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Discussion Starter #1
Hey everyone - I’m new to refractometers and I am confused...

I purchased one from Mann Lake, item number HH-670. It came with a small calibration block prism but no calibration oil. The directions state the following:

“Drop one drop of dioptric oil on the bright surface of the reference block. Open the cover plate and stick the reference block on the surface of the prism, and press it lightly with your hand so that cannot cannot slide down. Adjust the correcting screw to coincide with the reference line (Brix78.8)”

The refractometer did not come with dioptric oil. Mann Lake sells what they call “standard liquid” for calibration separately. So I bought some. I have attached the packaging for the calibration fluid I bought at Mann Lake. It has a calibration table on the outside of the package that states it is specifically for the HH-670 refractometer that I bought.

Question: do I use the reference block prism that came with the refractometer with the standard liquid from Mann Lake? Or is the Mann Lake standard liquid intended to be put straight on the refractometer and measure it just like I would measure the moisture content of any other liquid.

I tried it both ways and it does make a difference of about 1% during calibration.

Thanks,
Ryan
 

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I'm not sure about the prism block. Extra virgin olive oil is often used a calibration fluid for close enough. But since you have the good stuff with known values, generally you put a drop on the refractometer, close the lid, make sure it spreads evenly then take a look and see what it reads. If it is a little off there should be a small screw you can adjust to calibrate it.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I'm not sure about the prism block. Extra virgin olive oil is often used a calibration fluid for close enough. But since you have the good stuff with known values, generally you put a drop on the refractometer, close the lid, make sure it spreads evenly then take a look and see what it reads. If it is a little off there should be a small screw you can adjust to calibrate it.
I used the Mann Lake fluid and their chart (without the block); however, the refractometer ran out of adjustment just before I could reach the proper number on the chart. LOL
 

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Believe the intent is to use the fluid and the little block and calibrate to reading recommended.

There is a number of You Tube videos on calibrating.

Can always try contacting Mann Lake.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Believe the intent is to use the fluid and the little block and calibrate to reading recommended.

There is a number of You Tube videos on calibrating.

Can always try contacting Mann Lake.
Thanks. Yes lots of videos online, but I am having trouble finding I find trustworthy. Called Mann Lake and they don’t know if your supposed to use the reference block with their oil either. Oh well, it is a ballpark estimate anyway I suppose. I may just go with the extra virgin OO method.
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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I have an ATC brand refractometer that I got from Brushy Mountain. I could never get it even close with the fluid they provided. Used EVOO and no problems. The prism block did not seem to make much of a difference. I just need to know the honey is at or below 18% H2O. Does not need to be that precise.
 

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The one from ML doesn’t have a brand name displayed anywhere. I have seen the ones that say ATC and I thought it stood for automatic temp compensation, but I could be incorrect. Mine looks a lot like those. Likely the same thing.

I requested that my wife put a fresh bottle of EVOO on the grocery list, since ours is over a year old. She kept asking why I wanted a fresh bottle and seemed very confused....I mentioned something about moisture content of the oil and the word refractometer...I’ve never seen her stop caring about what I was saying so quickly. 😂 😂
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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The one from ML doesn’t have a brand name displayed anywhere. I have seen the ones that say ATC and I thought it stood for automatic temp compensation
It does, and mine doesn't have it, AFAIK. Fairly certain it is also a brand name. Confused me too.

Every time I want to check the calibration I have to buy a new bottle as there is never any on the shelf. We go through EVOO pretty fast at my house.
 

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GO to MISCO site for technical information adn keywords to learn more. My experience led to these conclusions:

1) Honey scale is not the same as the sucrose scale - be sure of the scale you are using.

2) Scales are calibrated for temperature - meaning room temp of 68F or you can error compensate with a look up table.

3) ATC or Automatic Temperature Compensation seems to be a marketing ploy. If the unit has Peltier like device and a good battery it typically works. Digital devices with little cups and several hundred dollars gets you there.

3) How to compensate an ATC scale - leave it in a room around 68F - it will "compensate to that value). If honey is significantly(5F?) warmer or colder than 68F let it warm-up / cool off or place a dab on the refractometer - read record, then wait a while, read and record wait a while, read and record. When values stop changing you are probably close to the truth.

4) 1% accuracy is not easy with a $30 device, I paid $90 and it was no better and had a sucrose scale. The Misco with ATC I had been loaned needed batteries replaced to be accurate - it really helped correlate data. I have a typical 1.5% higher reading just due to the sucrose scale at RT.

5) The 80% capped, extraction dogma rule seems to be very accurate, higher capping is better meaning results in lower % water content.

6) When honey (sugars) partially crystalize and is warmed up it ferments a bit and stops --- really, really interesting honey :D
 
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