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Old November 3, 2013, 07:04 PM   #1
troutcreek
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Lee Electric Lead Pot Question

I need some advice..... I’m a big fan of Lee because I’ve always had good luck with their products. It has been some time since I’ve cast bullets, but I need to do some casting. I plugged my pot in this afternoon and it quickly came up to 200 deg. I then let the pot heat soak for 30 minutes and when I came back the lead hadn’t melted. Has anyone had this problem? I think that either the thermostat or the temperature element is bad but I’m not sure how to tell which.
My pot is the small pot that can only be used with a dipper (not the bottom drop). I can send Lee a note and they may be able to help but I’m hoping that a forum member may be able to give me some guidance.
Thanks,
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Old November 3, 2013, 07:48 PM   #2
bedbugbilly
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Somebody here may be able to help you. If not - hit the link below. There is a thread on casting equipment that you could ask on. It's easy to join the forum and there is lots of help and good information there.

http://castboolits.gunloads.com

I'd also give Lee a call and see what they have to say. It sounds like either a burned out heating element or the thermostat? I haven't used an electric pot in years - mainly due to elements burning out, etc. - I never have used a Lee but I do use there reloading equipment. I've heard that they have good customer service - they probably can advise and get you fixe up in short order.

I use a single burner LP hot plate that I got from Cabelas quite a while ago. For my needs, it works great but the only temperature control I have is the gas valve. I have cast for probably close to 50 years and primarily go by color and how the lead is pouring. Sort of "fly by the seat of your pants" method but it works. Most of my molding was round ball and .58 minis - now I am in that lovely "hobby" of reloading - you know - the one that's like guns? You sort of end up being compulsive - always room for some new piece of equipment.

Hope you get your problem solved in a hurry so you can cast. Good luck and I'm sure Lee will get you fixed up fine. Let us know what the problem turns out to be - it may help someone else down the road here.
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Old November 3, 2013, 08:34 PM   #3
Hawg Haggen
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I wouldn't think it would be the element if its heating up to 200 degrees.
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Old November 4, 2013, 08:50 AM   #4
Captchee
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i guess my first question would be; did you set it at 200 ???
if so , it wont melt the lead
my pot has markings from 1-5 . when i fire the pot up , i set it on 5 and place my mould across the top . once the lead starts to get a blue tint to it , i flux it , let that burn off , then scrape out the dross .
then i turn the pot back down to between 3-4 .
i then cast a few bullets or ball , real quick to help bring the mould up to temp . the last one i leave in the mould and set the mould back on top of the pot .
I did one time have a couple cases where the pot didn’t melt all the lead . IE the surface was still hard for about ½ an inch while everything under it was melted .
Was kind of an odd thing .
I did what you probably shouldn’t do , and took my torch and melted through .

Thinking back on it maybe what happened was that the day I was casting it was real cold out and the top of the pot may have cooled fast enough that a layer of lead separated from the melt . Thus making a small air space as the melt shrunk .
When the pot heated back up , that top layer didn’t get the temp that the rest of the pot did .

Last edited by Captchee; November 4, 2013 at 09:03 AM.
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Old November 4, 2013, 11:24 AM   #5
troutcreek
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Gents, thanks for the information

Hawg-it sounds logical that it is likely the thermostat for the reasons you brought up.
The pot was empty when I started and I filled the pot with some .465 round balls that I no longer use. As I recall this pot has a small 4 # capacity. I had a stainless thermometer that maxed out at 220 f. that I stuck between the balls (not touching the bottom).
The TI reached maximum in less than 10 minutes and was then removed.
The thermostat was set to max which is normally where I leave it for the entire process.
I'm now re-thinking that I might not have given it enough time. You'd expect to loose some heat transfer due to the air spaces between the round balls. Maybe 40 minutes isn't enough? I'm also considering bypassing the thermostat (at least for a test run).
Thanks again
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Old November 4, 2013, 03:48 PM   #6
Captchee
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40 minutes should been way more then enough if set on high .

you may have a bad thermistate which is stoping the pot from coming fully up to temp
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Old November 4, 2013, 06:47 PM   #7
Hawg Haggen
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I wouldn't run it maxed out.
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Old November 4, 2013, 07:06 PM   #8
robhof
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I don't know about elements burning out on Lee pots; I've had mine for 12 yrs and use it heavy during bad weather or non hunting days. It's a bottom pour and I got it used at a garage sale, so I don't know how old it actually is and it's still cooking fine. The only problem I've had is the spout stops working occasionally and I had to make a right angle jig out of a square thin nail(brad) and a piece of dowel, to jam up and free up the spout, has only happened a few times, but is real annoying when it does.
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Old November 4, 2013, 07:12 PM   #9
Doc Hoy
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TC

I am not familiar with that specific pot, but thirty minutes is more than enough time to melt a hardened room temperature billet in a ten pound pot, even when one of the elements has failed.

I have had two of the ten pound production pots and never had a lick of trouble.

I would do one or the other of two things:

1. Call Lee and ask them to send you a new pot.
2. Spend the 57.00 plus shipping on a new Production Pot.
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Old November 4, 2013, 07:55 PM   #10
Hawg Haggen
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Quote:
I had to make a right angle jig out of a square thin nail(brad) and a piece of dowel, to jam up and free up the spout
I use a set of torch tip cleaners.
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Old November 7, 2013, 06:11 PM   #11
BWM
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Lead does not melt at 200. So if you set it at 200 you need to turn it up.
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Old November 7, 2013, 06:14 PM   #12
Hawg Haggen
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Quote:
Lead does not melt at 200. So if you set it at 200 you need to turn it up.
If you'd read all the posts you'd know he had it set on maximum.

Quote:
The thermostat was set to max which is normally where I leave it for the entire process.
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Old November 7, 2013, 06:26 PM   #13
BWM
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Yes I must had miss read # 5 post. That was not on his first post.
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Old November 8, 2013, 08:31 PM   #14
troutcreek
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Lee customer service

I got a very good and prompt response from Lee regarding the lead pot. They support the idea that it is the thermostat, and added that when the heating element fails it does not heat up at all.
They provided the part number and a new part is on the way.
I appreciate everyone's advice and suggestions. Even the 200 deg advice, I've been tripped up by simple stuff before......
Hopefully I will be casting by next weekend.
Best regards,
TC
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