Chargemaster issue(s) - Part II


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coloradokevin
September 14, 2009, 04:19 AM
Well, for those of you who have nothing more pressing to do than to follow my threads, you'll probably recall my posts from a few days ago regarding an issue that I was having with my new Chargemaster 1500 combo (SEE: http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=474062)

Anyway, that initial problem mysteriously cleared up with that same H4895 powder later that day, and I dispensed 20+ perfect loads with that powder. But, the problem came back with a vengance when I tried dispensing some pistol loads last night. Basically, the dispenser would dispense the load, beep when finished, and show that the correct amount was dispensed. Then, if I lifted the pan off of the scale, and placed it back on the scale, I would get a reading that would show my charge being significantly high (this second weighing was verified each time with my Lee Safety Scale, which I've personally found to be reliable). Moreover, the dispenser seemed to pretty much spray powder everywhere with these Power Pistol loads!

I am wondering if my problem could be static related? Nothing else makes a lot of sense to me at this point!


To aid in clarifying this problem, I've added some pictures. Hopefully these images will help to clear up the confusion that seemed to surround my initial post on this topic:

(NOTE: All loads were intended to be 6.0 grains of Power Pistol powder)


1) Dispenser just after calibration (owner's manual procedures were followed to calibrate, and scale was left plugged in and turned on for half an hour or more prior to calibration and dispensing):

http://i126.photobucket.com/albums/p85/coloradocop/chargemaster/aftercalibration.jpg


2) First load after dispensing and "beep", shows 0.1 grain high:

http://i126.photobucket.com/albums/p85/coloradocop/chargemaster/60grcharge-powerpistol.jpg


3) I then lifted the pan (with powder) off of the scale, and placed it back on the scale (with powder) approximately 3 seconds later. My reading now showed 7.0 grains of powder, or 1.0 grains above my intended target weight:

http://i126.photobucket.com/albums/p85/coloradocop/chargemaster/secondweightshownonsamecharge.jpg


4) After re-weighing on the Chargemaster scale, I checked the load on my Lee Safety Scale (which I've used for two years now). I received the same 7.0 grain weight that I got when I weighed the charge for the second time on the Chargemaster. Please excuse the bad angle on this picture, the parallax makes it look like a different weight is showing, but it is definitely 7.0 grains:

http://i126.photobucket.com/albums/p85/coloradocop/chargemaster/showsas70gronLeescale.jpg



5) After discarding this bad charge, I placed the empty pan back on the scale, and noticed that I was now showing 0.5 grains, with the scale's arrow pointed towards "under". This reading was showing before I closed the plastic cover:

http://i126.photobucket.com/albums/p85/coloradocop/chargemaster/emptypan-coveropen.jpg


6) After closing the cover, the weight changed slightly, and now showed 0.4 grains, with the arrow still pointing to "under":

http://i126.photobucket.com/albums/p85/coloradocop/chargemaster/emptypanbackonscalebefore2ndcharge.jpg

7) I re-zeroed the scale at this point, then recalibrated and re-zeroed the scale again:

http://i126.photobucket.com/albums/p85/coloradocop/chargemaster/sameemptypan-coverclosed.jpg


8) A second load was dispensed, again with a targeted weight of 6.0 grains of powder. This load dispensed quickly, again spraying powder all over the machine (as you can probably see in the pictures). The load stabilized at 6.0 grains, and provided the "beep" to confirm that it was done:

http://i126.photobucket.com/albums/p85/coloradocop/chargemaster/2ndchargeafterdispensing.jpg


9) I again lifted the powder pan off of the scale, and replaced it on the scale after a delay of a few seconds. This time the charge showed 6.7 grains, for an overage of 0.7 grains from the intended (and previously stated weight):

http://i126.photobucket.com/albums/p85/coloradocop/chargemaster/2ndchargeonsecondweighing.jpg


10) I verified this load on the Lee Safety Scale and came up with a reading of 6.8 grains, for a 0.1 grain deviation from the Chargemaster's 2nd reading (acceptable difference from this second reading):

http://i126.photobucket.com/albums/p85/coloradocop/chargemaster/shows68on2ndcharge.jpg



As you can probably tell in most of these pictures, there was a fair amount of powder spread throughout the inside of the Chargemaster's windshield. All of this powder came from the normal dispensing operation, and the far flung powder did seem to cling to the inside of the windshield. For the sake of accuracy, I made sure that no flakes of powder were on the scale plate before conducting each load test!


What could be causing these problems? Am I dealing with an issue of static build-up? Is my machine defective? Am I missing something here?


Any help would be greatly appreciated! I could easily fall in love with this machine if it would work correctly, but deviations of 0.7-1.0 grains of powder is certainly not safe (particularly when the entire "safe" range for my .40 S&W load is only 6.0-6.7 grains, per the Lyman manual!!!)

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woods
September 14, 2009, 08:59 AM
Hey Kevin

Good pics. First I do not open and close the cover. The cover gets closed when I turn it off and store it. The cover gets opened when I turn it on and stays open. All that opening and closing can not be good for your calibrations.

