Help Ultrasonic Cleaner and the best cleaning solution to use for cleaning clock parts

eemoore

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Sorry. I’m a pharmacist - QS is “quantity sufficient” of what ever your diluting the stuff in; in this case water. And yes I added a few drops of dish soap because why not.
Swan,thanks for your reply. I guess I should have known that since I am a retired doc and it fits right along with items such as "t.i.d, bid, q hs, pp,qd,q 6hrs,etc. " Ha! Take care.
 
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TJ Cornish

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Swan,thanks for your reply. I guess I should have known that since I am a retired doc and it fits right along with items such as "t.i.d, bid, q hs, pp,qd,q 6hrs,etc. " Ha! Take care.
I started with Historic Timekeepers solution - I thought it worked only marginally, and it got moldy. I switched to Deox 007 and love it. It lasts WAY longer, doesn’t foul, and does a great job. For a water-based cleaner, I’m super happy. Would be nice to not have to deal with drying the water, but the trade off is worth it to me for not having a solvent-based solution.
 
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Raymond101

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Interesting reading . I prefer by hand methods as you get the satisfaction it was done correctly. As a boy . Many many moons ago I work with an old watch maker in the 60s.
He would put a watch on top of an upside-down class stand it on a large shallow plate with petrol and covered the whole thing with a bell jar . So only the fumes were in contact. Leave it for 24 hours . Come back the next day that watch would be ticking like it was new . The old petrol in the uk 98 octane not the new stuff.
. Mineral spirits. By hand slow but sure. .
Thanks also learn a few new ideas.
 

TJ Cornish

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Fun story - my ultrasonic/Deox 007 saved me $700 yesterday.

I’m helping to sell an RV and the generator wasn’t running as it had sat and the carb got gummed up. This is a “non-serviceable” $400 carburetor for an Onan generator. I got it apart and threw it in the ultrasonic cleaner, rinsed it and dried it thoroughly, and it worked great, and saved me the cost of an expensive part plus labor at a repair shop.

I got the tip from a YouTube video comment.
 
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Raymond101

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Nice save. Good luck with the RV.
There's no such thing as .
non-serviceable it's the manufacturer way of making life harder .
The old solex carbs were also modular cleaned them with freon r11 .. before they banned it
as a no green..
 

ArthurPeale

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Fun story - my ultrasonic/Deox 007 saved me $700 yesterday.

I’m helping to sell an RV and the generator wasn’t running as it had sat and the carb got gummed up. This is a “non-serviceable” $400 carburetor for an Onan generator. I got it apart and threw it in the ultrasonic cleaner, rinsed it and dried it thoroughly, and it worked great, and saved me the cost of an expensive part plus labor at a repair shop.

I got the tip from a YouTube video comment.
Ultrasonic cleaners are amazing with carburetors. I have a pressure washer that I found on the curb in early spring.

When I finally got around to checking it out, I have no idea how it was so neglected. It was filled with a viscous...stuff, and sediment.

Ten minutes in the UC in a solution of water and dish detergent had it looking like it was brand new. The solution looked like old cola.

A little more tweaking and it fired right up.



That said, I'm absolutely brand new to clock repair. My mom has her parents mantel clock that I hope to work on one day, but before I get to that, I've got a clock with a Seth Thomas movement. The chime spring slips. But, that's another post for another time.

While attempting to remove the spring, several of the gears slipped out. I figured while I had it out that I would pop those gears into a smaller UC my partner uses for jewelry.

I used a similar solution of dish detergent and water. Definitely grime in the basin when I was done. I made sure all the gears were thoroughly dry.

One thing I didn't see addressed - and not that I would, but I'm curious - why you can't have brass directly on the UC basin.
 

