RotoMetals2StainLess Steel MediaWidenersRepackbox
Graf & SonsInline Fabrication

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 21

Thread: Faulty Lee pot?

  1. #1
    Boolit Bub Dunkem's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Location
    SE Idaho
    Posts
    37

    Faulty Lee pot?

    So I'm pretty new to the casting world so forgive me if this has already been covered. I bought my first melting pot, a Lee production pot IV, and finally got to try it out the other day. Turned on 10 I was impressed how quickly it melted down 8lbs of wheel weight ingots sweetened with 2% tin, I reduced the setting to 5 figuring that would be a good starting point. Using a 2 cavity Lyman 429421 mold I was getting good bullets after just a few warm up pours. Soon the bullets were beginning to get frosted so I set the mold down to cool for a min. It was now that I noticed some yellowish orange crust on the lead. Thinking nothing of it I fluxed with sawdust, skimmed, added a few more ingots and a layer of sawdust to protect the surface of the lead. I resumed casting but began getting frosted bullets again after just a few pours so I reduced the setting to 2. Didn't seem to help with the frosting much and the sprues were taking longer and longer to solidify. Then I noticed the yellow orange crust was back in spite of my protective sawdust coating. Skimmed again, few ingots, and more sawdust and was back to casting. After about 10 mins I noticed the strange crust returning and mold getting to hot again so I decided to call it a day. Skimmed the crud, and shut the pot down leaving it half full. I decided to do some research and from what I can tell, the strange dross was dreaded lead oxide caused by overheating the alloy. I was then curious to test my equipment. I removed the "thermostat" assembly and tested the resistance through it with a multi tester, there was no change regardless of knob position. I then reattached the wires and carefully tested voltage going to the coil while the pot was ruining. Again no change in voltage regardless of the setting. After reassembling the pot I plugged it in and turned it down as far as it can go and it melted the half pot of alloy in about 8 minutes. What y'all think? I'm no electrician but it sounds to me like the knob is stuck wide open. Anybody have a similar experience?

    Sent from my VS990 using Tapatalk

  2. #2
    Boolit Master

    Mike W1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Rural Sumner, IA
    Posts
    1,100
    I'm not sharp enough on those things to explain it very well. But it's a thermostat not a rheostat. It doesn't change resistance when you turn the knob. When the temperature changes it opens the circuit. Now it very well may be stuck but you'd have to observe the thing visually. Hopefully someone more versed will hop on here and help.
    Mike

    Benefactor Member NRA
    Life Member Iowa Firearms Coalition
    US Army Vet

    There are two ways to conquer and enslave a nation.
    One is by the sword. The other is by debt.
    John Adams 1826

  3. #3
    Boolit Master Walks's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    SoCal
    Posts
    788
    Still got the receipt? Call Lee.
    Happiness is a Warm GUN & more ammo to shoot in it.

  4. #4
    Boolit Grand Master

    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Northwest Ohio
    Posts
    9,298
    It may be a stock thermostat or misadjusted and running hot. I would call Lee and see what they have to say. Another option is pick up a thermometer and see what its doing this will tell you if its maintain temp or constantly raising. If your casting area is quiet you can here it cycle on and off usually also. I believe if you remove the knob the is a adjustment screw in the shaft to fine tune it. But if its stuck open fine tuning wont help.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
    jimkim's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Dodge Co. GA. Between the Ocmulgee and Little Ocmulgee rivers.
    Posts
    1,117
    Call Lee, tell them what it's doing. It sounds like a faulty thermostat to me.

