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Frankford Arsenal Intellidropper™ Electronic Powder Scale and Dispenser

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by beaker, Mar 10, 2019.

  1. beaker

    beaker NES Member

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    I picked up one of these today, It is a brand new product. I want to try some precision rifle reloading. The reviews for auto powder dispensers are all over the map anyway, so I figured I would try out this new unit.

    Picture of unit.png



    Did some testing tonight and figured I would post the results and see what others thought of the repeatability and accuracy, and post my thoughts on the unit as it is a new product.

    General Impressions of the unit.

    It is very easy to use. The calibration process is very simple and easy to do with the provided Calibrated weights, which tuck into storage locations on the main unit. The interface on the panel is very straight forward, there is a powder calibration function that trickles out powder at different rates and it calibrates itself to that specific powder. It dispenses powder pretty fast. I didn't use the cover at all in the testing. There is an App that you can use to control the unit from your phone using a bluetooth connection, I didn't have a chance to try it yet, but you can save setups on your phone and recall them as needed or adjust charge weights, start dispensing, etc. The touch screen is quite responsive and easy to use.

    Gripes: The leveling feet need to be about 1/4" larger in diameter so you can easily spin them from the sides to level the unit. They are flush with the body so being a bit larger would make it easier, but not too bad once you get the gist of it. The start button (play button) is hard to push, but not too bad once you get used to it.

    I used some IMR 4831 stick for the testing, I will do some other types of powder when I get a chance. I did 20 samples at 47 Grains, 85.5 Grains, 125 Grains and 10 samples at 200 grains.

    I used Lyman and a Hornady powder scales to verify each throw, which are posted below. The Lyman was right on target with the Frankford, but the Hornady was consistently lower. The Hornady always kind of sucked, which was why I bought the Lyman. I used the Lyman as the "scale of record" to verify.



    Frankford 1.jpg

    Lyman 2.jpg

    Hoirnady.jpg
    Over 1.jpg
    20190309_202416.jpg
    Over Target Alarm


    Starting with the second set, I re-weighed the samples in the Frankford Intellidropper as it seemed that the charges were consistently under the stop weight. There was no re calibration done after the first run of 47 grain samples. I just plugged in the new charge number and hit the go button.

    47 Data.JPG
    85_5 Data.JPG
    1255 Data.JPG

    200 Data.JPG
    It seems to me that the Dispenser is quite consistent in charge throws. It seems to be consistently just under the set weight, but the standard deviation is quite low. You could likely adjust the charge to get exactly the weight you need by doing this and having a calibration offset. The range of variation is consistently about 1/2 grain at all set points.

    Draining the powder was fairly easy, there is a drain on the right rear. It was a little fiddly, but easy enough to manage. I used a can of duster air to blow out the unit after draining, and made a little bit of a mess, but next time it will be neater.

    Draining Powder.jpg

    I have no basis to judge the performance of the unit, the question for people who have used auto dispensers - how does this unit compare to your experiences with other units?
     

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    Last edited: Mar 10, 2019

  2. milktree

    milktree NES Member

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    It really has 0.5gr variation? Is that a typo, and it should be 0.05gr?

    1/2 grain is HUGE, I get less than 0.2 gr out of my volumetric powder measure on my Dillon 550.
     
  3. mac1911

    mac1911 NES Member

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    A new product and intro priced. I ended up with the Lyman gen 6 the same way . It was introductory priced
    It’s a very simple unit and a tad slow but I’m not looking for ultra fast , blue tooth , memory or apps. So it suited my needs.
    Digital scales are fickle , play with it.
     
  4. beaker

    beaker NES Member

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    A couple of things. the variation from when the unit stopped dispensing was about +/- 0.05 grains and that was using stick powder. I've never gotten <0.2g out of my dillon 650 powder measure with stick powder, have you run a bunch of consecutive throws and recorded the weights from the Dillon measure? I was using two other scales to confirm the final weights for comparison. The variation of the Lyman scale weights was +/- 0.25 grains, and showed that the actual weight seems to be about 0.5 grains lower than the target set weight. I plan on repeating one of these tests but adding 0.5 grains to the target to compensate and see if the actual charge weights are on target. Based on the range of different set points tested and the consistency of the offset regardless of charge weight target, I think it will work. It would be interesting to see if anyone has data from other similar units to compare (using a seperate scale to confirm charge weight).

