ultrasonic cleaner

ilchick47

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I am looking to purchase my first ultrasonic cleaner any suggestions or guidance in this area
 

Vernon

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For clocks, the little 2.5 liter from Harbor Freight served me well until I upgraded to a 10 liter Chinese unit available on ebay (or was it Amizon) at about $130. Both have heat and timed cleaning. Size will depend on what you want it for.
 

Kevin W.

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Bought mine off amazon, its not a common name, works great very happy with it, not expensive either.
 

Altashot

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I’m not going to recommend any particular Brand, but I suggest that you get a bigger one. Bigger than what you think you might need.
It’s a common mistake to buy too small and regret it later.

M.
 
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shutterbug

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I agree. I ended up with three of them before I finally got one big enough to actually be a help and not a hindrance in the workshop. I wouldn't suggest anything smaller than one gallon. Mine is three gallons and still barely big enough to clean everything at once on a big movement. If you have to run two or three separate cycles to clean a movement, you might as well do it by hand. There is no time savings there.
 
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shutterbug

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That's roughly 1.5 gallons. If it were more square shaped it would allow a big plate to lay down, but if it's high enough to cover a big plate with solution it should work fine.
 
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Kevin W.

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There is not a huge difference in price , to go to next size larger. For me i put the big plates on their sides. As i dont work on many clocks like gf clocks and such.
 
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ilchick47

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I found a 15L that looks interesting researching reviews ect looks like it might be ok also ordered the fluid. Have a mechanism that has issues will use as trial
 
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shutterbug

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That one should serve you well. Remember that cleaning is only part of a complete service ;)
 

Kevin W.

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Mine is a 5 litre if i remember correctly, should be ok for cuckoo movements.
 

bikerclockguy

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I have a Harbor Freight ultrasonic, and I honestly can’t tell that it does much of anything. I wash all my parts in the sink with a dish sponge and Dawn or Palmolive first, then run them through the US for 2 or 3 cycles with heat, thinking this will probably clean down inside the lanterns and cracks and crevices I can’t reach, but there’s rarely much of a noticeable difference in the parts or the color of the water when I’m finished
 

Kevin W.

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Mine does a really good job on clock parts, it saves me so much time. Great investment for me.
 

FDelGreco

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I have a Harbor Freight ultrasonic, and I honestly can’t tell that it does much of anything.
I think you get what you pay for. I've got two units, a six quart and an 11 quart. Both are made by L&R. They cost a LOT more than the Harbor Freight units but are great at cleaning.

Frank
 

bikerclockguy

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I think you get what you pay for. I've got two units, a six quart and an 11 quart. Both are made by L&R. They cost a LOT more than the Harbor Freight units but are great at cleaning.

Frank
I had wondered if maybe that were the issue, but there are lots of people on here that swear by the Harbor Freight units. When I first started using it, I ran the parts through the US first, and in that case the water was dirty and there was a noticeable difference in the parts. I noticed it didn’t get the really grimy parts(like spring grease deposits around the winding arbors)very clean though, so that’s when I started hand washing the parts first, and then the difference after the US cleaning seemed almost negligible.
 

JeffG

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I think it might be a matter of not knowing how good an US can be.
I've had the cheaper HF type and thought it was great until a physician friend gave me his high-dollar model when he upgraded. There's a big difference. Reaching a couple of fingers in to rearrange things while it's running really hurts!
 

T.Cu

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I bought a six liter one, a Chinese model from ebay, for a little over a hundred bucks if I remember right. And it works but is still a little small to fully immerse stuff, so I have to do one side at a time, sort of switch it around every minute or so. Part of that is trying not to make a huge mess by filling it completely. Because I have been using the ammoniated stuff from Ronell.
That is very interesting about sticking your hand in there and having it hurt! I always use nitrile gloves but I sure never noticed that.
 

JeffG

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That is very interesting about sticking your hand in there and having it hurt! I always use nitrile gloves but I sure never noticed that.
Yeah man, like little zaps within my knuckles. I don't recommend trying it out.
 
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shutterbug

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You can test your US with a piece of tinfoil. If it doesn't punch little holes in it, it's not going to clean very well.
 

Kevin W.

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I put foil in my chinese made ultrasonic, this is after 15 minutes. I would say my us passed the test.

facebook_1620319573760_6796112869500864745.jpg
 
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T.Cu

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That surprises me a little, that it does that much damage. I don't leave anything in for that long though, but still.. I will test it next time I put something in there. Sheesh.
 
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Kevin W.

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Well something fragile like a hair spring, its not recomended to clean them in a us, some will and have disputed this, to each his own on this point.
 
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shutterbug

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Yes, a hairspring will take the same beating if left too long. Keep in mind that tinfoil is soft and shows the force of the ultrasonic cleaning pretty clearly, and quickly.
 

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