August 19, 2022

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Calipers are instruments used for measuring distances between two symmetrically opposing sides of an object...

Calipers are instruments used for measuring distances between two symmetrically opposing sides of an object that cannot easily be measured with a ruler or other measuring gadgets. Calipers come with an external jaw and an internal jaw that are fit across the points to be measured. Calipers are categorised based on how the measurements are read from the instrument.

Some of the commonly used calipers are Vernier calipers, digital calipers, dial calipers and spring calipers. Other than the spring calipers, measurements can be read straight from the display on the caliper and no secondary measuring instrument is needed.

One of the newest additions in caliper technology, digital calipers have an internal microprocessor that calculates the position of the jaws when kept across an object. The measurement is then displayed on an LCD display window.

What are the main features of a digital caliper?

  • Being a precision instrument, digital calipers can take very accurate measurements of an object.
  • Measurements can be clearly read from the caliper’s LCD display making it much easier to use.
  • The digital caliper has embedded capacitance sensors that can detect electric charges when the upper and lower jaw moves.
  • Digital calipers are shock proof and durable from wear and tear when compared to other calipers.
  • Measures up to 0.01 mm/0.0005 inches.
  • Both metric and imperial unit measurements are available.
  • Some of the digital calipers come with cable slots, making it easy to transfer measurement data to other digital devices.
  • There is a zero button that makes for easy recalibration and taking comparative measurements.
  • Digital calipers are versatile and can be used to take four different types of measurement, such as outside measurements, inside measurements, depth measurements and step measurements.
  • Battery life is long.
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How does a Digital Caliper work?

The earlier calipers like dial and vernier calipers have a rack and pinion mechanism. On the other hand, the digital caliper has a sequence of capacitance sensors that are found along the length of the scale. The linear sensors are rectangular plates engraved onto a copper or glass strip. Beneath the movable jaw is a circuit board made with a grid of capacitors that are engraved onto a copper plate.

To measure an object using a digital caliper:

  • Place the object between the two jaws and tighten the lower jaws by adjusting the thumb screw.
  • When the jaws are displaced, the sensors detect a change in the electrical charge or capacitance.
  • Once a change in capacitance is generated, it sends a signal to a chip within the caliper, which generates a reading.
  • Read the measured value as shown on the LCD display.

Some disadvantages of a digital caliper:

  • Though water resistant, digital calipers are sensitive to moisture and dampness.
  • Similarly, digital calipers can be affected by extreme weather conditions which can lead to errors.
  • A magnetic field can interfere with the digital caliper reading.
  • Digital calipers are sensitive to dirt and oil.
  • As digital calipers need a power source to work, you would always need to keep spare batteries with you.

Does your project involve measuring objects up to a fraction of milliseconds? If you need to find a digital caliper for your lab or electrical or engineering application, visit our website and browse through some of the most commonly used calipers for your perusal.