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Long Island Indicator Service Inc

Precision Tool Repairs, Sales & Spare Parts







Mitutoyo Digimatic Caliper
Advanced Onsite Sensor Absolute Scale Digital Caliper


500-196-30 Digimatic Caliper

Genuine Mitutoyo "MyCal" Model 500-196-30 (new model)

The quality of workmanship and the advances in electronics can't be beat by this Mitutoyo Digimatic digital caliper made in Japan. If you're working in a digital environment, then this gage is highly recommended. Easy to use and easy to read even in unskilled hands.

Like other calipers, this one allows you to read outside dimensions, inside dimensions and depth dimensions up to the length of the calipers.

Mitutoyo has introduced a new line of Digimatic calipers. The new models have claims of increased resistance to grime, oil, water and otherwise sticky fingers. You should now be able to eat cotton candy and measure lug nut diameters at the same time.

Beware of fake Mitutoyo digimatic calipers. They are being sold for less then $100 on eBay and by some Amazon sellers and several other online sources. It would be prudent, if you really care for Mitutoyo quality, to purchase from an authorized Mitutoyo distributor. If you buy from Amazon, be sure it is "sold by" and not an unauthorized third party. If you aren't sure, you can always call Mitutoyo and they will direct you to a reputable distributor in your area.

If you don't care about the label, there is no need to spend any amount of money on a phony Mitutoyo. Just buy the generic Chinese calipers which will cost much less than an imitation "brand" name.

Take note of the Purchase Order Price, in case you are not permitted to place an online order and need to send us a PO.

* Prices are shown in US dollars. Internet pricing changes often. These prices are current to the best of our knowledge.



Model number

SPC output

Purchase Order Price

Internet Discount Price





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  • includes NIST traceable manufacturer's certificate of calibration
  • resolution .0005" (switchable to metric 0.01 mm)
  • accuracy: ±.001" per 6"
  • repeatability: .0005"
  • maximum response speed: unlimited
  • power: SR44 battery number 938882 see page 187 for ordering
  • battery life: 3.5 years under normal operation
  • does not have SPC output, see page 196 if that's what you want
  • detailed instructions included in multiple languages
  • add an optional depth base attachment ... see page 203

Note: obsolete Mitutoyo model 500-138 has been replaced by model 500-197-30 (above)


Installing the battery


The manufacturer includes a battery which must first be installed. Remove the battery cover (don't lose it!) and install the supplied battery with its positive side facing up. The manufacturer's battery may not have the full 3.5 years life expectancy. This might be because no one knows how long the batteries have been in storage. Mitutoyo is careful to point this out.

After installing the battery you will have to set the origin point on the calipers. If you don't, you're likely to see the "E" error display. Simply close the jaws and hold down the "origin" button for more than one second. The display will show 0.00 and you're ready to go.

The battery should be removed if the calipers will be in storage for more than 3 months. Replacement batteries and spare parts are available (see parts list on page 72).

Want to skip the batteries? Consider the solar-powered calipers shown on page 127.

Comparison measurement and absolute measurement


When the power is turned on, the digital calipers work just like normal dial calipers. When the jaws are closed, the reading is zero. Open the jaws and the display will give you the reading in .0005" graduations. Remember that the accuracy is only .001" so the display is somewhat misleading. Digital calipers are no more accurate than standard dial calipers.

You can set the zero at any point on the calipers in order to take comparison measurement. Open the jaws to the size you want, then press the yellow ABS button for less than a second. You'll see the letters INC displayed to tell you it's IN Comparison mode. (Get it?) To turn off the INC, you'll have to press the button for more than 2 seconds.

Setting Standard with 3" Length


What's likely to go wrong?


An arbitrary value, or the letter "E" will appear in the display if the calipers have not had the origin set. See instructions above.

"ErrC" is displayed and the display is flickering when the scale surface is contaminated. That means it's dirty or wet with water. Clean the scale, dry it and apply a small amount of thin oil (low viscosity) in order to repel any future water contamination.

"E" at the end of the reading, such as 2.501E, means you've moved the slider too quickly. However, the reading is still correct. (So why do they tell you this?) Slow down a little, next time. It can't hurt.

"E" if caliper is stationary. Same as ErrC.

One more thing: when the electronics fail, you can quite easily install a new reading assembly, although it will be a costly item. If you would rather not deal with it, you can always send them to us for servicing. We won't be able to help you if the jaws get out of alignment. Of course, there's a one-year warranty. Keep your sales receipt handy just in case they meet a premature demise. You can check page 189 for a list of spare parts.

For more tips on care, calibration and usage of the Mitutoyo Digimatic caliper refer to our general discussion of calipers on page 11.


Mitutoyo's product description


The Mitutoyo ABSOLUTE 500 series caliper with exclusive AOS sensor technology is a Digimatic caliper that is made of durable hardened stainless steel and uses Mitutoyo’s ABSOLUTE linear encoder technology, which allows you to “set and forget” the origin and measure in awkward or difficult locations. This series also utilizes the patented Advanced Onsite Sensor (AOS) offering improved measurement dependability by increasing resistance to harsh workshop conditions.

The New electromagnetic inductive (AOS) sensor has improved resistance to environmental conditions such as dirt, oil and water that can cause false readings. This new feature will improve quality control and productivity in your workplace.

