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Thread: Dying RCBS Chargemaster 1500

  1. #21
    Boolit Man hporter's Avatar
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    I am just posting this in case anyone was curious what the inside of their Chargemaster 1500 Scale looks like.

    I opened mine up last night. I could adjust the load cell to a point where the scale was stable and did not automatically climb in value, but it would not calibrate nor respond to the test weight.

    I looked up the manufacturer of the load cell. I contacted them in China last night and they responded over night. They do not have a distributor in the states, but I asked if I could purchase one from them and have it shipped to the US. They list the cost as $25, which would be worth it if it could fix my scale. Having just watched jmorris's youtube video on Chargemaster 1500 scale drift, I now understand why it was so difficult to get the scale to stabilize..

    If I had a good RCBS balance scale, I would build a version of jmorris's trickler. No computer, no pc boards - just a push button switch, a relay and a photoelectric switch. The KISS approach is usually superior and more reliable in the long run.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    And here is the RCBS troubleshooting guide they sent me. Maybe it will be useful for someone having issues with their scale/dispenser.

    Scales_ChargeMaster Troubleshooting Guide.pdf

  2. #22
    Boolit Buddy
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    Well, I thought I had ordered a Chargemaster Lite last Tuesday. Went to check the status of my order on Cabela's.com today and discovered it had been cancelled. No call, no email. I called them, and they said, yup, it had been cancelled, and no, they did not reach out to me. Kind of bummed because I was hoping to have it by this weekend to do some loads.

    They said not only that, but it's not actually in stock. I said told her the web site let's me order it without complaint.

    I was also bummed because I had like $32 in Cabela's bucks to put towards it. Enough to pay the sales tax.

    So I went over to Amazon and bought it for quite a bit more - like $330 shipped.

    And then I found this place called Scheels:

    https://www.scheels.com/p/rcbs-charg...454462108.html

    Their price is $240 with free shipping! This is vastly cheaper than any other online source I have found, so I cancelled my Amazon order and ordered from Scheels. This is even cheaper than what I paid Cabela's even when using my Cabela's bucks!

    Won't have it for another week but oh well.

    Steve

  3. #23
    Boolit Grand Master

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    I love my ChargeMaster! If it dies I will either get it repaired or replace it. A shooting buddy that was moving and without a reloading room came over to load some ammo and he liked my ChargeMaster better than his Lyman. I didn't think to ask him why.

    I bought my ChargeMaster when they first came out.

  4. #24
    Boolit Buddy
    zarrinvz24's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dale2242 View Post
    BTW, Hornady replaced my Auto Charge, at no charge, when I had problems with it.
    How did you get them to do that? Iíve sent numerous emails as well as trying to call and I either end up on endless hold or get no response.

  5. #25
    Boolit Grand Master


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    Quote Originally Posted by hporter View Post
    I am just posting this in case anyone was curious what the inside of their Chargemaster 1500 Scale looks like.

    I opened mine up last night. I could adjust the load cell to a point where the scale was stable and did not automatically climb in value, but it would not calibrate nor respond to the test weight.

    I looked up the manufacturer of the load cell. I contacted them in China last night and they responded over night. They do not have a distributor in the states, but I asked if I could purchase one from them and have it shipped to the US. They list the cost as $25, which would be worth it if it could fix my scale. Having just watched jmorris's youtube video on Chargemaster 1500 scale drift, I now understand why it was so difficult to get the scale to stabilize..

    If I had a good RCBS balance scale, I would build a version of jmorris's trickler. No computer, no pc boards - just a push button switch, a relay and a photoelectric switch. The KISS approach is usually superior and more reliable in the long run.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    And here is the RCBS troubleshooting guide they sent me. Maybe it will be useful for someone having issues with their scale/dispenser.

    Scales_ChargeMaster Troubleshooting Guide.pdf
    Thanks for posting all that information. My Chargemaster has not failed me yet, but if it dies, and I cannot get it working, I will try the Morris Method.
    Don Verna

    NRA Endowment Member

  6. #26
    Boolit Master

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    zarrinvz24, I called them and explained my problem to a tech.
    He told me to send it in and they sent me a new one right away.

  7. #27
    Boolit Man hporter's Avatar
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    I have been in back and forth emailing with the OEM supplier of the load cell inside of the Chargemaster. I have established the current price to replace it is $30 USD. And they will also take Paypal as a payment method. They wanted to know if I had a DHL account to facilitate the shipping, but unfortunately I do not. I advised them the last time I bought something directly from China they used EMS to ship it.

    Hopefully I can get this worked out. It would be nice to try and get my chargemaster working again for $30 and whatever the shipping comes to. Assuming it is only the load cell that is bad.

  8. #28
    Boolit Master jmorris's Avatar
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    Before you blow the $30 you might measure the one you have. The Wheatstone bridge on the loadcell can be checked unlike most of the other components.

    https://www.omega.com/en-us/resource...roubleshooting

    If it’s Ok, no need to replace it. Have you messed with any of the parameters on your chargemaster? If you unintentionally altered one, while changing another, it’s possible that could be the source of your issue.

