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Ultrasonic cleaner


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Most clock cleaning fluids are ammonia based, they can be used with or without a ultrasonic tank, I use a 10 litre plastic storage box to soak parts when cleaning, how long I leave them soaking depends on how dirty and tarnished they are but it's also important not to leave them too long as they will become pickled or dulled looking. Horolene is very good but expensive, Priory polishes make a brass cleaner which is the same formula as Horolene ( comparing safety data sheets)but about half the price it is used diluted 1 part cleaner to 7 parts water.

Obviously being ammonia based they are quite smelly.

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Ultrasonics are a bit of a no-no for earlier work, especially where brass has been work-hardened as it creates microscopic fractures which deteriorate when treated to ultrasonics. By “early”, I’m taking Victorian and earlier, and mainly plates. 

However, they are still very useful for some parts - I used an Elma ultrasonic for cleaning some fusee cones and steel chains earlier. I used Horolene which is very powerful for the brass cones, and L&R watch cleaner for the chains as it is oil-based an so would not subject them to water where possible. 

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For light duty, the Chinese made stainless steel models are ok. But they do not last for ever. Make sure you use a basket which suspends the mass from the base as this interferes with how the bath resonates. 

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1 hour ago, rodabod said:

For light duty, the Chinese made stainless steel models are ok. But they do not last for ever. Make sure you use a basket which suspends the mass from the base as this interferes with how the bath resonates. 

I re-used a soup plastic container - after eating the soup :)- to hold my cleaning liquid and the parts I wanted to clean and I placed it in the middle of the tank surrounded by water, it was not suspended at all, but standing flat on the bottom of the tank. Would it be the reason why my cheap Chinese ultrasonic cleaner gave up so early and died? 

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20 minutes ago, luiazazrambo said:

I re-used a soup plastic container - after eating the soup :)- to hold my cleaning liquid and the parts I wanted to clean and I placed it in the middle of the tank surrounded by water, it was not suspended at all, but standing flat on the bottom of the tank. Would it be the reason why my cheap Chinese ultrasonic cleaner gave up so early and died? 

Well, I have destroyed around four of them so far. I was told by a friend who uses them for automotive work that you must use a basket to preserve the machine, so I reckon this probably shortens the life of them if you don’t use one. 
 

The only time I won’t use a basket is when my inner container of soap and parts floats inside the main bath of water. This stops the pressure of your container from interfering with the case resonating. 

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I did notice some small deposits of brass at the bottom of my horosolv tank recently which did make me wonder where it was coming from. I think it’s probably best not to leave it too long if you do you use it, and especially on the plates. 

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I have recently ruined the coating of the plates of my PUW60 movement which is not that old that mentioned above.

PUW60

Unfortunately I don't have pictures about the plates themselves, but you can see that yellow section under the balance wheel where the coating ended up at the bottom of my cleaning container, i did not understand first what are those shiny bits.

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