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Mivo
12-19-2016, 11:05 AM
I've had a digital hygrometer for a year or so. A few days ago I picked up a few extra ones from a different maker. Smaller ones to go into uke cases. As an experiment, I placed them all in the same spot of the room where my larger hygrometer sits at.

Watching them for a few days, they don't agree on the humidity level. The difference is up to 6%. Not necessarily a huge discrepancy (though 45% makes me feel a lot better than 39%), but now I wonder how reliable these devices really are.

Are mechanical hygrometers more accurate than digital ones?

mikelz777
12-19-2016, 11:43 AM
Mine are like that as well. I put them all together and watched them over several days. The differences were consistent so I just made a little sticker for the ones that were different to remind me what the actual reading is. Ex. "+4-5 degrees = actual".

robinboyd
12-19-2016, 11:47 AM
I have read that they are not terribly accurate, but mine seems to stay between around 55% to 65%. I figure it can be out by 10% and I'm still fine, so I stopped worrying about it.

Kayak Jim
12-19-2016, 12:37 PM
Not only are they not terribly accurate they may not respond to changes. I'd suggest putting them in a humid environment like a bathroom after taking a shower to compare them at that point as well (should be 90-100%).

As others have suggested, they may still be accurate enough.

Michael N.
12-19-2016, 01:12 PM
Well I only have one digital but a few ways to check that it's accurate. You can try the salt test but use the salt that calibrates for 43% RH, which is Potassium carbonate. Sometimes it's available on ebay. I also have a sling psychrometer. The first two digital hygrometers I purchased were way off, one as much as 10%. I finally found one that was within 3%. That was 12 years ago and quite surprisingly it's still within 3%. That's more than adequate for our purposes.
I also have one of these that I made for the workshop. It tracks the digital. it works on a similar principle to the bi metallic strip but relies on how two different woods react to changes in humidity rather than temperature. Given that we are wanting to know how our instruments react to changes in humisity it's not all that surprising that it works, our instruments are made of wood too. I wouldn't use it as my only source but I read this much more often than my digital.
If you want an accurate digital look up David Burgess violins on google. He's done some testing of digital hygrometers and knows the accurate ones.

http://i56.photobucket.com/albums/g193/mignal/hyg1.jpg (http://s56.photobucket.com/user/mignal/media/hyg1.jpg.html)

Ukulele Eddie
12-19-2016, 01:20 PM
I have two and they differ a lot more than 6%. So I did a salt test, where I filled a water bottle cap with regular salt, add just enough water to make it sort of a slurry and then put it in a ziplock bag with both hygrometers and let it sit overnight. This salt solution result in a relative humidity of about 75%. This helped me get a relative difference between the two hygrometers and a rough estimate of readings vs. an absolute measurement. It doesn't need to be all that accurate.

Michael N.
12-19-2016, 01:29 PM
That tells you the accuracy at 75% though. That's not much good. We need to know the accuracy in the 35% to 50% range.
Let us assume that the instrument was built at 45% RH (very common). We aren't really concerned if the humidity climbs to 75%. That won't do the damage. It's low humidity that does. Going from 45% RH to under 30% RH for any length of time and there's a danger something unfortunate is going to happen. It may not but the danger is present. You can use the Hygrometer as a traffic light signal - 40% RH is amber (probably best to do something about it) 35% RH is red (you are starting to push your luck).

Recstar24
12-19-2016, 02:30 PM
The caliber IV hygrometer is the most accurate consumer level digital hygrometer available today based on plenty of tests and data that are currently out. I have 4 myself and all are within +-1% of a calibrated reference. My reference came from a violin luthier in Wisconsin who sells calibrated calibers using a variation of the salt test and told me most calibers he gets require zero offset.

Ukulele Eddie
12-19-2016, 02:32 PM
It's my understanding from the hygrometers I have and have researched (not scientific grade instruments) that they are generally rated to +/- 5% accuracy over a wide range, often from 10-90%. Since I don't have another easy way to gauge the absolute accuracy, I used the salt test to get an idea.

But I'll see if I can locate some potassium carbonate salt and repeat it with that.

Recstar24
12-19-2016, 02:32 PM
Michael,

Just read your post and the luthier in question in my post is David burgess.

Booli
12-19-2016, 06:19 PM
Michael,

Just read your post and the luthier in question in my post is David burgess.


+1 to Recstar24, since by his recommendation to me a while back, I bought one of the calibrated Caliber IV hygrometers from David Burgess. It was only a few dollars more than a generic Caliber IV from Amazon +$6 shipping. I have used it ever since (a few yrs now) on the original battery even and been happy with it.

If you do order one from him, be advised that he does not ship it with a tracking number. 2 days after the order I called him to inquire about one since nothing came via email except the original PayPal confirmation, and he was rather annoyed that I bothered him on the phone, and told me 'No I dont mess with any of that stuff, I sent it yesterday and if you dont get it in a week's time let me know and I will send another'. I simply thanked him and he then hung up. I guess he was very busy.

Prior to purchasing from him, I read literally every page on his web site, and he seemed to be an authority on humidification of wooden instruments, and if I played a violin, I'd want one from him...

Any way, Kudos to Recstar24 and thank you for pointing me in the right direction. :)

Recstar24
12-19-2016, 07:02 PM
I have two and they differ a lot more than 6%. So I did a salt test, where I filled a water bottle cap with regular salt, add just enough water to make it sort of a slurry and then put it in a ziplock bag with both hygrometers and let it sit overnight. This salt solution result in a relative humidity of about 75%. This helped me get a relative difference between the two hygrometers and a rough estimate of readings vs. an absolute measurement. It doesn't need to be all that accurate.

