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Digital Scales - Jerry Kalpin's Review
Posted: June 9, 2010, 11:23am
review rating: 10.0
feedback: (0) comments | read | write
Digital Scales
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Arrow The Digital Scales has 36 Reviews
Arrow The Digital Scales has been rated 9.22 overall by our member reviewers
Arrow This product has been in our review database since November 30, 2001.
Arrow Digital Scales reviews have been viewed 193,691 times (updated hourly).

Quality Reviews
These are some of the best-written reviews for this product, as judged by our members.
Name Ranking
Jerry Kalpin 10.00
Marshall Schmidt 10.00
James Bacci 9.66
Katherine Gingliss 9.44
Bryan Wray 9.25

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Ratings and Stats Overall Rating: 8.8
Product Reviewed: JS-600V
Manufacturer: Jennings Quality: 8
Average Price: Varies Usability: 9
Price Paid: $32.95 Cost vs. Value 9
Where Bought: Canada Weigh Aesthetics 9
Owned for: 2 weeks Overall 9
Writer's Expertise: I love coffee Would Buy Again: Yes
Similar Items Owned: Fresco Kitchen Scale
Bottom Line: A well-considered, nicely-built, fully featured scale suitable for household coffee-related tasks.
Positive Product Points
  1. Fit and finish are good.  It’s an attractive scale.
  2. The hard cover is necessary and useful, detached as a dish.
  3. Lots of battery power, using 3 AAA’s, not button batteries like some.
  4. Controls are well thought out and intuitive.
  5. It is fully featured and has all the scale functions I could ever want.
  6. The range is appropriate for household coffee roasting
Negative Product Points
  1. The scale feels delicate (…well, with a range of 600g it should be treated with care).
  2. It is a pocket scale and I am used to a more substantial kitchen scale.
Detailed Commentary

I had been using a ‘Fresco’ brand kitchen scale.  Its range was 0 to 5 kg (5000g) with a resolution of 1g.  I had several problems with it:  First of all, small errors around zero were not reliably removed and when weighing consecutive batches, I would often start with a +/- 3, 4 or 5g error.  So I would have to re-weigh half of them for consistency.  But also, the scale would turn off after 2 minutes, even while weighing and I would have to start over.  Finally, with a scale range of 5000g and weighing 55g charges, I was weighing at 1% of the range and hoping for 1g accuracy.  It’s a lot to expect.  

The Jennings JS-600V solves those problems.  Small errors around zero are reliably subtracted out, although I have to wait a few moments.  The scale does have an Auto-Off feature but it waits for scale activity to cease before beginning the time-out period.  The scale range is 600g so my 55g charges are at 10% of the range and with a 250g dish ‘tared’ out I am at 50% of range.  If my next roaster allows 1 lb (454g) charges, I will use a lighter dish but the scale will still be ranged correctly.

My first impression of the scale was that it had good fit and finish and was attractive.  My next impression was that it felt delicate.  That’s intentional; with a range of 600g it would not stand rough treatment like my 5kg kitchen scale.  It has a resolution of 0.1g but even so it stabilizes quickly.  Zeroing out a measuring dish (tare weight) is reliable and easy.  Weighing consecutive batches of 55g is convenient as the tare weight is retained when I remove the dish and the scale returns to zero when I put back the empty dish.  If there is a small zero error it is subtracted out.

There is the ‘Weighmeter’ feature, in which a bar graph on the digital readout shows you how close you are to maximum weight.  That is important.  Sometimes, using a heavy dish, I lose track of how close I am coming to the top of the range.

So why do I need 0.1g resolution?  I don’t.  For coffee roasting, 1g resolution is fine.  However, when I want to ‘dribble’ beans into the scale to reach 55g, a scale that resolves to 0.1g does this much easier.  

It has features I will never use:  I will never measure anything in troy oz or pennyweights or carats.  I will infrequently use the counting-scale feature, although sometimes it’s nice to check if the pharmacist really did dispense 100 pills for my prescription.  

In conclusion, the scale is smaller and less substantial than I’m used to.  That encourages me to handle it carefully.  It is well designed, well finished and does everything I need for coffee-related projects.  I am happy with my purchase.

(In my working career I have built and operated several precision-measurement labs.  I have purchased many scales, with all the features of the Jennings JS-600V, but more expensive and more rugged and interfaced for data-collection.  The idea of a fully-featured scale, with a small form factor (pocket scale) being made, in many product lines, by half a dozen long-established companies, is a puzzlement.  What could be driving sales?  Not dieting, not gunpowder, not coffee …so, what?)

Addendum (2 weeks later)

Going a little deeper into the 'Counting Scale' feature, I put a dish on the scale pressed zero to tare out the dish.  I pressed the 'units' button several times to bring up 'pieces'.  I pressed the 'pcs' button several times to bring up a sample size of 50.  I counted 50 coffee beans into the dish and pressed the 'units' button once and the readout said 'pass' (meaning that weight/count was set into memory).  Then I removed the 50 beans and poured my normal roasting charge of 55g into the dish.  The readout said 365.

Then I turned the scale off.  I turned it back on, set the units to grams.  Put the dish on it and pressed the zero to tare out the dish.  I poured in the 55g charge of beans.  I pressed the units button several times to set it to 'pieces'.  The readout said 365.  The point of this addendum is that the scale retains the weight/count ratio in memory even after the scale is cycled off and back on.  In a counting scale that is a very useful feature (unadvertised).

Buying Experience

I purchased it from Canada Weigh.  It arrived from Vancouver in four days.  There were no issues.

Three Month Followup

After three months of use there is no change in functionality.

Also, there are no features I would add to improve functionality.

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Posted: June 9, 2010, 11:23am
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