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Thread: Magma Engineering digital controller for Master Caster. Opinions?

  1. #1
    Boolit Mold
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    Magma Engineering digital controller for Master Caster. Opinions?

    Any opinions out there by individuals that purchased the digital controller for Magma Engineering's Master Caster? The thermostat on my Master Caster just died and I was thinking of upgrading to the digital controller.

    Is there any competing designs available for digital controller?

  2. #2
    Boolit Man
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    About 6 hours ago, I dropped mine off at Magma for install of the digital controller. The temp control, large display--and uniquely--internalized probe were factors

    in your case, maybe you could save $75 and more critically, shipping if you can weld, as well as wire the pot. If you've seen my recent posts , you'll know I had to rely on an expert.

    Im not sure if the mechanics behind the digital controller, or, PID differ. I'm sure others who frequent this forum will now. If you scroll through this forum, or the parent Casting Equipment forum, you'll see how others integrated a non Magma unit.

    For what it's worth, the guys and gals at a Magma are a great bunch. They come across as very everyday folk without any sort of pretention. It is definitely a company that you want to support
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    Last edited by chloe123; 09-17-2014 at 03:07 AM.

  3. #3
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    HATCH's Avatar
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    you can do it yourself

    On the side of the pot near the bottom under the heat shield and insulation is 2 holes. I believe they are threaded 10/32

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    I bought something like this -> http://www.ebay.com/itm/CHT-K-type-T...item3395011f7f
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    Get one that is rated for over 430 degrees C (800F)
    The one in the above link is rated for up to 1800F !!!
    I have had my pot to 800F. Maybe I should see when its full of lead how hot it can get? No need to test that. 800F is has hot as I need to go.


    Then build something like this



    I used a T92 style relay to do the switching. Its rated for 30 amps. I would suggest that you use a SSR. The above PID was used on my Lee 4-20 pot. I use it for pure lead mostly now days. It doesn't get tons of use.

    The only other thing you need to do is when you have your pot all apart, you should remove or bypass the factory thermostat and connect the wires together.
    You could just crank the temp up all the way but there may be a problem if the factory thermostat doesn't all the pot to get high enough.
    You want the pot to be able to get to 800F.
    I cast at 750F for most of my boolits.
    When I am casting HP's I crank up the heat to 800F as thats the only temp that gives me good fillout with my alloy.
    Don't like being hammered by the Cast Boolits Staff, then don't be a nail.
    The rules are simple to follow.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    You can build a PID for a lot less than Magma charges.

  5. #5
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    Agreed.
    Don't like being hammered by the Cast Boolits Staff, then don't be a nail.
    The rules are simple to follow.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master
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    I drilled and tapped a hole into the base of mine near the heaters. Works very well for me, there is a bit of fluctuation that you can't avoid as the heat soaks through the base, but the lead never freezes on me.

    I agree that if you have the gear and know how, you can do it far cheaper than magma. I was lucky enough to have spare high temperature insulation on hand to fix up any bits i damaged while doing the modification.

  7. #7
    Boolit Man
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    Not sure if the OP got bored with the thread but I just got the MC back (1 week)

    A comment first. I trust Magma. On a previous occasion, Eric and some of his technicians took time out of their schedule to talk about their products when it didn't necessarily involve me purchasing anything. They graciously gave me a tour of their plant and permitted me to snap a few pics without hesitation

    When I dropped of my master caster for the temp controller upgrade, Eric stated he'd take care of the temperature issues I was experiencing with my Star Sizer, while also replacing the plastic assembly that allowed the air pressure graduations(it basically was not permitting adjustment when in the "up" position")

    I got the call that it was ready for pick up. Barry took the liberty to make some adjustments. He adjusted and greased the mold guide rods, cleaned the pot, replaced a cotter pin, added a fresh Master Caster sticker, as well as detailing how he accurized the newly installed digital temperature controller.

    There wasn't an added service or parts fee for the extras. Just the price of the controller and the handle. That kind of service cannot be expected.

    As far as I can tell, Magma is not a big company. They're local like Dillon Precision but they're niche so they don't have the kind of broad reloading clientele Dillon has.

    However, in my opinion, from a service and quality standpoint they stand out. Its the kind of company I want to support, even if cash is tight. And, their business ethic should be appreciated

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    Last edited by chloe123; 09-21-2014 at 04:12 PM.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    That sort of service is rare these days.

    They build great gear, shame their production runs take so long, but people are happy to wait.