Second I would take one of those Bounty dryer sheets and wipe the machine down prior to use, all over. That should get rid of static electricity.

Third I would check under the scale platform when cleaning the machine. If any of that fine flaked powder gets under there it could cause a problem.

Are you standing on carpet when reloading?

Tim the student
September 14, 2009, 09:19 AM
I am by no means an expert, but I believe I have heard that fluorecent lights will affect it, as will electronics close by. Have a TV or radio going near by?

For what it's worth on those though, I have a Chargemaster that I haven't had any issues with, with fluorecent lights on, and a radio somewhat near by.

Hope you get it figured out - that has to be aggravating as anything.

D. Manley
September 14, 2009, 12:04 PM
THIS (http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=86424&d=1223939320) may be worth a read. If you can't correct it with the tips there a call to RCBS may be in order.

coloradokevin
September 14, 2009, 05:33 PM
Thanks for the help so far everyone! To address some of the questions and issues that you guys mentioned, I thought I'd provide a quick follow-up on where/how I'm using this dispenser:

-I am not on carpet, it is a cement floor in my basement

-I do have flourescent (sp?) lighting above me in this room. Just two bulbs in a shop lighting fixture.

-The counter is level, as it is an installed set of wood cabinets in my workshop (not pretty, but they appear level)

-I do not have any other electronics or power-operated equipment running in the immediate vicinity of the loading bench.

-I did check under the scale's platform to make sure that none of the "sprayed" powder made it in there

-I have been using the windshield on the dispenser, but have tried to be consistent in my use of this cover (calibrating with cover closed, then dispensing and weighing with it closed). I might try again tonight without the cover.

I am still wondering on the static issue, but I'm not sure how to test for that directly!

Tim the student
September 14, 2009, 05:38 PM
Are you closing the cover as it is dispensing? I know tiny air currents can affect it. Try breathing on it, and seeing how much it can change.

coloradokevin
September 14, 2009, 06:43 PM
Are you closing the cover as it is dispensing? I know tiny air currents can affect it. Try breathing on it, and seeing how much it can change.

I know what you mean about the small air currents, but I don't think this is a factor in my case. I close the cover before the dispenser starts, and don't open it again until after the "beep".

Unfortunately I don't keep any anit-static sheets on hand at my house, but I'm probably going to need to buy some and try wiping down the dispenser. Static is the one big question still hanging in my mind.

On the static issue, I should mention that I poured the Power Pistol powder from the container into my Lee Pro Autodisk initially, and loaded a few rounds on the press. Then I poured the powder from the Pro Autodisk into the Chargemaster... I'm wondering if that back-and-forth movement of the powder could have caused a static build-up?

Other than static, I'm out of ideas here, but I appreciate everyone's help!

1858
September 14, 2009, 08:06 PM
All I can say is HOLY CRAP!!! :what: I've dispensed THOUSANDS of loads of Trail Boss, H110, W231, IMR 4895, IMR 7828, Reloder 15, Reloder 19, Reloder 22 and Varget using my CM1500, and with all those powders, I can probably count the grains (literally individual grains not 1/7000th of a lb) that haven't made it into the pan (bounced out) using my fingers and toes. What you have there is a complete and total mess!. According to RCBS, you don't want to get any powder down inside the unit (where the plastic stage goes into the scale) but with all that static, who knows where the powder is going.

I don't understand how your unit managed to get so charged up but you may want to blame it on Tesla. Seriously though, what's the humidity where you are? I've been to Denver and it's friggin' dry up there. Static gets worse as the air gets drier.

As for the anti static cloths like Swiffer, I've wiped the pan and powder hopper down with one in the past but I can't say that I saw a noticeable difference. Then again, I don't really have a static problem since it's about 60% RH all-year-round in my house which helps to reduce static.

First I do not open and close the cover. The cover gets closed when I turn it off and store it. The cover gets opened when I turn it on and stays open. All that opening and closing can not be good for your calibrations.

I do open and close the cover but I don't close it all the way i.e. don't latch it. I just close it 98% of the way to cut down on any drafts and it works for me.

:)

1858
September 14, 2009, 08:19 PM
By the way, I'd say that the problem you're experiencing is DEFINITELY static related. You can buy some anti static spray for PC equipment ... that might work if you spray it on a cloth and then wipe the unit down, particularly the inside of the clear plastic cover and any other surfaces where powder is collecting. Test a small area first to make sure the that anything you use won't damage the surface of the plastic.

I wonder if the static charge (electrostatic force) between the clear plastic cover and the powder is sufficient to generate 0.7gr of lift on the pan and contents. Once you remove the pan and break the electric field, there's no lift and the true weight is reported once you put the pan back on the scale.

I really hope you can resolve this issue. The CM1500 has TOTALLY changed how I feel about reloading (for the better) and there's no going back to the old ways for me.

:)

kelbro
September 14, 2009, 10:37 PM
Lose the static generating cover during your cal and loading and let us know if it clears up.

coloradokevin
September 17, 2009, 05:46 AM
By the way, I'd say that the problem you're experiencing is DEFINITELY static related. You can buy some anti static spray for PC equipment ... that might work if you spray it on a cloth and then wipe the unit down, particularly the inside of the clear plastic cover and any other surfaces where powder is collecting. Test a small area first to make sure the that anything you use won't damage the surface of the plastic.

