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Would your Protimeter SM give a "zero" reading?


David Meiland
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Just took possession of a new Protimeter Surveymaster, and have used it a few times. Yesterday I was checking a first-floor ceiling with conditioned space above, in Relative mode, and in many places the readout said simply "- - -". Everywhere else that I've placed it against drywall I've gotten reading in the high two digits or low three digits. How does this compare to yours?

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Just took possession of a new Protimeter Surveymaster, and have used it a few times. Yesterday I was checking a first-floor ceiling with conditioned space above, in Relative mode, and in many places the readout said simply "- - -". Everywhere else that I've placed it against drywall I've gotten reading in the high two digits or low three digits. How does this compare to yours?

Did it come with the attachment to put across the pins to check calibration?

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When the meter is switched on, it comes up in "Search" mode, and says REL ))) in the upper right corner of the display, along with a reading of "- - -" (this is assuming nothing is against the bulge on the back of the case, including my fingers).

If I place the meter against pretty much anything, I get a reading. Wooden stuff all around the shop and office shows in the high two-digit and low three-digit range, as does most drywall. If I put it against my forearm it pegs in the 900 range. Same with the dog. It reads "- - -" if placed against leather-upholstered furniture.

The only anomaly I've gotten so far is on the office ceiling, which has a reading of "- - -" in many places. I only checked because I see a black spot there with the IR camera.

Again, this is in REL mode with the cap in place. If I switch to %WME mode then I get typical wood readings that are confirmed by my lowly Mini Ligno. And yes there is a calibration device in the package and it reads 18.2 when in %WME mode, using the pins of course.

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When the meter is switched on, it comes up in "Search" mode, and says REL ))) in the upper right corner of the display, along with a reading of "- - -" (this is assuming nothing is against the bulge on the back of the case, including my fingers).

Again, this is in REL mode with the cap in place.

Well, that sounds like what mine does normally. I always use REL and I don't get zeroes just blanks, if the moisture level is below 6.0% or so.

I read 900 as 90.0%, it makes sense that way.

It is all relative, of course. I always compare readings over a large area, and pick out where the readings start to change.

Tub tiles today were reading 17.0%, but a couple were going up to 25.0 and one 49.9. I say it appears to be wet behind these tiles but.....??? [:)]

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Just took possession of a new Protimeter Surveymaster, and have used it a few times. Yesterday I was checking a first-floor ceiling with conditioned space above, in Relative mode, and in many places the readout said simply "- - -". Everywhere else that I've placed it against drywall I've gotten reading in the high two digits or low three digits. How does this compare to yours?

It's probably working fine. Did you zero it first? The manual recommends zeroing it by holding it in the air in the environment that you'll be using it in and holding down the arrow button for three seconds.

When the drywall is very dry, you'll get 0 or under 10 readings. Depending on what the drywall has been painted with, you can get readings above 10. If the drywall has be exposed to elevated humidity, it can permanently store some of that moisture and you'll tend to get higher readings.

Don't use a Surveymaster as your only moisture meter for investigating IR anomalies. You really should have a Tramex ME+ in addition to the SM. The SM can't reliably indicate moisture on the back side of drywall.

Chris, Oregon

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