How to Zero-Set a Digital Handheld Refractometer

Zero-setting the Palm Abbe is both fun and easy! Well maybe I exaggerated about the fun part, but it is easy. This section is for general reference only and is not a replacement for the product instruction manual. Please completely read the instruction manual before using the instrument. If you have lost your manual, duplicate manuals are available from MISCO customer service, or you may download it HERE. Following these steps will help you maximize the precision and accuracy of your measurements.

apply sample to refractometer1. Apply Sample.

Open the evaporation cover on the front of the refractometer. Inspect the measuring surface to make sure that it is clean and dry and that there is no residue left over from a previous test. Place a few drops of water, preferably distilled water, on the measuring surface. Make sure that the water is evenly distributed and covers the entire measuring surface, and then close the evaporation cover.

wait for refractometer2. WAIT.

In order for the refractometer's temperature compensation to work properly, and to obtain the most accurate possible zero-set, the refractometer temperature, the water temperature, and the ambient temperature should all be in equilibrium. The relative thermal mass of the water is small when compared with the thermal mass of the refractometer so it will generally come to the temperature of the refractometer rather quickly, providing there is not a very large temperature difference.

refractometer press-go3. Power On.

If the Palm Abbe is not already on, then press and release the <GO> button to turn it on.



refractometer press-menu4. Select Zero-Set.

Press and release the <Menu> button until you see “Set Zero? – [GO] to Set” displayed on the LCD display and then press and release the <GO> button.


refractometer is ready5. Check Display. 

If the calibration was successful, the display will read "Ready." If the calibration was not successful, then the display will display an error message. Press and release the <GO> button to trigger a reading. In a few seconds a reading will be displayed on the LCD display using the default (last used) scale. The value displayed should be the value for water in that unit of measure. If the default scale does not have a water equivalent then you will receive a “SAMPLE OUT OF RANGE -” message.

clean refractometer well6. Clean Refractometer.

Clean and dry the refractometer measuring surface.

MISCO, Optical-Engine, and Palm Abbe are trademarks or registered trademarks in the U.S. and other countries.
Additional Training:
Digital Refractometer Care & Maintenance
The Heat Is On - Measuring Hot Fluids
How to Take a Reading with the Palm Abbe Digital Handheld Refractometer
How to Change a Digital Refractometer Battery
What Makes the Palm Abbe the BEST Digital Handheld Refractometer in the World?
Digital Refractometer Error Messages
The Art of the Chart – Charting Solution Concentrations Using a Refractometer
3 Digital Refractometer Secrets Even Your Mother Doesn’t Know

Build Your Own Refractometer

While we pride ourselves in having one of the largest selections of refractometers available, we recognize that every user is different and that there may not be a one-size-fits-all solution to your measurement needs. Build-Your-Own Refractometer allows you to design a custom refractometer to your exact specifications. Just select the desired number of scales, choose protection options, and then add accessories to your design - truly making it your own. When you're done you can choose to print a custom quote or place the order immediately! Give it a try! Of course, call us anytime for personalized service. 866-831-1999

Build Your Own Refractometer

Our Build-Your-Own Refractometer section allows you to design a custom refractometer to your exact specifications. First, select the measurement scales. Next, add options and then accessories to your design. Finally, you can print a custom quote or order immediately. TRY IT NOW!


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Contact MISCO

6275 Cochran Road, Solon OH 44139

Toll Free 866-831-1999

Phone 440-349-1500 

Fax 440-349-1511