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Just got a cheap refractometer from Amazon. Apparently you take distilled water, put it on the lens, and zero it out to calibrate. However if I try that, nothing happens. I can see the whole scale, from 0-90%, but it's all blue. And adjusting the calibration screw does nothing. If I put some honey on the lens, then I get the blue/white split color screen and I can adjust calibration a few degrees each direction. BTW, the honey I used was slightly crystalized and the readout was 76%. Way too high for honey water content. If I flip the numbers by subtracting 76 from 100, I get 24%, or, since this refractometer goes 0-90% 90-76 would be 14%. And once again I can adjust calibration, so it could be a few degrees off from one of those.

As well I guess I could get a reading from capped honey in the hive to get my approx. calibration. That way I would have a number to go off of when I test the uncapped honey in the hive.

Anyone here have sage words of wisdom? This is my first time using one of these gizmos.

Thank,
Paul
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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Paul, typically you calibrate with a drop of extra virgin olive oil. There are you tube instructions galore.
 

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That may be a refractometer more suited to brewing; solutions closer to 10% sugar. There are different calibration fluids. The extra virgin olive oil is ball park accuracy for a honey / maple syrup refractometer. Use a name brand olive oil as there was a big rash of adulteration going on with olive oils too for while.

When you are researching it look up using glycerine. That may be what many calibration fluids are. It is available at drug stores in small containers probably cheaper than a bottle of olive oil. Do your own diligence on this info though as I dont want to give you a bum steer on something I have not tried myself. I have glycerine for mixing my mite meds, but the olive oil is what I used to calibrate.
 

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To add to Crofter's comment, your scale will probable have a Brix scale on it. For honey the range is 58-90% a brewers refractometer is 0-30%. If you are sure you have one for honey, use extra virgin olive oil, 2-3 drops, close the lid and make sure it spreads evenly with no air bubbles. give it 30 seconds or so then take a look. It should calibrate to be 71.5 on the brix scale. EVOO is not a perfect calibration solution but it should be close enough.

Hope that helps.
 
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