This digital caliper has LCD readout and function control buttons on the caliper face, including Origin to set and retain the original measuring point, and Zero/ABS (Absolute Scale) to zero-set the LCD display. It uses the metric measuring system.

Although identical to dial and vernier calipers in its ability to make precise measurements, the digital caliper also has an LCD, which clearly shows values and increases reading reliability over the other types, and reflects all ABSOLUTE system activities. The Absolute Scale (ABS) function tracks the origin point you set, even after shutoff. Once on again, the caliper can immediately start measuring, without zero resetting or concern of over speed errors. The LCD can be "zeroed out" before making and comparing incremental measurements without having to subtract the first measurement from the second.

The calipers use the ABSOLUTE electrostatic capacitance linear encoder which helps prevent over speed errors. They measure outer diameter (OD), inner diameter (ID), depth, and step, where the butt end of the fixed jaw measures one end of a work piece before its upper/lower or inner/outer "steps" are measured. LCD Resolution is 0.01mm. Also included are origin-setting, zero-setting, and on/off automatic shutoff function buttons. A Digital LCD Data Reading Hold function is available with the optional Data Hold Unit (sold separately). An alarm alerts the user to low voltage and scale contamination and counting value composition errors. A rolling thumb wheel makes fine adjustments and a thumb screw locks the scale’s position. Response speed is unlimited. Each caliper includes, and is powered by, one SR44 silver oxide cell battery that lasts approximately 3.5 years with continuous normal use.

Calipers measure the distance between two opposing sides of an object. They make inside, outside, depth, or step measurements, according to their type. Calipers are commonly used in architecture, metalworking, mechanical engineering, and machining. The simplest calipers have two legs to mark the two points and require a ruler to take the measurement. More complex calipers use two sets of jaws instead of legs and have up to two graduated scales. Vernier, dial, and digital calipers give direct and accurate readings and are functionally identical, having a calibrated scale with a fixed jaw, and another jaw with a movable pointer that slides along the scale. The vernier caliper has a scale sliding parallel to the main scale for an additional, fractional reading to improve measurement precision. The dial caliper has a circular dial with a pointer on a toothed gear rack replacing the second vernier scale. As with the vernier, this second measurement is added to the reading from the main scale to obtain the result. The digital caliper takes a differential by zeroing the display at any point along the slide, with an LCD that displays a single value in English and/or metric units.

Mitutoyo manufactures precision measuring tools, metrology equipment, and systems. The company was founded in Tokyo in 1934 and formed Mitutoyo America Corporation in 1963, which is headquartered in Aurora, IL.

This product description is provided by Mitutoyo and is reproduced verbatim.


Questions about Mitutoyo Digimatic calipers?


Q: The digital display is no longer working correctly. Can I send the calipers to you for a repair estimate?

  • We no longer repair calipers of any kind but there is good news. It is very easy to replace the digital reading unit. All you need is a philips screw driver and a new unit. First, check our website for availability (old models will probably be obsolete) by going to page 189. Once you have the new reading unit, follow these instructions:
  • There are four screws that hold the reading unit in place, from behind. You will probably have to remove the sticker with all the model information that covers the back of the caliper. Use a razor blade and a little solvent to pry the sticker off (watch your fingers!). You may want to re-use it when you're done. A small Philips screw driver undoes the unit. Then you may have to remove the roller hook which is also held in place by another screw. Now the old unit just lifts off. After the new one is screwed in place, you'll want to put the battery and battery cover back on. You will need the old battery cover because new units don't include these. There may be enough sticky gum left on the label that you can just glue it back on. Otherwise, some two-sided tape, or a bit of silicon will do the trick (make sure that it is removable in case you need to make future repairs). You will probably be pleased as punch with your own efforts

Q: My digimatic caliper jaws attract metal filings. Is it okay to run these through a demagnetizer?

  • The jaws of digital calipers can become magnetized, for one reason or another, and will attract metal filings and chips. Not only do these grind away the flat and parallel jaws, they will also create reading errors if they are not carefully wiped away before measuring. Tests have shown that it is perfectly alright to put the jaws through a demagnetizer without causing harm to the digital components, although it would be a good idea to remove the battery first.

Q: I have an electronic caliper, Mitutoyo Model CD-8”CS, Code 500-197. There is a problem with the battery connection. I can put in a new battery, but get no display when I press the “power on” switch. The battery contacts are definitely making contact with the battery. Maybe you have come across this problem previously (if this particular caliper design has a repeating failure mode). In your experience, what should I expect to pay as a typical repair cost?

  • Since you have an obsolete model, and parts are unlikely to be available, I would just replace it with a new one (see top of page). By all means, buy another Mitutoyo since they are the most reliable. (Keep in mind that parts for digital gages will always become obsolete as new innovations come along. That's just one of the prices we have to pay for technological progress.)



Books by René Urs Meyer

The Companion Reference Book on Dial and Test Indicators … page 178
Repair Manual for Swiss-made BesTest and TesaTast Indicators … page 177
Starrett 711 Last Word Indicator Repair Manual … page 199
Interapid Indicator Repair Manual … page 208

Long Island Indicator Service Inc
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This page's most recent revision: 3 MAY 2016
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Original photographs and content copyright 2016 by JWGrum


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