How to Fix a Digital Scale? – The Ultimate Guide


Digital scales have a wide variety of applications, ranging from weighing large items to recipes in your kitchen. The scale reading has to be accurate. However, there are some variables like environmental conditions which affect the normal functioning of your digital scale and may cause a malfunction. Fortunately, with little effort and attention on your part, you can troubleshoot and fix most of these digital scale problems.

Common Errors of Digital Scale and How to Fix Them?

1. Unstable weight reading

There are times when the scale digits are flicking around as if the weight is moving around the weighing scale, even after zeroing your scale. Even worse, this problem might occur when you are halfway measuring your ingredients and you have to start all over again. Well, here is what you can do to fix this problem.

How do troubleshoot an unstable reading on your digital scale?

First, ensure that your digital scale is on an even or flat surface before weighing. An uneven surface causes the weight to shift during the weighing process. Also, check if the legs or grips beneath are set correctly, or if they are clean.

Secondly, check the battery, this problem could be a sign of a worn-out battery. Replace the battery and check if the problem persists. A low battery or a worn-out battery is one of the most probable causes of an unstable scale reading.

More importantly, check if the battery connectors have developed rust since most battery connectors are not waterproof. Follow this guide when cleaning your battery connector.

2. Inaccurate scale reading

You might not be aware that your scale is giving you inaccurate readings, and it could ruin your entire kitchen recipe, or even worse, it could result in an overdose of drugs in pharmaceutical labs. Here is how you should go about it;

How to fix an inaccurate scale reading

The golden rule is to place your scale on an even surface, and also, check the feet of your scale. There could be rust or debris, even worse, your scale could be moving around during the weighing process, in this case, you need to install small rubber grips on the scale’s feet to provide more grip. Also, make sure that they are set correctly, only if they are adjustable.

If you’ve exhausted the options above, and the problem persists, it might be best if you contact the manufacturer if the warranty covers a malfunction, or the store, if they have a return policy. Because it could be a sign of a faulty internal weighing mechanism. Alternatively, you can purchase a new digital scale.

3. The scales don’t switch on

When your digital scale won’t switch on, the most probable cause is a faulty battery or connector. Follow these instructions to troubleshoot this problem;

How to fix it?

Change or replace the battery and try switching it on, if the problem persists, you need to clean the battery connectors. Luckily, we came up with detailed DIY steps on how to clean your battery connectors.

Cleaning your battery connectors

The cleaning process is a walk in the park; make sure you have paper towels, a soft cloth or small brush, and undiluted white vinegar. Here is how to go about it;

  • Dip the small cloth or brush into the vinegar solution
  • Scrub the battery terminals and the connectors with the soft cloth
  • Using the paper towels, wipe them dry
  • Let them dry for 2 hours
  • Wipe again with a paper towel to make sure they are completely dry
  • Put the battery back and test to see if the problem persists

Another probable cause could be the power button itself, make sure it is in its original position. If the button is loose, then it could be the source of the problem. Also, try to access and press the reset button at the bottom of the digital scale, maybe it will help alleviate this problem.

If you’ve exhausted the options above with little or no success, it’s time you revisit your warranty or the return policy. If you voided your warranty, we advise you to buy a new digital scale.

4. Display malfunction

For no particular reason, the digital display can stop working or it displays digits that look similar to an 8 with borders. Also, the LCD could be discolored with digital smears, the symptoms could be countless.

How to fix a display malfunction?

The most probable cause is water damage, especially if you use your scale to measure liquids. If it spills on the digital scale, you need to switch it off immediately and remove the battery. In some models, the LCD won’t work altogether. Another thing, place your digital scale in a warm dry place, avoid placing it in direct sunlight as it would damage the liquid display screen. Experts recommend placing your digital scale inside a zip lock bag and adding some rice in it and then leaving it for 1-2 days depending on the water damage. Re-install the battery and attempt to switch it back on.