Get the caliber IV and don't bother with testing. At worse it's 2% offset.

kohanmike
12-19-2016, 07:15 PM
I have a digital and an analog hygrometer. I check both of them as different as they are and keep the humidity between 45-55 average between the two.

Michael N.
12-19-2016, 08:44 PM
+1 to Recstar24, since by his recommendation to me a while back, I bought one of the calibrated Caliber IV hygrometers from David Burgess. It was only a few dollars more than a generic Caliber IV from Amazon +$6 shipping. I have used it ever since (a few yrs now) on the original battery even and been happy with it.

If you do order one from him, be advised that he does not ship it with a tracking number. 2 days after the order I called him to inquire about one since nothing came via email except the original PayPal confirmation, and he was rather annoyed that I bothered him on the phone, and told me 'No I dont mess with any of that stuff, I sent it yesterday and if you dont get it in a week's time let me know and I will send another'. I simply thanked him and he then hung up. I guess he was very busy.

Prior to purchasing from him, I read literally every page on his web site, and he seemed to be an authority on humidification of wooden instruments, and if I played a violin, I'd want one from him...

Any way, Kudos to Recstar24 and thank you for pointing me in the right direction. :)


I think you would have to pay a very substantial amount for your Burgess violin. It would be much cheaper not to play violin at all.

Rllink
12-20-2016, 03:38 AM
I have a cheap hygrometer that I bought at the hardware store. There is also one connected with my thermostat because I have a humidifier attached to my furnace. They are pretty consistent with each other. I don't know if they are particularly accurate or not. But seriously, my ukulele doesn't know what the numbers are when it comes to humidity, the numbers are for us, and then they are just a bench mark. I do know that the joints in my wood floors will open up if the air gets too dry. I also know that my nose drys up, it is hard to sleep, and a lot of static electricity builds up when my hygrometer reads below 35%. At 45% life is good for me, my nose, my floor, my wife's lime tree, and I'm assuming then that it is good for my uke. So regardless of how accurate my it is, 45-50% on my hygrometer is where I keep the house. I might add, that in the winter, especially when it is really cold and the furnace runs a lot, regardless of what the hygrometer says, I throw the Oasis in with my uke

Ukulele Eddie
12-20-2016, 05:59 AM
Get the caliber IV and don't bother with testing. At worse it's 2% offset.

I ordered one yesterday and also ordered some potassium carbonate to check calibration at 43%.

Doc_J
12-20-2016, 06:43 AM
I've had good luck with the $5 analog dial cigar hygrometers (brass & glass with a needle dial , no batteries required). The one in my office at work seems to be fairly reliable to the general relative humidity. My work office varies from about 15% to about 85% relative humidity. It correlates pretty well to how I feel it .

stevejfc
12-20-2016, 07:38 AM
I've had good luck with the $5 analog dial cigar hygrometers (brass & glass with a needle dial , no batteries required). The one in my office at work seems to be fairly reliable to the general relative humidity. My work office varies from about 15% to about 85% relative humidity. It correlates pretty well to how I feel it .
I've got a couple of those too. They are generally within 5% of the reading on the HVAC system. Not bad for a few $.

Recstar24
12-20-2016, 06:52 PM
I ordered one yesterday and also ordered some sodium carbonate to check calibration at 43%.

That's how David burgess calibrated them as well. I've ordered two of them from him, and he supplies the offset he used if any. My first one only had a 1% offset, my 2nd one required no offset. Now I just buy them from amazon and get those to match.

Booli
12-20-2016, 07:16 PM
Slightly off-topic, but to add more humidity than the current cool-mist ultrasonic room humidifier that I'm currently running as per my post above, I was thinking of taking an small 8 watt aquarium air pump (for a fish tank air stone) and running a sizable (3" diameter) stone in a 5 gallon bucket full of water as a cheap room humidifier, but I am unsure about the output rate.

I use to have a couple of larger (55 gallon) fish-tanks, and other than water changes to keep the water clean, as I recall you could lose about 5-10 gallons per week just due to evaporation and the water being agitated by the air stones...(but no fish-tanks now for a few years in my house)

Anybody here ever try something like this?

Crazy idea? or is it better to just get another similar room humidifier, or better to add a warm-mist humidifier?

The air pump + stone ($10 maybe) in a bucket full of water is much cheaper than a new 3-gal-per-day room humidifier (~$40+), but if the bucket system puts out too little moisture, then it seems it would be a waste of time and electricity...

Booli
12-20-2016, 08:37 PM
A different approach is an indoor hydroponic garden. You set up edible or decorative flowering plants in pots, and keep them watered and fertilised, and they grow and expire water vapour into the room. If you choose edible plants, you will keep eating them and they wont get out of hand. There are all sorts of growing mediums which are not like dirty soil. Indoor gardens are not free of care, but the care is daily watering and monitoring instead of cleaning fish tanks and feeding fish. If the plants do die, it is not like losing expensive fish. Also plants can be useful hygrometers, when the humidity is not right they will look very sad.
A bucket of water in the room is going to work, but there are more elegant solutions. Like a large decorative vase full of glass balls and water for example, you change the water once a week and it should stay free of algae growth.
I like in a climate where there is no a lot of need to humidify, but I can say from experience that indoor plants and decorative vases will get water vapour into a room and make it more liveable. Living plants also seem to have an added benefit of making the room seem more pleasant to be in.
If you want to start a hydroponic garden in your house, you need to check local knowledge from local gardeners to find the right plants and how to keep them alive.

