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I first use the #3 rinse but it doesn’t desolve or remove the gel. I then rinse about three times in distilled water. The water turns milky and I continue rinsing until it’s stays clear. 

Edited by JDBooth
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That's very strange. The 111 cleaner shouldn't be "gelling" in any way, and should be 99% gone with one rinse of #3, two more rinses are good to be certain no 111 at all remains.

 

How old is the 111? What is your cleaning process? There should be no water involved with these solutions, if you are using water to get rid of (what sounds like defective) 111 cleaner and rinse, you will definitely want to do a final rinse in 99% isopropyl alcohol and dry with warm air.  Is any water getting into the cleaning solution?

 

The only thing that I can think of that is off is the 111 is typically used without heating it. In an ultrasonic it will warm up somewhat from the vibrations, but no further heat is used. 50C definitely sounds too hot.

 

 

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You say no heat?  I know it doesn’t have a best temperature for use on the labeling for the #111 solution. I have tried to call L&R three times, but I called at the wrong time, the wrong day, or on hold for too long. 

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4 minutes ago, JDBooth said:

You say no heat?  I know it doesn’t have a best temperature for use on the labeling for the #111 solution. I have tried to call L&R three times, but I called at the wrong time, the wrong day, or on hold for too long. 

The MSDS says to keep it away from heat (it's mostly mineral spirits and naphtha), and it is most commonly used in either automatic or manual watch cleaning machines, of which I've never seen one* that heats the cleaning bath aside from the heat generated from the ultrasonic. 

 

From the info you've given the only conclusion is defective solution. I used it for years in the U.S. and sporadically over here, most recently last week, and have never seen what you describe.

 

*One machine I had had a heated first bath, but it was set up for something odd, the rinse baths were marked "freon".

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I had a look at the MSDS for #111. It is predominantly Stoddard solution and naphtha. The boiling point of these are just slightly above 50°C. I don't think it's a good idea to heat it that high.

Do you lose much volume of the #111 after heating it?

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I will certainly not heat it in the future.  I should have read the MSDS on it. Have noticed any significant loss in volume, but I wasn’t looking either. I don’t think it ever got to 50c. I placed the jar with room temp. solution and it was only there for 5-10 minutes. 

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  • 1 month later...

Hi all

I have just ordered a larger Ultrasonic Cleaning Machine for use when cleaning watch parts but need some advice regarding the cleaning fluid used.

Obviously the Bath will be filled with water and the cleaning fluid will be used in a jar surrounded by the water, I have been searching online but still not sure on the most watch appropriate fluid to use.

My current setup uses a small U/S cleaner with small Jars of fluid and use Naphtha as the main cleaning agent watch a rinse in Distilled water and a final rinse in IPA, I could continue using this in the new U/S cleaner but would think I would get better cleaning results using a watch specific cleaner. is that assumption correct.

Anyway I have been on Cousins website as I am in the Uk and they list a few I am interested in 

Elma WF Pro Cleaner at £24.95 for 2 litres 

L&R 111 - Watch Cleaning Fluid - Ammoniated at £40.95 for 3.8 Litres

L&R 566 - Watch Cleaning Fluid - Non Ammoniated at £42.95 for 3.8 Litres

Which of the above would give the best results in an Ultrasonic Cleaner

Are there any other cleaners you would recommend for use with U/S cleaners.

Thanks for helping a Newbie out with this

Paul

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54 minutes ago, Paul80 said:

How does the L&R non ammoniated compare to the ammoniated one, is one better than the other ?

Ammoniated solutions are great to make brass parts brighter, that's all. They do little or nothing to bare steel, nickel and other coatings. They can also tarnish exotic platings like rhodium, so be aware and limit its use.

Some people can't stand the smell of ammonia, that's another reason why it's not universal. I suppose it's replaced with something else. The answer is in the MSDS which may even hint how to make your own for a fraction of the price.

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I had an L & R Varimatic watch cleaning machine with the ultrasonic unit. I always used Non-Ammoniated Waterless L&R with the correct rinsing solution and got perfect results. Mind you the machine played a big part because it was the best machine I’d ever had.

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On 8/22/2021 at 8:45 AM, jdm said:

The answer is in the MSDS which may even hint how to make your own for a fraction of the price.

I am getting to this point of trying to make my own here as right now all the ammonia based cleaning products are on back order. No Elma Red anywhere at all. There is an aussie local made ammonia based but having stock issues too and not sure how good it is.

