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Omar,

did  you get this from the guy in Corpus Christie? I think he does a great job. I wanted to inquire if he would refurbish one for me or give me a trade in allowance.

 

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It bugged me that the L&R basket sets at an angle and is unstable.  So...I printed this holder for it.  Gonna make some improvements, but here it is for now.  

You can't, the time is fixed because the indexing motor runs a certain speed and it runs constantly until the basket drops into the next jar. You should concentrate instead on making sure the spi

Sorry, "You can't" might be a little strong.  If you give up on using the electro-mechanical timing and synchronizing system built into the machine out of simple cams and switches, and replace all tha

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On 3/31/2016 at 0:59 AM, OmarHaltam said:

I have a kiosk inside a mall, and I happen to be close to the kids play area... so you can imagine the noise level all day... Hehehe

omar - are you at southpoint?

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Hello, new member here.  Wondering if anyone here has experience working on L&R watch cleaning machines.

 

Recently bought a used L&R Varimatic cleaning machine with ultrasonic.  It really had some timing issues when I first tried it out and if I had left the glass jars in it during the test run pretty sure one would have been shattered.  Have sorted the timing out, fairly straight forward once I watched it cycle a few times.  Some cam adjustments.  Bled the hydraulics of air best I could not having the special bleeder cup they use.  So it lifts and lowers properly now.  Trying to determine if the ultrasonic's are working now.  The base unit lights up on the front and hums appropriately and also lights up on the inside.  But no adjustment of the potentiometer on the back seems to make a difference in getting the transducer in the head unit to work.  Basically tried running the unit with the cord for the spinning motor disconnected so I could observe the action of the cleaning head in a still jar of water.  No bubbles or action of any kind.  So I'm guessing it is not working then right?  Suppose the next move is to take the top off of the ultrasonic base and see what's inside.  

 

Does anybody have any opinions on how necessary the ultrasonic part is to the cleaning of movements?  Worst case if I can't get the ultrasonic part active will just the basket spinning back and forth in the cleaning solutions and rinse be adequate for cleaning movements?  Or is the ultrasonic what really does the cleaning?  

 

Does anybody want to see pics of the inside of one of these beasts?

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I have been using a L&R varimatic for the last couple of years after having it re-furbished.  My one that I purchased of the bay caught alight I therefore went to this guy to get it sorted. http://www.delphelectronics.co.uk

The guy who manages this company (Graham Baxter) ) told me the original L&R machines have dangerous wiring & with no earth, so my advise is to be very careful with it.
Also the early L&R machines ultrasonic all three jars unlike the new models that now only ultrasonic the first jar. 

What ever route you take to get it running correctly I am sure you  will be pleased with it. Cleaning watch parts is just effortless.

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Had a look for proper ground clockboy to be sure and it is.  Thanks for the heads up.  In fact this machine looks to be somewhat rewired with fairly new micro switches and marretts that certainly are not from the 1950's.  

Not sure about the ultrasonic yet.  It's original L&R branded vacuum tube in the base that has loose ends on it, so I'm thinking it's no good.  Was able to find a new old stock (tested) matching GE tube on the bay for a nice price.  So now it's a waiting game.  Pretty sure it's going to be ultrasonic on all three jars though from looking at the switches that trigger it's operation. 

As far as cleaning parts being effortless that's what I'm hoping for.

 

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If you want to see if the ultrasonic bath is working drop a few strips of aluminium foil into the water and run it for 5 or 10 minutes. If the u/s is working then the microcavitation will erode the aluminium and the foil will come out raggedy round the edges and maybe even with some holes. You may need to inspect it under a loupe. 

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Thanks Marc, will give that a try when the new vacuum tube gets here.

 

And here are some pictures.

back shot.JPG

This is a rear view with the back cover off.  Inside bits.JPG

The nut in the top centre of this pic is how the lever/cam is rotated to adjust the timing of the jar turret.  The short studs or screw ends extending below the turret is how the timing is adjusted for each of the four stations.  The farther down they are turned the farther they trip a clockwork switch at the front of the machine and the longer it stays at that station.  The double micro switch in the centre of this pic controls the basic on/off of the machine through a cam action on the centre post driving the whole turret.ultrasonic.JPG

This is the ultrasonic base upside down with the bottom off.  The top is solid heavy sheet metal most likely to prevent oil and spilt watch cleaning fluid from affecting the electronics.  The vacuum tube is a 812A which is still available both old stock and new from China.potentiometer.JPG

Now at the back of the ultrasonic unit is a rotating switch I thought was a potentiometer.  And maybe it is but not one that I am used to.  The knob turns the dark brown rod or dowel that pierces the large hollow tube wrap with different gauges of wires.  The turning of this dowel pulls what looks like a piece of iron but could be a magnet back and forth through the tube.  Ingenious to be sure.  The interior of this looks 100% original unlike the cleaning machine which you can see has the much newer micro switches and marretts installed.  The vacuum tube ends are quite loose from the glass tube so I am guessing the tube has leaked and is not functioning correctly even though it still lights up.  I remember as a young lad testing our television tubes at the local hardware store on a machine and riding my bike back and forth between home and the hardware store to test tubes as my father would hand me a new one to test if the prior one had checked out A-OK.  One at a time until the offending culprit was found.  Place them in the appropriate socket and push the test button and hope for a bad readout so I could pick out a new one and end the bicycle trips and watch TV again.  Some that looked horrible were just fine and others that looked brand new were duds.  

