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Owen Y

Our DIY Ultrasonic Record Cleaner

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Mine received and assembled, really big thank you :)

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My kit arrived today, Owen, and I fitted it tonight. All went together very easily following your simple instructions. Looking forward to trying it out on the weekend. Thanks again for arranging this, the finished product looks great! Cheers, Michael

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Thanks guys, keep us posted with results, tips etc.

 

To date, I have not bothered with heating - the US 'cavitation' actually tends to heat up the fluid a little.

 

Fluid - for new/newish records, I find that 0.1 - 0.5% detergent + water works great.

For dirtier and/or s/h records, I'd use detergent concentration at the higher end of that range and/or consider adding some enzymatic cleaner.

 

Timing - bearing in mind the above partial immersion factors, consider 15 min cleaning time as a minimum - it's easy just to leave it running a bit longer.

 

Alcohol - a solvent can help dissolve heavier contaminations, but have not bothered with it anymore - the reusing of fluid & sizeable volume of tank water means that over time, you can't control the alcohol concentration.  There's also the belief among some (incl US Library of Congress) that alcohol tends to remove plasticisers in the vinyl.

 

Drying - The surfactant means rapid air drying. But vacuum drying is excellent, if you have a conventional RCM to hand (with clean nozzle/brushes of course). I will experiment with a water rinse beforehand too - I'm not paranoid about water purity, regular carbon-filtered drinking water works fine for me.

 

Your comments & feedback welcome.

 

Cheers, Owen

http://darklanternforowen.wordpress.com/

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Great stuff Owen. Goes to show what a bit of effort can produce!  

I have a silly question.  I note the surfactant mix you're using.  Is there a role for use of the sort of fluid I use in my good old Disco Antistat, such as Melody Mate or similar (perhaps in a diluted form)? I note filtering and reusing fluid is the next challenge!  Is there room in the bottom of the tank for a submerged electric filter which could run when the bath is running?  

Keep up,the great work!  Mat

 

addit- woops just saw the post re using a filter.  Anyone else getting good results with this?  Suggestions for filters?

Edited by Mat-with-one-t

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On ?25?/?04?/?2017 at 6:50 PM, andyr said:

 

Hi Andrew,

 

Re. vacuum dry vs. air dry ... and the (good) effect of using a 1-micron filter:

  • this long weekend, I finally got my 1 micron filter working (with a 12v DC pump), with my Sonix IV US tank.
  • first, I listened to an LP which had been cleaned using the (previous) aquarium filter ... but not vacuumed dry.
  • then I re-cleaned it with the 1-micron filter in circuit ... then blow-dried it.
  • result - quieter!  :thumb:
  • I then re-washed it in the US tank for a couple of minutes - and then used my NG to vacuum it dry.
  • result - no quieter:party

So AFAIAC, using the 1-micron filter takes out all the crap which was in suspension in the water - which was previously resting in the bottom of the grooves with the liquid ... so was still there when the liquid dried (unless I vacuumed it out) and which caused the LP to be noisy.

 

Removing this crap in suspension results in a quiet record - so the 1-micron filter is doing a much better job than the aquarium filter.  So I no longer need to vacuum dry each side.  :thumb:

 

So my US cleaning setup consists of the following:

 

Unfortunately, I sourced these from Amazon - which I hate with a passion, as they don't offer any way of getting in touch with them to ask questions - but I know you can search eBay for the same pump.

 

Plus the following items from www.ultrasonic records.com:

  • 2 spindles with spacers (to take 6 LPs) and a gear wheel.  One spacer for the LPs in the US tank, the 2nd for LPs which are being blow-dried.
  • a frame with a slow-rotation motor, to hold the spindle at just the right height above the US tank.
  • a "Blower Cube" - a box with a powerful fan (and a lid) to blow-dry the LPs.  Unfortunately, this is not 100% effective, as supplied - I had to fit a slow-rev motor to turn the LPs in the airstream ... and I think it would be good to rig up some ceramic resistors in the base of the Cube, to provide a warming effect on the airstream.

 

So it's not a budget setup - but I believe it cleans just as well - if not better than - the commercial "all-in-one" units and I get to clean 6 LPs at a time.  :D

 

And my liquid mixture is: 7.8l of distilled water / 400ml of 99% IPA / 8ml of Ilfotrol.

 

Andy

 

 

@Mat-with-one-t Details of a pump and filter system that Andy uses.

 

 

 

 

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4 hours ago, Mat-with-one-t said:

Great stuff Owen. Goes to show what a bit of effort can produce!  

I have a silly question.  I note the surfactant mix you're using.  Is there a role for use of the sort of fluid I use in my good old Disco Antistat, such as Melody Mate or similar (perhaps in a diluted form)? I note filtering and reusing fluid is the next challenge!  Is there room in the bottom of the tank for a submerged electric filter which could run when the bath is running?  

Keep up,the great work!  Mat

 

addit- woops just saw the post re using a filter.  Anyone else getting good results with this?  Suggestions for filters?