@Paul80Weird the MSDS is different to the Elma Red one I just looked at regarding formula. The product is the same for overseas markets and not a different formula perhaps? This MSDS is for the Aussie market.

Elma Red.png

Elma red 2.png

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  • 1 month later...

Hello everyone,

I've just started out breaking down a watch for the very first time. It's a movement from what I think is a 90s Vostok which I bought from Ebay for about $15. I purposely bought the cheapest I could see so that it was destroyable! I've successfully taken it apart and before I attempt to put it back together I figured it made sense to give the parts a clean. As a first timer and not knowing whether this is the last one I'll do, I'm not going to buy an ultrasonic machine and to be honest the only reason I'm cleaning is to give myself the best chance of it actually running a bit more smoothly when I put it back together. With that in mind and having researched what I can, I'm thinking of the following:

1. Soak the parts in warm distilled water with a drop of 'dish-soap' (good old UK 'Fairy liquid') and then a gentle brush with a fine paint brush.

2. Soak in 99% isopropyl alcohol and brush again. (I won't do the balance or pallet-fork in this.)

3. Dry on watchmaker's paper with a quick blast from a hairdryer.

Given my newbie-status, an almost-zero budget and a non-interest in the longevity of the watch, am I doing anything absolutely stupid? The goal as I say is just to increase my chances of a 'successful' assembly.

Thank you sincerely for your time,

~rockpenguin~ 

  

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2 hours ago, rockpenguin said:

1. Soak the parts in warm distilled water with a drop of 'dish-soap' (good old UK 'Fairy liquid') and then a gentle brush with a fine paint brush.

That is terrible. Degrease with petroleum ether, of if you want spend more per same quantity and get inferior purity, lighter fluid. Then rinse in demineralized water, not distilled which is for laboratory use.

 

2 hours ago, rockpenguin said:

2. Soak in 99% isopropyl alcohol and brush again. (I won't do the balance or pallet-fork in this.)

No problem with IPA on balance and pallets fork as long it's a quick bath, 10 secs or so.

 

2 hours ago, rockpenguin said:

3. Dry on watchmaker's paper with a quick blast from a hairdryer.

That will disperse parts and make you desperate. Just let them on in baskets or on the paper.

Also, there are many many questions identical to your, please do a search and have a read around.

 

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As the man said there are many and varied opinions, as a starter as we are at the begining you can use Lighter fuel, and rinse in IPA then blow dry carefully. as your skills develop you may wish to go further and get a cheap ultra sonic. They can be had for about £20 used for jewelery, bracelets etc and they are adequate, I have one myself and it does a crediable job. So initially you dont need a great capital outlay at this point. Just take your time and enjoy what you are doing.

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Having owned three, I don't think U/S makes such a big difference in cleaning watch movements. What one want is to dissolve old oils, for that petrol and pegging do just fine, then look under magnification how jewels are doing. They were making and repairing unbelievable watches 3 centuries ago, not even the ultrasonic word was known back then. There is so many more important other things to learn and worry about for a beginner wanting to learn and practice.

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1 hour ago, rockpenguin said:

thank you! Interestingly he advises against the water and soap which is quoted a lot elsewhere. Though he does also say that everyone has their opinions!

I haven't watch the video but there's another problem other than opinions? The problem is watch repair has been occurring over how much time? If you look at Wikipedia they claim the first watches came into existence the 16th century so that's been a long time ago obviously cleaning fluids probably changed over time. I doubt back in the 16th century could run out to your local watch material house and purchase cleaning fluid but probably made it with whatever they had available.

Then if we restrict the discussion the last hundred years or so we still end up with a whole bunch of books and references conceivably to homemade solutions sometimes using soap. This is actually far more common with clock cleaning solutions. But typically for the clock fluids there are formulas out there they're just not randomly throwing together whatever they have in the kitchen hoping it's going to clean. That is unless of course you get a hobbyist book and then Morgan a skip over how they do things.

this means that depending upon your background experience your reference materials your opinion will be different.

2 hours ago, rockpenguin said:

Given my newbie-status, an almost-zero budget and a non-interest in the longevity of the watch, am I doing anything absolutely stupid? The goal as I say is just to increase my chances of a 'successful' assembly.

I like the above quoted paragraph. Because your Axa going into separate directions at once. As your new and you don't care about the watch you can do whatever you feel like. But then you want to be successful unfortunately the two are not necessarily the same thing. I would suggest going ahead and trying but see what happens? Who knows it might work for you and if it doesn't then? Unfortunately In watch repair usually the painful lessons are the ones we remember and as you said it's disposable watch.

