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  1. #1

    Default Demagnetizer - Spend Big Bucks or Little Bucks

    I am trying to financially control my purchases for my watch repair hobby addiction. I see on ebay where there are demagnetizers that go for $10 and there are others that go for $600 or more. I know, based on my research, that for tools like tweezers I should buy the best because if not, I will be frustrated when I sling a screw across the room, etc etc. Same is true for screwdrivers. I know you should always purchase the best you can afford but I am not sure that spending $300 on a demagnetizer is a wise expenditure. Your comments are truly appreciated.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Demagnetizer - Spend Big Bucks or Little Bucks (By: Time2Fish)

    In between... Spend $50 and get a good used Elimag (or similar). You won't regret it.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Demagnetizer - Spend Big Bucks or Little Bucks (By: Time2Fish)

    I built my own.... simple DIY skills required. I used a 12V DC 8W electromagnet , you can find these online described as 'lifting' or 'holding' solenoids for no more than 10USD, and you will need a 12V AC 1Amp power supply, again online for under 10USD. I housed mine in one of the wifes used hand cream plastic tubs. The electromagnet would normally use a DC supply to produce a magnetic field strong enough to hold a door open etc but if powered from an AC supply then you have a magnet that is alternating it's N/S magnetic poles at your supply frequency (50Hz). It does the job perfect, not too strong, I put balances etc into small pot, bring them close enough above the magnet to see the effect then over a count of 20 or so seconds I slowly raise them away from the magnet.

    Apologies for the rushed photo but you get an idea (my transformer is 240V for the UK market)
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  4. #4

    Default Re: Demagnetizer - Spend Big Bucks or Little Bucks (By: Time2Fish)

    Quote Originally Posted by Time2Fish View Post
    I am trying to financially control my purchases for my watch repair hobby addiction. I see on ebay where there are demagnetizers that go for $10 and there are others that go for $600 or more. I know, based on my research, that for tools like tweezers I should buy the best because if not, I will be frustrated when I sling a screw across the room, etc etc. Same is true for screwdrivers. I know you should always purchase the best you can afford but I am not sure that spending $300 on a demagnetizer is a wise expenditure. Your comments are truly appreciated.
    My little South Bend was only 50 bucks at ebay and works great.

    Robert
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  5. #5

    Default Re: Demagnetizer - Spend Big Bucks or Little Bucks (By: Accutronica)

    I will keep looking on ebay. No South Bend or Elimag demagnetizers presently listed. Don't think I want to pursue building my own. My hobbies take up 125% of my time right now. haha

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    Default Re: Demagnetizer - Spend Big Bucks or Little Bucks

    I have one of the "instant" demagnetizers and love it. I don't remember the make right now. (It may be a Vigor, or at least it's danged similar.) It's a box a bit bigger than a thick textbook with a target painted on the top and a hole through the side (for demagnetizing tools). Google for "grobet vigor demagnetizer" and you'll see a picture. It's pricey when new, but mine was way under $100 used. Put the thing to be degaussed on the target or in the hole, push the button, and BOOF! no more magnetism. No fuss, no technique. There is at least one L&R listed now that's a slightly different design from mine, but the same general idea. One warning - if you use this on parts, be sure to put the parts in a container with a lid. If you don't, you'll have parts go to the Dryer Sock Dimension. I use the plastic container that one of my eye loupes came in, but anything plastic or glass with a lid will work. Next time you go to the doctor's office, ask for a specimen cup - that'd be perfect.

    Glen

    [Edit - just looked up the Elimag, and it's in the ballpark. gm]

  7. #7

    Default Re: Demagnetizer - Spend Big Bucks or Little Bucks (By: glenhead)

    Quote Originally Posted by glenhead View Post
    I have one of the "instant" demagnetizers and love it. I don't remember the make right now. (It may be a Vigor, or at least it's danged similar.) It's a box a bit bigger than a thick textbook with a target painted on the top and a hole through the side (for demagnetizing tools). Google for "grobet vigor demagnetizer" and you'll see a picture. It's pricey when new, but mine was way under $100 used. Put the thing to be degaussed on the target or in the hole, push the button, and BOOF! no more magnetism. No fuss, no technique. There is at least one L&R listed now that's a slightly different design from mine, but the same general idea. One warning - if you use this on parts, be sure to put the parts in a container with a lid. If you don't, you'll have parts go to the Dryer Sock Dimension. I use the plastic container that one of my eye loupes came in, but anything plastic or glass with a lid will work. Next time you go to the doctor's office, ask for a specimen cup - that'd be perfect.