Fitzclan

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OK Cap,
Might as well join the fray!
For particularly grimy parts including springs, I pre-soak in an inexpensive de-greaser such as "Super Clean" which is kept in a plastic tub with a lid for the purpose. It gets dirty but works well for a long time and the grunge simply settles out. When it gets too dirty I simply pour off the top and toss the dross. It saves the more expensive ultrasonic cleaner, whatever kind you use from having to be changed too often. It is a water-based product, and the ultrasonic cleaner is also water-based.
I have never had a problem with "Flash Rust". After toothbrush, steel-wool, toothpicks or whatver, and rinsing parts, they are blotted with paper towel and then go straight into the oven at 175 degrees, on a baking sheet lined with foil, (my wife doesn't seem to mind). By the time the next "train" is ready to bake, the first is ready to cool. (Of course, if you are using a petroleum based product for cleaning, the oven is not an option!).
Soon, everybody is back together, clean as a whistle and yes, playing nice together...
Lots of good sugestions above from people who have been there and done that, so the decision is really up to you. I have used Colemans and other petrol-based solutions, (not in an ultrasonic!), but am not really comfortable with them myself. Trial-and-error will probably bring you into your comfort zone and you will know what works best for you. Good luck and happy clocksmithing!

Happy cleaning!
 

Elliott Wolin

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One might also ask why? Or why only a few drops in a 2L tank of solution?
I read that the soap ensures proper cavitation throughout the US tank, it makes the water "slippery" so that the US waves move through the fluid properly. I assume Murphy's does the same thing as dish detergent. BTW a trick to see if your US is working properly is to put some kitchen aluminum foil in. After a few minutes holes should start appearing in the foil.

The US can atomize whatever liquid is in the tank, and I would worry that atomized acetone could create a flash explosion hazard with US units that are not explosion-proof (i.e. the kind consumers typically purchase).

I recently purchased a large US cleaner (10 L) and a trick to minimize cleaner usage is to fill the tank with just water with a little dish detergent, then put the parts in a tall glass or metal container that is higher than the tank liquid level with your chosen fluid. I understand plastic doesn't work very well, as the ultrasonic energy won't pass through it nearly as well as it passes through glass or metal. In this way one can even clean parts in different cleaning solutions at the same time.
 
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Wimberleytech

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I am an amateur. I use L&R clock cleaning solution in a US. My first rinse is water, second rinse in IPA.
So far, no issues. Dry under a 100W lamp.
 
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Rod Schaffter

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HotCzech46

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I have some more questions for the experts here. I have only used Deox-007 in my ultrasonic cleaner. I got mixed results. Great for normal cleaning, but I am working on a Smiths-Enfield clock with hard, caked dirt and grease all over it and Deox-007 did not do a great job. I had to use picks and a small wire brush to clean the gears (no pinions on this clock). In the past I used gasoline, carb cleaner, and circuit board cleaner with good cleaning results although I recognize the dangers and environmental issues with using all of them, especially the gas. I don't like ammonia-based ones because of the odor.

Just extending the question originally raised in this thread by captainclock. I am wondering which of the various solutions out there have been used and what thoughts people have about them. In searching various forums and website, I found people offering several alternatives and I tried to list them below with comments made by others.

Deox-007 - Deox-007 is a popular cleaning solution for many on this forum. However, it is water based, leaving open the issues about flash rust (although I rinse and dry immediately with a hair dryer and never had a problem). It also varies greatly in price. A gallon goes for $38.50 on timesavers, $31.50 on Merritt's, and $41.02 on Perrin's. Timesavers is the only one (as far as I can tell) that offers it in pint size for $9.50. It is mixed 7:1 with water. Not for sale on Amazon or on ebay.

iSonic CSBC001 Ultrasonic Brass Cleaning Solution Super Concentrate, 1Qt Bottle - for sale on Amazon for $16.83 per quart. It is made for cleaning brass. Popular for gun enthusiasts who clean up their used brass. Used 1:20 up to 1:40 with water so really economical. 1 tablespoon per cup of water. Heat is OK but only up to 140 deg F which makes me wonder about it.