    The unit hits the same number every time within 0.1 grains, within its specification. I will be testing some flake and ball at some point to see if/what the difference is.

     
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  5. Mountain

    Mountain NES Member

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    Great review. IMHO, stick powders are toughest to get a consistent throw. You'll likely see more consistency from ball and short sticks. Dunno about flake.
     
  6. milktree

    milktree NES Member

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    OK, that makes more sense.

    Yes, but with ball and flake. I don’t have any data on stick.

    I have a vague memory of getting quite good metering with Reloder 15, but I don’t remember the numbers.

    This seems like the calibration isn’t working. If it were my tool I’d want the manufacturer to fix/replace it with one that calibrates properly.
     
  7. mac1911

    mac1911 NES Member

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    See if your pharmacy will weigh your check weights.
    I had a check weight that was off. Then I noticed the little handle screwed off and you could had lead/steel shot to it to adjust it.
     
  8. Ranger007

    Ranger007 NES Member

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    beaker TY for all the info. EXCELLENT review nice to see a post like this.
     
  9. daekken

    daekken NES Member

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    Thanks for posting.

    A dispenser is the next reloading tool I think I am going to get, but I haven't done any research yet. Weighing each charge by hand is definitely the longest step for me in the reloading process right now.

    It's nice that you have a few other tools to compare it to.
     
  10. mac1911

    mac1911 NES Member

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    Now they need a auto case feeder/fill for these things!
     
  11. oldfox

    oldfox

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    Could you tell me the footprint size of this unit?
     
  12. beaker

    beaker NES Member

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    12" x 5 3/4" by 12" high
     
  13. beaker

    beaker NES Member

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    I am getting a scale with better resolution (0.015gn) to get better data. When I have time I will also post data from different types of powder.
     
  14. milktree

    milktree NES Member

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    Holy cow... what scale has 0.015grain resolution?
     
  15. oldfox

    oldfox

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    Thanks!
     
  16. beaker

    beaker NES Member

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    It is a 0.001g (0.015 gn, resolution, display is 0.02 gn typically) scale. They are mainly for precious metals, or chemistry labs. I have a 0.001 scale but only reads in grams (not grains), you can do the math easy enough, but who want's to do that? :) There are a couple of scales that resolve down to that level, and have grains as units like these;

    https://www.brownells.com/reloading...y&utm_campaign=itwine&utm_content=100-032-807
    ScalesGalore - Scales for ALL your weighing needs!


    And you can find some lower cost scales with that resolution and grains for units if you look around.
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2019
  17. mac1911

    mac1911 NES Member

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    I,had a scale from a closing pharmacy. Thing was very accurate and also very touchy. If I left it on all the time it was ok. Although humidity and temp swing in my basement gave me fits a forget trying to get a stable read out with out putting the cover on. The control pad burnt out and I sold it to someone looking for other parts. It was a old Hause? Sp?
     
  18. beaker

    beaker NES Member

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    Probably an Ohaus scale.
     
  19. mac1911

    mac1911 NES Member

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    Yes that’s it. I could not use that scale when kids where home. It would wonder every time kids ran across the floor upstairs.
     
  20. noylj

    noylj

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    1) if it stops dispensing under-weight, it may be dispensing too fast. Call Frankford.
    2) if it stops dispensing over-weight, you can slightly wet a finger and remove one or two kernels of powder and you'll have the right weight 99% of the time. This also shows just how SMALL that 0.1gn everyone WORRIES about really is.
     
  21. beaker

    beaker NES Member

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  22. Mark from MA

    Mark from MA NES Member

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    This. Ive solved my case prep insanity with the lyman case prep machine.

    On to an auto scale. I was loking at Lyman gen 6 but this seems a bit better and more features.

