# why are non-digital weighing scales still heavily used across many professional sports, hospitals, etc?

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Does it have to do with accuracy?

In: 117

One way to make a scale is to create a balance between known weights and the thing you want to know the weight of.

Let’s say you want to know the weight of your stuffed rabbit. If you take a long pole and balance it perfectly on something, you can hang your stuffed rabbit on one end and a weight you know is 500 grams on the other end. If the pole stays balanced, the rabbit weighs exactly 500 grams.

You can buy sets of labeled weights that can be used to measure the weight of anything. And you can use some clever linkages to make a scale that’s a different shape, not just a long bar. The one at your doctor’s office probably uses a mechanism like that and works by sliding weights around on a bar until it balances.

This can be better than an electronic scale because they never need to be checked to see if they are still accurate. When you see a balance scale work, you know the two things you’re balancing weigh the same.

One way to make a scale is to create a balance between known weights and the thing you want to know the weight of.

Let’s say you want to know the weight of your stuffed rabbit. If you take a long pole and balance it perfectly on something, you can hang your stuffed rabbit on one end and a weight you know is 500 grams on the other end. If the pole stays balanced, the rabbit weighs exactly 500 grams.

You can buy sets of labeled weights that can be used to measure the weight of anything. And you can use some clever linkages to make a scale that’s a different shape, not just a long bar. The one at your doctor’s office probably uses a mechanism like that and works by sliding weights around on a bar until it balances.

This can be better than an electronic scale because they never need to be checked to see if they are still accurate. When you see a balance scale work, you know the two things you’re balancing weigh the same.

For professional sports, like boxing or MMA, it almost certainly for dramatic effect. It’s a lot cooler and builds anticipation as a boxer steps onto the scale before a bout and they have to slide weights across one by one and the final weight has to be positioned so carefully for beam to balance. If it’s just step up and an immediate digital read out, there’s no drama or showmanship.

For hospitals, usually there is an engineering group that standardize all of the equipment. They don’t replace things that last 10+ years just because there is new technology. And while accuracy is important, it for not need any more accuracy that the mechanical scales already offer. The scales need to be durable, reliable and repairable. Mechanical beam scales have proven this for decades, so what’s the advantage of replacing them.

For professional sports, like boxing or MMA, it almost certainly for dramatic effect. It’s a lot cooler and builds anticipation as a boxer steps onto the scale before a bout and they have to slide weights across one by one and the final weight has to be positioned so carefully for beam to balance. If it’s just step up and an immediate digital read out, there’s no drama or showmanship.

For hospitals, usually there is an engineering group that standardize all of the equipment. They don’t replace things that last 10+ years just because there is new technology. And while accuracy is important, it for not need any more accuracy that the mechanical scales already offer. The scales need to be durable, reliable and repairable. Mechanical beam scales have proven this for decades, so what’s the advantage of replacing them.

Mechanical scales are super reliable. If an electronic scale is off, you just get a number and no obvious reason why it’s not working. If a mechanical one is off, you can see almost all the parts, it becomes a bit more obvious if there’s a problem. Also no battery issues etc.

Mechanical scales are super reliable. If an electronic scale is off, you just get a number and no obvious reason why it’s not working. If a mechanical one is off, you can see almost all the parts, it becomes a bit more obvious if there’s a problem. Also no battery issues etc.

A balance beam scale is completely accurate, once initially calibrated, since it is based on the lengths of the arms. Electronic scales use transducers and chips.

It’s simple, and easy, and accurate to use a balance beam.

Balances are simple, durable and easy to fix. I’ve got an Ohaus balance from the late 1920s that I picked up on eBay for next to nothing because it wasn’t working.

It was dirty and rusty, but otherwise fine–was able to get it working perfectly with some cleaning, oiling, and gentle sanding.

Out of curiosity, I did a comparison with a calibrated digital lab scale at my school. Using a balance takes a *little* bit of skill and it’s slower, but until you get down to very small weights, it is every bit as accurate.

A balance beam scale is completely accurate, once initially calibrated, since it is based on the lengths of the arms. Electronic scales use transducers and chips.

It’s simple, and easy, and accurate to use a balance beam.