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From: gmk@falstaff.MAE.CWRU.EDU (Geoff Kotzar)
Subject: Dillon Scale Review
Organization: /etc/organization

# In <> (Bill Burge) writes:
#Someone posted a review of the Dillon elec-scale a little while ago.
#If the other poster has the original post about the Dillon, could he please
#send it to me or attach it to this.  Others might like to reread it as well.
#Thank you for the basis for the tests that I performed.
#Just another example of the 'net spending "hundreds if not thousands of
#dollars", so that I can spend an extra $75 _wisely_.  (My friend ended up
#cutting me a deal on the Lyman.)

The following is the letter I sent with the Dillon scale when I returned it
to Dillon explaining what I found wrong with it. I am glad that someone else
found it of use.

To: Mike Dillon

From: Geoffrey M Kotzar

Re: D-Terminator S/N 24241220295

I am returning this balance because it has some very serious problems.

First, the claimed capacity of 95 grams is wrong. The capacity that I measured
was only 70 grams; at 70.10 grams the unit returned an error message.

In the process of determining the capacity I checked the accuracy using an
Ohaus laboratory check weight set. As the unit was supplied the accuracy was
only slightly better than 1%; however, after running the calibration procedure
outlined in the instructions, I obtained the following results:

Applied Weight      Indicated Weight

    0.00                   0.00
    1.00                   0.99
    2.00                   1.99
    5.00                   4.98
   10.00                   9.98
   15.00                  14.99
   20.00                  19.98
   50.00                  49.97
   60.00                  59.98
   65.00                  64.99
   67.00                  66.99
   69.00                  68.97
   69.50                  69.48
   69.70                  69.68
   69.90                  69.88
   70.00                  69.98
   70.10                  ERROR

    0.00                  -0.02

As you can see from the above data the accuracy is close to the claimed level
but the zero shift is very disturbing since it occured in the "grain" mode as
well resulting in overlaods as large as 3 grains.

Second, in working up a load for a .375 H&H using 4350 I found that the zero
would shift as the final half grain of powder was dribbled into the pan. When
the charge was poured out and the pan returned to the tray, the indicated
weight would read some negative value. If the unit was turned off, then
restarted and the same charge returned to the pan it would weight the original
indicated weight, in my case 76 grains, plus an additional amount equal to the
negative value as well. The largest charge that occurred in this manner was
78.8 grains for a desired "measured" weight of 76.0.

I talked to a technician named Bill a little over a week ago about this and
he said it was due to faulty software for the "tare" function and that if
the unit was started with the pan on the tray, the zero shift would not occur.
I ran a series of tests at two load levels, 1.0 and 76.0 grains of 4350,
following his suggestion and still got the zero shift and attendant overloads.
I reran my tests yesterday and have enclosed the data below. It appeared to
make no difference how the zero reading was established. Since in the previous
tests the actual load level was irrelevant, I have included only data for a
1.0 grain desired load. The negative value in each column is the value returned
after the charge was removed from the pan and the pan returned to the platform.
The device was turned off and restarted using the appropriate mode for the
test being run and the same charge was reweighed which is the second number
for each heading.

                                Condition On Start-Up
Desired Weight      pan off tray    pan on tray      pan off tray
     1.0 gr         "tare" zero      auto zero       "zero" zero

    Run 1           -1.8    2.8     -0.9    1.9      -1.1    2.2

        2           -1.2    2.2     -1.1    2.0      -1.5    2.5

        3           -0.3    1.4     -0.5    1.5      -0.5    1.4

        4           -0.4    1.3     -0.8    1.7      -0.9    2.0

        5           -1.4    2.5     -0.3    1.4      -0.4    1.4

As you can see, the errors appear to occur at random and the negative values
indicating the zero shift agree well with the excess charge weights. Also, the
method of establishing the scale zero had no effect upon the wandering zero.
I suspect that you have a lot of product development yet to do or you need
to improve your quality control.

It is a nice idea at a nice price and I wish you luck on working out the bugs.

As a follow-up note Dillon refunded my money promptly and included the return
shipping charges as well.

geoff kotzar

From: gmk@falstaff.MAE.CWRU.EDU (Geoff Kotzar)
Subject: Dillon Determinator Review: Follow-up
Organization: /etc/organization

Last week or so I reposted a copy of a letter I sent to Dillon summarizing
some problems I found with a De-Terminator I received before Christmas. A
simple summary was that the unit I received suffered from a number of prob-
lems. I recently communicated with another netter who also purchased a De-
Terminator from Dillon at about the same time who has found no problems with
his. As a result of our discussion and his subsequent conversation with Dillon,
I received a call from Dillon Precision. I talked to a gentleman named Daryl
for about 15 minutes on his nickel. He was very informative and very concerned
about the problems I found. He told me that the unit I had was just a bad one
and that the glitches were not characteristic of the design in general. Had I
not pre-empted things with a request for a refund at the time I returned my
unit they would have gladly replaced it with another functioning unit. But
that is typical of Dillon.

As it is, I am still in the market for an electronic scale. Were it not for
the fact that my charge card account is looking a little middle age-ish -thick
around the middle and short of breath- I might have had Dillon send me another
right then. Once I get my account to the point that I do not involuntarily gasp
when I see the balance, I am going to order one. The real problem will be which
one; there are so many nice ones coming on the market at such good prices. I
like the way Dillon does business though; this kind of follow-up is very re-
assuring. Daryl did tell me that the De-terminators were not designed with
trickling powder charges in mind. They were more intended to weigh cases and
bullets for precision type shooting or for checking the weight of dropped
charges.  There is an enhanced model in the wings that will accept trickled
charges. In the next 3 to 4 months.

If any of you have any questions about the scales, Daryl said to ask for him.
Dillon's number is 1-800-223-4570.

By the way Daryl apparently is an avid benchrest competitor. He told me he
uses a Dillon powder measure (what else) to drop the charges for his ammo.
I knew their measure was good, but I always thought you needed one of the
"precision" measures. Live and learn.

geoff kotzar

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