My powder scale won't work.

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  • Last Post 11 January 2020
Brodie posted this 07 January 2020

I just had something happen that is completely puzzling.  My OHAUS 1010 powder scale (a single beam balance scale) just quit working.  Our neighbor's son came over to load some 223's for his up coming Javelina hunt and my powder scale just quit working.  Right now there is a 50 some gr. lead bullet sitting in the pan, and the scale is set to zero grains, but the pan stays up, and the pointer stays down.  It is like I have the scale set to weigh 100 gr. charges instead of zero and the pan does not move without my pushing it down.  If anybody has experienced something like this and has an answer as to why or not please let me know.  This is a balance beam scale not electric.

B.E.Brickey

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David Reiss CBA Membership Director posted this 07 January 2020

These scales are fairly simple in design and operation. It is magnetic dampening, again as most newer ones are. Most of my suggestions are probably what you already know, but here it goes. Remove the balance beam from the scale, make sure it is clean and has nothing that has become attached. Level the base before reinstalling the beam. Make sure the beam's adjustments are set to zero, both of them. Before installing make sure there is nothing that has fallen inside the dampening well and it is clean. After reinstalling the beam make sure it is not touching the scale body. It should work properly now with the pan holder and pan in place. Other than that I have know clue unless the magnetic dampening is demagnetized. 

David Reiss - NRA Life Member & PSC Range Member Retired Police Firearms Instructor/Armorer
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Ken Campbell Iowa posted this 07 January 2020

.... not familiar with that exact scale, but on most scales there is a " calibration " weight that is used to set the balance correctly, maybe some jam nuts ...  ... is that little adjustment nut(s ) ... still set correctly ? 

maybe it is loose or for some reason has been moved.  i assume the beam moves freely with your fingers, no gummy bugs or magnets in the area... 

**********

other than that, i am running out of quick answers ... heh ... let us know what you find ...

ken

 

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BudHyett posted this 07 January 2020

Carefully disassemble the scale. The knife edges on the balance arm are jewels and may have become damaged or worn out. The other possibility is grease or other contamination. Clean all surfaces with brake cleaner or similar and use a Q-Tip, or similar, to wipe the trough the knife edge rests on.

Examine the knife edges with a magnifying glass. You can also take a digital picture and magnify the picture. If they are worn, either rounded or chipped, then you can resharpen with fine grit stones, This is only if you feel comfortable doing this. If you do not feel comfortable, seek out a friend who can do this. 

Reassemble the scale and check for repetition and precision. I've done this, used Sierra 53 grain Match Kings up to 530 grains to assure the range of weight is correct. 

Country boy from Western Illinois, living in the Magical Pacific Northwest

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Ross Smith posted this 08 January 2020

yah, let us know what you find

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max503 posted this 08 January 2020

Just curious.  Do you leave that scale sitting out, uncovered?  I do mine.  I reload in the basement.  It's not dusty there.  Wondering if that hurts them.

I re-zero mine before each use.

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Larry Gibson posted this 08 January 2020

As mentioned check and clean the knife edges of the beam arms and also the V notches they fit into.  Sometimes plastic load blocks and Styrofoam can cause static to interrupt the beams movement.  Thoroughly ground the scale (like take outside and set on ground  rt touch to water pipe or even wash with a bit of Dawn in water.  

Then set back up on bench and with both weights at zero/zero and the empty pan on the pan assembly arm check to see if the scale is leveled. Ten re-weight the bullet.

Also check the screws in the pan assembly arm to make sure they have not come loose and lost any of the leveling weight (small lead shot) out of the inside.  If some of the shot is missing the scale will do exactly what you describe it is doing.  If shot is missing then center the leveling screw, set scale up on bench set at zero/zero,  with pan on the pan assembly arm add small shot (#9 or #12 works best) until the beam comes close to level (pointer on 0) then open the pan assembly arm and add the shot to it from the pan being careful not to lose any shot that is still in the assembly.  Re-assemble then put pan on the pan assembly arm and level the scale. 

LMG

 

Concealment is not cover.........

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Brodie posted this 09 January 2020

Thank you gentlemen, I will give these techniques a try.

At the moment the scale is about 104.6gr. out of whack.  Or, it took that much weight to get the pointer to zero.

B.E.Brickey

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BudHyett posted this 09 January 2020

Did the screw on the bottom of the pan come loose and allow the shot to fall out? The loose screw is enough to allow the finer shot out, but not loose enough to be noticeable. Fortunately, I had some #11 shot for .45 Colt shotshells, they worked well.  

 

Country boy from Western Illinois, living in the Magical Pacific Northwest

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Squid Boy posted this 09 January 2020

I know this will sound stupid but I accidentally mixed up the pans from two different scales and even though they were the same make ended up more than fifty grains different. Drove me nuts for awhile. Now they are marked. Check the easy stuff first. Squid boy

"Squid Pro Quo"

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Brodie posted this 09 January 2020

Therer is no screw on the bottom of the pan on my OHAUS scale, and I have only one scale out on the bench so I could not have mixed up pans.  I haven't messed with it today I have been busy with other matters.  I think I will just buy a smaller scale to use.

It is my suspicion that one of the magnets came loose and is holding the beam at the bottom of its travel.  One of the reasons I like this type of equipment is that there is little to go wrong.  I don't have to reset it every time it is used, no batteries, and no mystical electronic boards and chips to worry about.  Oh well, every thing breaks sooner or later.  Even hammer faces get marred and build up zinc coating over time bending the nails even with an even blow.

B.E.Brickey

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max503 posted this 10 January 2020

 Even hammer faces get marred and build up zinc coating over time bending the nails even with an even blow.

 

Ever wonder why this happens?  It's because hammer faces are hardened.  If you whack two hammers together you can chip the faces.  I used to teach shop and for some reason the kids liked to whack hammer faces together.

Sorry.  Not meaning to hijack the thread. 

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Larry Gibson posted this 10 January 2020

Brodie

The screw and shot container to level the scale is in the bottom of the pan assembly arm, not the pan itself.  You can see it in this photo of my Ohaus' scale.  

If you have another scale is it possible the pan assembly arms got mixed up?  I have done that before......

LMG

Concealment is not cover.........

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Brodie posted this 11 January 2020

Thank you Larry I had forgotten about that screw.  Several years ago I dropped the pan holder and had to glue the wire back to the base with epoxy.  If I had known about the screw and shot container at the time I could have removed enough shot to re-balance the scale.  Since I didn't know enough I zeroed the scale with a small piece of wire, carefully weighed and adjusted- crimped to the other end of the beam.  This red-neck arrangement has served well for many years until the recent problem.

B.E.Brickey

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