2 hours ago, LittleWatchShop said:

I would be afraid of using a hairdryer because it would blow the parts across the room. 

Oh dear I'm in trouble now at home I always use a hair dryer but? Saying using a hair dryer can be misleading also? At home I use Small baskets for all the small parts and everything larger is  on wires. Which means it can go in front of a hairdryer and nothing blows away. So previously I would just replace the parts in front of the hairdryer and let the thing dry. Then I got fancy and modified a coffee can so they are blows into the can and midway up there's a screen I place all the stuff on the screen the Air Canada circulates around I put a piece of metal on top to restrict most the air so things can get nice and hot and it dries quite nicely so hairdryer's work fine if you can contain your parts.

 

 

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2 hours ago, watchweasol said:

As the man said there are many and varied opinions, as a starter as we are at the begining you can use Lighter fuel, and rinse in IPA then blow dry carefully. as your skills develop you may wish to go further and get a cheap ultra sonic. They can be had for about £20 used for jewelery, bracelets etc and they are adequate, I have one myself and it does a crediable job. So initially you dont need a great capital outlay at this point. Just take your time and enjoy what you are doing.

He advises against using an ulta sonic bath for watch parts. They should only be used for watch bracelets the case and the case back. 

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Going back to the first posters question, whould a wash in dish soap and water, followed by rinse in water and a final rinse in IPA work.

For a first time clean then the answer is yes it would do a better than nothing job.

Yes you could do better with a different cleaning agent, but they cost far more than their true value, given the chemicals they contain, most are mainly a mix of Mineral Spirit and Naphtha, with a few other additions. But at around £40 for only 4Litres I find them a rip off, given what's actually in them. One of the better value cleaners is ELMA Red which works out around £25 for 10 litres once mixed. But even that is too expensive for the possible one off cleaning the O/P is suggesting.

For simple degreasing dish soap and water will be better than nothing, or something like lighter fluid, or mineral spirit (White Spirit in the UK) or even a paint thinner would work well for what the O/P is asking.

It's no good suggesting the first time watch servicer needs to spend 5 grand on cleaning chemicals and high end cleaning machine, all that does it put the potential hobbyist off the hobby.

Paul

Edited by Paul80
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30 minutes ago, Paul80 said:

whould a wash in dish soap and water, followed by rinse in water and a final rinse in IPA work. For a first time clean then the answer is yes it would do a better than nothing job.

I have have never heard of any watchmaker, professional or not, which recommend soaped water. It's just not right for cleaning a watch mov.t.

 

30 minutes ago, Paul80 said:

Yes you could do better with a different cleaning agent, but they cost far more than their true value, given the chemicals they contain, most are mainly a mix of Mineral Spirit and Naphtha, with a few other additions. But at around £40 for only 4Litres I find them a rip off, given what's actually in them.

As mentioned above, there is no need for special cleaner but there is for a petrol based one. I recommend the classical horological product, petroleum ether. On Ebay UK the cheapest (smallest) bottle cost a mere £9.95 shipped. Of course if you buy a biggest bottle the cost per liter gets lower. No matter the size, the cost per liter is lower than lighter fuel, and the purity much higher, notwithstanding one will read here and elsewhere people always recommending the latter.

After that, if cone want to avoid rinsing id demineralized water, that is fine. And even IPA (not a costly purchase starting £5 or so)  is skippable, just do a 2nd or 3rd  rinse in petroleoum ether. For all rinses, do it in a clear jar and look at it against light, if you can seen floating particles, discard the fluid (but save it for other purposes) and rinse again.

 

30 minutes ago, Paul80 said:

It's no good suggesting the first time watch servicer needs to spend 5 grand on cleaning chemicals and high end cleaning machine, all that does it put the potential hobbyist off the hobby.

Nobody made that suggestion and personally I recommend beginners against spending even 500, or even 50 for that matter.  But if one is just a tiny bit serious about this hobby, the price of a meal out for this or that tool isn't unreasonable IMO.

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1 hour ago, Paul80 said:

One of the better value cleaners is ELMA Red which works out around £25 for 10 litres once mixed.

Elma red is a very good cleaner and makes parts shine, but if there is any hint of tarnish of the nickel plated main plate or bridges it can clean the tarnished sections right down to the bronze layer, in as little as 5 min in Ultrasound... the untarnished parts will really sparkle though.

Edited by ifibrin
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