Static Electricity and Reloading Don't Mix

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So I setup to do some reloading today and could not get my trusty old RCBS scale to read accurately. I put my scale in a place I never use because the tarp gets in the way. However today I decided to pull the tarp back far enough to use the scale there. I zeroed everything out to verify it was working correctly but I kept getting differing results. It would not hold the zero. I fooled with it a good 15-20 minutes and getting frustrated. Finally I noticed as my hand got closer the scale the reading changed! WHAT! Then I moved the tarp a little and the readings changed again. The plastic tarp was holding some kind of static electric charge that was affecting the accuracy and safety of the scale. Has anyone run into this before?

These pictures show how much the scale changed by moving the tarp a little bit.

wMHjC3i.jpg


fbHbDdE.jpg
 
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It was the same as a charged balloon and your hair. I know static will affect powder and make it stick to things. You had to see it to believe it. Has anyone ever heard of something like that before?

It definitely was coming from the plastic tarp. There were no more issues when I put the scale on the bench top.
 
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I think i would have through the scale out a window before i notice the tarp causing it

I've had that scale since 1978 and it has never given me any issues. It was very frustrated trying figure out what was causing the problem. I thought there was dirt or something binding the beam. Like I said I first noticed as my hand got closer to the scale the beam moved. After that I tried to move the tarp and there was the culprit.

I guess this shows how important it is to verify your scale is working properly as well as the rest of your equipment. Don't just assume things are OK but verify.
 
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jpm

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This is why you're told to put plastic gasoline containers on the ground before you fill them. The plastic holds a static charge like the tarp will and you really don't want a spark around your empty or nearly empty gas container.
 
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That's crazy. Never experienced it myself.

biggest problem that I have run into is using the scale in a drafty location and the "breeze", even if you couldn't feel it, would mess with a beam scale.
 
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Yes, I've seen it before but on an analytical scale (1/10,000th gram accuracy) in the laboratory. We plugged a dohickey into the outlet (the power actually only provided the backlight for the display) and it indicated an improper ground. We notified the Maintenance electrician, who had recently done some wiring in the adjacent room but on the same circuit. He said they had grounded the circuit properly after the original work and checked it and confirmed, "Yup, it was grounded correctly. No problem here." Funny, it worked just fine after he didn't fix it.
 
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