    Good review BTW.

    Where did you buy it?
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2019
  23. daekken

    daekken NES Member

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    Maybe by Black Friday I'll be ready to jump on a scale, unless I find some sort of good deal before then. Kind of too expensive to ask for one for Father's Day.

    According to my spreadsheet I'm about $55 away from recovering my reloading equipment costs, so resetting the costs with a couple hundred dollar scale would hurt the morale. Still would like to get a progressive setup for 9mm and/or 223 as well.

    ETA the app options seems kind of cool. Looks like lots of places have this scale for $200 give or take which ain't bad.
     
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  24. Mark from MA

    Mark from MA NES Member

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    Good luck chasing that break even point.
    Its not something I care about. Having anmo when I want and making it better than factory, and having it custom fit my rifles for accuracy is more important than rhat.

    There’s always something nice to buy that can speed up your reloading or make it easier.

    Having slow and painful tools will make you give up eventually or make your hands hurt.

    My pain points are case prep and weighing powder for high power rifle.
    I actually started buying anmo again cause I didnt want to deal with it. Then I realized I have dies and equipment sitting and for $300 or so I can make case prep and weighing easier and start reloading again.

    The progressive took all the pain away for handgun. Of course there is little case prep for handgun. I just want to make it as fast and as easy as possible so I can shoot more.

    Now its time to take away the rifle pain points and speed up that process.
     
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  25. daekken

    daekken NES Member

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    Saving money per se is not and has not been my goal. I shoot chiefly milsurp - M1s, Lee-Enfield, K98, etc. 303 British is not always easy to find. The only shop local to me that I know carrying it wanted $1/round. I can reload a box of 20 for about $7.50. At some point I want to add an Arisaka and 7.7 Japanese isn't easy to come by.

    I just like data so I save all of the info and as I mentioned, I'm about $55 from breaking even.

    I take the exact same approach you do--I determine my greatest pain point, try to address it, and then move onto the next one. It used to be case trimming, but I took care of that to a degree I am satisfied with.
    At this point, for me, for both rifle and pistol it's weighing charges. I can prep cases with acceptable effort and pace; the slowest and most tedious point is getting the proper charge since I weigh it all by hand with a scale and scoop.

    For some, like 38spl, my scoop gets it nearly exact--usually +- 0.1gr, so I can churn those out pretty quickly even on a single stage. For others, like 9mm, it's extremely tedious and the reason I've only done like 100 rounds of it.

    I think a powder dispenser is my next step--I think it'll improve my efficiency to such a degree I'll "save" enough to cover the cost of a progressive setup fairly quickly. I have hundreds of prepped 9mm cases and over a thousand projectiles--even with the thin 9mm margins, being able to spit out charges quickly and accurately would really amp up my volume.
     
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  26. Mark from MA

    Mark from MA NES Member

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    Personally if you shoot more 9 than you do rifle. I would buy the progressive first. Youll never go back and will be amazed at how fast it ups your productivity. It also solves the scale problem for handgun loads as everything is weighed on the press.

    But either will be good. Ill likely be trying this new auto scale. Should be my last “ major” problem solver for reloading.
     
  27. beaker

    beaker NES Member

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    I am going to try the new lyman case trimmer they just released. It looks very simple and for a lot less than most other solutions covers all of the rifle calibers i shoot with a simple bushing change and easy setup.
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2019
  28. Mark from MA

    Mark from MA NES Member

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    Just bought the Intellidropper Scale. Thanks for the review. Seems pretty good.
    Working slick for me.

    I have the Lyman auto prep center and I use a lee case trimmer adapter for it off of ebay (15 bucks) in one of the 5 stations. It works well. I can do everything at one time.

    I do see the advantage of the new Lyman case trimmer for speed though. Looks like a nice unit for the money. I may get that next too.
     
  29. daekken

    daekken NES Member

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    Need your video review on the Intellidropper.
     
  30. mac1911

    mac1911 NES Member

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    I recovered reloading equipment cost in time and gas saved driving around finding ammo!
     

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