    Sent from my VS880 using Tapatalk

    US Govt mantra. if it's moving tax it, if it's still moving regulate it, if it stops moving subsidize it

  6. #6
    Boolit Buddy
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Norway
    Posts
    367
    I've had 2 Lee pots and both of them had a bad "thermostat". That bimetal #&ap does not work righ! I've got mine PID adjusted and then it works ok

    Sent fra min SM-G930F via Tapatalk

  7. #7
    Boolit Buddy
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Ft. Bend Co. Texas
    Posts
    276
    I have gotten lead and ww plenty hot over the years and never had any kind of crust form on it. Makes me wonder if you don't have something in your alloy that should not be there. You really could use some type of temp. indicator, thermometer, PID or something. There is no adjustment screw on the Lee thermostat like on the Lyman units. I would verify the temp. and if the pot is indeed at fault I would contact Lee.
    Most evil in our society today can be cured by the proper application of the A.C.P.

  8. #8
    Boolit Bub Dunkem's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Location
    SE Idaho
    Posts
    37
    Thanks for the input everybody. I'm going to call them today and explain my situation. I was casting outside in a slight breeze, maybe that is enough to cool the thermostat and keep it on. I could hear it running, it did change pitch occasionally, but never went completely silent until I unplugged it. I am going to build myself a PID eventually but decided to devote my casting budget to expanding my mold collection for the time being.

    Sent from my VS990 using Tapatalk

  9. #9
    Boolit Bub Dunkem's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Location
    SE Idaho
    Posts
    37
    Quick update: called Lee and spoke to the tech. He confirmed that the control is indeed a thermostat, not rheostat as I originally thought. He wanted me to make sure it wasn't functioning before sending it back and told me it needed to be tested under heat. I disassembled the unit and held a heat gun to the thermostat and could see the contacts separating. I then partially reassembled the pot plugged it in and tested voltage at the coil connections while applying heat with the heat gun (harder said than done). Sure enough it works as designed. I suspect that it may be the cooler weather and breeze I was casting in keeping the thermostat too cool to function correctly. The tech also mentioned that he and others he knows will hook the pot up to a dimmer switch to give more control over heat. Anybody ever try this? If so to what effect?

    Sent from my VS990 using Tapatalk

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
    jimkim's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Dodge Co. GA. Between the Ocmulgee and Little Ocmulgee rivers.
    Posts
    1,117
    There are other thermosts out there. Maybe you could get one like they used on the old Lyman ans SAECO furnaces.

    Sent from my VS880 using Tapatalk

    US Govt mantra. if it's moving tax it, if it's still moving regulate it, if it stops moving subsidize it

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
    Mal Paso's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Carmel, Ca
    Posts
    2,144
    The Lee Control is not a thermostat. It is an "Infinite Control" just like an electric range top. Heat is applied to a bimetal spring. When the spring reaches a certain temperature it flexes and opens a pair of contacts cutting power to the spring heater and the pot heater. When the spring cools the contacts close turning on both heaters and the cycle starts again. The Control Knob pushes against the spring changing the amount of time the heaters are on. Some of the heat from the pot does affect the Control but not enough to call it a thermostat.

    I think your control may be out of spec. With the knob set low the element should be off most of the time regardless of the pot temperature.

    A thermometer would help as the numbers on the control do not represent a temperature and the amount of heat required changes as the pot empties.

    As a former Lee owner I would recommend a PID control. It covers thermometer and control in 1 package. Lots of info here.
    Mal

    Mal Paso means Bad Pass, just so you know.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master


    Walter Laich's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Cypress, Republic of Texas
    Posts
    3,098
    as Mal said above ^ a PID would solve your problem as well as add a marked increase in accuracy. My pot will hold to within 1 as I cast.

    I would also suggest a lid of some type to hold in the heat in the pot. No need to let it dissipate into the air--keep it in the pot where it needs to be
    NRA Life
    USPSA L1314
    SASS Life 48747
    RVN War Games, 2nd Place

  13. #13
    Boolit Master


    HangFireW8's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Central Maryland
    Posts
    2,417
    I have an old Lee 10 lb pot I hardly use any more. When it would no longer melt lead I put a new heating coil and control on it. Then it would barely melt lead. So I bent the control around until it did. Then my Mag25 was sorted out and I haven't used it since.

