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Thread: Electronic Scale question

  1. #1
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    Electronic Scale question

    Aside from drafts, temperature variations and obvious abuse, are there any other factors which can affect an electronic scale? Can (silly question to follow) fluorescent lighting or other electronic devices have a negative effect on them? When I started reloading a couple years ago, I was unsure which scale I wanted to buy. So, I bought a dopey inexpensive little scale the size of a pocket calculator. I figured I would learn off this one and upgrade later. Today I went out and purchased a RCBS 2000 electronic scale. This unit is all over the map when I attempt to weigh items of a known value. So that is what has led me to ask if there are any other variables which can affect accuracy. Ironically, the inexpensive little scale I purchased has been rock solid and consistent in its operation...always within +-0.1 grain when weighing objects of a known weight.

  2. #2
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    Give us an example of "all over the map". Is it just inconsistent or is the read out constantly fluctuating?
    Beauty is skin deep but ugly goes right to the bone.

  3. #3
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    Is there any foreign material underneath the weighing platform?
    When you can measure what you are speaking about, and express it in numbers, you know something about it; but when you cannot measure it, when you cannot express it in numbers, your knowledge is of a meagre and unsatisfactory kind. [Lord Kelvin]

  4. #4
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    "fluorescent lighting"

    Not the bulb itself but the ballast.

    Older magnetic ballasts 'leak' magnetic field at around 120 Hz (twice the line frequency).


    'Electronic ballasts' switch much faster and this allows shielding on the ballast to be more effective.


    If the bulb and fixture are close enough their will be some electric field at 120 Hz (magnetic) or much higher (electronic ballast) as the arc in the tube switches starts and stops.

    There is 'noise' on the ground lead from the fixture also.
    The bulb relies on the capacitance to the reflector to strike the arc.

    One of the problems with making precision measurements (and the strain gauge in the scale requires precision measurement to determine a weight)
    is having circuit designs that are resistant to commonly encountered 'noise' along with suitable shielding to try and control its level.

  5. #5
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  6. #6
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    Note that the scale in the video has a resolution (smallest displayed amount) of 0.001g or 1 mg. This equates mathematically to 0.0154 grains, so when set to grains that scale probably has a resolution of 0.02 grains. This is about 5X finer than the usual reloaders scale selling for perhaps US$50 to US$200. The scale in the video has a retail price of US$449 at Scales Galore: https://www.scalesgalore.com/product...id=25480#chart This is a very sensitive scale, more sensitive than needed by all but the most finicky reloader.

    The digital scales most of us have are not nearly this sensitive and usually have resolutions of 0.01g and 0.1 grain - perfectly OK for our purposes. Being less sensitive they are less likely to have reading excursions like shown in the video - remember, that last digit you see jumping around is not even present on our run-of-the-mill digital scales when set to Grams.

    My little el-cheapo Frankford Arsenal scale does jump a bit when I wave my cell phone around it, but is a little more affected by a fluorescent light with standard ballast. Test yours to see what you have that can cause unstable readings.
    When you can measure what you are speaking about, and express it in numbers, you know something about it; but when you cannot measure it, when you cannot express it in numbers, your knowledge is of a meagre and unsatisfactory kind. [Lord Kelvin]
    Last edited by niemi24s; 22nd March 2017 at 10:38.


  7. #7
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    I have a Hornady that I use along with my Redding balance scale....fluorescent lights on, air conditioning/heater running and open breezy Windows all affect it adversely.

  8. #8
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    Reading this discussion makes me very happy that I long ago abandoned my electronic scale and reverted to the mechanical beam scale.
    Hawkmoon
    On a good day, can hit the broad side of a barn ... from the inside

  9. #9
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    Thanks everybody for the input. The scale consistently jumps +-.2 to .3 grains. I will try to do a little experimentation with some of the thoughts you guys posted. By the way, my reloading bench is right under fluorescent lighting with standard ballast. And Niemi, that's the scale I have been using...an El Cheapo Frankfurt Arsenal scale, funny thing is, it has been very reliable and consistent.

  10. #10
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    Interesting thread. I use an electronic scale from Dillon Precision, it has always been very accurate. It gets checked against the beam scale a few times a year.

    Our house has heat and AC so the temperature never varies much, the vents are on the other end of the room. A couple years ago I put LED lights in that room. The scale sits on a solid table separate from the reloading bench. After reading the thread it makes me wonder, is the scale that accurate or is it the environment it gets used in?

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