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post #11 of 18 Old 12-29-2009
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more meter complications

I just re-typed the following from The Masthead - Journal of the Westlawn Instition of Marine Technology, December 2009 issue. Although there are a few things I mildly disagree with, it generally supports my position that a great deal of experience is required to use these meters effectively.
Note : The "CoreMat" referred to is a very commonly used glass fabric that looks like a very thick paper towel.

Know it All Contest Solution to the September 2009 Question
Wet Moisture Readings
By Dave Gerr, © 2009 Dave Gerr

The Know It All questions and correct answers are important design tips for students as well as other marine professionals. We suggest that you file them away for future reference.

The question from the September issue was :
It's early spring on a cool clear day. The weather has been dry for a couple of weeksand you are surveying Dancing Daisy, a 1992, 38 foot,cruising sailboat with a moderate fin keel. The hull, deck and cabinare all cored fiberglass except for the solid glass region at the centerline (in the keel and stem area). Dancing Daisy has been hauled out all winter and is well ventilated under an open shed.

You have taken moisture meter readings high on Dancing Daisy's topsides as a baseline and find that - in comparison - most of the deck and cabin top, as well as the hullbottom are reading wet (though not the cabin sides). There are no signs of water penetrationproblems. Are the meter readings an indication that these regions are suffering from water saturation or is there some other explanation ? If so, what is it ?

The correct Answer Is :

The answer is no. Though a number of "no" answers were submitted, the explanations were based on the presence of condensation which is not the likely cause. In fact condenstation on the hull surface shouldn't through readings too far off. The most likely explanation for the apparent wet readings is that the builderhas used a layer of CoreMat on the topsides and on the cabin sides where the smoothest possible surface with no print-thru was desired. (There are better ways to achieve this end but using CoreMat as a print blocker is common and acceptable.) CoreMat wasn't used on the deck or cabin top where print through is less of a concern. (The hull bottom is out of sight. The decks have non-skid as well as fittings which break up the surface so print through doesn't show as easily.)

CoreMat reads notably drier than standard glass so taking the baseline readings on the dry topsides is giving a poor reference in comparison with other laminate areas without CoreMat.

Dirt People Scare me

Last edited by boatpoker; 12-29-2009 at 08:21 AM. Reason: addition
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post #12 of 18 Old 01-16-2010 Thread Starter
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I thought I should circle back with an update. The General Tools meter was very disappointing. Horrible reproducibility and readings were so noisy that the audio feedback feature just made a constant clicking noise. I returned it immediately. Mainesail was right about it.
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post #13 of 18 Old 04-23-2011
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Sorry to wake the dead...but I've seen comments that most of the moisture meters, including the Electrophysics, are actually capacitance meters. Oddly enough I have a capacitance meter, and a multimeter with a capacitance scale. Both read in microFarads, the standard measure of capacitance.

Which leaves me to wonder, does anyone know how the readings from some of these moisture meters actually translate into real capacitance (mF) and would it then be practical to just use the c.meter as a moisture meter, correlating say x mF as "dry, xx as "damp", xxx as soaked ?

Anyone have both types of meter, to make a comparison with?
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post #14 of 18 Old 04-23-2011 Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
Sorry to wake the dead...but I've seen comments that most of the moisture meters, including the Electrophysics, are actually capacitance meters. Oddly enough I have a capacitance meter, and a multimeter with a capacitance scale. Both read in microFarads, the standard measure of capacitance.

Which leaves me to wonder, does anyone know how the readings from some of these moisture meters actually translate into real capacitance (mF) and would it then be practical to just use the c.meter as a moisture meter, correlating say x mF as "dry, xx as "damp", xxx as soaked ?

Anyone have both types of meter, to make a comparison with?
You are correct that all pinless moisture meters actually measure capacitance. So a moisture meter will read high moisture levels where there are backing place, ribs, stringers.

I played around with the cheapo General Tools meter listed above, and with a $50 Ryobi, along with a borrowed CT33. None of them correlate with each other particularly well, and I think the reason is that they all have different "depth perception" based on their sensitivity. The GT meter was totally useless - readings were noisy and irreproducible. The Ryobi could be a useful tool for finding the source of water intrusion via gradients of moisture. But it does not correlate well with the CT33, which is sort of the "gold standard" that all surveyors use.

Electronic stud finders work on the same principle. I've used mine occasionally to track down moisture locations.


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Quote:
Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
Sorry to wake the dead...but I've seen comments that most of the moisture meters, including the Electrophysics, are actually capacitance meters. Oddly enough I have a capacitance meter, and a multimeter with a capacitance scale. Both read in microFarads, the standard measure of capacitance.

Which leaves me to wonder, does anyone know how the readings from some of these moisture meters actually translate into real capacitance (mF) and would it then be practical to just use the c.meter as a moisture meter, correlating say x mF as "dry, xx as "damp", xxx as soaked ?

Anyone have both types of meter, to make a comparison with?
The DMM is not "pinless" so unless you want to drill holes all over your deck to get to the core, it won't work.
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post #16 of 18 Old 12-11-2012
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Re: Low Cost General Tools Moisture Meter?

It's been over a year since the CT33 was last recommended and I spotted this:
Electrophysics Model GRP200 Fiberglass Moisture Meter for $199.

Does anyone know if this is a better tool than the CT33 for the novice hoping to save on boat survey costs?

Thank you!

Last edited by Curly Furler; 12-11-2012 at 06:03 PM.
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Re: Low Cost General Tools Moisture Meter?

Apprently the CT33 is designed for wood and the GRP for glass-reinforced-plastic but you might want to ask the maker directly if the range they are measuring is the same.
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post #18 of 18 Old 12-11-2012
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Re: Low Cost General Tools Moisture Meter?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Curly Furler View Post
It's been over a year since the CT33 was last recommended and I was spotted this:
Electrophysics Model GRP200 Fiberglass Moisture Meter for $199.

Does anyone know if this is a better tool than the CT33 for the novice hoping to save on boat survey costs?

Thank you!

Personally I just prefer a needle/analog moisture meter to one with a digital scale. Perhaps just because I am used to it but I like to watch for changes on the needle vs. a digital read out.. The GRP200 also reads deeper, to 1.5", which you'll likely not need for a simply cursory check of a deck...

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