Electronic scale tips to ensure accuracy

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by squeeeeze, Nov 4, 2018.

  1. squeeeeze

    squeeeeze Well-Known Member

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    Over the last year or two I’ve read bits and pieces about electronic scales failing and not trustworthy. I’ve never paid too much attention to it because I figured it was just old school vs. new school reloaders and which is the best. I have an RCBS Chargemaster 1500 combo and always thought everything was all good because I haven’t seen any dicreptancies.... that I’ve realized. I always calibrate before each use.

    Was loading the other night and moving some loaded ammo around when I noticed a lot less powder in a couple cases when I shook them. I pulled the bullets and was 13 grains short in one and another was 30 grains light, kind of worried me. Also had some overthrows when I started re-weighing all my loaded ammo and once in a while my scale never stopped, it kept climbing and climbing in grains till I removed the weight. I’m always careful to wait till it stops and make sure not even another kernel falls in.

    After I started reading some posts about issues I realized my e-scale had been drifting but didn’t even realize it because the Chargemaster would re-zero itself. So after that I’ve stopped reloading for now and have ordered an old Ohaus 10-10 beam scale (made in the USA), powder Trickler, Lyman 10 piece check weight set. From here out I’ll always double check my throws or throw light on the Chargemaster and trickle into the beam scale. I’ll also probably get in the near future a dandy Trickler and probably a gem pro 250 , 300, or 500 for more of a double or triple check. Would love to get an A&D Fxi model but can’t see myself being able to $ wise any time soon.

    I thought I was always careful to ensure the health and accuracy on mine. I don’t have a fluorescent light in the room, I make sure my ceiling fan is off and floor fan not point in direction of scale or breath on it, use a power surge protector, don’t bump desk, always calibrate before each session, and wait a few seconds after it throws.

    I’ve read a bunch of different things that people will do like turn it on an hour before use, a day before, or even just always leave it on, use an inline power filter, no magnets near, use a surge protector, use a power conditioner, no fluorescent light near, no fans, use a vibration reducing mat or piece of granite under scale, double check throws etc...

    I don’t want to turn this into a debate on e-scales vs. mechanical, just want to find out what everyones tips are. So my question is what do you all do that have and use electronic scales do to ensure their health and accuracy that have proven to work best for you?
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2018
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  2. Deputy819

    Deputy819 Well-Known Member

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    Aside from using LED lighting, line conditioners, eliminating breezes, etc, etc my Hornady Lock N Load scale will still drift slightly on occasion. When I notice it I just re-calibrate it and keep going. It will "agree" with my Redding model#2 beam scale enough so that I'm not too worried.....YET. I had a GemPro250 that recently started to drift by as much as .14 when placing the empty powder pan back on the scale after dumping a charge. The usual aforementioned methods of preventing that didn't work and it quickly got to the stage that linear calibration was ineffective. I don't use it anymore and "MyWeigh" has discontinued their production.
     
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  3. bob4

    bob4 Well-Known Member

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    All to many times I've had at least 3 maybe 4 electronic scales and they all drift. What I do to ensure their accuracy is simple. I quickly get close to desired weight with the electronic ( within a few 10ths) move my pan to my beam and finish. I'm not mass producing anything and the 2 or 3 seconds is well worth it.
    What always amazes me if the difference the beam picks up from time to time. On occasions let's say I get to 58.4 on the electronic and I want 58.6. Most times I have to add a bit. Been more times than I care to think about that once moving it to the beam it was over my target weight. That,my friends, is to much drift for me.
     
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  4. climb-101

    climb-101 Well-Known Member

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    try using a dryer sheet to get rid of the static. mine would drift and keep counting until i wooed it down with the dryer sheet
     
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  5. xsn10s

    xsn10s Well-Known Member

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    I think my PACT scale directions said to let the unit warm up 30 minutes before using. So that's my add to the suggestion. I also use a backup beam scale. Have the Lyman weights. Work in a windless room while keeping the temps stable and comfortable. And that's about it.
     
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  6. sedancowboy

    sedancowboy Well-Known Member

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    Bob has the only fool proof method and that was what I did. Use the Charge Master as a despenser and stop just short of the desired weight and finish with beam scale and trickler. I can not recommend the Gem Pro there are so many post on LRH about them drifting and being sent back to take up several pages. I would use the above method and save your money for the 120i and Auto Trickler. Trust me when I say it is truly an amazing machine. It took me years to save the money and get up the courage to spend it on a scale but after using it for a while I have no regrets.
    It will weigh 77 gr charges for my 28 Nosler in 8 seconds to the kernel.
     
