Adventures in Engrish

The pre-Christmas freeze broke a few pipes in our barn (despite me turning off the water, and draining them beforehand!) and also claimed my handy digital scale. I use it for weighing the catalyst for my BioDiesel production, which has to be measured down to the gram. Variations between various recipes based on waste oil acidity are pretty minor so it is important that I use the right amounts, or I could end up making a giant vat of soapy gunk instead of fuel. Been there, done that, don’t want to go back.

Obviously the scale had some water in it, likely condensation, as things froze hard. Since things have thawed I started up fuel production again, only to find my scale inoperable. It just beeped and the display presented me with gibberish. I did what any motivated tinkerer would do:

  • I swapped in new batteries.
  • I took it apart, cleaned and reassembled.
  • And, when it continued to beep and display gibberish I hurled it violently against the wall.

While it was satisfying to watch it disintegrate into component parts and splintered plastic bits, it doesn’t help me get any closer to weighing Potassium Hydroxide 200-some grams at a time.

Last weekend I went into town to try and find a suitable replacement scale at the hardware store and farmers co-op. No such luck. They had an analog ones, and hanging ones, but no table-top digital models. I grabbed an analog one as I had a batch in-process and thankfully the recipe was very simple (80/80 1kg/200g) so the analog one did the trick but rarely do recipes work out to nice even numbers. I hopped on and snagged a digital scale. It arrived this week and so far has worked great. It is of course of Chinese orgin, like so many consumer products today, and the manual inserted in the box is … interesting to say the least.

I’m usually one of those guys that reads the manual of every thing I buy to use. One of the joys of buying a new car is sitting in the front seat and reading the owner’s manual cover to cover. (Good thing I rarely buy a new car!) This “RTFM” thing comes from years of working in Information Technology I guess.

It is a good thing that a scale’s operation is fairly straightforward, because this manual is absolutely no help in understanding the operational procedures!

It will back to zero.

Feel free to call out your favorite parts in the comments!

3 thoughts on “Adventures in Engrish”

  1. Lot’s of excellent items here. My two favorites:

    “Put the bolck battery in the right place and then wedge proportionally” I hope you did that correctly Chuck!

    “And make sure that the table is hard enough”

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