even crack the daylight plate. It says nothing about it damaging the actual prism so maybe the prism is indeed glass. ???

    Ed

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Silicon Valley, CA
    Posts
    1,235

    Default Re: good refractometer

    The one from Beemaid does not list an accuracy spec. Nor does it list the graduation marks.
    Therefore, I would NOT purchase it at any price.

    You do not want a unit that has an accuracy of +/- 1%

    You do want a unit that has an accuracy of +/- .2% or better. Anything worse than this you might as well guess.

    You can find an acceptable unit from nisupply.com for around $100.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    bridgewater , nova scotia
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    717

    Default Re: good refractometer

    I emailed busybee supply and they have one that is +/- 0.5 % i take this as a bad one according to Fuzzy ?

    http://www.busybeebeekeepingsupplies.ca/bottling.html

    I am new to this and can't seem to find a good one that won't set me back too much money.

    Ben

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Crenshaw County, Alabama
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    Default Re: good refractometer

    Sorry that the one I linked to is too cheap...but it is rated at .2% accuracy and has a scale in .1 increments. It is a moisture meter only, no Brix or whatever. It calibrated nicely with my mentor's that he bought from Brushy Mountain for ~$70 several years ago. I wondered about it when I found it being as it was one of the *very* few non-digital refractors that I found with a stated accuracy of less than .5%. Most of the refractometers that I found were 1% tools and them and the .5% tools were more expensive. I decided to give it a shot. I've been pleased with it and figure it will last a long time no more times than I will use it each year. Hmm, makes me wonder if the seller would sell more if he bumped the price up into the $60 range....kind of like folks trying to sell a house for a year and decide to bump the price up $30k and suddenly there are interested buyers calling....they tapped into the "price level" the buyers were shopping in.

    Best wishes on your search. Be sure to post back on what you get.

    Ed

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Whitsett, NC
    Posts
    491

    Default Re: good refractometer

    I purchased one from E-bay and the specs did not match up and the instructions did not match the refractometer. They refunded the full amount(approx $100) when I returned it.
    I now have one from Blue Sky Beekeeping Approx $80. It has Automatic Temperature Control (ATC) a very nice scale with 10 divisions between each whole percentage. You can easily read down to .2%. It came with a calibration block and oil, Blue Sky also sells additional calibration oil. http://www.blueskybeesupply.com/blue...actometer.html

    Notes:
    ATC - uses a bimetallic strip that moves the scale when temperature changes. ATC comes into play when the temperature of the refractometer changes not the sample. Non ATC refractometers can have an incorrect reading if the ambient temp changes by 2.5 degree C about 4.5 degrees F.
    The sample and refractometer should be at the same temperature.
    Let the sample set on the refractometer for a minute before reading to ensure the temperature of the sample and the refractometer equalizes.
    ATC is only good from 50 to 86 Degrees F(10 C to 30 C).


    Thoughts:
    So if the refractometer is stablized at a temperature is then calibrated and the sample and the refractometer are at the same temp there is no need to have a refractometer with ATC unless the ambient temperature is changing by more then 2.5 degree C or about 4.5 degrees F.
    Maybe a flaw in this plan is that the refractometer may have to be recalibrated at 68 degrees F.
    Last edited by Ski; 08-26-2012 at 05:57 AM. Reason: added notes section
    Just some thoughts.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Cedar Hill, TN
    Posts
    76

    Default Re: good refractometer

    Intheswamp
    Thinks for the heads up about the refractometer on e-bay, bought mine last night after opening this thread.
    Becky aka Turnersville Bees, Member of TN Beekeepers,
    President of CMCBA, Secretary of CCBA

  16. #16
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    Jul 2011
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    Crenshaw County, Alabama
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    Default Re: good refractometer

    I hope it works out well for you. I've been pleased with mine. If I recall correctly, the calibration "stone" seems to work better towards the bottom of the prism. When I checked mine it was "spot on" from the factory.

    Best wishes,
    Ed

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Whitsett, NC
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    491

    Default Re: good refractometer

    Speckledpup,
    There are a few sellers on E-bay so maybe you will get a good one, I was dissapointed in my Ebay purchase.

    Intheswamp,
    I have only had my Blue Sky unit a few days, when I checked the calibration it was very close but thanks for the tip on the calibration stone, I think I had mine in the lower quarter but that was just by chance.
    Just some thoughts.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
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    Crenshaw County, Alabama
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    2,001

    Default Re: good refractometer

    Ski, I bought my from the grandindexenterprise . Who did you buy your's from?

    Ed

  19. #19
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Cedar Hill, TN
    Posts
    76

    Default Re: good refractometer

    Sky
    I purchased mine from the link that Intheswamp posted over in the extractor thread.
    Becky aka Turnersville Bees, Member of TN Beekeepers,
    President of CMCBA, Secretary of CCBA

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Whitsett, NC
    Posts
    491

    Default Re: good refractometer

    Sounds a lot like the one I got from Blue Sky Beekeeping.

    I now have one from Blue Sky Beekeeping Approx $80. It has Automatic Temperature Compensation (ATC). It has one scale with 10 divisions between each whole percentage. You can easily read down to .2%. It came with a calibration block and oil, Blue Sky also sells additional calibration oil and answers questions.

    http://www.blueskybeesupply.com/blue...actometer.html

    The E-bay unit I purchased was from the Optical factory, Oregon City, Oregon
    Last edited by Ski; 08-26-2012 at 04:07 PM.
    Just some thoughts.

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