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Thread: Casting temperature keeps creeping up ???? why

  1. #1
    Boolit Master kens's Avatar
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    Casting temperature keeps creeping up ???? why

    I cast with the Lee Pro-4 drip o matic.
    When I start a session with a full pot, I have the dial up about 7 or 8, and cast just fine.
    As the lead level goes down, the temp goes up, I am constantly adjusting the temp down.
    At the end of a pot of lead, I am dialed down to about 3.
    Why is this?
    Is it my mold just getting hot at the end of the session?
    Is the lead really getting hot? (the temp is controlled, I can hear the heat element cycling off/on)
    Should I wait longer at the full pot before starting casting? (waiting for temps to stabilize)

  2. #2
    Boolit Master

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    Just how a Lee works, I guess. I have a few Lee pots and they all run hotter when lead level drops. I now run a PID.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master Ed_Shot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BK7saum View Post
    Just how a Lee works, I guess. I have a few Lee pots and they all run hotter when lead level drops. I now run a PID.
    +1.......a PID makes for happy casting.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    As the lead in your pot is depleted there is less to keep hot. You have it set for melting a full pot of alloy. When the alloy gets to, let's say, half of a pot you still have the same amount of heat going into it because of the way the thermostat works. Your melt temp will rise. Conversely, when the pot is low and you have adjusted the thermostat down to accommodate less lead, then add lead to the pot, you have to adjust the thermostat back up to reach temp with a full pot again. Constant adjusting of the original thermostat is required to keep the melt temp constant. A PID is your best friend in this instance. They will maintain a very accurate temp no matter the level of lead in the pot (within reason).

  5. #5
    Boolit Master

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    As an alternative to a PID you might change your casting routine by adding your sprues and rejects back into the pot to maintain the lead level. Maybe even add a smaller preheated ingot occasionally. The little cavity in a Lee ingot mold would be about the right size. A PID is nice to have, not trying to talk you out of one, just offering another idea.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master
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    It would just keep getting hotter if you were not using any out just the same. The temp dial on a Lee pot is not a good thermostat.
    Like others I just gave up and got a PID controller. Now temp control is easy.
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  7. #7
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    Simply said, the thermostat and heating element remains in the same position. As the alloy level decreases the interaction between the thermostat and element is changed. There are several work arounds like a PID, adding warmed ingots to keep the level constant, or adding the sprue and rejects back while still hot. Watch the reaction of the pilot light and pour when it is off after initial heating.
    None are the perfect answer but each will almost succeed. Even the newer PID controlled pots will exhibit the problem but to a lesser extent, only because of the closer temp tolerance.
    Last edited by mold maker; 03-03-2018 at 11:15 AM.
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  8. #8
    Boolit Master kens's Avatar
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    I been looking at the parts to build a PID, nearly $100 all in with shipping, plus I still have to put it all together.
    Is it better to just wait for the RCBS or Lyman furnace to go on sale at Midway, or other online supplier?

    What say you guys with the PID Lee bottom pour pot?

  9. #9
    Boolit Master


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    A PID controlled LEE pot would be an improvement, but wouldn't solve the other problem so many complain about. I personally have had drips from every brand I have. It is usually from dirty alloy trying to flow past the needle valve, no matter which pot.
    If you can afford a PID and a LEE, Your really not that far from one of the newer RCBS or Lyman offerings. Since RCBS is having the same delays that Lyman suffered, it means they are more likely to have a trouble free unit when made available. RCBS doesn't offer junk and has a warrenty as good as any.
    Without being a brand snob, I'd wait to compare both the new PID controlled offerings while saving my money. If in the end you decide on the LEE and PID, you'll have extra savings to spend elsewhere.
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  10. #10
    Boolit Master

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    There are a couple of members here that build and sell PID's for reasonable prices. Their pricing makes it seem like a labor of love, considering the prices of just the parts.

