Demagnetizer - Spend Big Bucks or Little Bucks

Discussion in 'Watch Repair' started by Time2Fish, Mar 28, 2017.

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  1. Time2Fish

    Time2Fish Registered User

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    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. Dave Coatsworth

    Dave Coatsworth Super Moderator
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    In between... Spend $50 and get a good used Elimag (or similar). You won't regret it.
     
  3. Mark UK

    Mark UK Registered User

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    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)
    [​IMG]
     

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  4. Accutronica

    Accutronica Registered User

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    My little South Bend was only 50 bucks at ebay and works great.

    Robert
     

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  5. Time2Fish

    Time2Fish Registered User

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    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
     
  6. glenhead

    glenhead Registered User
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    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. Time2Fish

    Time2Fish Registered User

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    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. Accutronica

    Accutronica Registered User

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    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. musicguy

    musicguy Registered User
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    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
     
  10. glenhead

    glenhead Registered User
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    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
     
  11. robmack

    robmack Registered User

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    #11 robmack, Mar 29, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2017
    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.
     
  12. Accutronica

    Accutronica Registered User

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    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
     
  13. dAz57

    dAz57 Registered User

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    #13 dAz57, Mar 29, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2017
    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.
     
  14. Accutronica

    Accutronica Registered User

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    I degaussed my digital calipers with no problem. Mine will handle anything I need.

    Robert
     
  15. dAz57

    dAz57 Registered User

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    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.
     
  16. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi dAz57,

    Yes, over £830 in the UK.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  17. bearklaw

    bearklaw Registered User
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    I foolishly highly magnetized my 1924 Waltham wrist watch by wearing it while carrying a laptop bag that used a magnet to hold it closed. (The magnet was a couple of inches from the watch for a lengthy period of time.) The hairspring was so magnetized that the watch was running crazy fast. I demagnetized the entire watch without opening it up and its been running great ever since. I recommend a small compass to test for a magnetic field before and after to be sure you actually removed the magnetism.

    I've also removed the magnetism on a 18s pocket watch this way, but it was only slightly magnetized. I'm guessing how well that works depends on the strength of the demagnetizer and how heavy/thick the watch case is.

    -Barry
     
  18. Mark UK

    Mark UK Registered User

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    The two components took two minutes to buy; two minutes to unpack and 5 minutes to assemble. I can understand anyone wanting to buy and use quality tools but decades old coils coated in degrading varnish doesn't tick that box for me, especially when new components can be purchased so cheap. :)
     
  19. Accutronica

    Accutronica Registered User

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    I don't know about other types but mine works great. It's the only one I'll probably ever need. If I ever do need a big one, I'll just build it myself.

    Robert
     
  20. Accutronica

    Accutronica Registered User

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    No problem. If it needs it, I'll rewrap the coil. That's the main reason I bought the vintage South Bend, I figured it would be easier to rebuild than the newer ones.

    Robert
     
  21. robmack

    robmack Registered User

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    Or use a mobile phone app like "Gauss Meter" for Android, which uses the sensor in the phone to detect magnetic field strength.
     
  22. musicguy

    musicguy Registered User
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    I used the phone app to test for magnetism, I'm not
    sure if it's accurate, but based on the results it
    seems that I should get a demagnetiser.

    And again, not to belabor the point, doing an entire watch
    will not hurt the watch even the hairspring etc?


    What do you think of these:

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Demagnetizer-/171289341881?hash=item27e1a3efb9:g:D1wAAOSw7NNT2S~-

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/INDUSTRIAL-MAGNETICS-INC-DEMAGNETIZER-DSC424-120-/182499330050?hash=item2a7dcec802:g:qbMAAOSwhQhY0ta5

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/6-1-2-x-4-1-2-Plate-Demagnetizer-Tool-Dies-Cutters-Single-Phase-600W-/292060180825?hash=item440024b159:g:Tc8AAOSwRgJXkTe2




    Rob
     
  23. Mark UK

    Mark UK Registered User

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    Rob I routinely demagnetise the hairspring as part of a service, and most of the time it is the only part that I do demagnetise as there is very little else in a nickel/brass watch movement that needs it. The occasional spring or bridge screw perhaps just to make them easier to handle. Most magnetised components will have no effect on function/timekeeping due to their size and location, the hairspring though is different due to each coil constantly and rapidly opening/closing which will induce 'eddy' currents in neighboring coils which in turn creates further magnetic fields which effects the performance of the balance.
     