L&R - Ultrasonic Ammoniated Watch Cleaning Solution (#111) - 1 Gallon - For sale on Amazon for $73.99 per gallon. It is ammoniated. It is used "as is", with no dilution. No water involved so good for the flash rust issues but you have the odor problem and with no dilution, it is an expensive alternative.

L&R #566 Ultrasonic Non-Ammoniated Watch Cleaning Solution - 1 Gallon Jug sells on amazon for $57.99 per gallon. Non-ammoniated, but also used straight from the bottle with no dilution, so expensive.

L&R Clock Cleaning Concentrate - Sells for $67.99 on Amazon. Dilution 7:1 with water. As far as I can tell, this is also non-ammoniated.

Master STAGES CLEAN2030/1 Clean 2030 Cleaner/Corrosion Inhibitor for Ultrasonic and Immersion Washers, Yellow, 1 gal Jug - this is apparently an industrial grade cleaner. sells for $54.99 on Amazon. Looks like it is diluted about 10:1 with water but it includes a corrosion inhibitor in the formula, which might work well to prevent flash rust. Master Stages has a lot of different solutions for sale. This one and the 2020 one below appear to be their most popular choices but this one has the corrosion inhibitor and is more expensive (slightly).

Master Stages CLEAN2020/1G Clean 2020 Washing Compound for Ultrasonic and Immersion Washers, Pale Yellow, 1 gal Jug - same as the 2030 above but no rust inhibitor. $40.44 per gallon on Amazon. Dilution is recommended 3% up to 10% depending on how dirty the parts are. Provides tarnish resistance on copper and copper alloy parts. No mention if this is also the case for brass, but brass is listed as one of the appropriate metals for its use. Has to be kept under 160 deg F. I noted that its flash point is 212 deg F. Definitely industrial grade.

Lots more UC cleaners but all either designed for jewelry or for guns (steel, etc.) and not for brass, and there is of course the ammonia and Murphy's Soap mixture described in this thread.

I will anticipate Vernon's response that I am way overthinking this. LOL. Yes, but I was happy with Deox-007 until it failed miserably on this Enfield movement. Too expensive to try all of the above solutions, so I was just curious to find if anyone else has had good results with any of them.
David
 

Simon Holt

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I'm a long way from being any kind of authority on this subject, but (here in the UK) I get great results from a very cheap product described simply as a heavy duty degreaser. 5 litres costs £11.99. It's water-based, but a good rinse, followed by compressed air, then heat from a heat gun and finally a brief rub with 0000 steel wool and brass is shiny as new. Then some Renaissance wax if I want it to stay that way.

Simon.
 

Betzel

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Just a word to the cautious about ammoniated solutions with older cast brass clock components (not only plates) The ammonia can easily seep into the microfissures in those old castings and eventually, as the solution may stay inside, extend them leading to stress fracturing along original casting flaw lines.
 
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Mike Phelan

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I'm a long way from being any kind of authority on this subject, but (here in the UK) I get great results from a very cheap product described simply as a heavy duty degreaser. 5 litres costs £11.99. It's water-based, but a good rinse, followed by compressed air, then heat from a heat gun and finally a brief rub with 0000 steel wool and brass is shiny as new. Then some Renaissance wax if I want it to stay that way.

Simon.
That sounds like Gunk? I've used this on really dirty clock parts followed by hot water.
 

Simon Holt

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That sounds like Gunk? I've used this on really dirty clock parts followed by hot water.
It's from Screwfix, and is simply labelled No Nonsense Heavy Duty Degreaser. Much nicer on the hands in my opinion compared to Gunk.

Simon
 

Betzel

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Gunk? Well, all is fair in love and war...

It's way OT, and I doubt most of us will ever use those products for horological purposes, and fewer will even believe me, but gunk and some other automotive chemicals (brake cleaners and so on) will actually corrode even stainless steel. I know, it sounds impossible, but some very hard stainless alloys (probably not found in clock work) have carbonized micro-components that can become super-tiny rust spots on a smooth metallic surface. Effing spots! I've done it, and regretted it :)
 

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