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Can a change in temperature affect a digital scale??

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traineo Guru
Posts: 2473
Member since
Feb 4, 2008
Posted: February 13, 2011
I guess the question is pretty much in the title.

The only reason I ask is because my house is older, so it gets pretty drafty in the winter. My scale is near a wall that points outside, so when I stand on it, it's pretty freakin cold. I didn't think anything of it until the other day my father-in-law was over, stood on it, and said it was waaay off from the reading he got at home earlier. Granted, it could have been a shift in water weight, change in clothes, his scale's off, yadda yadda...

What do you think? Could it being so cold affect it's accuracy? I'll probably store it in a warm place until my weigh in Thursday, to see if my results change drastically.
traineo Team
Posts: 5848
Member since
Jan 20, 2007
Posted: February 13, 2011
Interesting! ... most scales use a strain gauge that deforms as you step on it. The deformation makes the loop of the strain gauge longer and thinner and increases it's resistance.

So ... more resistance = bigger weight on there

Temperature increases the resistance of most conducting materials. Therefore increase in temperature will give an increase in resistance which will show up as a higher weight.

So ... in cold weather resistance decreases and I reckon if anything it would show a lower weight.

I'm putting the scales in the freezer before my next weigh in ... just for experimental purposes you understand.

*note* ... this is the equivalent of 'thinking out loud' so the above could be b@ll@kcs!

*note2* ... I'm sure the spec of the strain gauge is that it is accurate within a certain temperature range and unless you are weighing in in extreme temperatures (if Kathy weigh in outside and then inside) it will be compensated for in the design.

So my answer would be 'yes' in theory ... but 'no' in practice.
traineo Guru
Posts: 2473
Member since
Feb 4, 2008
Posted: February 13, 2011
So ... in cold weather resistance decreases and I reckon if anything it would show a lower weight.


Oh Mike, you always know what to say to make me feel better.
traineo Team
Posts: 5848
Member since
Jan 20, 2007
Posted: February 13, 2011
I'll get me coat!
traineo Team
Posts: 3214
Member since
Jan 22, 2009
Posted: February 13, 2011
LOL
Can't wait for the result of your experiment Mike!
traineo Team
Posts: 5848
Member since
Jan 20, 2007
Posted: February 13, 2011
The only thing is that I have to eat 6lb of meat to get the scales in there. I think that might just skew the results
traineo Guru
Posts: 2473
Member since
Feb 4, 2008
Posted: February 14, 2011
Yes, that may put a damper on your plans lol.
traineo Regular
Posts: 39
Member since
Feb 13, 2011
Posted: February 14, 2011
Get the scales from your father in law┬┤s house put them next to yours and check the results. That way you will know if it is the temperature or the scales.
traineo Guru
Posts: 2473
Member since
Feb 4, 2008
Posted: February 14, 2011
Alright, so, the temperature is about 20 degrees warmer than it has been, and it is now stating I am five pounds less than I was on Saturday. Hmmmm....
traineo Guru
Posts: 3010
Member since
Aug 12, 2010
Posted: February 14, 2011
Simple: Mike's theory is WRONG
traineo Guru
Posts: 3010
Member since
Aug 12, 2010
Posted: February 14, 2011
p.s. Just kidding of course....time for a new scale, Stina!
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