This guide will show how useful a set of digital scales can be for online sellers and how to use and care for your scales.
Digital Scales - What they can be used for.
There are many uses for the different types of Digital Scales available. Here I will list them based on the type of scale.
Tabletop Parcel Scales - These really speak for themselves. You can weigh your products to calculate your postage costs.
Buyers really like to know the postal costs upfront and can be put off if the postage costs will be calculated after the auction closes. With a set of postal scales you can let them know the costs right from the start. When it's an item such as a delicate piece of porcelain it can be more difficult to give an exact price as you may not know exactly how much extra wrapping and padding you will need to keep it safe in transit. That said you can still give the customer an estimate based on the weight of the item itself. You want your buyer to have an easy a pleasant buying experience from start to finish, not them dropping on the floor when after the auction is closed the cost of shipping is twice the cost of the item.
Digital Pocket Scales - There is a lot of uses for these types of scales and you will find a variety of styles on the market. I will break it down into the types of goods that these are useful for.
Jewellery Sellers. When selling jewellery, especially gold ideally you want to let the buyer know the weight of the chain, bracelet etc. A picture of a chain can be quite deceiving and if taken close up can look heavier than it actually is. Having a combination of weight and dimensions will give the buyer less opportunity to say you were being misleading in your auction and that it looked bigger or heavier in the picture. Gemstone sellers can also use scales to let buyers know the carat of the stone they have for sale. Again this avoids any confusion over the size an item appears in the picture. We used to sell jewellery on eBay and in the early days the #1 question we got was "how much does it weigh". We soon started including the weight in all the auctions and saved ourselves a lot of time.
Bead and craft sellers. There are 2 ways a bead seller can take advantage of a set of Digital Scales. They can sell multiple beads either by weight or by the number of items. If they sell by number of beads in the packet then they can use the counting function (not all pocket scales have this function). This makes life much easier than manually counting the beads when there needs to be 200 in a pack.
Herb and supplement Sellers. Again this is a popular use of Digital Scales. It allows you to bag your herbs etc and state an exact weight. Digital Scales are normally accurate to 0.1 grams or if you need greater accuracy even up to 0.001g.
There are other uses and different markets where the scales are a useful tool. You could even use it to get an edge over a competitor and make you auction more appealing. If you sell herbs or gold chains show them on the scale. This should increase buyer confidence that they will be getting what they paid for and it looks good too.
Digital Scales - Taking care of you scales and using them properly.
Scales perform badly when they are cold. If the scale temperature is below 65 degrees Fahrenheit, it will perform slowly and somewhat inaccurately. Scales like warmth. However, do not operate at temperatures above 85 degrees Fahrenheit or they will again be somewhat inaccurate. Please only operate and display scales at normal room temperature of 65 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit. If a scale is cold or hot, allow it to adjust to normal room temperature for 12 hours if possible (this sounds drastic but a load cell /sensor is like a metal sponge. It takes many hours for the temperature of the entire load cell to adjust. When a scale is cold it can and will "drift". This is when a scale starts increasing or decreasing its displayed number (0.1g, 0.2g,0.3g, etc).
Low Batteries are the #1 cause of scale malfunction and inaccuracy! We test all of our scale returns from consumers. Fully 60% of consumer returns are simply dead or low batteries. This sounds silly but its true! A scale will perform slowly, or read inaccurately when it has low batteries. Please replace the batteries often (and only use good quality batteries). We include good quality batteries with all of our scales but batteries can run low in storage.
An unstable surface equals an unstable scale. All scales need a perfectly flat stable surface to read and weigh accurately. The hum of a light bulb will affect scale accuracy. This is especially important when you are calibrating. If you calibrate the scale in an unstable environment, it will always be unstable, even when you remove it from the unstable environment.
We hope you understand the importance of calibrating and operating in a stable, vibration and interference free environment. We just cant stress it enough. Any scale you use, regardless of brand, will perform best on a stable surface. Scales are strongly affected by magnetic fields. So, do not operate or use a scale near any electronic device such as a computer, monitor, radio, or cell phone. Did you see the Barbara Walters special on how cell phones emit radiation? That radiation will also affect the accuracy of your scale. It sounds crazy but its very true.
HERE IS A TEST: Turn on your scale and place a weight on it. Then call a friend on your cell phone and hold the phone near the scale. The display on the scale will change dramatically as it picks up the radio signal from your phone. This happens to every brand electronic scale to different degrees depending on design. Scales will pick up this interference from up to 15 feet away! Do not operate a cell or cordless phone within 10 feet of an in-use scale.
Overload is the #1 cause of Fatal scale errors. Scales are only designed to weigh up to their maximum capacity. For instance, the point scale 150 is designed to weigh up to 150 grams. If you put 500 grams on the scale even once, you can crush or deform the load cell and cause fatal damage to the scale. Be careful! do not put a scale in your back pocket, even the hard case scales. Your large behind will always crush the load cell and destroy the scale. Then you will contact the company that sold the scale and say, "I do not know what happened, and it just broke". Please never overload a scale. The supplier knows when a scale has been overloaded as they have an internal number which can be displayed on screen. There is not a single scale in existence that cannot be destroyed by overload. Some scales have good overload protection but none are invulnerable.
Mishandling is the #2 cause of fatal scale errors. If you drop or otherwise mishandle your scale, it can cause a fatal problem. For example, we spoke to a jeweller who put his scale in his empty briefcase, then checked his briefcase as baggage on a flight, and arrived at his destination to find the scale broken. Obviously, the cause of this was the scale got banged around in his briefcase. Scales are precise instruments. They are not calculators or cell phones. They have delicate sensors that can easily be damaged by mishandling.
OK.....that's the lecture over you can stop yawning now.
I hope you find this article useful...happy eBaying.
Digital Scales - How to guide
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31 January 2006
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