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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I needed a good hygrometer and curmudgeonista recommended the Caliber IV. So I did my usual research into it and found positive info here in the forums and other locations. I then checked out various reviews and decided that this was definitely the best affordable tool for my cigar humidification monitoring needs so I bought one from Famous Smokes (along with a cigar sampler, of course ;)).

Next, I decided to test how accurate the unit was as well as two other units I already had: An analog hygrometer from my first humidor that was calibrated last year and an Acu-Rite indoor/outdoor weather unit. I used dampened pure sea salt and place all of the items into a zip-loc bag. This isn't rocket science so there was no need to spend unnecessary money on a Boveda kit. However, if one is unsure of their abilities then definitely using the kit would be a good idea.

Picture...Description
1...1:01PM, start of experiment

2...3:05PM, while the temps match the RH does not for the digital units. The Caliber IV is 1% high. But give it more time...

3...5:16PM, the Acu-Rite was all over the place for RH. Only its temperature remained steady.

4...7:02PM, heat from the oven upped the temps. The analog unit remains the most consistent due to its slower reaction time.

5...607AM (next day), Caliber IV is consistently +1% above RH throughout my observations. Acu-Rite is consistently inaccurate!

6...8:17AM, final readings.

Findings

Acu-Rite
I was very dismayed with this unit. Readings were between 68% and 77%! The only thing accurate about it was the thermometer. Well, back into the sun room with it as we really only used it for the thermometer.

Analog
This was reading close to +1%. Being a narrow scale doesn't help but I was able to give it the ever-so-slightest counter-rotation to bring it back into calibration. The downside of these units is that they often require a very gentle tap to "nudge" the needle into position i.e. unstick it. At least with this less expensive but rather accurate version.

Caliber IV
I believe the RH was almost +1%, like, just under a percent off. Calibration is super easy and I adjusted it by -1%. Given that the unit itself is rated at +/-1% this puts my unit in a satisfactorily acceptable range.

Watching the two digital units I would check on them about every half hour during the afternoon/evening and sometimes I would see them change. The Acu-Rite varied a lot though one couldn't see that in the pictures due to the wide time intervals of two hours. The Caliber IV hovered around 75% & 76%, even after I took the last picture and started to unzip the baggie the RH dropped to 76%, so it was right on the edge. I wonder why the temperature has a tenth of a degree but the RH is only whole numbers. Anyway, from my observations it definitely was no more than +1% high for RH.

Anyway, if the same electronics are used in the Oasis Cigar Humidifiers then I feel more confident that they could do a decent job of maintaining proper humidity in a space.

Hope this helps out :nerd2:
 

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Anyway, if the same electronics are used in the Oasis Cigar Humidifiers then I feel more confident that they could do a decent job of maintaining proper humidity in a space.
Don't count on it. Cigar Oasis humidifiers were developed long before 2012 when they bought out (or merged with) Western Humidor, originator of the Caliber line of hygrometers.
 

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Thank you for doing this write up. So much of the cigar world is very subjective, much of it relying on tribal knowledge and experience gained through mistakes. I appreciate the work you put into this.
 

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They definitely do not use the same tech in the CO units! This being said I am still a fan of their devices. They can be calibrated the same way you just did your test and adjusted accordingly. I placed my Caliber IV and CO in the same ziplock bag along with a 75% Boveda 60 g pack and made the adjustments after 24 hours. I let it sit a few more hours and it never fluctuated after that. You just have to get as best a seal you can where the cable enters the bag and you can tape it there too for good measure.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I have a Photographic Thermometer (mercury style) that is accurate to +/-0.5ºF. I used it when I was in darkroom photography just prior to the digital boom. I just checked the thermometer accuracy of the two digital units.

The Caliber IV reads 4ºF lower than actual.
The Acu-Rite was pretty much spot-on.

So the Acu-Rite has an accurate thermometer but not hygrometer while the Caliber IV has an accurate hygrometer but not thermometer! Jeeze. And I don't see a way to calibrate the thermometer with the Caliber IV. Double-jeeze!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
...So much of the cigar world is very subjective, much of it relying on tribal knowledge and experience gained through mistakes. I appreciate the work you put into this.
Something became obvious during my investigation of this and the COE3 is that more than 9/10 of the people who've reviewed these and similar products is that they do a terrible job in their testing! This goes for negative as well as positive reviews. I admit I'm no science expert that does this for a living but I remember some things from college and how to perform some basic testing. If there is anyone who is an expert with such testing and has pointers then I am more than willing to learn, so please post!

Many of the "tests" I read and pictures I saw showed me people don't know what they were doing. They would use out-of-the-box sensors and base their result against the new product without prior calibration or taking accuracy into account. Oy! Some people were using sensors that I knew had a +/-5% or more accuracy range so any results they got were always going to be suspect. Add to that unknown resolution (fuzzy picture of an analog sensor) or not enough (whole values only on a digital sensor e.g.70% instead of 70.2%) and suspect results become invalid in my opinion!

How they set up their test is important as well. Environmental factors like vibration or temperature swings, correct salt & water preparation, container tightness, etc. It looked like some people made a brine soup with tap water instead of a damp salt pile using distilled water.

Many people simply do not like to be wrong and will fudge or find excuses to ensure they are right. This is especially true if they spent a good amount of money and/or time on something and anyone who says otherwise is taken as a personal attack. You'll never get through with those type of people no matter how much you prove them wrong.

Yes, a lot is subjective as well. Inaccurate recall, gut feel, etc. can contribute to seemingly valid results that really aren't. Tribal knowledge* is typically a good thing in my experience but some, sometimes, may need tempering by the locals to keep it from becoming an old wives' tale.

However, we must also understand that not every product always perfect and there will be duds that return less than ideal results. That doesn't mean the entire product is crap and no one should ever buy it! When people make such claims I scoff at their ignorance. I'm reminded of a Brick House Maduro Maduro I bought at the local B&M; 2 out of 5 stars, it was bad! Which didn't make sense because I read too many positive reviews on them so about a week later I told the B&M about it. They were equally surprised and said if it's bad again they'll toss the box. Well, my second one was really good so I'm glad I gave it a second chance. My third one was good as well :grin2:

*Funny you mention "tribal knowledge" as that is currently a topic where I work as many are of retirement age or long-term contractors that are leaving. They have a lot of knowledge with them that isn't documented and when they leave so does the knowledge, thus things break or slow down.
 
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