  24. Accutronica

    Accutronica Registered User

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    The first one says it's for industrial use - NOT for watches.
    I think I would pass on all of the high powered ones.

    Robert
     
  25. musicguy

    musicguy Registered User
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    I did see that, it's that style I was asking about.

    Rob
     
  26. Dave Coatsworth

    Dave Coatsworth Super Moderator
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    Again, your best value is going to be a vintage Elimag or similar 'instant' demagnetizer. L&R and Marshall also made them.

    A word of warning... There is a modern 'instant' one that is being sold for about $10. It's in a blue case and is fairly small. These do not work well and should be avoided.
     
  27. Skutt50

    Skutt50 Registered User

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    I agree with Dave that an instant demagnetizer is best.
    I got hold of a use Grainer demagnetizer some years back and it is great!
    One push of the handle and all magnetism is gone!
     
  28. Time2Fish

    Time2Fish Registered User

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    Screen Shot 2017-03-30 at 1.07.21 PM.png Finally googled Elimag and saw what one looked like. I do remember seeing one on ebay without the Elimag nameplate so I want looking for it but the darn thing sold for less than $50. Darn!!!!
     
  29. dAz57

    dAz57 Registered User

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    Yes I bought one of those just to see what it was like, cheaply made, it's a flat version of a coil demagnetiser, you still need to draw the watch away after pressing the button, I'll stick to my Elma demagnetiser.
     
  30. Tim Orr

    Tim Orr Registered User
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    Good evening, all!

    One advantage to the coil-type units: If you NEED to magnetize a tool, it's easy to do, then demagnetize it afterward. Just put the tool into the coil with the current off. Turn it on for a second or two, then turn it off again, without removing the tool. You'll find you've made a nice magnetic pickup tool that can be "erased" later by putting it back into the coil, turning the coil on, slowly withdrawing the tool a few feet away, and then shutting off the power.

    Best regards!

    Tim Orr
     
  31. Accutronica

    Accutronica Registered User

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    To quote Mr. Scott, "That's the ticket, laddie.".

    Robert
     
  32. PWfanatik

    PWfanatik Registered User
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    Rob,
    I will drop a pocket watch movement on my cheap magnetizer (case open).
    When I activate the de-magnetizer The hairspring is pulled all of the coils, flat in one direction down into the direction of the de-magnetizer.
    So to chime in on the original post I use the 8 or 9 dollar type device.
    Press a button and run a tool back and forth over it a few times.
    Sometimes I have to do this more than once, but it seems to work ok.
    Dave.
     
  33. Accutronica

    Accutronica Registered User

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    Mine tries to pull to the top. I had a tiny screw that needed degaussed. Holding the screw in the center of the coil with tweezers, when I pushed the button it ripped the screw from my tweezers. So holding the button in, I quickly set the tweezers down and put my fingers into the coil as best I could and when I released the button, the screw fell into my hand.

    Robert
     
  34. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi Robert,

    If you fold very small items in a square of tissue paper they can't escape. This works for balances with hairsprings attached as well, and also restricts unwanted movement.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  35. Accutronica

    Accutronica Registered User

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    Yeah that will work. I also have a little plastic box that snaps closed that works well.

    Robert
     
  36. Firegriff

    Firegriff Registered User
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    The one nice thing about a Vigor type demagnetizer is that they added a tool demagnetizer that consists of a 1/2 inch tube with its own coil on the side for tweezers and scewdrivers.
     