Thanks for the ideas, but I do NOT plan on having fish tanks again as it is too much work for me now (I am the sole caretaker of my elderly and terminally ill mother, and my free time is very precious to me) as well as the fact that I/we am/are going to be moving to a much smaller space within this year and will just have to get rid of it all (on top of all the other things that I need to downsize from), same for the hydroponic garden or any kind of plants, way too much maintenance, complexity and time that I simply do not have. I was looking to REDUCE the burdens of maintaining proper humidity, not increase them by adding any new hobbies nor burdens.

The idea of water globes in buckets might work out and I'll look into that and see what is involved. :)

Maybe after I move, I can consider keeping some houseplants, but right now it will just be lots more junk to sell, give away or throw out.

besley
12-21-2016, 06:32 AM
I ordered one yesterday and also ordered some sodium carbonate to check calibration at 43%.

I hope this was a typo, because what you need for the 43% test is POTASSIUM carbonate - not sodium carbonate, not sodium bicarbonate, and not potassium bicarbonate. If you're in the Twin Cities (MN) PM me and I'll give you some. (I'm a retired chemist)

Ukulele Eddie
12-21-2016, 08:04 AM
I hope this was a typo, because what you need for the 43% test is POTASSIUM carbonate - not sodium carbonate, not sodium bicarbonate, and not potassium bicarbonate. If you're in the Twin Cities (MN) PM me and I'll give you some. (I'm a retired chemist)

LOL, yes, it was a brain fart. I meant potassium carbonate. Both it and the Caliber IV arrived this am. Will check calibration tonight and report back.

Booli
12-21-2016, 08:07 AM
Sorry to hear that you have to move, Booli. Maybe some others will be interested in the ideas.

I found this article which explains how hygrometers work.

http://www.explainthatstuff.com/hygrometers.html

No worries brother. It is all part of a master plan of downsizing and trying to greatly simplify my life, and doing so, long before someone else has to do it for me.

Please dont get the wrong idea, I think that your ideas are great, but I am unable to apply them just now.

As someone else here on UU has in their forum signature: 'The future is unwritten...'

Kayak Jim
12-21-2016, 09:28 AM
Slightly off-topic, but to add more humidity than the current cool-mist ultrasonic room humidifier that I'm currently running as per my post above, I was thinking of taking an small 8 watt aquarium air pump (for a fish tank air stone) and running a sizable (3" diameter) stone in a 5 gallon bucket full of water as a cheap room humidifier, but I am unsure about the output rate.

I use to have a couple of larger (55 gallon) fish-tanks, and other than water changes to keep the water clean, as I recall you could lose about 5-10 gallons per week just due to evaporation and the water being agitated by the air stones...(but no fish-tanks now for a few years in my house)

Anybody here ever try something like this?

Crazy idea? or is it better to just get another similar room humidifier, or better to add a warm-mist humidifier?

The air pump + stone ($10 maybe) in a bucket full of water is much cheaper than a new 3-gal-per-day room humidifier (~$40+), but if the bucket system puts out too little moisture, then it seems it would be a waste of time and electricity...

I think the energy efficiency of the air bubbler would be low compared to a purpose built humidifier. If you want cheap, do something like just hanging a towel in the bucket of water.

kkimura
12-22-2016, 03:04 AM
I've had a digital hygrometer for a year or so. A few days ago I picked up a few extra ones from a different maker. Smaller ones to go into uke cases. As an experiment, I placed them all in the same spot of the room where my larger hygrometer sits at.

Watching them for a few days, they don't agree on the humidity level. The difference is up to 6%. Not necessarily a huge discrepancy (though 45% makes me feel a lot better than 39%), but now I wonder how reliable these devices really are.

Are mechanical hygrometers more accurate than digital ones?

How accurate does a hydrometer need to be? To answer that we need to know what range of humidity, or lack thereof, solid wood ukuleles can tolerate and the rate of humidity change in the storage area versus the frequency that the hydrometer will be checked.

So if at room temperature a ukulele could only tolerate a 3 percent humidity drop from 50%, none of the hydrometers mentioned so far would do the job. Likewise if the humidity was dropping at 1% per hour and the hydrometer was only checked once a day, we would have a problem. Luckily most solid wood ukuleles seem to tolerate a range of humidity that far exceeds the accuracy of the commonly available hydrometers. Enough range to make the use of the hygrometers safe. And dangerously quick changes in humidity don't seem to happen if the ukuleles are not being moved from one environment to another.

Maybe a luthier could weigh in with the range of humidity that's safe for a solid wood ukulele.

willisoften
12-22-2016, 05:17 AM
Another vote for Calibre IV. I've used generic Calibre IV hygrometers for a number of purposes over the years and found them to be accurate enough for my purposes. A few years ago I noticed one keeping Takabuti - company.

Ukulele Eddie
12-22-2016, 05:24 AM
As indicated earlier in the thread, I purchased a Caliber IV and some potassium carbonate. Below are photos after leaving the three hygrometers in a sealed zip lock with a slurry of potassium carbonate overnight, which should generate a relative humidity of 43%. As noted in the photos, it was quite far off.

Caliber IV = 53%
Noname = 52%
Ambient Weather = 40%

It's possible the potassium carbonate has something else in it, but nothing is indicated on the label other than potassium carbonate (see photo). If this test is accurate, then this particular Caliber IV (upper left) is well off, though it measures very close to the smaller non-name hygrometer.

I previously did a similar test using regular salt (*~75% Rh) with the two hygrometers I had, the smaller one was closer to the expected result (it was 4% high whereas the larger one which appears more accurate here was +12%). As noted in this thread, we are most interested in ranges more like 30-50%, so just because it was more accurate at 75% doesn't mean it will be more accurate in our target range.

