Trouble with Salt test...

I just received a humidor and am having trouble calibrating the hygrometer.  The humidor came with an analog hygro, and I bought a new Xikar digital for more accuracy.  Here's what I did:

1) Salt test to calibrate the digital hygro.  After leaving it overnight, the hygro read 66, so I pressed the calibration button (which changed it to 75) and put it in the humidor.  It quickly climbed up to 83 or so in the humidor, while the analog hygro read 72.  Since I'm just seasoning the humidor, using a humidifier with PG solution, this seemed high. (I had a shot-glass sized dish of water earlier, but had removed it by this time.)

2) I reset the digital to factory settings (removing/replacing the battery) to see what would happen, and it settled around 72, about the same as the analog.

3) I ran the salt test again overnight, and this time the digital settled at 61.

4) Finally, I tried the salt test a third time, and after several hours the digital hygro reads 57.

I reset the hygro before each test (removing battery), and have checked several sites for how to do the salt test & it seems I'm doing it right.  Is there a reason the hygro would read differently after each test?  Would the factory settings really be 12-18 points low?  I'd appreciate any help!  Thanks in advance!

Comments

  • phobicsquirrelphobicsquirrel Posts: 7,349
    I've never had much luck with the salt. I just got a boveda pack. works great.
  • bigharpoonbigharpoon Posts: 2,963 ✭✭✭
    Are you leaving it in the container for different lengths of time? That will definitely have a big affect. I'd leave it in there for 24 hours, set it to 75, then leave it in there for 24 more hours and see if it's still at 75.
  • Does that hygro have the ability to change the set Rh displayed, or does it just automatically reset to 75% when you push the button? For the former, remember how far off it is, and then take it out and allow it to stabilize to room Rh before turning the pot the required number of tick-marks and pushing the reset. For the latter, reset it while it's still in the bag.

  • j0z3rj0z3r Posts: 9,403
    bigharpoon:
    Are you leaving it in the container for different lengths of time? That will definitely have a big affect. I'd leave it in there for 24 hours, set it to 75, then leave it in there for 24 more hours and see if it's still at 75.
    This would be my recommendation as well. Using the analog hygro as a point of comparison won't do you any good, they are notoriously inaccurate. If the salt test continues to give different readings after you've made sure it is stable, then I'd recommend giving the Boveda calibration pack a whirl, they work great and can be counted on...not that you can't trust the salt test, but it's another option.
  • kuzi16kuzi16 Posts: 14,616 ✭✭✭✭
    bigharpoon:
    Are you leaving it in the container for different lengths of time? That will definitely have a big affect. I'd leave it in there for 24 hours, set it to 75, then leave it in there for 24 more hours and see if it's still at 75.
    this is solid advice. if you can leave it in there for 36 hours it may be even better.

    ...also leave it in the dark if you can.

    are you mixing the salt correctly?
    you should have about (i hope i remember this correctly) 3-4 times as much salt by volume as you do water.
    it should mix to a thick salt paste.

  • laker1963laker1963 Posts: 5,046
    DSchweiss:
    I just received a humidor and am having trouble calibrating the hygrometer.  The humidor came with an analog hygro, and I bought a new Xikar digital for more accuracy.  Here's what I did:

    1) Salt test to calibrate the digital hygro.  After leaving it overnight, the hygro read 66, so I pressed the calibration button (which changed it to 75) and put it in the humidor.  It quickly climbed up to 83 or so in the humidor, while the analog hygro read 72.  Since I'm just seasoning the humidor, using a humidifier with PG solution, this seemed high. (I had a shot-glass sized dish of water earlier, but had removed it by this time.)

    2) I reset the digital to factory settings (removing/replacing the battery) to see what would happen, and it settled around 72, about the same as the analog.

    3) I ran the salt test again overnight, and this time the digital settled at 61.

    4) Finally, I tried the salt test a third time, and after several hours the digital hygro reads 57.

    I reset the hygro before each test (removing battery), and have checked several sites for how to do the salt test & it seems I'm doing it right.  Is there a reason the hygro would read differently after each test?  Would the factory settings really be 12-18 points low?  I'd appreciate any help!  Thanks in advance!

    My first question would be ...how long have you been seasoning your Humi? If your humi is NOT yet stable then that could be the reason for your Hygro. to be acting so strangely. The humidity inside the container you are working with needs to be stable for your hygrometer to show accurate readings. This could be affected by room temperature, so placement of the container while checking for RH is critical.
    I am unclear after reading your post about whether you are using your Humi for this, and if you are... I would suggest using a Tupperware or similar container for the proper calibration of your hygrometer and NOT your Humi. Or at least if you are using a Humi to calibrate, you need to KNOW that the Humi is already properly seasoned and what RH it holds, or you are just guessing.
    Try calibrating your new Hygrometer first in a tupperware container and THEN once you know it is calibrated, put it into your New Humi. Trying to calibrate it in the Humi may be what is throwing off your readings. IMO
  • Thanks for all the advice; here's a few responses to your questions:

    1) I did all the tests for different lengths of time, but always for at least six hours and overnight twice (the Xikar instructions said 4 hours, which seemed short); so I do think you're right that the time differences might account for the different readings.

    2) The salt mixture was thick enough that when the bottle cap was turned upside down, it stayed in place (like a Dairy Queen blizzard commercial) and didn't drip any water out.  I'm fairly certain I did this part right (though I suppose I shouldn't underestimate my ineptitude here!).  Also, I did the test in a sealed ziploc bag each time, not the humi-- sorry if this part was unclear.

    3) The hygro simply sets to 75% when the calibration button is pushed, so the only way to correctly calibrate is to get it into a 75% environment.

    4) The humi has been seasoning for about a week with a charged humidifier (using a pre-mixed PG solution; I think 50/50 distilled water and PG) and a small dish of distilled water inside.  The hygro (which after four tries at the salt test is back in the humi) currently reads 81%, which I think might be near-accurate given the extra humidity from the dish of water-- but some of you probably know better how long it takes to season a new humi and whether a dish of water in addition to the humidifier would push the humidity up to 80% or so?

    At this point, I'm thinking I'll take the dish of water out of the humi, give it a few more days to season and then put the cigars in.  In the meantime, I'll order a Boveda calibration kit and try it on the hygro. Since everything is just set up, I'm guessing the humidity ought to be okay while I'm figuring out the hygro. If I'm still confused after the Boveda, I'll take the hygro back to the smoke shop where I bought it and ask them, which will give me an excuse to have them recommend a few more cigars also!

    Finally, thanks again for all the advice-- really helpful to a rookie like myself.  I'll definitely come back to you all when I have more questions (and follow your cigar recommendations on the other threads in the meanwhile!).
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