Lose the static generating cover during your cal and loading and let us know if it clears up.


Thanks for the advice everyone! I wanted to give you guys an update on this situation with the Chargemaster. By process of elimination, and based on the opinions that were quoted above, I decided that static was the most likely cause for my problems.

I finally made it out to Walmart tonight, and picked up some "anti-static wipes" that are designed for electronic equipment. Anyway, I wiped down the windshield, the scale (minus the sensor), and the inside of the powder hopper. I then loaded the unit with approximately 1/2lb of Power Pistol powder (the same stuff that gave me trouble last time), and again tried to dispense charges of 6.0 grains of powder.

It worked!

After I let the machine dry from the static wipes, then played around with the dispenser for a minute, I ended up dispensing 15 flawless loads with this powder (all scaled out at the 6.0 grain mark, even after picking the pan up and setting it back on the scale. I cross checked four of these dispensed loads on my Lee Safety Scale, and they matched up).

The machine was also relatively fast in dispensing these light loads, running about 12 seconds per cartridge. In reality, I doubt that this will become my typical method for loading pistol ammo... While this machine seems great, I still think press-mounted dispensers work faster for that particular application. Nevertheless, the Chargemaster should prove to be quite useful during load development, and during rifle cartridge loading (which I do single stage). It will certainly be far easier to load a variety of charge weights with this device!

I still have some more loading I'd like to try to get to this week, so I'll keep you guys posted on the progress with this new tool! Needless to say, it is amazing how much a little static can do to ruin your day!

Tim the student
September 17, 2009, 08:00 AM
Cool, glad you got it figured out.

qajaq59
September 17, 2009, 08:11 AM
Just so the next guy wont have to run to Wal Mart for wipes, pretty much any household detergent will stop the static charges. Just put a "little" on a towel and wipe the plastic parts. That will work for a month or so.

1858
September 17, 2009, 02:24 PM
The machine was also relatively fast in dispensing these light loads, running about 12 seconds per cartridge. In reality, I doubt that this will become my typical method for loading pistol ammo... While this machine seems great, I still think press-mounted dispensers work faster for that particular application.

I don't use the CM for any pistol calibers. I use a Redding 10x powder measure if I'm using the single stage press, or an RCBS Uniflow (with micrometer chamber) on the progressive press. Anyway, good to hear that you've resolved the issue and that you don't have all that powder over everything ... those photos are hard to look at!

:)

coloradokevin
September 20, 2009, 12:30 PM
For a second follow-up to my original post, I have now also tried H-380 powder in the dispenser, and haven't had any problems with the dispensing since using the static wipes.

Honestly, there seems to be something inherently annoying about that Power Pistol powder. Mine seems to stick to everything, and while I did fix the dispensing problems with that powder, it still took me about half an hour to clear the stuff out of the powder hopper when it was time to switch powders (this particular problem does not seem to be related to the machine, but rather to the powder --- the stuff just stuck everywhere, and didn't want to drain). My H4895 and H380 powders seem to drain better.

Seedtick
September 20, 2009, 03:33 PM
Kevin, I'm glad to hear it was such an easy fix. I'm hoping to get a similar set up sometime in the future.

I haven't had any more of a problem with Power Pistol than anything else as far as clean up. I wonder if the powder might still be carrying some static charge? :confused: Can powder even do that? :scrutiny:

ST

amlevin
October 7, 2009, 10:48 PM
Sorry you had a rocky start. I too just started using a Chargemaster Combo and found a couple steps are essential.

1. Calibration before every session is essential if for no other reason, peace of mind.

2. A set of calibration weights in varying sizes (my set has 2) 20 gr., 1) 10 gr. 1) 5 gr, 2) 2 gr, 1) 1 gr, and 1) 1/2 gr. I place the cal. check weights that represent an amount as close to my desired charge as I can get. Now I know that the electronic scale will read -0- and my desired weight accurately.

3. I got my best results by leaving the scale on for at least 30 minutes before calibrating.

4. It is essential that the mechanism beneath the weight pad be clean. Often new units can have small pieces of plastic "hair" from the manufacturing process that can effect weight readings.

Static is not too much of a problem here in the Pacific Northwest but a good wipedown with a Downy Drier Sheet doesn't hurt.

Keep the weighing area CLEAN!!!!!!

As for relying on a balance beam scale for coroboration of readings is a loosing proposition. Use the Cal check weights. I have an RCBS 5-0-5 scale that has also served me well but when I checked IT against the electronic scale it came up with Light Charges. Using the Cal check weights it was confirmed that the 5-0-5 was weighing charges light (maybe that's why some of my rounds were 100+ fps slow when I chrono'd them).

Good you found your issues.

Rokman
October 9, 2009, 09:50 AM
Colorado Kevin, I am glad that you got your problem fixed. I live in a realtively humid area and never had problems with static. I had a rocky start with the keyboard on my chargemaster and RCBS took care of it no problem. Hope that you have many quality loads with it. Rokman

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