Any thoughts? Other tests I've read with the Caliber IV had them generally with 3%. So either this is an anomoly, or faulty test?

https://c5.staticflickr.com/1/267/31768374796_35fc1dafb6_c.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/Qpge2W)

https://c2.staticflickr.com/1/323/31805649585_c13c6a185c_c.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/QsygwH)

Michael N.
12-22-2016, 05:36 AM
How accurate does a hydrometer need to be? To answer that we need to know what range of humidity, or lack thereof, solid wood ukuleles can tolerate and the rate of humidity change in the storage area versus the frequency that the hydrometer will be checked.

So if at room temperature a ukulele could only tolerate a 3 percent humidity drop from 50%, none of the hydrometers mentioned so far would do the job. Likewise if the humidity was dropping at 1% per hour and the hydrometer was only checked once a day, we would have a problem. Luckily most solid wood ukuleles seem to tolerate a range of humidity that far exceeds the accuracy of the commonly available hydrometers. Enough range to make the use of the hygrometers safe. And dangerously quick changes in humidity don't seem to happen if the ukuleles are not being moved from one environment to another.

Maybe a luthier could weigh in with the range of humidity that's safe for a solid wood ukulele.

Well the short answer is that nothing is simple because it most certainly depends on wood type and how it's been cut. Probably other factors come into play too. I certainly wouldn't worry about drops of 5% RH over a period of a day. I wouldn't be overly concerned about a 10% drop over one day, although I'd certainly be starting to humidify. A drop of 15% or more and you are certainly pushing your luck.

Ukulele Eddie
12-23-2016, 03:03 AM
I repeated the test I shared yesterday and instead of using a plastic bag I used a slightly larger plastic food container and also prepared a new slurry. The results this time:

Caliber IV = 50% (-3% from previous)
Noname = 51% (-1% from previous)
Ambient Weather = 35% (-5% from previous)

So, based on these results I believe the Caliber IV is reading high by 7-10%. Interestingly, the calibration only goes +/- 6%. So I set it for -6%, which is close enough.

kkimura
12-23-2016, 04:20 AM
As my mind wanders and wonders about those old Martins and Stradivari living in closets and under beds for decades before humidity control became popular, I refill my humidifiers and case my ukuleles.

JeLeh
12-23-2016, 11:51 AM
Thank you for the recommendation for David Burgess! I was looking for the best hygrometer and was happy to see your post. I ordered one. It will be interesting to compare it to my current hygrometer to see the difference.


Well I only have one digital but a few ways to check that it's accurate. You can try the salt test but use the salt that calibrates for 43% RH, which is Potassium carbonate. Sometimes it's available on ebay. I also have a sling psychrometer. The first two digital hygrometers I purchased were way off, one as much as 10%. I finally found one that was within 3%. That was 12 years ago and quite surprisingly it's still within 3%. That's more than adequate for our purposes.
I also have one of these that I made for the workshop. It tracks the digital. it works on a similar principle to the bi metallic strip but relies on how two different woods react to changes in humidity rather than temperature. Given that we are wanting to know how our instruments react to changes in humisity it's not all that surprising that it works, our instruments are made of wood too. I wouldn't use it as my only source but I read this much more often than my digital.
If you want an accurate digital look up David Burgess violins on google. He's done some testing of digital hygrometers and knows the accurate ones.

http://i56.photobucket.com/albums/g193/mignal/hyg1.jpg (http://s56.photobucket.com/user/mignal/media/hyg1.jpg.html)

70sSanO
12-23-2016, 01:50 PM
This article has some other interesting approaches.

http://www.fiddleheads.ca/writings/winter_strings.htm

Nice read, although I did stop and ponder the sentence... As for heat sources, try not to leave your violin in a room with a wood stove or fireplace... lol.

John

Recstar24
12-23-2016, 07:48 PM
Uke Eddie,

That does look weird. It might be worth an email to David burgess to see what is going on, as I don't believe he's ever found one that far off. It would be worth the education in humidification to be able to talk to him.

Ukulele Eddie
12-24-2016, 03:33 AM
Uke Eddie,

That does look weird. It might be worth an email to David burgess to see what is going on, as I don't believe he's ever found one that far off. It would be worth the education in humidification to be able to talk to him.

Well, I didn't buy it from him so I don't free right about that. I'll contact the manufacturer next week. And if I buy another one, maybe I'll buy from him and then compare the two. Will report back once it's all sorted.

DownUpDave
12-24-2016, 04:17 AM
Well, I didn't buy it from him so I don't free right about that. I'll contact the manufacturer next week. And if I buy another one, maybe I'll buy from him and then compare the two. Will report back once it's all sorted.

Eddie.....thanks for the test and sharing your info. I ordered 3 of Caliber IV units, they are still in transit and I will do the test once I get them. We will see how consistent they are from one to another. I would have bought a Burgess unit but he only ships to US addresses. I guess Canada is just sooooo far away, jees.

I have 5 other identical hygrometers from SPRINGFIELD PreciseTemp (I think Homer Simpson made them)........but they all read the same so I will use those as a standard. Yes I am anal about stuff like this. :biglaugh::biglaugh::biglaugh:

Booli
12-24-2016, 04:29 AM
Eddie.....thanks for the test and sharing your info. I ordered 3 of Caliber IV units, they are still in transit and I will do the test once I get them. We will see how consistent they are from one to another. I would have bought a Burgess unit but he only ships to US addresses. I guess Canada is just sooooo far away, jees.

