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Alastair

Refractometers

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I need a refractometer, a web search shows widely varying prices, massively varying in fact.

 

So, does paying big bucks mean I get a better refractometer? Or should I just go budget?

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I bought a budget one from aliexpress and i have checked it against other NZ expensive ones.  Mine came out with the same readings.  Getting it graduated correctly is the big factor. 

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Good to know thanks Trevor. I seen some for sale on that site for under 20 bucks. 

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1 hour ago, Trevor Gillbanks said:

I bought a budget one from aliexpress and i have checked it against other NZ expensive ones.  Mine came out with the same readings.  Getting it graduated correctly is the big factor. 

How did you calibrate yours.

I got mine on ali express too 

$29 .

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they should come with a bottle of calibrating oil. The oil gives the same reading as some stated level of moisture in honey. So you put the oil on, then if the refractometer is saying different to what the calibrating oil is supposed to be, you adjust the refractometer. Good practise is have calibrating solution, and re calibrate the refractometer periodically.

 

I know all this, from when I had a super expensive refractometer, for a non bee related task.

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How do you know those chinese things don't have a chip in them and are reporting back the whole time ?

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26 minutes ago, yesbut said:

How do you know those chinese things don't have a chip in them and are reporting back the whole time ?

Mine is made by Huawai and it has the chip in it. The non chipped ones are a lot more expensive.

It was stated so on the box.

Just kidding.

 

2 hours ago, kaihoka said:

How did you calibrate yours.

As @Alastair said.  Make sure you buy one with the calibrating oil, Or you can use Virgin Olive oil (But I can't remember the %)

 

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1 hour ago, Trevor Gillbanks said:

As @Alastair said.  Make sure you buy one with the calibrating oil, Or you can use Virgin Olive oil (But I can't remember the %)

 

 

I believe that you can use distilled water to zero it, and then use sugar syrup of a known percentage also made with distilled water to calibrate. 

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2 hours ago, Trevor Gillbanks said:

Mine is made by Huawai and it has the chip in it. The non chipped ones are a lot more expensive.

It was stated so on the box.

Just kidding.

 

As @Alastair said.  Make sure you buy one with the calibrating oil, Or you can use Virgin Olive oil (But I can't remember the %)

 

i tried a few things

in the end i used the measure that my pollen report gave me and the same honey.

i knew that one wold be right.

remote calibration with a huawei chip to their server sounds the most accurate.

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3 hours ago, yesbut said:

How do you know those chinese things don't have a chip in them and are reporting back the whole time ?

 

Yeah I read about that as well.  Apparently the refractometer is calibrated to pick up UMF 20+ manuka nectar and it then transmits back via GPS the site location.   Quite clever.

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Expensive or cheap refractometers , buying replacement calibrating oil is harder to achieve than buying krypton, that's why the NZ virgin olive oil was suggested.

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1 hour ago, Sailabee said:

Expensive or cheap refractometers , buying replacement calibrating oil is harder to achieve than buying krypton, that's why the NZ virgin olive oil was suggested.

Do you know the numbers for calibrating with olive oil .

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Handy to know Sailabee, I haven't bought one yet so that's something to consider.

 

Guess I could get one, calibrate it with their solution, then test it with some olive oil. If it gives the right result I'll keep the bottle for future calibrating.

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Sorry, I don't have the olive oil number handy, but it was on a thread after the 2016 NBA Conference where a honey testing lab suggested it and gave out NZ  virgin olive oil samples to use. 

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Thanks Sailabee you give great advice!

 

I'll just find a bottle that works, and hang onto it.

 

As a slight aside, I read the Mafia control olive oil in Italy and several other countries, and blend it with cheap oils, or make fake olive oil that does not even have any real olive oil in it at all. As a result, around a third of olive oil on USA supermarket shelves is fake. So I only ever buy NZ produced olive oil just to be safe.

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@Alastair Christmas greetings!

 

Recalibrate if the temperature is more than 5 degrees different than when calibration was last done.

 

6. Alternative calibration: Olive oil is defined by UN FAO to have refractive index of 1.4677 to 1.4705. That equals 71 to 72 degrees Brix. You could also calibrate using olive oil to 71.5 and be close. Make sure you are using fresh oil.

 

The above from here:     https://www.betterbee.com/images/Manual_Refractometer_Instructions1.pdf

 

probably the best source for this I have found!

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2 hours ago, Ali said:

@Alastair Christmas greetings!

 

Recalibrate if the temperature is more than 5 degrees different than when calibration was last done.

 

6. Alternative calibration: Olive oil is defined by UN FAO to have refractive index of 1.4677 to 1.4705. That equals 71 to 72 degrees Brix. You could also calibrate using olive oil to 71.5 and be close. Make sure you are using fresh oil.

 

The above from here:     https://www.betterbee.com/images/Manual_Refractometer_Instructions1.pdf

 

probably the best source for this I have found!

Pretty much all of the refractometers - even the cheap ones have automatic temperature adjustment. The most important thing is to make sure that it has had enough time to come to the ambient temperature as well as the honey and oil.

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5 hours ago, Alastair said:

So I only ever buy NZ produced olive oil just to be safe.

 

Very wise. Most olive oils from Europe are rancid by the time they reach the shelves here anyway.

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Great information Ali, thanks, and enjoy your Christmas also. 🙂

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