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  7. predator 22

    predator 22 Well-Known Member

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    After much frustration and wasted time trying every thing under the sun. I figured out how to get rid of e-scale drift permanently....... you unplug the stupid thing and throw it in the trash.
    By the time you throw a charge, move it to a beam scale and weigh it again, trickle up to target, it will be just as fast to throw from a mechanical powder thrower put it on a beam scale and trickle up.
     
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  8. Barrelnut

    Barrelnut Well-Known Member

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    IMO this is more than electronic scale drift due to environment or process. Seems the Chargemaster has a problem. I would check about warranty or repair with RCBS. Good thing you have the other stuff on order.
     
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  9. antelopedundee

    antelopedundee Active Member

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    Regardless of which you use it's always a good idea to look into your cases to see if there's the same amount of powder in each BEFORE you seat your bullets. I bought a battery operated portable by Ballistic Products sometime back and it works great. Gives right on the gnat's butt results when I check it on my Bonanza "M" scale. Checked a few 130 grain Sierra bullets last night and all were pretty much right at 130.
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2018
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  10. johnnyk

    johnnyk Well-Known Member

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    I am scale technician by trade, so I see scales; all day, every day. I adjust them, calibrate and repair them, from the huge rail scales (400,000lb) to the micro-gram level Lab balances (.00001g). I absolutely prefer electronic over mechanical scales anytime.
    You seem to be aware of the normal culprits that cause inconsistencies in weighing masses (RFI, fluorescent lights, wayward breezes, etc.) but there are more subtle ones that people don't see. These we call "uncertainties" and they add up accumulatively. Hence the reason for tolerances.
    I'll list a couple to kind of get you thinking about what you're up against. First off let's start with the electronics. Where and by whom they were made makes a difference. Cheap electronics result in less than stellar results. Lab's can't afford less than perfect electronics. When I say "perfect" I mean absolutely accurate, consistent and repeatable throughout it's working range.
    Next, look at the human operating the scale. Does he/she know it's capabilities and limitation's? What class weight standard should be used to calibrate it? By the way, the copper and brass weights supplied with most non-industrial scales are not allowed by W&M, as they are porous.
    What class is the scale, IV, IIIL, III, II, I and what degree of accuracy can be expected from it? A scale must be calibrated with a weight of a higher class or you're spinning your wheels.
    Scales are like optics. Buy once, cry one.
     
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  11. squeeeeze

    squeeeeze Well-Known Member

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    Great tips and responses. Wish I would’ve realized all this a couple years ago, especially with load testing. Not sure where and when it went wrong, maybe all along?

    I did use a dryer sheet on my scale the other night. The time it kept climbing I had the power cord under the scale, read afterwards that could cause electrical interference with it. I had read the instructions and it said to stabilize for 30 minutes, didn’t realize it meant to turn and leave on but I do now so maybe part of the problem?

    I hadn’t read about issues with the gem pro, but will scratch that idea and maybe just set my sights on a A&D Fx-120i, with the auto thow and Trickler. It does look amazing but will always double check my charges from here out since I load for Precision.
     
  12. antelopedundee

    antelopedundee Active Member

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    If you turn it on and let it set a minute then add your calibration weight or a few bullets, does the reading drift at all during the warmup/stabilization time?
     
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  13. bob4

    bob4 Well-Known Member

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    Out of curiosity what scale do you use? Id have to admit one of the important things I do is throw a charge. Id like to know it's correct, or consistent/repeatable would be a better word here I believe. I have 2 beams, one was tuned by Scott Parker. Ironically I choose to use the other.:rolleyes:
     
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  14. squeeeeze

    squeeeeze Well-Known Member

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    Ok I just checked it. Turned it on for 1 minute then put a 180 grain bullet in pan. It weighed 180.1 and after 30 minutes it weighed 179.3 so it drifted .8 grains, pretty darn significant. After an hour it weighed 179 gr. So the drift was 1.1 grains.

    I’ll definitely let it warm up for a while from here out and get a wall thermometer while paying close attention to the temperature. I’m also going to get a Trip Lite isobar surge protector and a Fair Rite RC-2 ferrite choke as seen here for my Chargemaster https://www.oldwillknottscales.com/fair-rite-rct-2-ferrite-bead.html
    Hopefully tighten things up from here out, especially while double checking and trickling on the beam scale.
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2018