I have 5 other identical hygrometers from SPRINGFIELD PreciseTemp (I think Homer Simpson made them)........but they all read the same so I will use those as a standard. Yes I am anal about stuff like this. :biglaugh::biglaugh::biglaugh:

Yes, Eddie thanks for the test and related info...:)

I am afraid to keep reading this thread. Like that other thread about tuners. Now I have a collection of tuners. I do NOT want to start a collection of hygrometers...must....resist.....aaaaahhhhhhhhhhhh hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

somebody STOP ME!!!!!!

Rllink
12-24-2016, 04:31 AM
Nice read, although I did stop and ponder the sentence... As for heat sources, try not to leave your violin in a room with a wood stove or fireplace... lol.

John
Fireplaces and wood stoves suck the moisture out of a room. We used to heat with wood in the winter when I was a kid, and it can get uncomfortably dry. Later we moved up to a coal oil stove. That is why in the old days, and even now days, it is always good to put a pot metal container filled with water on top of the stove.

As my mind wanders and wonders about those old Martins and Stradivari living in closets and under beds for decades before humidity control became popular, I refill my humidifiers and case my ukuleles. I found this interesting in that article.
As violins are made almost entirely of wood they are very suceptible to dry air. This is because wood is full of tiny pod-shaped pockets which serve the purpose of storing water for the living tree. As the cut wood ages, it naturally dries and shrinks. Older violins which have had time to dry out or new violins made with old, cured wood do sound better because these pockets are not dense with water but now dried out and the dry spaces create a more resonant tone.


My sister-in-law is quite the bluegrass musician and has been for as long as I have known her, and that is a long time. They live this sort of backwoods lifestyle out in the country, and they mostly use wood heat. But she plays several instruments, mandolin, dulcimer, guitar, who knows what else, and she has never once expressed concern about her instruments drying out. And she is quite the good musician and is known as somewhat of an authority. When I bring up my constant worry about it, and the lengths that I go to to make sure that I keep mine hydrated, she acts like she doesn't know what I'm talking about.

Booli
12-24-2016, 04:53 AM
... When I bring up my constant worry about it, and the lengths that I go to to make sure that I keep mine hydrated, she acts like she doesn't know what I'm talking about.

Unless she lives in a rainforest or close to a large body of water, where there is constant moisture, with open windows year round, I do not know how she can avoid being concerned about the humidity of her instruments.

Putting one's head in the sand does not make the situation magically disappear.

Maybe she reacts that way because she already has her mind made up and has some solution, but wishes to NOT discuss it with you.

I have found that my 2 sisters do this from time to time, as in CHOSE NOT TO discuss something and pretend to have never heard of it before and therefore have no opinion at that moment, only later to realize that for whatever reason that I was not worthy of conversation on that topic.

It bugs me when they do that, but I tried to stop caring about it, I mean it's their lives, not mine...oh well...

DownUpDave
12-24-2016, 04:57 AM
Fireplaces and wood stoves suck the moisture out of a room. We used to heat with wood in the winter when I was a kid, and it can get uncomfortably dry. Later we moved up to a coal oil stove. That is why in the old days, and even now days, it is always good to put a pot metal container filled with water on top of the stove.
I found this interesting in that article.

My sister-in-law is quite the bluegrass musician and has been for as long as I have known her, and that is a long time. They live this sort of backwoods lifestyle out in the country, and they mostly use wood heat. But she plays several instruments, mandolin, dulcimer, guitar, who knows what else, and she has never once expressed concern about her instruments drying out. And she is quite the good musician and is known as somewhat of an authority. When I bring up my constant worry about it, and the lengths that I go to to make sure that I keep mine hydrated, she acts like she doesn't know what I'm talking about.

Rolli regarding relatives that are highly accomplished musicans that don't care about humidification my brother in law is one as well. He has a music room with Martins and Gibsons and Nationals etc. hanging from the walls. When I asked him about humidification he said he doesn't worry and it hasn't been a problem yet. Yet might be the operative word. But that is 50 years of yet so I'm not going to argue with that.

Rllink
12-24-2016, 06:04 AM
Unless she lives in a rainforest or close to a large body of water, where there is constant moisture, with open windows year round, I do not know how she can avoid being concerned about the humidity of her instruments.

Putting one's head in the sand does not make the situation magically disappear.

Maybe she reacts that way because she already has her mind made up and has some solution, but wishes to NOT discuss it with you.

I have found that my 2 sisters do this from time to time, as in CHOSE NOT TO discuss something and pretend to have never heard of it before and therefore have no opinion at that moment, only later to realize that for whatever reason that I was not worthy of conversation on that topic.

It bugs me when they do that, but I tried to stop caring about it, I mean it's their lives, not mine...oh well...
Well, I don't think that she has her head in the sand, she doesn't think that it is a big concern. In a lot of things, there are levels that go from OCD to I just don't care, and everything in between. Neither of which change my thinking, as we all tend to dismiss anyone who doesn't think along the same lines as we do. But you are right, sometimes it is easier just to pretend that you don't know what the heck someone is talking about in the hopes that you don't get drawn into a long a protracted dissertation on the subject. I find myself on both sides of that situation, especially this time of year, when I am around family members and friends all day long. But, when it comes right down to it, they are just ukuleles.