  11. #11
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    Check out Hatch here he makes a good professional built PID
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    I think you could also do a little better than a hundred dollars. They sell the parts as an already-assembled kit on that popular auction site. You just need to specify that you want a K-type probe and then put it in some sort of a box. But the parts are already gathered for you and wired up. Or you can just see what is inside one and get the parts yourself. I think you could have a working PID for $70-75 without a lot of trouble. I have a really small knowledge of electronics and I have built three for my uses. It doesn't cost much more to get a ready-made one such as Hatch sells though. I did buy my first one and then decided that they were so wonderful that I needed more of them and then built my own.
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  13. #13
    Boolit Master Oklahoma Rebel's Avatar
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    how do you install a ready made one, like you say hatch sells, is it just a matter of splicing a few wires, or more involved than that?
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  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    Most PID kits are just boxes that you plug the pot into and the box plugs into the wall. You will probably have to connect the T.C. though. Generally, no tools required. I built mine that way too so that I can change pots just by unplugging one and plugging the other.
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  15. #15
    Boolit Master

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    I built mine with a standard electrical outlet to plug the pot into. One outlet is hot (regular 110) and the other is regulated by the PID.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master kens's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mold maker View Post
    A PID controlled LEE pot would be an improvement, but wouldn't solve the other problem so many complain about. I personally have had drips from every brand I have. It is usually from dirty alloy trying to flow past the needle valve, no matter which pot.
    If you can afford a PID and a LEE, Your really not that far from one of the newer RCBS or Lyman offerings. Since RCBS is having the same delays that Lyman suffered, it means they are more likely to have a trouble free unit when made available. RCBS doesn't offer junk and has a warrenty as good as any.
    Without being a brand snob, I'd wait to compare both the new PID controlled offerings while saving my money. If in the end you decide on the LEE and PID, you'll have extra savings to spend elsewhere.
    You just answered another of my questions;
    What prevents a Lyman or RCBS from being a drip-o-matic as well??

  17. #17
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oklahoma Rebel View Post
    how do you install a ready made one, like you say hatch sells, is it just a matter of splicing a few wires, or more involved than that?
    I just got one of Hatch's units (very professional looking) for my 4-20. I haven't installed it yet but basically it's a matter of loosening one of the screws on the lip of the pot to install a loop of wire to hold the probe in the melt (Hatch advised making sure that, once mounted, the reading end of the probe does not touch the side wall or base of the pot to avoid false readings). Then the power cord of the pot goes into the receptacle on the PID, and the power cord of the PID goes to your shop's outlets. Pot temp dial set to maximum, set the PID and then rock and roll.

  18. #18
    Boolit Man
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    Quote Originally Posted by mold maker View Post
    Simply said, the thermostat and heating element remains in the same position. As the alloy level decreases the interaction between the thermostat and element is changed. There are several work arounds like a PID, adding warmed ingots to keep the level constant, or adding the sprue and rejects back while still hot. Watch the reaction of the pilot light and pour when it is off after initial heating.
    None are the perfect answer but each will almost succeed. Even the newer PID controlled pots will exhibit the problem but to a lesser extent, only because of the closer temp tolerance.
    my home build PID doesn't have this problem unless there is 1/2" lead at the bottom.

    Sent from my SM-G950U1 using Tapatalk

  19. #19
    Boolit Man
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    Quote Originally Posted by kens View Post
    I been looking at the parts to build a PID, nearly $100 all in with shipping, plus I still have to put it all together.
    Is it better to just wait for the RCBS or Lyman furnace to go on sale at Midway, or other online supplier?

    What say you guys with the PID Lee bottom pour pot?
    I build mine for about 30 - 35 bucks. You don't need to order your controller from expensive online company, I got mine from Ebay or Amazon. I also didn't use screw terminal although it will make job easier. Had it now for 2 years and when I bought NOE thermometer its spot on unlike popular youtubers had theirs 50+ degrees off.

    Sent from my SM-G950U1 using Tapatalk

  20. #20
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    Everything but a box, outlet, and a power cord. Maybe a switch if you want one... https://www.amazon.com/Inkbird-Tempe...words=PID&th=1 I would replace the thermocouple with a long probe style...

    Quote Originally Posted by kens View Post
    I been looking at the parts to build a PID, nearly $100 all in with shipping, plus I still have to put it all together.
    Is it better to just wait for the RCBS or Lyman furnace to go on sale at Midway, or other online supplier?

    What say you guys with the PID Lee bottom pour pot?

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