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Excessive power levels may void warranty; scout carefully.

Someone has a meter that breaks down or explodes when the readings are too high for it to handle. No, it's not when it's measuring something that could reasonably destroy the scale, like measuring greater extreme heat than the scale can withstand. It's when the extreme amount of the readings themselves cause the destruction. Chalk it up to Rule of Cool or Rule of Funny.

A combination Sub-Trope of both Readings Are Off the Scale and Explosive Instrumentation.

Compare Awesomeness Is Volatile.

Examples of Readings Blew Up the Scale include:

Anime and Manga

  • Dragon Ball - if scouters aren't getting broken, they're blowing up while their owners are still wearing them. No wonder they got phased out of the series.
    • After Bulma jury-rigged Raditz's scouter, Goku's Dangerous Forbidden Technique made it explode from across the planet.
    • Vegeta's power level in the Namek arc broke at least two scouters—the first time, Zarbon's scouter blew up when he killed Cui, and Frieza's new scouter exploded when Vegeta proved he could actually go toe-to-toe with him (at least until Frieza transformed).
    • A filler scene later on showed that SSJ Goku and final-form Frieza could blow up computers in different solar systems.
  • In Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, the title mech literally eating a Big Bang safely spoon-fed by Lordgenome causes the power gauge to shatter and then keep going outside the monitor.

Comic Books

  • In Joe Bar Team, the main characters destroy numerous radar speed gun radars with their motorbikes using this very trope.


  • Seen a fair few times in the Troperiffic Discworld series.
    • In Moving Pictures, a resograph (a device designed to measure changes in the nature of reality) starts going haywire thanks to the influence of the filmmakers in Holy Wood. Eventually, the showing of an Epic Movie about the Ankh-Morpork Civil War causes a rift in reality big enough to allow a Thing from the Dungeon Dimensions to escape onto the Discworld, which makes the resograph explode violently.
    • In The Last Continent, Ponder Stibbons' magic-measuring thaumometer melts when the magic field used to create the Last Continent exceeds its limit of one million thaums.
  • In Children of the Lens, the last physical battle of the series involves a faster-than-light planet hitting a star.

Finally it happened. What happened? Even after the fact none of the observers knew. The fuses of all the recorder and analyzer circuits blew at once. Needles jumped instantly to maximum and wrapped themselves around their stops. Charts and ultraphotographic films showed only straight or curved lines running from the origin to and through the limits in zero time.


Live Action Television

  • The Goodies. In one episode the temperature gets so high that a thermometer ends up blowing its top and squirting fluid in someone's face.

Newspaper Comics


Dad: How fast are we going?
Calvin: Can't say. We broke the speedometer.

  • In a Peanuts strip, Snoopy added the number of pizzas he and Woodstock ate before midnight to the number of pizzas they ate after midnight. The result blew Snoopy's pocket calculator.

Video Games

  • The opening trailer of Tekken Tag Tournament 2 shows Lili watching a tournament fight with her hi-class viewing glasses. She then notices Jun Kazama near the exit and tries to zoom in on her, only for Lili's glasses to explode (minor one).

Web Comics

  • Kanaya in Homestuck develops the "snarky horseshitometer" to gauge the success of her trolling campaign on Rose. After watching Rose blow up a portal, something Kanaya didn't think was sane even if she suspected it were possible, the horseshitometer tilts so hard in Rose's favor that it self-destructs.

The FLIGHTY BROADS AND THEIR SNARKY HORSESHITOMETER explodes. It simply cannot take this much horseshit.


Ennesby: Their psych profiles are squeaky-clean, and their screening is tight. They'll lay down their lives before they'll take anyone else's.
Elf: I guess they'd screen me right out if I applied.
Ennesby: And if Sergeant Schlock applied, their screening comittee would spontaneously combust.


Web Original

  • On FSTDT a common response to an ironic statement made by one of the fundies whose statements have been quoted is that it has "destroyed my irony meter."
    • This originated on the Usenet group alt.atheism, back in the 1990s: an irony meter was never mentioned except in the context of its (usually spectacular) failure:

"Every irony meter on the planet just exploded."
"My irony meter has melted a hole in the ground and is putting up plumes of radioactive fallout."
"I spent extra to get a heavy duty, auto-ranging industrial irony meter, with the 4th generation titanium filter and laser readout and everything, less than a year ago. Pfft, it's toast. First time I've had to use a fire extinguisher of a piece of smoking electronics."
"OK, Mark, you now owe me a new Myth 6 (model 66) Irony-O-Meter. It was not even a week old and it blew up like Krakatoa."


Western Animation

  • An old episode of My Little Pony featured a band talent show with a scale that measured how good the performance was. When the heroes performed their song, the scale hit the roof and blew up.
  • On Phineas and Ferb, Phineas was trying to track a cute little alien, so he built a cute-meter. Later he mentioned that he filtered Isabella's cuteness and when he turned the safety off, the cute-meter blew up.
  • Professor Frink on The Simpsons invented a sarcasm detector, which of course exploded in the presence of overwhelming sarcasm.
    • In another episode, Homer is being interrogated by Agent Scully while hooked up to a lie detector. He didn't understand.

Real Life

  • Try and measure the voltage across your car's battery - while leaving your meter connected for measuring current. It will not last long. The same, of course, applies to using the same multimeter to measure a voltage far beyond what it is rated for - like that output by a simple doorbell transformer that has been connected in reverse. The results of this mistake can often be interesting.