Booli
12-24-2016, 08:16 AM
Well, I don't think that she has her head in the sand, she doesn't think that it is a big concern. In a lot of things, there are levels that go from OCD to I just don't care, and everything in between. Neither of which change my thinking, as we all tend to dismiss anyone who doesn't think along the same lines as we do. But you are right, sometimes it is easier just to pretend that you don't know what the heck someone is talking about in the hopes that you don't get drawn into a long a protracted dissertation on the subject. I find myself on both sides of that situation, especially this time of year, when I am around family members and friends all day long. But, when it comes right down to it, they are just ukuleles.

Thank you for what you said here. I have found helpful wisdom in your words.

I realize that sometimes I might be too 'intense' for other people, and yes sometimes also have a sort of OCD about it.

I apologize if my comment came off as judgmental, it was not meant that way, sometimes I need to step back again and put myself in another's shoes, and remember the compassion I would hope others to have for me. So sorry if I have offended anyone.

May you all enjoy and have a wonderful holiday season :)!

Rllink
12-24-2016, 03:45 PM
Thank you for what you said here. I have found helpful wisdom in your words.

I realize that sometimes I might be too 'intense' for other people, and yes sometimes also have a sort of OCD about it.

I apologize if my comment came off as judgmental, it was not meant that way, sometimes I need to step back again and put myself in another's shoes, and remember the compassion I would hope others to have for me. So sorry if I have offended anyone.

May you all enjoy and have a wonderful holiday season :)!If you are directing this post at me, you have nothing to worry about, you didn't offend me. We're just all talking here and enjoying each other's company.

Tonya
12-27-2016, 01:08 PM
Back in the earlier days of the ukulele's most recent resurgence (read "2007"), an ukulele enthusiast in Arizona (read "it's dry there") contacted me about a study he'd made about humidifiers and their efficacy. I offered to post it on my website. While it is "dated" (read references to "G String ukuleles"--remember those?), perhaps some of the information and the study made by Daniel Yong might be helpful to you.

It's here: http://ukuleletonya.com/files/Humidity_and_your_ukulele.pdf

Booli
12-27-2016, 02:33 PM
If you are directing this post at me, you have nothing to worry about, you didn't offend me. We're just all talking here and enjoying each other's company.

Hey brother, yes,I was apologizing to you. Thank you. I too have enjoyed this conversation. :)

Booli
12-27-2016, 02:35 PM
Back in the earlier days of the ukulele's most recent resurgence (read "2007"), an ukulele enthusiast in Arizona (read "it's dry there") contacted me about a study he'd made about humidifiers and their efficacy. I offered to post it on my website. While it is "dated" (read references to "G String ukuleles"--remember those?), perhaps some of the information and the study made by Daniel Yong might be helpful to you.

It's here: http://ukuleletonya.com/files/Humidity_and_your_ukulele.pdf

That's a great read with lots of data. Must have been at least a few months of work to do those tests and then correlate the data into such an easily understood document.

Thanks for sharing :)

Ukulele Eddie
12-27-2016, 03:32 PM
Ditto Booli. Thanks for sharing and it's clear a lot of work went into it. The one thing that I disagree on is whether or not a whole room or whole house humidifier works. So far my evidence suggests they do and when one has a several or more ukes, it's a lot easier than maintaining an army of case humidifiers.

DaveY
12-27-2016, 03:40 PM
For what it's worth . . . today I received a Caliber IV hygrometer from David Burgess (mentioned earlier in this discussion), and figured if nothing else it would tell me how far off my $10 Accurite gauges are (see photo - the lower number is the humidity). I will say that the Caliber IV is an easier fit in a case.

Booli
12-27-2016, 04:00 PM
Ditto Booli. Thanks for sharing and it's clear a lot of work went into it. The one thing that I disagree on is whether or not a whole room or whole house humidifier works. So far my evidence suggests they do and when one has a several or more ukes, it's a lot easier than maintaining an army of case humidifiers.

The past few days the outside humidity here in NJ has been 98%, and today 86%, and with my utrasonic cool mist room humidifier running full blast, AND something else I rigged up sort of a ghetto-style humidifier to supplement the ultrasonic one, was a 5 gallon bucket from Home Depot, filled with water, with the handle propped up vertically, suspending a standard cotton bandana which extents about 18" into the bucket, and a 12" desk fan blowing down full blast on the surface of the water and also the bandana. If I turn off the fan, with the bandana's exposed part dry, it wicks water nearly up to the top, and when I put on the fan, even at the lowest setting, the bandana is dry to the touch in about 10 mins, but oddly enough the water level has only gone down about an inch per day, so it's not really efficient at dispersing moisture into the room like the ultrasonic unit, which you can see a fine mist of water vapor streaming from the top...

However, the past 2 days with this setup, my ambient RH in the room as per my own David Burgess calibrated Caliber IV hygrometer is up to 57% RH during the day, and now at 8PM it is at 48% RH and 66.6 degrees F...

Not sure if the boost in the indoor RH% is from the fact that outside humidity is higher past 2 days (and 56 F here in NJ in DECEMBER, which almost never happens) or from the added ghetto-contraption I rigged up, which seems to be very slow at transmitting moisture.

[edit] I also tried individually: a thick cotton hand towel, some hemp mesh (think burlap) as well as cotton coil rope strands (comes in 20ft lengths, like a really LONG cotton ball, but I cut them to fit the bucket), and all of them remained fully wet even with the same fan on full blast, so methinks that I need some other way to agitate the water if I am going to use a thicker or denser material than a thin cotton bandana - I may have to end this experiment, but I'm going to give it another day.


For what it's worth . . . today I received a Caliber IV hygrometer from David Burgess (mentioned earlier in this discussion), and figured if nothing else it would tell me how far off my $10 Accurite gauges are (see photo - the lower number is the humidity). I will say that the Caliber IV is an easier fit in a case.