 

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Hi

I'm looking to buy a cleaner, the L&R manual seems to be a popular one.

I found a variomatic who owner says he doesn't know if it functions, to me that means it's broken on some level who knows how bad.

My question is , is the automatic feature worth the effort of repair or just find a simple manual model ?

Thanks, Tom

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Depends on how many watches you are going to repair or if like me the cleaning part you do not enjoy. I had my L&R refurbished & it is the one tool I could not do without. It cleans better than a ultra sonic (in my opinion) & it is almost a effortless task. However if my memory serves me well £1500 for the purchase & re-furbishement. I used this company run by a guy Graham Baxter.

http://www.delphelectronics.co.uk

 

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The is one watch cleaning machine that I would recommend. I had many different ones over the years and this one is the best. As clockboy says about his experience with his. I would say the same. It has everything you would want to clean and dry your watch movements. I found it quiet, it has a good basket and it includes in the basket tiny compartments to put the tiniest parts the mesh basket is as solid as a rock. When cleaning the basket rotates both ways in its cycle of cleaning and rinsing. Worth every penny.

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Have been reading with interest the threads about watch cleaning machines and I thought I'd post a pic of mine that I purchased on eBay a few years back, old L&R Master, it was in a pretty unloved state when I bought it, motor ran, heater did not and paint finish was all chipped, worn off and just looked not nice, I paid $130 for it as I knew it could be brought back to life with a little love and attention.

I re wired the whole unit (original looked downright hazardous, threadbare fabric insulation) and rubbed down paintwork and sprayed unit and jar lids with grey hammerite paint, replaced the bulb inside the red display switch and the heater was operating, (the builb acts as the fuse for the heating element).

Spent under $20 in Home Depot for everything that I needed.

Hoping this might help someone who has been looking to get a machine, it really was a pleasing job fixing it up and it's a great little machine that I now love dearly.

image.jpeg

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Very nicely done,Brian3. I think I have just as much fun restoring the old tools as I do the watches. One of my other hobbies is restoration of antique radios. A lot of the skills from that hobby transfer over to the restoration of the watch tools, especially the electrical side and the polishing and cleaning. Good choice on the colour and lucky the faceplate survived in such good shape. I will have to settle for an ultrasonic cleaner for the time being as I would never be able to justify the purchase price for the amount of use it would get.

Ron

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Thanks all.

I don't use it a great deal Pip, perhaps averages out one cleaning session per week, just depends what I happen to be messing around with at home.

Not really sure of advantages over an ultrasonic, the machines at my work have it built into the cleaning cycle if you want it, this old boy obviously doesn't but parts come out surprisingly clean and I'm real happy with it, and it's a small unit that doesn't take up much space which is a bonus. Perhaps more knowledgeable people here on the forum could answer your question.

Brian

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Great work Brian !

I just bought a L&Road variomatic that looks terrible but I have it running now.

I doubt mine will look as good as yours but I'll give it a try.

I can't use it yet, it did not come with a basket. On the hunt now for one.

Thanks for sharing,  Tom

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Thanks all.

I don't use it a great deal Pip, perhaps averages out one cleaning session per week, just depends what I happen to be messing around with at home.

Not really sure of advantages over an ultrasonic, the machines at my work have it built into the cleaning cycle if you want it, this old boy obviously doesn't but parts come out surprisingly clean and I'm real happy with it, and it's a small unit that doesn't take up much space which is a bonus. Perhaps more knowledgeable people here on the forum could answer your question.

Brian


Thanks Brian, I find stuff like this fascinating.


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I've an L&R cleaner, the style with the three jars and heater.  The lids for each jar,of  a sort of bakelite material just sit on top of the jars with the edge of glass in a ring groove recessed in the lid..  A while ago I made a batch of solution (home brew that worked well enough, next time I want to acquire the proper chemicals for a better cocktail) but after some time about 50% evaporated from each container and what was left was a lot less effective.  I conclude that its the VOC's with the umph that were the quickest to depart,and the evaporation was possible because of the very poor seal of a plastic lid just resting on top.

Bad enough to lose the home brew let alone the crazy expensive commercial stuff - at $50 US per gallon.    A pro might use it often enough that frequent replacement does matter, but as an amateur I need it to last as use is infrequent.   I could drain and store in seal-able containers, but that's a pita to do every time.

So I want to seal these jars.  Any ideas?  Best I come up with a thick disk of steel (3/4") with a treplanned groove to fit the glass  rim.  With a rubber gasket glued in the bottom of the groove and basically the weight of the disk provides the seal.  I actually cut disks today, but it seems like a bit of blunt object solution.

Better ideas?

 

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