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Old March 22, 2007, 02:10 AM   #1
multistage
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Dillon Electronic scale trouble

Anybody have a Dillon D-Terminator? I bought one about a year and a half ago, and it will not hold it's zero. Four throws and weigh-ins after zero, it will show + or - .3 grains. When zeroed with the pan, it shows -168.1 grains. After about three throws it will show -167.8 or so. when I put the empty pan back on to re-zero, it shows .3 grains when it should show zero. Anybody else have this problem? Is Dillon good to deal with? I originally suspected the batteries, got new ones, and then just plugged it in to the wall. The problem persisted.

Last edited by multistage; March 22, 2007 at 02:11 AM. Reason: wrong words
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Old March 22, 2007, 08:49 AM   #2
rwilson452
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I have the older model D-Teminator Scale. Ususlly when it gets flakey I can atribute it to a draft from heating or A/C vent. Sometimes heavy breathing. I have heard from time to time a similar complaint on their latest version. Mine has been for the most part well behaved and accurate. I have Lyman check weights and a Lee safety scale for comparision.
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Old March 22, 2007, 10:22 AM   #3
Unclenick
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According to RSI's page on scales, the older Dillon model was made by a different company (the one currently making the CED Pocket Scale, which works beautifully, BTW). They don't claim to know about the newer one. There are a number of steps you can take to minimize drift and error:
Do what lab scale instructions recommend, and let the scale warm up 20 minutes before you start weighing on it.

Scales with plastic transducers will suffer a certain amount of hysteresis. In other words, they may not fully recover to zero after weighing, especially not if you leave a weight on it too long. For that reason, it is a good idea, before applying calibration weights, to run it through several weighing cycles with samples at about the same weight and rate you intend to use it at.

Calibrate the scale with a weight near the weight of what you intend to weigh, if your scale allows that? Otherwise, after calibration, cycle through weighing several samples more before zeroing and starting your actual run. Check them on a Plain Jane mechanical scale. Some electronic scales have linearity problems. In other words, they will read zero correctly and their check weight correctly, but some weights in between may be off a few tenths of a grain. If that is happening, you want to know about it to be able to correct it. The mechanical scales may be slow, but will do that for you.

Get a stable platform. Temperature and vibration stability both matter to scales. I recommend getting a cheap small grade B granite surface plate to use as a scale base. The 9” x 12” x 2” ones are currently on sale for $15 plus shipping at Enco. These massive objects change temperature slowly in normal room conditions, so if you keep your scale on one with a draft shield (like a cake cover or the Faraday cage described below) over it, the scale’s temperature will tend to track with the plate. These plates are also useful as measuring platforms (their intended purpose) and to mount abrasive film on for sharpening tools.

Electronic scales for the reloading market have no electrical shielding. Keep them away from sources of electromagnetic interference. This includes operating fluorescent lamp fixtures, compact fluorescent “bulbs”, personal computers, and any A.C. power circuits these things are plugged into and are operating from. Any place a portable A.M. radio tuned to a weak station picks up hum or loud static or other weird noise from, is a bad place for an unshielded scale.

You can line a cardboard box with aluminum foil and ground the foil to create a poor man’s faraday cage. This will also help shield against drafts. You can buy A.C. line noise filters to plug into when your scale is not running on a battery.
Try the simple ones first. You can use the A.M. radio not only to detect noise, but to see how it changes when you turn things off.
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Old March 22, 2007, 04:26 PM   #4
SeanB
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G'day fella's
Ive had a problem with my d terminator, which was
a difference in actual weight when using the 9 volt battery and
then plugging into the wall.
Readings are more accurate (for my scale) when using batteries.
Cant say I was overly happy, its not a cheap scale.

Anyway shoot straight

Sean
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Old March 22, 2007, 05:16 PM   #5
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Sean,

That's sounds like a noisy power source. Possibly A.C. line noise, though it could be an unregulated adapter or a poorly regulated one. There are regulated D.C. output adapters made, assuming that is what that scale uses? Radio Shack sells them here in the U.S., but if you know any electronics cranks, they should be able to make one for you. A shielded isolation transformer can help, too. Short of that, it wouldn't hurt to try out a line filter if you can borrow one?

The two scales I have that I like really well are the CED pocket scale and the Acculab VIC123. The CED gives very stable and consistent readings and settles fast without any digit flicker. Despite its small size, it has a proper lab style 4-post load cell coupling to eliminate weight reading shift with sample location on the pan. So did the original D-terminator, but I don’t know about the newer one? The CED scale is described pretty well on RSI’s web site. Its main limitations are its 500 grain capacity, its square powder pan that has no pour spout (you need to use a funnel with it) and that it is battery operation only, so you can’t warm it up very long. It doesn’t seem to need to warm up, though. It has a built-in collapsible wind screen and a check weight in a mounting slot. It packs up into a compact little carrying case that I keep in my range load development box. If I use it inside that box, I can usually weigh successfully at the range despite light air movement.

The Acculab is a stripped down laboratory style scale sold by Sinclair International. It is plug-in only and must warm up. Indeed, as long as it is plugged in, it keeps applying power to the load cell 24/7, so you don’t have to warm it up again. It’s big attraction is that it has high sensitivity with 0.02 grain resolution and capacity of 1850 grains. It has a built-in calibration weight and a bunch of functions, like % difference for sorting. It is massive for a loading scale, has two draft screens, and a built-in level. Its limiting factors are that the wind screen lid won’t close on a standard height powder pan (the internal circular one will accommodate it with the lid screen up). It is proportionally more sensitive to drafts and static charge on the operator than a 0.1 grain resolution scale, and, being a stripped down version lab tool, it has no faraday shield. It is therefore sensitive to electrical noise.
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Old March 23, 2007, 04:54 AM   #6
SeanB
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Unclenick,
I really didnt think about a line filter.
I'll try it out. Brain must of been in neutral hahaha
thanks
Sean
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Old March 24, 2007, 01:18 AM   #7
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Has anyone contacted Dillon? All of the staff at Dillon I have dealt with have been great. They are more than willing to help. I would contact them first if you have any problems.
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