I have a few hygrometers like that in your photo as well that we got from Amazon ~$10 and keep in the basement and cellar, with a DE-humidifier in the warmer months to control mold and mildew growth in the damp basement...I thought since basement humidity causing mold growth is not an issue in the winter when the furnace is running a lot, I might 'borrow' one of those units and keep it next to my Caliber IV for a few days and see how far apart the readings are....

besley
12-30-2016, 04:29 PM
Just thought I'd mention that I purchased this small round HygrosetII hygrometer from Amazon a year ago for ~$17, and calibrated it to 43% using the potassium carbonate method. I just rechecked the unit overnight using the same method, and it still read exactly 43% - no drifting over a whole year. Fits easily in your case too.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000H6CZQE/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1


https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/71bdSokzoFL._SL1455_.jpg

Ukulele Eddie
12-30-2016, 06:04 PM
Thanks, Steve (@besley). I have ordered one of these and will be interested to see how it compares to the Caliber IV which was well off the mark of what most people report. I tried to email Cigar Oasis (distributor of Caliber IV) but their email bounced. I will try to call next week.

besley
12-30-2016, 06:22 PM
Thanks, Steve (@besley). I have ordered one of these and will be interested to see how it compares to the Caliber IV which was well off the mark of what most people report. I tried to email Cigar Oasis (distributor of Caliber IV) but their email bounced. I will try to call next week.

I'll be interested too in how it does right out of the box, since I really don't remember how far off it was when I received it. But since you can adjust the calibration during the salt test, and it doesn't seem to drift, I would say it's a winner.

Tonya
12-31-2016, 09:33 AM
I bought one of the round Boveda hygrometers linked by besley about five months ago. I wanted to be absolutely sure of the readings (two MBUs and one LoPrinzi) so I also purchased the multi-use hygrometer test setup here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000A3UBLA/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1 (available for 75% or 32% tests). The original Boveda was within 1 percent (high); after calibration adjustment it held at the test for one week so I purchased two more of the Boveda units. I calibrated the other two units (one was spot-on, one was 2% low) and I've used them in my cases with the three instruments since then. I have a to-do checklist which reminds me to add *distilled* water to the Oasis between-the-strings humidifiers and check them at least every 14 days. This is working well for me...'wish I had the capability of storing in a humidity-controlled room but I guess this is the next best thing.

I *do* have a question, though, about how different types of cases hold the humidity levels, but I think I'll start that in another post...

PereBourik
12-31-2016, 10:34 AM
I bought one of the round Boveda hygrometers linked by besley about five months ago. I wanted to be absolutely sure of the readings (two MBUs and one LoPrinzi) so I also purchased the multi-use hygrometer test setup here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000A3UBLA/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1 (available for 75% or 32% tests). The original Boveda was within 1 percent (high); after calibration adjustment it held at the test for one week so I purchased two more of the Boveda units. I calibrated the other two units (one was spot-on, one was 2% low) and I've used them in my cases with the three instruments since then. I have a to-do checklist which reminds me to add *distilled* water to the Oasis between-the-strings humidifiers and check them at least every 14 days. This is working well for me...'wish I had the capability of storing in a humidity-controlled room but I guess this is the next best thing.

I *do* have a question, though, about how different types of cases hold the humidity levels, but I think I'll start that in another post...

Wow. I rarely go longer than a week.

Tonya
12-31-2016, 01:16 PM
Wow. I rarely go longer than a week.

We heat our home by woodstove only and have no water on the stove or a humidifier...but at 14 days the humidity is constant and the little Oasis thingies are still plump and full of water. I was even thinking of setting the schedule to three weeks...maybe not, huh? Note: All of them are in an ABS case or the wooden Oasis cases; I'm guessing that's a factor in keeping the humidity up?

Ukulele Eddie
01-22-2017, 04:45 PM
Thanks, Steve (@besley). I have ordered one of these and will be interested to see how it compares to the Caliber IV which was well off the mark of what most people report. I tried to email Cigar Oasis (distributor of Caliber IV) but their email bounced. I will try to call next week.

A bit delayed in my update, but here it goes. I remained concerned that something wasn't right with the potassium carbonate calibration test I did despite that bag indicating it had no other ingredients. Why? Well, when I tested my Caliber IV it was significantly off (as noted earlier in this thread), despite several different calibration attempts. So I ordered one of the 32% calibration kits from Boveda:

https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/550/32320971482_931271b761_c.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/Rf6qM1)

I removed my prior calibration adjustment and re-tested the Calibration IV. It was spot-on:

https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/538/32320971372_b437472bb0_c.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/Rf6qK7)

These Boveda calibration kits are super convenient and last for two months once opened.

Recstar24
01-22-2017, 05:17 PM
Thanks for the update, and good to see that it's right on the money. I use the caliber IV exclusively - I've got one for each of my 3 ukes, one for my acoustic guitar, and one in my music room with all the classroom ukes. Has been good to me so far!

DownUpDave
01-23-2017, 02:12 AM
Just a word on accuracy of cheap hygrometers. I have 5 identical $10.00 hygrometers I bought from Home Depot, they all read the same. I assumed that because of this they were reliable. I recently purchased 3 Caliber IV hygrometers and at 40% humidity the cheap ones where reading 43% so I thought they were good.