  37. Time2Fish

    Time2Fish Registered User

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    Presently and ending soon is a GREEN'S ALTERNATING CURRENT ELECTRIC AUTOMATIC DEMAGNETIZER Type 36. It looks similar to the demagnetizer Accutronica has. (South Bend). Is anyone familiar with this brand? I like the fact that I can demagnetize or, if need be, magnetize a tool to help with assembly. Sounds like that would be a big help.
     
  38. glenhead

    glenhead Registered User
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    #38 glenhead, Apr 4, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2017
    You can also magnetize a tool with a magnet. You don't have to get exotic. Find any magnet, place a screwdriver blade on it, slide the blade off of the magnet, and there ya go. It'll probably be strong enough to pick up a paper clip. I bet you have some sort of magnet somewhere, don't you? If not, then kitchen magnets are available danged near everywhere, and they're really cheap. Take apart a dead hard disc drive and get the neodymium magnets out of it - hella strong.

    Also, to reiterate keeping parts from entering the Dryer Sock Dimension with an instantaneous demagnetizer, just put the parts in a closable container of some sort, or put something over them. Pill bottle, specimen cup, the little plastic cup that the hoisin sauce came in for your wife's mu shu pork, kleenex, whatever. Yes, the demagnetizer imparts a near-instantaneous velocity of surprising magnitude (I wonder how many Gs of acceleration the screw is subjected to?!?), but the mass of the screw is very small. The resultant force is concentrated, yes, but still very small. Almost anything will work to keep the parts corralled.

    Glen
     
  39. David S

    David S Registered User
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    I don't work on watches, only clocks. Here is what I use to demag various things. Didn't cost anything and is reversible...if I ever want to use it to solder again.

    demagnitizer from old soldering gun.jpg

    David
     
  40. Accutronica

    Accutronica Registered User

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    I can magnetize things with my South Bend if I want to. The easiest way is to use a magnet like Glen said. I found out how I was magnetizing stuff accidently. I was setting my vaping Mod down to close to them and the magnets that keep the battery door on was magnetizing stuff.

    Robert
     
  41. Time2Fish

    Time2Fish Registered User

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    Purchased an Elimag Demagnetizer this morning. Offered $45 and he accepted it.
     
  42. bearklaw

    bearklaw Registered User
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    I was not aware of that - thanks for the tip.

    -Barry
     
  43. RJSoftware

    RJSoftware Registered User

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    I use to have a giant demagnetizer and it was too strong. Sometimes it would wreck a job by causing me to accidentally mangle a hairspring.

    I finally found this wand type. Sorry my camera is on fritz. It has a hand held base with a button and a pencil like extrusion that has small area that demagnetizes.

    I can't exactly say why it works soo well other than it's small so I can use it right where I need to. Hairspring mostly of course.

    The other thing I found related to this really important is a tiny compass. It's no bigger than the head of an eraser. Or maybe even a little smaller. I have it glued on a tooth pick.

    A tiny compass is great because the needle swing is real sensitive. I think larger compasses are less because it takes greater amount of magnetic influence to push/pull them.

    I can wave the compass across the hairspring or whatever and observe it's reaction. If it spins wild or fast then I know the object still has magnetism.

    It might have come from some kids toy but it's just a little circular air filled compass. The needle wiggles till you hold it steady but does not fall off.

    RJ
     
  44. Accutronica

    Accutronica Registered User

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    The compasses that I bought are not that small but they work well. They detect magnetism even when I can't feel the tool sticking.
     
  45. RJSoftware

    RJSoftware Registered User

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    Hey Accutronica (cool name!)

    Where did you get yours in case I need to buy a replacement?

    Did it come off of something?

    RJ

     
  46. Accutronica

    Accutronica Registered User

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    Hi RJ. The word "compasses" contains the link. Click on it.
    Thanks, I thought it was pretty cool also and couldn't believe that it was available. Of course the band Metallica made me think of it.
     
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