Broken refractometer?

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beervoid

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Hey everyone, I noticed that my refractometer became harder to read and just today it was almost impossible to read. The blue background is not making a clear line anymore.

Can refractometer breakdown with time?
Did I not properly take care of it?
Should I buy a more expensive unit?

Wondering what could be at play here.

Cheers!
 

RM-MN

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The barrel of my refractometer is threaded so it can be adjusted for clarity. Mine turns so easily that it adjusted without me noticing it. That made it nearly impossible to read. Check yours.
 

OG-wan Kenobi

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Try rotating the eye piece see if that helps if not just stick with Hydrometers they last a lifetime unless you break them and you can use them for FG readings
 

Mothman

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I sometimes find mine gives me a very precise line, and other times it's somewhat fuzzy... if it's too fuzzy for my liking, I clean it, take a new sample, and often it's sharper... I've never really figured out what the difference is to make that happen though.

Maybe the amount of liquid?
 
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beervoid

beervoid

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I know that if the sample contains air or other particles the blue background can get fuzzy/lighter but still kind of readable. Mine is now completely unreadable the blue is hardly blue.
Its not a problem with the focus of the eyepiece.
Tried cleaning it already
 
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beervoid

beervoid

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The barrel of my refractometer is threaded so it can be adjusted for clarity. Mine turns so easily that it adjusted without me noticing it. That made it nearly impossible to read. Check yours.
Are you are talking about adjusting the blue background somehow? Or do you mean the focus of the eyepiece?
 
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beervoid

beervoid

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Try rotating the eye piece see if that helps if not just stick with Hydrometers they last a lifetime unless you break them and you can use them for FG readings
I got a hydrometer but I love taking small samples for my gravity readings. My dry hops absorb enough already.
 
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beervoid

beervoid

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Im surprised that its possible that it broke cause it doesnt really have any mechanical parts and I didnt drop it or something.
 
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Punx Clever

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My refractometer started giving me issues when I moved to the high-humidity mid-east coast.

I corrected the problem by disassembling the whole thing and drying it out. That meant pulling the eye-piece entirely off.

No issues since i've done that.
 

OG-wan Kenobi

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Yes and can't see anything, it gets very vaguely blue. I also turned the adjustment screw a bit.
The screw is to calibrate it to 0. With distilled water if you don't see anything and you have adjusted the piece with no result I would be inclined to think it is no longer functioning.
 

muledogus

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Have you tried in in different lighting? Mine is sometimes fuzzy if the light source isn't great or there are multiple sources shining overhead. Doesn't get quite as bad as it sounds like you are getting but if it's not that or something else mentioned here already, I'm not sure what else it could be.
 

balrog

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if water doesn't give blue line, you need to disassemble and clean and not all of them can be...okay they can all be disassembled with a hammer, but it's kinda one way trip with no return.
 
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beervoid

beervoid

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Ok so I took the whole thing apart, it was all dirty on the inside. Seems like wort managed to get inside it. After cleaning it up it works good again.
Lesson learned? My model at least is not waterproof at all and should be handled accordingly.
Upside, I know now how to take it apart and to put it together.
 
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beervoid

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balrog

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I feareth not the disassembly; I'm fairly certain I can do that. I'm just not so sure I can get all the parts, all the way back together in a functional manner that doesn't leave me with another cute paperweight to set beside the point-and-shoot-with-bad-flash-that-youtube-said-was-easy-to-fix.
 
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beervoid

beervoid

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I feareth not the disassembly; I'm fairly certain I can do that. I'm just not so sure I can get all the parts, all the way back together in a functional manner that doesn't leave me with another cute paperweight to set beside the point-and-shoot-with-bad-flash-that-youtube-said-was-easy-to-fix.
Its not that difficult and if your refractometer is not working what do you have to lose?
 

RM-MN

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I just got a refractometer, can these be calibrated with bottled water?

If you need absolute accuracy you need to use distilled water. I just want to get close to the real OG, not super accurate so I used tap water. When the wort is cooled my cheap refractometer matches the hydrometer nearly exactly. I'd say use the bottled water if you have it handy.
 

balrog

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i use tap all the time to quickly check. I know I'll be close-ish because I frequently check refrac vs hydrometer(s). Yes. I have multiple hydrometers. Thermometers also. It's a thing.
 
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