We had a cold spell and the furnace was running full bore. The cheap ones never registered below 36% while all three Caliber IV's showed a reading of 23%. Needless to say the cheap ones are no longer trusted or used. I keep all my ukes in hardcases with humidification devices in the case. The Caliber IV's are great because you can place them in the body section of the case to get a reading of the environment that your uke is stored in.

kkimura
01-23-2017, 02:45 AM
Interesting thread. A some points to keep in mind when verifying instrument accuracy;

1. Comparing the readings of several instruments can tell you if they agree with each other, not how accurate they are unless at least one of them has recently been calibrated to a national standard.
2. Calibrating to only one measurement tests your instruments accuracy at only one point in its range. (I once had a clock that was 100% accurate twice a day.)
3. The tolerable error of the instrument should align with the intended use of the instrument. For example, most of us won't need a home thermostat capable of maintaining the temperature setting at plus or minus one degree.

So the bottom line to me is, what degree of humidity accuracy does a ukulele environment require? Is plus or minus 10% adequate for a humidity intended to monitor our ukuleles? Does it matter how accurate the reading is after it drops below say 40%? In other words, would a "car dashboard" style warning light suffice?

Ukulele Eddie
01-23-2017, 06:13 AM
Interesting thread. A some points to keep in mind when verifying instrument accuracy;

1. Comparing the readings of several instruments can tell you if they agree with each other, not how accurate they are unless at least one of them has recently been calibrated to a national standard.
2. Calibrating to only one measurement tests your instruments accuracy at only one point in its range. (I once had a clock that was 100% accurate twice a day.)
3. The tolerable error of the instrument should align with the intended use of the instrument. For example, most of us won't need a home thermostat capable of maintaining the temperature setting at plus or minus one degree.

So the bottom line to me is, what degree of humidity accuracy does a ukulele environment require? Is plus or minus 10% adequate for a humidity intended to monitor our ukuleles? Does it matter how accurate the reading is after it drops below say 40%? In other words, would a "car dashboard" style warning light suffice?

On 1 & 2, I agree and think these were covered earlier.

On 3, I would think within +/- 5% in the 35-50% range is probably sufficient.

Rllink
01-23-2017, 06:57 AM
I need a hygrometer to tell me what the percentage of relative humidity is, but I don't need one to tell me that the air is getting dry in my house and I need to fill up the Oasis and make sure it is tucked in my ukulele.

DownUpDave
01-23-2017, 08:02 AM
Two ways of looking at the issue. If it is dry where you live keep them cased and humidified. Knowing the humidity percentage is not necessary. If during the dry season things get back up above 35%, it happens, I can leave an instrument or two out on their stands to play when the mood strikes. This is were hygrometers come in handy.

Ukulele Eddie
01-23-2017, 10:24 AM
For those that don't want to case their ukes, or who don't have hardcases or who don't want to buy an Oasis humidifier for every case, it is very helpful to have a hygrometer. I keep three ukes hanging and often one in a stand.

Doctroid
01-23-2017, 12:41 PM
I spent some time trying to verify and calibrate hygrometers several years ago, and wrote about it in two articles on my blog:

https://doctroid.wordpress.com/2010/02/20/i-just-want-to-know-the-humidity/
https://doctroid.wordpress.com/2010/02/27/i-know-the-humidity/

I was looking at two Caliber IIIs, an electronic hygrometer from Radio Shack (or actually two, because it had a main and a remote unit), and a fistful of analog hygrometers. Conclusions I came to:

1. The Calibers are fine.
2. So is the Radio Shack.
3. The analog hygrometers are junk. (Including the one being sold to clarinetists to keep their instruments from cracking, and the one being sold to pet owners to keep their reptiles and amphibians alive.)
4. Somehow my wet bulb psychrometer was either built or used wrong, in both its incarnations, despite its seeming idiot-proof nature. I don’t know what was wrong, I being the idiot in question.

Booli
01-24-2017, 04:03 AM
I spent some time trying to verify and calibrate hygrometers several years ago, and wrote about it in two articles on my blog:

https://doctroid.wordpress.com/2010/02/20/i-just-want-to-know-the-humidity/
https://doctroid.wordpress.com/2010/02/27/i-know-the-humidity/

I was looking at two Caliber IIIs, an electronic hygrometer from Radio Shack (or actually two, because it had a main and a remote unit), and a fistful of analog hygrometers. Conclusions I came to:

1. The Calibers are fine.
2. So is the Radio Shack.
3. The analog hygrometers are junk. (Including the one being sold to clarinetists to keep their instruments from cracking, and the one being sold to pet owners to keep their reptiles and amphibians alive.)
4. Somehow my wet bulb psychrometer was either built or used wrong, in both its incarnations, despite its seeming idiot-proof nature. I don’t know what was wrong, I being the idiot in question.

Rich, thanks for sharing your info. Those blog posts were both informative and entertaining, and I enjoyed your self-deprecating humor in your writing style.

So, it seems that we can conclude that hygrometers vary widely.

I have a Caliber IV, that I purchased supposedly calibrated by and directly from violin luthier David Burgess for $30, that's reading 65.3 F and 45% RH and 3" to the right of it is an ACURITE ($9 on Amazon) that's reading 68 F and 35% RH.

(These levels go up or down in relation to the OUTSIDE humidity when it's raining or snowing, yes we have draft leaks in our house and with furnace running 24/7 entropy and positive air pressure inside is likely to disperse air/heat/humidity outside through whatever leaks.)

If I spread them 10 ft apart, they read the SAME from opposite ends of the room, but if I place them close together they are anywhere from 10% to 25% apart in their RH% readings.

I am running an ultrasonic cool mist humidifier that goes through 3 gal of water in 24 hrs before needing a refill, as well as an ultrasonic/evaporative humidifier 24/7 with takes about 3 days to finish off about 4 gals of water