  9. #9
    Boolit Man
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    Their, low, inventory of molds was pretty shocking. Though I knew gas check designs are limited, they were also out of the 357 design. He said they had a hard time keeping them in stock due primarily to bullet master sales. Their prices on molds are oddly low, especially as several of the parts--e.g., the alignment pins, are hardened. It's one of the risks if you go to a competitor. The bullet master as a true commercial machine requires a durable mold. That benefits owners of the master caster as they use the same design

  10. #10
    Boolit Mold
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    Thanks to all for the input and comments on my question. I think I will look into maybe building a PID controller but the simplicity of ordering the Magam controller and installing is attractive as well
    .

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    The thing with a PID for a magma or any other pot is you don't need to install it permanently.

    I didn't come up with this idea, but others have hooked up a PID to the mains cable to the pot, leave the integrated thermostat set, but a bit higher than the PID is set to. This way IF the pid was to fail for some unknown reason, the internal thermostat on the pot would cut the power.

  12. #12
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    I bypassed mine because I didn't want any limits. If it fails it will fail off.
    Plus I don't do this for commercial casting so its not critical if it doesn't work
    Don't like being hammered by the Cast Boolits Staff, then don't be a nail.
    The rules are simple to follow.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master
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    My PID is wired direct too, only because the factory thermostat rusted up, so it was useless to me that way.

  14. #14
    Boolit Mold
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    Chloe123, What is your opinion of the Magma controller to date?

    Best regards, Nick

  15. #15
    Boolit Man
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    Eh, for the most part, Hatch said to go digital. He thought it'd be a smart upgrade for one considering automation

    Knowing, with immediacy, the right and wrong temperature for a range of bullets is important. Though the dial of the MC was always accurate with respect to the lyman thermometer I had in the pot. You just have the delay. It's kind of like comparing a balance beam scale with a digital scale.

    I haven't had as much free time within the last few weeks but Barry (see the Magma factory photo's above) calibrated it at 700, he said. I can tell you there are a few large boolits that need about 800 deg and the Magma didn't deviate more than 5 degrees below that before turning back on, to that set temp. For fun, I turned it to "11"...850. I'm pretty sure it cooled no less than 842 before cycling to 850.

    IMO, it's well built. It's a clean design with the internal wiring. Not sure if I mentioned on this thread, but Barry freshened the Magma sticker, adjusted the mold guide rods for additional tension, and cleaned out the pot. The cost for that install and extra service was about $50.

    I'm in Arizona so it's just an hour some drive round trip. In the event you're not, shipping will bite. Though I think the digital upgrade is a more sensible upgrade for a new MC buyer as opposed to a retrofit. You gotta trust me when I tell you that they're the kind of company you want to support. When you interact with them you just know. As much as a Dillon is a great company, I can't imagine them allowing me to roam around the place and shoot the breeze about their products like Magma does.

    Forgot to ask, have you considered just getting another manual Magma thermostat?

  16. #16
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    What I look at is being able to produce high quality boolits every time.

    The automated casting machine (Wyman/hatch design) is a fairly repeatable setup. Meaning that if you cast perfect boolits one day then the next day you shouldn't have to do anything but turn the machine on, let lead melt and hit the run button.

    Timers are fixed values so unless you have drastic ambient temp changes you shouldn't have any issues.

    Problems people run into with the quality of their boolits is that a lot of people use wheel weights and don't know the exact alloy. So boolits cast from a batch of ingots from last year might not be the same as ones cast from ingots done yesterday.
    This is the same as casting without a PID. Temps vary too much so the amount of time needed to cool the lead in the mold or even cool the mold itself will vary.
    I try to take as much of the variables out.
    So by using a known alloy (foundry lead), PID controlled temp, and PLC controlled timing I should be able to reproduce the same quality boolits time after time.
    Don't like being hammered by the Cast Boolits Staff, then don't be a nail.
    The rules are simple to follow.

  17. #17
    Boolit Mold
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    Chloe123, Thanks for your input regarding the Magma controller. I'm fairly particular about my casting and inconstant temperature are a pet peeve for me. Case in point, I recorded the dial setting versus the actual temperature taken with a digital thermometer and have experienced inconstant temperatures from time to time. I considered buying a replacement manual controller but for $50 bucks each I figured I would upgrade to the digital.

    Hatch,
    Thanks for your insight. Like you, I try to cast as high a quality bullet as possible and only use foundry alloy in my Master Caster. For consistency I typically buy in 750-1000 pound batches from the foundry. I work in the tech field and process control has been beaten into me.

    Thanks to all, Nick

  18. #18
    Boolit Man Dusty Ed's Avatar
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    To Hatch or anyone else who tell me how to Program the Magma Engineering Master Caster PID.
    I posted on here a few weeks ago an Hatch Directed me in right direction to get the proper thermo couple < I have it all hooked up but I Don't know how to program the PID.
    Thanks

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check