My thermometer sucks - Cheap alternatives?

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by Sully75, Apr 26, 2010.

  1. Sully75

    Sully75 Member

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    Hi there,

    On round 4 of my film developing renaissance, I'm realizing the $6 thermometer I bought really blows...very slow to respond to temperature changes. Is there a cheap digital alternative? I was thinking about going to Target and buying a cheap digital cooking thermometer. Bad idea?
     
  2. Hexavalent

    Hexavalent Subscriber

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    I bought a couple digital cooking thermos, a cheap one and a more expensive one ($20 ?). The cheap one filled with condensation and was useless within two days. The better one does both Farenheit and Celcius, .1 degree increments. Tested against a good laboratory thermo, it is quite accurate ( +/- .2 Deg) over the typical range of use (10 -60 C), so it's quite sufficient for my work. I doubt it's water-tight, so a submersion probably means bye-bye.

    -Ian
     
  3. ndlshootsfilm

    ndlshootsfilm Member

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    I bought a kodak glass thermometer from BH a few months back - works like a charm. Tried the digi cooking therms, not worth the hassle. I'd say go with a good glass thermometer. I think BH still has the kodak ones still in stock.
     
  4. BetterSense

    BetterSense Member

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    walmart sells a stalk-type digital thermometer with a wide temperature range and fast response. It also has a screw on the side so that you can calibrate it. They are pretty cheap and work very well. I can't seem to find them on the website, though.
     
  5. Bob-D659

    Bob-D659 Member

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    Harbor Freight http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber=95382

    also available for more money elsewhere. Not waterproof, but it does dry out and starts working again. :smile:

    The repeatability is excellent on the one I have, which is more important than the accuracy.

    The inexpensive indoor/outdoor ones are good too, just remove the plastic housing on the thermistor and dunk in liquid electrical tape.
     
  6. Hexavalent

    Hexavalent Subscriber

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    Excellent idea - bigger display too!
     
  7. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Member

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    I have one sold for wine making.


    Steve.
     
  8. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    I bought a dial face thermometer from NAPA auto parts for less than ten bucks. Its for measuring A/C temps at the vent and reacts quickly plus accurate.
     
  9. Anscojohn

    Anscojohn Subscriber

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    Sully, all good advice. I check my cheapo using thermometers periodically against a mercury lab thermometer. I have five of the lab ones, and they all agree. I have so many because I bought them from a lab supply that was closing out mercury thermometers. Problem is, they are about two feet long.
     
  10. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    I have a number of thermometers, but basically I use two:

    1) a good, accurate and somewhat expensive thermometer (Kodak Process Control thermometer) which I use as a calibration thermometer; and
    2) a digital thermometer with a probe, designed for the kitchen.

    Here is an example of the digital thermometer:

    http://www.target.com/Taylor-TruTemp-Digital-Cooking-Thermometer/dp/B0001BFJ54/ref=br_1_4?ie=UTF8&frombrowse=1&qid=1272299051&searchView=grid5&sr=1-4&node=13003671&searchRank=pmrank&searchPage=1&searchSize=30&searchBinNameList=purchasing_channel%2Csubjectbin%2Ctarget_com_age%2Ctarget_com_gender-bin%2Ctarget_com_character-bin%2Cprice%2Ctarget_com_primary_color-bin%2Ctarget_com_size-bin%2Ctarget_com_brand-bin

    The digital thermometer is quite consistent, and reads very near the readings of the Kodak thermometer. I check the digital thermometer against the Kodak thermometer on a reasonably regular basis.

    The digital thermometer responds quickly to temperature changes, and the probe makes it much easier to keep the body of the thermometer (including the battery compartment) away from liquids.

    If thermometers are accurate and consistent near 20 C and 38 C, they will suffice for my uses.
     
  11. Craig Swensson

    Craig Swensson Member

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    Ditto, these are very accurate and fast and not that expensive, i use two and they cost 15.00 [nz$] each. Get from brewers store.
    regards
    CW
     
  12. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    How cheap is cheap? I like the sub-$30 Paterson one from Freestyle (http://www.freestylephoto.biz/381-Paterson-12-in.-Color-Thermometer?cat_id=1603). I've bought it three times (gave one away and broke one). This thermometer seems like a good balance between cost and quality, and there is no reason it should not last a very long time if you treat it carefully.

    P.S. After looking at the B&H Website, I see that they offer (via special order and a two-to-four-week wait) a Photographer's Formulary 12" thermometer that looks just like the Paterson one, but is under $15. Perhaps if you get it directly from Formulary, it will be faster and/or cheaper.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 26, 2010
  13. fschifano

    fschifano Member

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    Yes, I've bought that one twice. The column separated on the first one due to my own carelessness (got to warm) and I couldn't fix it. Now I use the replacement to calibrate the el-cheapo $10 digital kitchen thermometers from WalMart which are surprisingly consistent, if not always in agreement with the Paterson unit. The digital thermometer I'm using now reads about 1/2 deg. F low compared to the Paterson. That's ok. It's ALWAYS 1/2 degree low.
     
  14. picker77

    picker77 Subscriber

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    Can't call it cheap, but the slickest accessory I have in the darkroom is a non-contact "point and shoot" instant-reading digital thermometer with a laser beam pointer built in. I've seen them for maybe $50-$60. It can accurately and instantly read liquids or solids from a few inches up to several feet away, runs on a 9V battery. No need for water proofing, it never gets near liquids.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 28, 2010
  15. Sparky

    Sparky Member

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  16. Sparky

    Sparky Member

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    I'd avoid the paterson ones though 2F - I always found their stuff kind of junky. I think it's just rebranded bargain basement stuff... unless you're going with a kodak process thermometer, the digi consumer stuff on amazon or wherever else can't be beat. Anything that says 'darkroom' or equivalent on it is going to come with 'sucker markup'.
     
  17. Reinhold

    Reinhold Subscriber

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  18. Brian Legge

    Brian Legge Member

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  19. jeroldharter

    jeroldharter Member

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    You get what you pay for - Thermapen.
     
  20. Willie Jan

    Willie Jan Member

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    spent some extra bucks and you have one for about $50 which is capable of +/- .1 accuracy. It will last forever.