What All Can Mess With Electronic Scales?

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by Joshua M. Smith, Apr 20, 2011.

  1. Hello,

    I have a nice Lyman electronic scale. It will take batteries or plug into the wall. I shoot on my own land, so no reason to use batteries at the range.

    It was fluctuating all over, going out of calibration every couple charges, then coming back on. (Was confirming all this with a magnetic-damped beam scale).

    I moved it and it started working fine.

    There's really nothing in my reloading room that would mess with it... I have an electric heater that doesn't blow on it (light fan anyway, mostly radiant heat). I am using a fluorescent bulb. Could that do it?

    Different spots on the workbench would give slightly different readings. Reckon I should just use a couple levels to set it from now on?


  2. Eric0424

    Eric0424 New Member

    I've read fluorescent lights can effect electronic scales. A light draft can cause problems too.

  3. lonyaeger

    lonyaeger Active Member

  4. Jesse17

    Jesse17 New Member

    I won't use an electronic scale. I worked for a while for a company called JDK Controls who makes "high quality" potentiometers (kind of like a volume knob on an old tv but different) They even told me they are one of the top two manufactures in the world, and one of their potentiometer orders were for measuring the flap angle on tomahawk cruise missiles.

    Anyway, they stick me in this closet, measuring powdered plastic into little 'pill cups' the powder is then hot pressed in a dye and formed into disks that can't vary in thickness or it would create more or less resistance between the disk and a wiper the runs on it.

    So I'm supposed to weigh the plastic on an electronic scale to get it in a certain tolerance range. I notice that if I pick up the cup and set it back down it reads a different weight. Try it again...Same thing, different weight every time. Hell, I eventually just eyeballed the powder level and then picked it up and set it down on the scale until one of the readings was in tolerance and sent it on down the line.

    I stick to analog measurements for anything I can, life's just simpler that way.
  5. Txhillbilly

    Txhillbilly Well-Known Member

    I have a cheap digital scale that is affected by just about anything,but my electronic powder dispenser/scale isn't effected at all by fluorescent lights.There is a fluorescent shop light directly over the top of it,and it weighs the same amounts as weighed with my RCBS 505 beam scale.
  6. Jpyle

    Jpyle New Member

    How close was the scale to your cell phone?
  7. You know, I had my cell phone in the room with me for the first time... that may have been it.

    Also started using an old mouse pad underneath it, and replaced the fluorescent with one of my dwindling supply of incandescents.

    There's a ceiling fan in the room, but it wasn't on.

    I will have to check again the level of the table. It's new and may have settled.


  8. jeepcreep927

    jeepcreep927 New Member

    Florescent lights cause problems with beam scales due to a small magnetic field. They don't affect digital scales.

    Mine was made crazy by an incoming text message, but it was VERY apparent. Started blinking all "8"'s. I re-zeroed it after and it seemed fine but I made a note to place the cell phone in another room.
  9. rjd3282

    rjd3282 New Member

    Anything that has electricity passing thru it has a magnetic field. If you bought scales that don't work just because the lights are on, it isn't shielded properly and should go back to the manufacturer. What do they expect you to do, work in the dark?
  10. therewolf

    therewolf New Member

    Primarily, what you have to worry about is anything with a transformer or a coil.

    The motor in a fan is a big coil. The ballast in many florescent lights is a

    large transformer. It may help to hang a pin or a thin steel filament on a thread.

    If you see it being drawn toward anything, you know you've got a problem

    with the device's inductive magnetism.

    What I've been given to understand is the electronic scales lose their calibration quickly,

    and need double checking a lot with a beam scale.
  11. Jesse17

    Jesse17 New Member


    Ah..um...maybe not for reloading. :eek:
  12. mrm14

    mrm14 Active Member

    With my RCBS electronic scale it has a clear plastic cover that closes over it for weighing. It is a must for constant accuracy. I have it plugged into a dedicated 20 amp circut. I have indicasent lights where I reload; no folursecents. Also I have it setting on a level slab of 1" thick (CM-3) granite. Dont know if these things are a factor but it gives me dead on accurate measurements when double checking with my triple beam scale.
  13. cpttango30

    cpttango30 New Member

    Digital reloading scales are not for me. I have a $100 PACT BBKII that sits because 1 it was not consistent at all and 2 florecent lights messed with it the radio messed with it breathing messed with it. If you can't breath while reloading your reloads aren't going to be worth a damn.

    Then the load cell went out in it after 6 months. Oh and that nice warranty they talk about doesn't cover the load cell. So it sits in the box on the shelf and my Ohus 1010 (RCBS 1010) sits stop a custom made riser I made for it so that I don't have to bend over. Powder in the plumbers crack sucks.