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Thread: Digital scale drift

  1. #1

    Digital scale drift

    I have a cheap Hornady digital scale that is iffy. I will be weighing powder and sometimes before I drop it on there it will read -.4 grains. So I rezero it and go but I don't really trust it and end up pulling out the old 505. Is it just because its cheap or are they all like this. Thanks
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  2. #2
    Boolit Master


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    I never owned a digital scale but I am wondering if you are using the protective plastic shield that comes with some if not all of the better scales. Most of these domes are designed so that they will go over the powder pan and they have a hole in the top and powder is insered thru the hole. Soulds like it may be getting a draft.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    I have been using their scale for a few years and haven't had any problems
    I read that one thing you should do is wait 15 mins to let it warm up before actually using it.

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  4. #4
    Boolit Master


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    One would think the electronics would stabilize before 15 minutes.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master hermans's Avatar
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    I have two digital scales, one is an RCBS and the other a cheaper model somewhere from China ordered on eBay.
    Both need about 20 minutes for the electronics to warm up and stabilize, after that they both are fine and measures accurately for long periods.
    The problem with the real "cheap" scales are that they are only battery operated and have "auto shut off" which prevents the electronics to warm up properly.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master

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    What do your check weights say? I have a PACT that I leave plugged in. It holds zero for weeks. Probably more, but I recalibrate it before every loading session and have never let it sit longer.
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  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    I have a couple digital scales that I use as a way to measure bullets and cases. They are +\- .2 of a grain. I use a quality balance scale for powder

  8. #8
    Boolit Master


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    Can you be more specific? Brand of the scales?

  9. #9
    Boolit Master


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    I was having the same issue with a lyman scale its frustrating as heck, now I let it warm up for awhile before using it and I read on here that any air movement will affect the scale. I did find some truth to that without my dehumidifier running (fan) my scale was not as varied as it was with it on. Just something that might help.
    "Yes or no will almost always suffice as the answer"

  10. #10
    Boolit Master


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    One needs to keep in mind that your trying for accuracy of .1 of a grain which means ANY air movement near the scale will affect the scale thus the plastic covers with the opening in the top that the better scales have.

  11. #11
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    A cheap battery powered scale is just that. Cheap. Good for weighing bullets. Maybe OK on rifle Rd where you have 5 to 7 grains of leaway and are loading at bottom end and blasting ammo.
    Personally I would Not use them for pistol ammo where .5 grains might have you in trouble. YMMV
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  12. #12
    Boolit Master


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    I'll probably be criticized for this but cheap and reloading don't go together. Buy good components period as your life could depend on it as well as the life of your prized rifles and pistols.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master jmorris's Avatar
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    Test it with the same charge, I don't mean the same volume thrown but the exact same number of kernels, just keep it in a separate pan/container.

    If the scale says something ways different than it did before something is wrong with it or you have air currents messing with it.

    Also so if you are just playing with them at weights lower than you would actually use them, some have self zeroing features that will move you away from your baseline. My oldest digital (Dillon) doesn't do this but the CM1500 will and it's not a feature I like.



    If I want 1 kernel resolution I would use my homemade auto tricker.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    Cheap digital scales are iffy I'm told florescent lights affect them too My Frankfort arsenal pocket scale will start to wander after using it a bit and they are no good for trickling .1 into Its a handy scale to have around weigh cases or bullets always nice to double check my setup on the balance beam

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by jonas302 View Post
    Cheap digital scales are iffy I'm told florescent lights affect them too My Frankfort arsenal pocket scale will start to wander after using it a bit and they are no good for trickling .1 into Its a handy scale to have around weigh cases or bullets always nice to double check my setup on the balance beam
    I have owned a cheap Frankford Arsenal digital scale for 4-5 years now that has worked flawless from day one. That being said i stil don't fully trust ANY digital scale, i ALWAYS check with my RCBS 10-10 Beam scale. I have a certified check weight that i check my digital scale with immediately after turning it on, i will use it periodically through out. I bought my digital scale to check bullet weights, archery tips, broadheads, and occasionally powder, but RARELY powder and if i do each load is checked on my beam Scale. You never know about an electronic devise

  16. #16
    Boolit Master
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    When I built my house I ran a dedicated wire to each room with red plug in cover for computer towers only. No surges on this breaker so I used it on my Pact scale-dispenser and still had drift. Old time gun crank told me to coil up my plug cord and lay a large magnet on it. I stoped drift by buying an RCBS 10-10.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master
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    At one point I was buying any and all digital scales marketed towards reloaders. I had a few Hornady scales in there. I threw almost all of them away. My overall conclusion was that if it didn't plug in it was garbage. Particularly if it had an auto off function. Just as the scale was warming up it would shut off. Most gave a different reading depending on where you placed the weight on the pan. Most did not recognize the weight until it was over a tenth of a grain. One of the cheap Hornadys was the worse offender.

    I should have done an actual study and written down my observations. Basically what I found was you get what you pay for. I currently have a PACT DPPS and an RCBS Chargemaster. I trust these two scales. Anytime I've checked a charge against my beams they all read the same.

  18. #18
    Boolit Master
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    I own a ballistic products digital and woks Fine.. The fact of not trusting The result Is always there. most Loader buy them because There Cheap.
    I went Back to my Old reliable Ohaus Model 314. The gentle swing Of the beam Until it Rest On 0
    Dump the digitals go back to Beam
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  19. #19
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by salpal48 View Post
    Dump the digitals go back to Beam
    There is no need to w/ the right digital scale. They are not all created equal.

  20. #20
    Boolit Master


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    I have a good beam scale for cross checking. The two digitals do 98% of the work.

    I could get by without the beam scale by using check weights but would never ditch the digitals.
    Don Verna

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