Another possible cause is that you exposed your digital scale to temperatures exceeding the normal operating temperature range. High temperatures damage the Liquid Crystal Display screen, in this case, there is nothing you can do about it, and you need to replace the digital display. Contact your manufacturer and see if they can replace the screen at a fee. Make sure you take note of the digital scale’s operating temperature range in the manual.

How to reset your scale?

If you see an “Er5” display on your screen or maybe the weights don’t appear altogether. You need to reset your scale using the instructions below;

  • Remove the batteries
  • Leave the scale for about 10 minutes after removing the batteries
  • Re-insert the batteries and confirm the polarity is good
  • Place your digital scale on a flat surface, and confirm the feet are clear of any dirt or rust particles
  • Press the center of the scale lightly
  • The digit “0.0” will appear on the display
  • Continue pressing till the weight appears or you hear a beep sound
  • Step off the scale and you’ll see a series of dashes in the display
  • The scale is now ready for measurement

N/B Use this method to correct only “ER5” errors on your digital scale.

Alternatively, you can adjust your digital scale using the following steps;

How to adjust a digital scale?

  • Remove the batteries and leave the scale for about 5 minutes
  • Re-insert the batteries, making sure they fit well in the compartment
  • Turn it on
  • Ensure your digital scale is on a flat surface, you can use a spirit level to ascertain the flatness of your weighing surface
  • Press the “Measurement” button till you see an arrow next to the “Metric” button on the LCD
  • If the screen doesn’t display a “0.0” reading, press the “Tare” button
  • Place a nickel on the weighing scale, the weight should be “0.0.5”. If it deviates from this reading, press the “Tare” button till it gives you the correct reading.
  • The scale is now adjusted and ready for use

Frequently Asked Questions

How do digital scales work?

Most digital scales use Strain Gauge Technology for unmatched reliability and accuracy. This technology uses specially designed transducer beams which could be hundreds in number when weighing any load. A group of transducer beams is referred to as a load cell. They bend according to the weight placed on the scale, and the bending results in a change of electrical resistance which is then converted by an AD Converter (Analog to Digital Converter) and relayed through the circuit board as data. The whole process happens almost instantly when weighing an object. Check out how a digital scale works for more information.

My digital scale reads “0.L.D” when weighing, what could be the problem?

L.D means that you’ve exceeded the maximum weight measurable by the digital scale. If you overload your digital scale, you might damage the load cells, which are structural elements that deform when weight is applied to them. In other words, load cells act like springs. Load cells have a maximum deformation range, and above these ranges, severe overload occurs which damages your scale permanently. It might result in a zero shift which gives you an incorrect reading. To protect your digital scale from overloading frequently, you may install a mechanical stop to prevent the load cells from deforming.

Equally important, most scales come with a weigh meter icon or the overload indicator icon which appears on the display when the maximum weighing limit approaches. You need to remove some of the objects on your scale when you see this icon to avoid overloading your digital scale.

My scale’s reading is stuck at zero even after I put something on it. What could be the cause?

The most probable cause is that the spring underneath the weighing balance is jammed or broken. We advise you to use an air compressor to try and dislodge anything that is stuck on the springs, before doing it; you need to check the manual.  Besides, it could be electronic problems in the circuit board, in this case, don’t try to open the digital scale. Take the scale to a professional to handle this problem. If this process doesn’t help, contact your seller to confirm your return policy or warranty coverage.

Final Verdict

Don’t give up on your scale when it gives you inaccurate measurements, some of these common errors can be fixed at home, without any technical know-how. Before buying a new digital scale or claiming your warranty, you need to exhaust all the options above as they will save you time and money. We hope this guide helps you fix and troubleshoot some of the common errors on a digital scale, and you may refer to our previous article titled, how to calibrate your digital scale to correct inaccurate measurements.  Plus we would love to hear from you if any of the above troubleshooting techniques worked, please let us know and good luck troubleshooting your digital scale.