  9. #29
    Boolit Man hporter's Avatar
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    They came back last night in a reply that they would need $48 USD in shipping. I have never paid more than $10 in shipping from China for something that small, so that sounds strange. I am sure it's the difference between Fedex 1 day and normal USPS mail because in the past it takes a few weeks in transit to get to Texas.

    Even if it was the load cell, I wouldn't spend almost $100 to fix it, when I've only gotten a handful of uses from the unit over the years for my original $300 spent. What a complete waste of money. I gather from this thread that many others have had great service from their Chargemasters, I wish I was one of them.

    No, I didn't mess with the programming, nor did I ever store a load in it's memory. The only thing I did was disable the annoying load beeping. It has been stored in my reloading room on a shelf above my presses in my air conditioned house. I do 95-98% of my reloading on my Dillon presses, so I really don't have much of a need for an automated dispenser. Just leaves a bad taste in my mouth of money spent for such a small return.

    I will give it to my shooting buddy, in case his Chargemaster ever fails. At least he will have a spare dispenser.

  10. #30
    Boolit Man hporter's Avatar
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    Oh and thanks for the troubleshooting document. It as probably been 20 years since I messed with a load cell, it could be a fun exercise.

  11. #31
    Boolit Buddy
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    Yup. Good electronics techs don't/won't work for free and a properly equipped repair/calibration shop itself isn't cheep. If a consumer market device craps out just toss it and buy new, you'll at least get a new warranty.
    Yes, of course I would not expect anyone to work for free.

    But when they offer to repair both the scale and trickler for $155, then I think it's reasonable to expect that the cost of repairing only one of those things would cost less than $155. And since they sell the scale alone for $175, I think it's reasonable to expect the cost of repairing it to be less than the cost of replacing it. Their pricing model just doesn't make sense.

    I even considered sending both the scale and trickler even though only the scale is broken but you are going to be spending $30 at least in shipping both ways so now you're up to $185 so you may as well just buy a new scale.

    What I ought to do is find someone with a broken trickler and we'll send in our scale+trickler and split the repair cost. $80 for repair would be nice.

    In the end, I went with a new RCBS Chargemaster Lite from Scheels. $90 cheaper than I was going to pay Cabela's for it. Super fast shipping. Ordered on 7/21/2021 got it on 7/25/2021.

    Steve

  12. #32
    Boolit Buddy
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    I've been using the Lite now for a couple of charging sessions and it seems nice. I figure the scale/trickler integrated unit is probably cheaper than the two-piece old unit. The touch screen is nice. I never used any of the charge storage functionality of the old unit, so this works easy - type in the number of grains you want and then press GO.

  13. #33
    Boolit Master jmorris's Avatar
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    But when they offer to repair both the scale and trickler for $155, then I think it's reasonable to expect that the cost of repairing only one of those things would cost less than $155. And since they sell the scale alone for $175, I think it's reasonable to expect the cost of repairing it to be less than the cost of replacing it. Their pricing model just doesn't make sense.
    Something with so many integrated circuits isn’t going to be gone through by a technician on a bench, charging by the hour as it would cost more than new retail price. They will open another box of them from China and send a new one to you instead, because it is much cheaper to replace vs diagnose and repair. Even if the correct component could be located, there is a good chance a human couldn’t successfully replace it anyway.

  14. #34
    Boolit Buddy
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    Something with so many integrated circuits isn’t going to be gone through by a technician on a bench, charging by the hour as it would cost more than new retail price. They will open another box of them from China and send a new one to you instead, because it is much cheaper to replace vs diagnose and repair. Even if the correct component could be located, there is a good chance a human couldn’t successfully replace it anyway.
    Well, they claim to be an actual component-level repair shop:

    "We offer COMPONENT LEVEL ELECTRONICS REPAIR. Other electronics repair shops will deem equipment unrepairable if the problem is not an easy fix. We don't let that stop us! If there is any way to save your equipment, Lone Mountain Communications will not only save it, but make it perform like new."

    The emphasize "component level electronics repair".

    Now it turns out that the scale is basically a single-board unit as far as electronics go. The only other component is the load cell, which can also be replaced. It may well be that they have replacement boards made and just swap out the board.

    But regardless of how they fix it, it doesn't make sense that I could send in a broken scale and a broken trickler and get them both fixed for $155 but sending in only one or the other costs the same.

    Steve

  15. #35
    Boolit Master jmorris's Avatar
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    But regardless of how they fix it, it doesn't make sense that I could send in a broken scale and a broken trickler and get them both fixed for $155 but sending in only one or the other costs the same.
    Doesn’t make sense to me how you can have a flat rate for an unknown problem. Call a dealership and say “my car is broken, how much will it cost to fix it?” They won’t tell you, “we charge $xxx per car to get them running again.” They have no idea of the problem or extent of the damage.

    My guess would remain, that the flat charge is the cost of a replacement vs a diagnosis and repair on the malfunctioning component(s).

  16. #36
    Boolit Buddy
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    Could be they are doing a complete replacement. But even so, it should be cheaper to replace just the scale than replace both the scale and trickler together.

    Steve

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