Mini-Lathe DRO Battery Life

The Mini-Lathe DROs eat a 390 alkaline coin cell a year, more or less:

Mini-Lathe DRO - battery life
Mini-Lathe DRO – battery life

The other DRO’s cell was 10 mV higher, so it might have survived another few weeks. I’ll call it a year, as the OEM cells failed half a year after I got the thing and these are the second set.

The last time I did this, I wedged a thin foam sheet below the display PCB to put a bit more pressure on the (+) contact tab sticking down from the middle of the plate:

Mini-Lathe DRO - battery compartment
Mini-Lathe DRO – battery compartment

The (-) contact is a pad on the PCB below the battery compartment. The glaring metal reflector is part of the curved cell retainer.

I still wish the DROs didn’t collide with the compound slide, but you can get used to anything if you do it long enough.


  1. #1 by Jason Doege on 2019-12-11 - 10:10

    Regarding your DRO collision post. Have you ever set your mini-lathe to 29°? I can’t on mine because the compound interferes with the cross-slide crank. If you had the same problem did you determine a fix?

    • #2 by Ed on 2019-12-11 - 13:16

      The bottom linkie shows my kvetch after finding the DRO mounts are incompatible with thread cutting: ya can’t get (even close) to 30° from here!

  2. #3 by Vedran on 2019-12-12 - 12:15

    Loose the mini-lathe and replace it with an Emco v7, Compact 8 or a V10. They seem to pop up on Craigslist and other classifieds in the US fairly regularly and are kind of affordable while still being a decent machine in a 100-200kg range. Similar to small benchtop models from South Bends, Craftsmen, etc, but a few generations younger and better integrated. In the US they have the added bonus of being used only by model engineers, hobby shops, small labs etc. so usually you can get them without much wear. Around here, they were mercilessly pressed into production roles and worn out as a result.
    As an option, V7 and V10 also have a reasonably capable vertical mill attachment, so you have two machines in one (if you don’t mind exchanging the compound with the vice when changing the roles).

    • #4 by Ed on 2019-12-13 - 09:25

      Oh, no, you don’t! You won’t tempt me into re-stocking the basement shop with Real Tools!

      I still walk over to where something used to be, wonder if it survived the great purge, then try to remember where it might be now. Never again!

      [very heavy sigh]

      • #5 by Vedran on 2019-12-13 - 10:20

        Sorry to bring out bad memories… I thought the impetus was weight/size of the machine, not it’s realness.

        I’m trying to go a different route. Current shop is too small to add any more Real Tools and a 3 tonne surface grinder just appeared for sale on the cheap, so I’m looking for a bigger space :)

        • #6 by Ed on 2019-12-13 - 11:03

          Makes perfect sense to me: you can’t let a good tool go to waste!

          Perhaps you can find a small house attached to a bigger shop …

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