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Thread: Digital scales, opinions?

  1. #21
    Boolit Master

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    Air currents, external vibrations, static electricity, electric frequencies from florescent lights and other things can all effect a digital scales. Air flow and vibrations will also affect a beam scales. Another that can and does affect both are magnetic currents or fields. My scales went ( both styles) went weird occasionally until I realized they were setting in the draft from a register for the heat and air conditioning.

    A good stable solid surface, on the digitals a anti vibration pad, I use a leveling pad with 3 feet under the scales for a no rock level surface. Under my gem pro is the anti vibration pad that came with it. deflector on registers in the room, to reduce redirect air currents.

    Last as with any precision insterment is to check zero and calibration before use. A set of check weights goes a long ways to knowing what you have and what its doing. I also check at the weight I'm going to be weighing or as close to it as possible. A 50 grn, 10 grn and 5 grn make a 65 grn weight. I can normally get with in .5 grns of the desired weight. ( ive been going to make a set of 1.1-1.5 grn weights to make exact easier.

    Keep the scales clean and dust free and clean. Ive corrected several scales that were giving issues simply with canned air and a good cleaning.

  2. #22
    Boolit Master
    Chev. William's Avatar
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    ALL Digital scales have Accuracy, Resolution, Drift, Power Supply Voltage, and Temperature sensitivity due to their inherent designs.
    There is also the digital Conversion 'counts' accuracy to contend with.
    How many Counts are provided for their 'analog to digital' conversions?
    Very Cheap ones have either 256 or 512 counts for their full Measuring range.
    The Inexpensive ones may have 2048 or 4096, and sometimes more, counts for their Measuring range.
    Expensive ones may have 65536 counts for Full range of measurement.
    Now, how is that count range applied to their measurement capacity?
    practically, there has to be some "offset" designed into the system to allow for 'negative drift range'. so the total counts are reduced by that 'offset' before even being allocated to the measurement of a weight.

    Temperature Drift, Power Supply Voltage Drift are somewhat interrelated but are typically stated as so many counts per Degree or per Volt Change.

    Things to consider,
    Chev. William

  3. #23
    Boolit Master


    HangFireW8's Avatar
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    I agree with all of the above. I can affect the digital with air. But I don't.

    Just pointing out my balance scale (any one of them) and my digital, side by side, the digital will drift while the balance stays still. Balance is +/- 1/10 grain while the digital is (supposedly) +/- 2/10. But it's a cheap scale, so I have adjusted my expectations.

    Next time I get out my marble layout block, I'll put the block on rubber foam pads and I'll try the digital on top of that. I bet it'll still drift, but who knows?
    I give loading advice based on my actual results in factory rifles with standard chambers, twist rates and basic accurizing.
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  4. #24
    Boolit Buddy
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    I've been using a little Frankford Arsenal scale for several years. NOT for precise powder measuring as it drifts +/-0.3 gr. But it is very inexpensive and plenty good enough to measure for case weight, bullet weight, light charged cartridges, and getting into the neighborhood for powder when setting up the powder measures. I still rely on an old RCBS 1010 balance scale for final setting of the powder measure. I think you either go cheap for a scale like this for these purposes, or go expensive for a very reliable electronic charging scale.

  5. #25
    Boolit Master






    Lloyd Smale's Avatar
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    Ive got florescent lights in the loading room and a window ac unit and ive never seen them effect my digital scales. Only problem ive ever had with them is vibration from tumblers or even running a press. Just move the tumblers to another location and for the most part I'm not weighting powder the same time I'm pulling the press handle. Might not be the case with cheap digital scales. That said I'm not buying a cheap digital scale any sooner then I'm buying one of those plastic lee beam scales.
    Soldier of God, sixgun junky, Retired electrical lineman. My office was a 100 feet in the air, closer to God the better

  6. #26
    Boolit Master
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    As long as the window air flow is away from the scale there shouldn't be a problem. Same is true of any drafts. I would put a known weight on the scale and see if it varies with the window air conditioner on or just walking past it.

  7. #27
    Boolit Master mtnman31's Avatar
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    I've got a first generation RCBS electronic powder scale and dispenser. They do okay. The dispenser can take a while when dropping large charges. The scale seems to be accurate but sometimes it'll bounce back/forth a tenth of a grain before settling. I patiently wait on it, thinking to myself, "Is it really 29.5 or 29.6? Is it 29.6 and you're just telling me 29.5?" I just have to remind myself that I am reloading a low pressure load and a tenth of a grain it isn't going to make a difference I can see on paper. Now, if I was shooting benchrest or F-Class, I'd definitely be worried about that tenth of a grain.

    I'd like to get a lab grade scale, like one of these. https://cambridgeenviro.com/products...scales-fx-120i
    That said, they are extremely expensive and I don't see that purchase taking place anytime soon. Some of the lab grade scales are sensitive enough to measure an individual grain of powder. Do I need that level of accuracy/precision? Probably not. Most shooters do perfectly fine with the level of accuracy provided by the scales available from the major reloading companies. But still, it would be nice.

    For any digital scale to work well, you need to have them on a solid, level surface. They also need a little time to warm up and stabilize when they are first turned on. I keep my scale on a table separate from my press and whatever else I am doing. The scale is basically on a table by itself when it is being used. My sister in law has a chunk of granite left over from a countertop install that she offered me. I need to go pick it up and I plan to set my scale on top of that. My biggest problem is that I work in my unheated garage. In the winter temperatures dip down into the low 40's and even though I can work in that, I wouldn't trust the scale operating at that temperature.

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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