    Glen

    [Edit - just looked up the Elimag, and it's in the ballpark. gm]
    The Vigors are hard to come by. None presently on ebay and I see only one sold on ebay over the last several months.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Demagnetizer - Spend Big Bucks or Little Bucks (By: Time2Fish)

    Quote Originally Posted by Time2Fish View Post
    I will keep looking on ebay. No South Bend or Elimag demagnetizers presently listed. Don't think I want to pursue building my own. My hobbies take up 125% of my time right now. haha
    Yeah. I have all kinds of transformers and stuff and could have built one myself. But I wanted to spend my time studying watchmaking and when I saw the South Bend pretty cheap and it was "buy it now", I bought it.

    Robert

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Demagnetizer - Spend Big Bucks or Little Bucks (By: Accutronica)

    Sorry for the dumb question, but do you only degauss parts of watches as
    you service it. Or can you degauss an entire watch?


    Rob

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    Default Re: Demagnetizer - Spend Big Bucks or Little Bucks (By: musicguy)

    You can degauss the whole watch, as long as there aren't any magnets in it. Mechanical quartz watches, Accutrons, and the electro-mechanical ones are no-nos. (Well, there's no reason to degauss a quartz watch in general, even if the train is direct-drive.)

    Glen

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    Default Re: Demagnetizer - Spend Big Bucks or Little Bucks

    Over on the Horological Tools forum, I posted a thread about a Demagnetizer Instructable I wrote to build such a tool out of scrap parts (microwave oven transformer and some electronic components). The one I built cost me no more than $20.00 for the parts that I didn't have to hand in my parts boxes.

    As for Rob's question about demagnetizing the watch parts individually or the entire watch as a whole, the answer lies in the capabilities of the demagnetizer. The ability of the tool to saturate the metal of the watch will determine whether you can do the whole watch. A small sized demagnetizer (like the blue plastic ones for sale on Ebay) probably can't saturate the watch fully to guarantee the domains of the metal will be randomly altered, and the individual parts would need to be subjected to the treatment. A large demagnetizer and/or a medium sized demagnetizer with high excitation voltage (240VAC versus 120VAC) would create a strong magnetic field and then a whole watch could be treated without disassembly.
    Last edited by robmack; 03-29-2017 at 11:49 AM.
    - Robert

  12. #12

    Default Re: Demagnetizer - Spend Big Bucks or Little Bucks (By: musicguy)

    Quote Originally Posted by musicguy View Post
    Sorry for the dumb question, but do you only degauss parts of watches as
    you service it. Or can you degauss an entire watch?


    Rob
    A 18s will fit in my South Bend. I of course would not put an Accutron into it. I mostly just use it for tools. Having my screwdrivers and such magnetized was a good thing in electronics. I'm getting in a habit of checking every tool I pick up the first time to see if it's magnetized.

    Robert

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    Default Re: Demagnetizer - Spend Big Bucks or Little Bucks (By: Accutronica)

    Personally I never liked the coil type demag, the Elma demag I bought some 40 years ago works great and is quick, it just has a flat plate you place the item on, press the button a couple of times and it's done, no limitations on the size of the item

    While I would not place an electronic watch on the demagnetiser, the magnets in modern quartz are not affected should one be demagnetised.
    Last edited by dAz57; 03-29-2017 at 04:59 PM.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Demagnetizer - Spend Big Bucks or Little Bucks (By: dAz57)

    Quote Originally Posted by dAz57 View Post
    Personally I never liked the coil type demag, the Elma demag I bought some 40 years ago works great and is quick, it just has a flat plate you place the item on, press the button a couple of times and it's done, no limitations on the size of the item
    I degaussed my digital calipers with no problem. Mine will handle anything I need.

    Robert

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    Default Re: Demagnetizer - Spend Big Bucks or Little Bucks (By: Accutronica)

    As I said personal preference, I used​ a coil type when I was an apprentice, I found it was a bit iffy, sometimes it would work, other times you had to demagnetise the item several times before it was clear, the Elma demagnetiser works first time, every time and it's fast.

    The Swiss service centre I worked in used a Greiner demagnetiser, thing looks like a mutant horseshoe set at 45° with a tickle lever on the front, it was very effective too, I believe those are quite pricey.

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