    A plugin pid would not have helped because even on 10 it cycled off too much. A PID that bypassed the controller would have worked.
    I give loading advice based on my actual results in factory rifles with standard chambers, twist rates and basic accurizing.
    My goals for using cast boolits are lots of good, cheap, and reasonably accurate shooting, while avoiding overly tedious loading processes.
    The BHN Deformation Formula, and why I don't use it.
    How to find and fix sizing die eccentricity problems.
    Do you trust your casting thermometer?
    A few musings.

  14. #14
    Banned
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Posts
    2,934
    You are right about surrounding temperatures affecting the thermostat. This is also an issue with convection and toaster ovens for baking PC and HT. +1 on a PID, never looked back

  15. #15
    Boolit Buddy
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    248
    Quote Originally Posted by Dunkem View Post
    The tech also mentioned that he and others he knows will hook the pot up to a dimmer switch to give more control over heat. Anybody ever try this? If so to what effect?
    You'd need a 600W dimmer, but I don't see how you'll benefit, as you would still have open loop temperature control. A PID (closed loop control) is a better way to maintain and control temperature.

    Using a PID I would simply bypass the thermostat - jumper it right out of the power circuit - but then, only use it with the PID.

  16. #16
    Boolit Bub Dunkem's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Location
    SE Idaho
    Posts
    37
    So with the weather warming up and a less windy day I tried again. I also did my best to shield the pot from what little breeze there was whilst maintaining adequate circulation. Wouldn't you know it, it worked like a charm. I found that a setting of 4 gave the best results. I could also hear the element cycling on and off at a steady rate. I also skimmed the sawdust off the melt after it had done it's job rather than leaving it to protect the surface of the alloy. This seemed to remedy the orange-ish dross i was getting last time. The sawdust was acquired from my local home improvement warehouse and probably consists of mostly particle board, so I wonder if it was some glues/resins that was responsible for the crud I was mistaking for lead oxide. A PID is definitely on my wish list in the future, but for now I think I'm satisfied learning how to control my temp the old fashioned way. Thanks again all for your input. Its nice to have this pool of knowledge willing and available to help beginners like myself.

    Sent from my VS990 using Tapatalk

  17. #17
    Boolit Master

    stubshaft's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Southernmost State of the Union
    Posts
    3,935
    Yesterday I pulled out an OLD (35 years) 10# LEE pot. It sat for over 35 minutes and just barely melted a load of pure. Rather than toss it I'll order a new element and thermostat from LEE for around $25.00.
    If God didn't want man to eat animals, he wouldn't have made them out of MEAT!

    The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on my list.

  18. #18
    Boolit Buddy
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    SW ND
    Posts
    182
    Hey guys! These Lee pots don't have a thermostat. Think about it. How does heat in the pot "transfer" across an open air gap to the bimetallic switch and do any regulating at all? It's just a cheap easy design that doesn't regulate. Put a good thermometer in it and watch it climb. 800 plus degrees is not unusual for these junkers! You have to regulate it by adding lead or turning on and off. Or PID as mentioned already. Junk! ( I have one but don't like it)

  19. #19
    Boolit Buddy
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    SW ND
    Posts
    182
    Also congrats to Dunkem for being smart enough to smell a rat with that pot so he doesn't have to smell all those lead fumes when these things overheat! Dangerous pots!

  20. #20
    Boolit Master

    stubshaft's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Southernmost State of the Union
    Posts
    3,935
    Quote Originally Posted by stubshaft View Post
    Yesterday I pulled out an OLD (35 years) 10# LEE pot. It sat for over 35 minutes and just barely melted a load of pure. Rather than toss it I'll order a new element and thermostat from LEE for around $25.00.
    Update: I called LEE and they will send the thermostat and heating element for FREE. I just pay shipping.
    If God didn't want man to eat animals, he wouldn't have made them out of MEAT!

    The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on my list.

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
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