Post in 'The Gear' started by Elderthewelder, Jan 13, 2008.
can anybody reccommend where to order a quality moisture meter for a decent price.
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I recently purchased the Extech MO200 from Home Depot for $105. It has 2 prongs (tips) and comes with an extra dozen tips in case you break some. Most others are in the $200 plus range. I`m happy with it. You do need some sunlight in order to read it
Do the cheap ones work as well as the more expensive ones? I want one for firewood, not a business that relies on mositure to be perfect.
I got one off ebay for about $26(new). Works fine for me for firewood. Measures between 5-40% moisture and is pretty consistant. It has 4 measuring pins and came with a case. Overall I'm pretty happy with it.
Haven't got one, and haven't tried any, but lots of people in other threads have said fairly good things about the cheapo meter that Harbor Freight sells.
I have seen a few comments to the effect that the two pin meters are better for fire wood than the four pin jobs, as they are less fussy about getting a flat surface that can make contact with all four pins. Sounds reasonable to me, but I'm not an expert on either type...
That's the one I bought! How do you get the 4 prongs into the wood? We tried and didn't want to pound on it.
Weren't the instructions hilarious??? Paul read them to me aloud, especially about types of wood, and we just shook our head.
NOTES (I am not making this up--punctuation theirs)
It has a large impact on wood moisture in some conditions, such as Special wood, different temperature, the wood growing up in different place.
The simple moisture meter is just based on one kind of wood, and it has not the correction function on Special wood, different temperature, the wood growing up in different place.
So the different meter will have the different measuring value.
This meter does not directly measure the moisture content of wood, it measures the electrical resistance.
The resistance is strongly related to the moisture content, but can be affected by other things like the dissolved mineral content which can vary with the species of the tree and the location in which it is growing.
These cheap meters are better used for relative measurements then for absolute measurements, like this pile is drying faster then that pile or a pile is as dry as it will get when the readings stop dropping.
The oven drying method is the least expensive accurate way of measuring the moisture content of wood.
But a bit overkill for firewood.
I really need to get one of these so I can show my customers how crappy thier wood is. You think the cheap one from Harbor freight would work good enough to visually distinguish crap wood from the good wood I bring with me? Also, would I HAVE to split it to get a decent reading?
Haven't owned one, so I don't know for sure, but I'd expect it would, if you split the wood. Not splitting might or might not work depending on just how crappy the customer's wood is, and how good yours is... After all the outside bit can dry much faster than the insided does.
I would tend to say that what would probably work is to take a reading off the outside of each, if yours gives a much better reading than theirs, point to the numbers and explain how crappy theirs is, and explain why the inside numbers are probably even worse. If both numbers show about the same, explain how the outside drys first, then split each and show the difference... (assuming there is one - always possible to have the embarassing good wood...)
only problem is I dont carry an axe and maul or whatever is used to split wood on my truck. In fact I have never split a piece of firewood in my life :red: .
I think I have seen some meters with longer tips. I could probably drill into the wood some and get a better internal reading like that.
Perhaps, it might take some experimenting to find out. I suspect you might need to be able to split some. However I would probably say that the use of an axe, maul, etc. would probably not be appropriate for you in the customer's living room. :coolgrin: I would go for one of the small foot operated hydraulic units, or possibly one of the "Super-Spear" slide hammer variants (and a peice of plywood for a base) - less skill needed, less likely to damage anything in the customer's home, and reasonably low effort for one or two splits (I don't consider them good for production splitting) The Slidehammer unit would be fairly compact and light weight - essentially a pole about 5' long and 3-4" diameter, weighs about 10-15 lbs. (I wrote a review on one variant a while back, search on "Wood Wiz" - I think it's in the Wiki)
I got the similar Extech, the M210. It is the same unit with a numerical readout at the top (not just the bargraph) but they seem to both perform the same function. I'd trust Extech more than that $20 unit off EBay, although that $20 one might have the same parts in it, who knows. The Extech has test points in the cap to verify the calibration, just a nice feature. After checking some wood that burns and wood that doesn't, I have found a strong correlation between the two with the readings of the meter. I estimate that the wood must measure <25% indicated on the meter, or it won't burn well.
Take the two prongs and lightly mark the wood, then take a small cordless drill and open up the holes, then put moisture meter in the holes.
What is a good moisture reading. 5-10% ????????
Most references say to burn at 20% and some go as wet as 25%. I much prefer 15% to 20% but the 15-20% range is a good place to be. Green wood is off the chart above 36% as high as my meter will read.
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