Pittsburgh Tools - 8" Digital Caliper with Metric and SAE display (Rating: 3)

Perhaps it is a little premature to give a fair or accurate review on this tool. But I have
seen some reviews and issues in past reviews, (on 6" models) and thought I would weigh in
with my first impressions with the 8" Pittsburgh caliper .

We woodworkers rely on accuracy and reliability of our measuring tools. Its important that
we have at our disposal several ways to measure. One helpful measuring device is the caliper.

With it you can measure very accurately and in small increments, often to within thousandths
of an inch or hundreds of a millimeter.

The Pittsburgh brand 8" digital caliper are made in China or Taiwan and are available
at Harbor Freight stores.

The caliper comes with a foam lined plastic folding case. The caliper is wrapped in a cellophane sleeve. There is an
extra battery along with operating instructions and a silicon packet to keep moisture at bay.

The accuracy of the 47260 8" caliper is listed at +/- .02mm/.001"

I don't have at my disposal any reference setup bars so I couldn't do any verification on
the accuracy.

One common issue I noted in reviews of the 6" version of this caliper were the batteries
going dead and the auto-shutoff not working.

Maybe that was a glitch in some of the first of these that came out several years ago, but
I haven't experienced any battery problems as of yet.

If I turn the unit on and set it down, the unit shuts off in ~ 3 minutes. But more on current draw
later in review.

The unit does not remember the last measurement after it shuts off.
So zeroing is neccessary after a shutoff.

Operation is straight-forward. There are three buttons located on the slide. Also the slide contains the digital readout display and a locking screw to lock the slide at a position along the scale.

A button to switch units between inches and millimeters is located top left on the slide. An on/off button is located bottom left. And the zero button is located bottom right.

Simply push the on/off button to turn unit display on.

To zero the unit, close the jaws using the roller thumb screw, then push the zero button. You can zero
the unit with the slide at any position along the scale.

I found the slide thumb roller to have some slop/play in it. Only digital caliper I have used so I
have nothing to compare to.

But if you don't place your thumb just right on the wheel, there is some noticable play in the wheel which sometimes will not close or open the slide/jaws as smoothly as you would like.

I think this just takes some getting used to using the thumbwheel.I would imagine top dollar digital calipers don't exhibit this "play" in the slide.

Not a one trick pony. Measures inside diameters and measurements, outside diameters, and depth measurements.

The rule/scale has a metric scale on top (mm) and imperial (inches) at the bottom. Each inch is further divided up
into 1/10 inch divisions. Easy to see yellow divisions on a black painted backgroud.

Directy above the large (outside) jaws that are used for outside measuring, there are small (inside) jaws that are used for….. you guessed it. Inside measurements.

Also there is a depth gauge built in to the tail of the scale and readings are taken off the display.

Digital electronics have come a long way in the last few decades. Even the economy priced units are quite capable of precision measurements to several decimal places.

I found an immediate use for the caliper as I had to assemble a router table and had several bags of screws and hardware of differing sizes. The only way to identify the parts (aside from visual comparing them and guessing) were by comparing my measured dimensions, to the parts list size and description of each piece.

Made it simple to seperate all the screws and associate them to the part numbers in the instructions.

Referring back to some of the battery issues some have experienced with these units .

Apparently many chinese made calipers do not stop drawing current when the unit is turned off. While the display is turned off, they continue to draw almost the same amount of current.
Perhaps as much as 20 uamps.

This is much more than other established brands. In some units the accuracy can be effected dramatically with just a little change in battery voltage.

Its therefore recommended to use Silver cells instead of the Alkaline button batteries. Silver cell button batteries exhibit much more stable voltage across there shelf life and may give much longer useable life than alkaline batteries in these units. Use SR44 batteries instead of LR44.

Before recommending these to anyone I will update this review in a few weeks after I have had more time with them and see how the batteries do. I paid around 26 dollars for mine at Harbor Freight after a 20% coupon was used.

While we all have our go-to measuring instruments, its good to have some versatile ways of measuring things while working on projects around the shop.

While I certainly wouldn't call this a go-to measuring device that I feel I can always rely on, (at least not now) it will have its place alongside all my other measuring and layout tools, and certainly be very handy to have around.

*Reference. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caliper#Digital_caliper