Had a kaboom today...


November 11, 2012, 10:35 PM
... with my tumbler.

Saw a flash of light and a muffled blast like a primer going off out of the corner of my eye. It seems the combustion came from under the base of the tumbler. Knocked it out until I realized it just tripped the breakers.

I took the thing a part and all the connections look good. Its a Frankford arsenal Quick N EZ, 4 years old. I reset the breakers and it fires right up. I'm thinking this may have been caused by built up priming residue around the machine.

Any ideas?

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November 11, 2012, 10:44 PM
Well for one thing I would not trust it if running when I was not in the room anymore. It might actually catch fire or something. You may have had a voltage surge that caused an arc in your electrical system and it was the power jumping at your electrical outlet that you saw. Or it might be a bad tumbler. They are supposed to have a thermal overload built in to prevent fires and such but is your still OK or not. I would be wary in any case.

November 11, 2012, 11:02 PM
Priming residue is not flammable, but corn cob dust is. Ever heard of exploding grain elevators?

November 12, 2012, 07:21 AM
I agree that it was not primer residue and electrical related. I have made little, and big, booms with electricity before, but never with a tumbler. Electric motors, yes. Usually when a motor has an internal short, or it grounds out, it is ruined, but not always.

November 12, 2012, 11:52 AM
I have the same tumbler and thought I fried the motor a few years back...

No nothing when switched on...

turned out to be wires to the motor had vibrated loose.

I tightened everything up and it has run fine ever since.

November 12, 2012, 11:56 AM
I myself would blow it out real good with an air compressor. Look everything over to make sure tight and look for burnt areas and then plug it into a extension cord outside for a couple of days and see what happens. I would guess dust build up or even a spider web crossing a couple wire conectors.

November 12, 2012, 12:08 PM
Sounds like an electrical short of some kind. Personally I'd be pretty wary of it moving forward. I'm surprised it still works.

November 12, 2012, 01:49 PM
As soon as I added media and brass it shorted out again. The manufacturer of the motor is in China and sells the motors for $6-7 but the minimum order quantity is 1k. I'd buy another motor before I spent $45 but I haven't had any luck yet.

November 12, 2012, 02:22 PM
Time for a new tumbler !

My best guess would be a combination of

but corn cob dust


an electrical short of some kind

It was neat that it restarted....... but once this happened :

As soon as I added media and brass it shorted out again.

It would be curb time.

*whistles taps for a good tool*

Nice part is, you can now get a brand spanky new one.

Hondo 60
November 12, 2012, 05:00 PM
Sorry to hear it died on you.
My prayer is that you're not in any financial difficulty & a new tumbler is no sweat.

November 13, 2012, 12:01 AM
Contact MidwayUSA customer service and see what they have to say about your tumbler going kaboom. Have dealt with them before and was amazed at the service the provided. Give them a call you have nothing to loose. may be a replacement tumbler.

November 13, 2012, 06:51 AM
Or come to the 'dark side' of reloading, and work without a tumbler...

November 13, 2012, 08:40 AM
Reload without tumbling? Sure.

I wouldn't use a tumbler that has once shorted out because of the risk of igniting corn dust with a spark. The main reason to tumble is to degrunge the outer case walls and save wear and tear on your dies. A secondary purpose is to make the brass shiny if you like shiny brass. So if you have just a few fired brass and you need to reload them right away, you can simply wipe the outer walls in some manner and load away. Or you can wash and dry brass, but it takes longer.

November 14, 2012, 10:15 AM
Come to the dark side.....stainless pins and a thumlers.....you know you want to...and we have cookies......

November 14, 2012, 10:46 AM
Check the wires where they pass through the frame into the motor compartment. I have that same tumbler,and I always drill vent holes in the bottom plate and in the top of the plastic motor compartment.

I had an old Midway tumbler and the wires would fray where they passed through the plastic frame. Was an easy fix. Adding the weight is causing the short, wherever it is.

November 14, 2012, 02:10 PM
Not to thread hijack but I need a tumbler motor for a Frankford Arsenal also if anyone has a source.

November 14, 2012, 02:35 PM
Tumblers use 'shaded pole induction motors', same as used in bath and kitchen exhaust fans. I know of no American made small motors, they all come from China. Different makers vary a bit in appearance and wattage but most have a common mounting hole arrangement and use 1/8" inch drive shafts in bronze bearings, it's not critical to match the original specs if a substitute will work.

Some electrical appliance repair shops will have a few used ones lying around but buying a new motor will cost as much as a new tumbler. I've bought used bath exhaust units from "thrift shops" just to get the motors, that's the least pricey way to go.

IF you have to buy a new tumbler try a Berry's/Cabelas. They use 1/4" shaft ball bearing motors that tend to last much longer than the small shaft motors.

November 14, 2012, 08:58 PM
I wasn't ready to bust a franklin on those new shiny ones so I went to midway and bought the same model for $33. Funny thing is, its a lot quieter than the one I had. I paid a little more for shipping and it arrived this evening. I was out of cases to reload today so I got all nostalgic and bought 100 rounds of factory Blazer Brass. The nostalgia quickly wore off when I discovered the primers were small pistol. The $36 price tag didn't help either.

Oh well, I'm reloading again and thats all that matters.

November 14, 2012, 09:45 PM
Reload without tumbling? Sure.

Unless you are picking up range brass trampled into the dirt, I can not imagine that a quick swipe with a cloth isn't sufficient 'cleaning' for the average reloader...At the most, a brush passed in and out of a case...

I have never harmed a die by putting an 'untumbled' case through it...

The thought is laughable...

I have never seen an 'untumbled' case/cartridge that was less accurate than a bright shiny one...

Again, just a silly notion...

I HAVE indeed seen tumbled FTF rounds later dissected, only to find flash holes plugged with 'media'...

After decapping, I do clean every primer pocket, and visually inspect flash holes.

I have never had an overcharge, squib, or FTF on one of my reloads...

Shiny is, as shiny does...


November 15, 2012, 10:53 AM
LOL. Hate to laugh but that happened to me 2 weeks ago but mine never fired back up. Still waiting on a new motor from RCBS.

November 15, 2012, 12:10 PM
Sounds like a lose connection.
Add some mass to the bowl and the resulting vibration of more mass makes things move around more.

Look on the bottom of the tumbler and pull gently on the power wires going to the motor.

any are just crimped connections from the power cord to the motor leads.

One is likely loose.

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