How To Troubleshoot And Fix A Digital Scale

Many individuals prefer a digital bathroom scale over the old-fashioned analog or needle variety. For one thing, digital scales offer enhanced accuracy in readings. They also generally provide greater precision in readings. Both user behavior and environmental conditions can affect your scale's accuracy and performance. Fortunately, with a little attention and effort, it's possible to troubleshoot and even fix many of the most common problems.

Girl and weight loss
credit: vadimguzhva/iStock/GettyImages
How To Troubleshoot And Fix A Digital Scale

Reset and Test

Your first step should be to reset your scale. Look for a knob, slide or some other way to adjust the weight display. If one exists, turn it until the scale reads zero.

If not, your scale may feature a special code to reset it to factory conditions. For example, some models require stepping on a specific corner two or three times to clear all digital codes and return the scale to zero. You can check this information in your scale's user manual.

Once the scale is successfully set to zero, test the scale's accuracy with an object of a known weight. Something like a 10-pound free weight is ideal and should let you know immediately whether the scale is measuring and displaying weight accurately. If so, the scale should also reflect heavier weights accurately as well.

Verify Your Scale Is on a Level Surface

If that doesn't work, check to make sure your scale is set on a level surface.

You can use a small round object, such as a ball or marble, to quickly check this. Simply remove the scale, place the marble or small ball on the floor, steady it, then remove your hand. If the ball begins to roll, your floor is probably slanted. Alternatively, if you have access to a construction level, place it on the floor.

In either case, if your floor appears not to be level, try relocating the scale to a more even surface elsewhere in your home.

If that doesn't work, visually examine the "feet" on the bottom of your scale. These are usually four rubber pads positioned in each corner on the underside of the scale. Clean off anything stuck on one that might throw off balance.

Calibrate the Scale

You may need to calibrate your digital scale every few months or so, depending on use. If it's been awhile since you calibrated your scale, that may be the cause of the issue.

First, put the scale in calibration mode. There may be a specific button or sequence to press to put the scale in this mode. Consult the manufacturer guide for this if it's not immediately clear. If you no longer have the user manual, search the web for the manufacturer name and model number plus the phrase "user manual" (or "user guide").

Once the scale is in calibration mode, place an item of known weight on the scale. Free weight dumbbells are good choices for this purpose. The scale should measure the known weight fairly quickly, within a few seconds. Then, press the calibration button to end the procedure. Depending on the manufacturer and model, the scale may signal the end of the test by displaying a code, such as "End," "Cal" or "0."

Check the Batteries

Battery problems are often the cause behind digital scale display and function issues.

Carefully open the battery compartment and remove the batteries. Use a small, clean paintbrush or cotton swab to sweep the compartment free of dust or debris that might interfere with the battery connection. If that doesn't solve the problem, try replacing the batteries with fresh ones.

Check the LCD Panel

If your scale displays a partial reading in the LCD view panel, a loose connection may be to blame. Try pressing gently on the display area from the outside first.

If that does not correct the problem, try removing the bottom plate from your scale as well as the batteries from the battery compartment. If you can visually identify a loose connection to that display area, and can reach the area easily, try resecuring it.

If not, you may need to send it back to the manufacturer for repair under your warranty.