How to Troubleshoot Laboratory Balances

troubleshoot laboratory balance

Troubleshooting a laboratory balance may fix your balance woes.

Are you weighed down with balance issues? Is old faithful giving you problems? Perhaps, your new laboratory balance isn’t working correctly and you just took it out of the box! It can be frustrating. Maybe it’s a simple fix. Instead of winging it, possibly causing further damage, find the manual and do a little troubleshooting. Most laboratory balance manuals should have a section on how to troubleshoot the balance. But, if you don’t have the manual and need a few tips, the troubleshooting information below may help you.

What to look for when troubleshooting a balance:

User issues

If someone is asking the balance for something it cannot do or is confused by the modes and functions of a balance. It is also possible the user has set a parameter that has affected the balance operation. Resetting the parameter to a normal value will restore operation.

Mechanical problems

Balances consist of complicated and fragile mechanical devices. They can be damaged by placing a weight on it which is too high for the balance, or by dropping the balance or occasionally shipping it without taking care. The most fragile parts are the flexures. Dust, dirt, spills and other foreign objects in the balance can also cause problems.

Electronic issues

These are the rarest of the problems affecting balances. If an electronic problem is suspected make sure the mechanical problems that can cause similar symptoms have been eliminated before attempting electronic repairs. With the exception of cables most electronic repairs are solved by board replacement.

Shipping concerns

Most units are shipped with a block under the load cell to avoid shipping damage. Refer to the instruction manual to learn how to remove it. Unfortunately, the balance can get bounced around during shipping. This can throw off the readings.

Out of calibration

This is very common due to shipping, temperature differences, altitude differences, and more. Use internal or external calibration to recalibrate unit. Have the unit pre-calibrated when ordering (or make sure you do next time). If you are purchasing a new balance, Cole-Parmer partners with InnoCal to calibrate your unit before it ships.

Display problems

If the display is frozen, try restarting the unit or connecting and disconnecting power. If the unit will not power up, most likely there is a problem with the PC board or other on-board electronics.

Inaccurate balance

You must have accurate and trusted weights to test a balance. If you suspect that the balance is not accurate then you must know your weights are accurate. A balance calibrated using a bag of flour is not accurate even if it works OK otherwise.

Time for repair?

When you don’t know how to fix your laboratory balance after troubleshooting, you can contact InnoCal to calibrate your unit before it ships, or  you can order AL-TAR onsite-service through Cole-Parmer.

Need a balance?

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7 Comments on "How to Troubleshoot Laboratory Balances"

  1. We have some balances in our lab at school that haven’t been performing very well. I appreciated this post, and I didn’t’ realize that drafts can actually affect the readings. I’ll make sure to try to control that aspect better to see if that helps. Thanks for sharing this.

  2. Walter Capetillo | September 11, 2019 at 9:12 pm | Reply

    My S-PA 224E show this message in display: tEnP Er.
    Not working, please help

    • Hi Walter:
      Thanks for your inquiry. I updated the blog post, so hopefully you won’t have a problem now. Please let us know if you are still having problems getting this information.

  3. oscar kambona | October 2, 2020 at 2:38 am | Reply

    i have a balance shimadzu AUY220 that initializes but stops at OFF, what could be the problem?

  4. oscar kambona | October 2, 2020 at 2:38 am | Reply

    This forum is great

  5. Rene tshapenda | November 5, 2021 at 12:46 am | Reply

    i have a problem with my balance RADWAG model AS 220.R2 and S/N 448623 giving an error ( F E5EE) kimdldy assist with any idea of a troubleshooting steps to resolve the problem.

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