 

Hi @Mat-with-one-t - thanks!

I'm not sure if I can help here....

I'm not familiar with those fluids or their formulations, but being record cleaning formulations, they should be suitable.

 

One of the advantages of using a simple, high dilution formulation, is that you can just throw it away. If you wish to use a more costly fluid, perhaps pre-wash in the original machine (before US cleaning)?

 

Filtering - giving this further thought, I think that if you are using a detergent to clean records, then filtering the fluid is of limited value. This is because the way that 'detergents' work is by (i) lifting contaminants off the surface, ie. by 'surfactant' action lowering surface tension, then (ii) combining with the contaminants to stop them re-attaching to the surface, ie. 'solubilising' . So, after cleaning, the effective detergent content of the fluid is reduced & you should eventually replace it with new detergent mix - not filter it.

 

I would say that the bottom of the tank, with its 40kHz vibrations, would not be a good environment on which to sit any electrical-mechanical device. Also there is a space that reduces to only 3 - 4 cm height beneath the records.

 

Cheers, Owen

http://darklanternforowen.wordpress.com/

Edited by Owen Y

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Hi Owen

 

Your attachment has arrived and fits the US cleaner perfectly.  Looks really well made and will post more info once I start cleaning this weekend. 

Thanks again.

Chris

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Chaps - there has been some continued interest & a few have PM'd me about a 2nd batch of these 'kits'.

Aside from those who have been in touch recently, if you're interested, kindly send me a PM - we'd like one or 2 more on board before committing to more laser-cutting.

Cost will be A$175 + postage.

 

Cheers, Owen

http://darklanternforowen.wordpress.com/

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Today I got the kit mounted on the US cleaner with no issues and the fit is great.  Using distilled water and 0.5% ilfotol I cleaned for 15 minutes as suggested.  The effect is quite pronounced.

 

Firstly there are no crackles and pops and the lead in, gaps between tracks and lead out are silent.  But there is something else.....the music seems softer and fuller, perhaps even "luscious".  I can't really describe it, but it is a good thing.  This is spoken of Lorde Pure Herroine and Annie Lennox Nostalgia.

 

I was surprised after only three records through the unit that there was visible fluff and particles coagulated after a period of being turned off.  I would not have said these records were dirty.

 

Only thing I noted is that the spindle seemed to move out from the motor drive so will do some adjusting of the bearing holder height to see if I can stop this.

 

My advice to anyone playing records is to get a US cleaner and Owens kit is a good way of going about it. 

 

Thanks Owen for your effort to make this opportunity available.

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Ah that's good @tesla13BMW.

 

The spindle shaft moving outward can happen if the end bearing is not freely turning for some reason - and the spindle thread tends to 'crawl' outward.

 

Check that the bearing inner is freely rotating - whilst the bearing outer is stationary / non-rotating, sitting in the cutout hole in the end plate.

 

Cheers, Owen

http://darklanternforowen.wordpress.com/

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16 hours ago, tesla13BMW said:

Today I got the kit mounted on the US cleaner with no issues and the fit is great.  Using distilled water and 0.5% ilfotol I cleaned for 15 minutes as suggested.  The effect is quite pronounced.

 

PS. I don't know the Ilfotol ingredients, but if it's similar to Kodak Photoflo, it contains non-ionic pure surfactant (plus some other ingredients).

However, the surfactant/detergent concentration is only around 5-10%, so you'd need to mix at 1:50 to 1:100 with water to get 0.1% detergent concentration - ie 45 - 90mL for ea 4.5L tankful. Which might be a costly way to buy pure detergent.

 

Cheers, Owen

http://darklanternforowen.wordpress.com/

Edited by Owen Y

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@Owen Y from the back label it says for Ilford Ilfotol

 

Contains reaction mass of: 5-chloro-2-methyl-4-isothiazolin-3-one and 2-methyl-2H-isothiazol-3-one (3:1).

 

It is labelled as a wetting agent.

 

Cleaning at 30 degrees C and today which is 25 in Brisbane has the records drying as you look at them.  Fully dry within a minute or two.

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That stuff is CMI, MIT. That isn't the surfactant,  that is just the in-can preservative. It is very unlikely that Ilford would give away the chemical name of the surfactant.

Edited by christosd

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Photoflo, to paraphrase a chemist's description, is:

"....a mixture of mainly Propylene glycol and a smaller amount of octylphenoxy polyethoxyethyl alcohol.......the latter essentially is Triton. The former is not really necessary (it's what keeps things moist, making films look and rinse spot free)."

 

I expect that Ilfotol is similar.

 

Yup, the surfactant filming makes drying real quick :)

 

Cheers, Owen

http://darklanternforowen.wordpress.com/

Edited by Owen Y

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Hi Owen,

 

I received my Triton X-100 yesterday and have cleaned my first seven records. Great result. Interesting time mixing up my first lot of Triton, overnight in the fridge was the trick in 'desolving' it. For these two runs I just lifted the rack out and waited for the records to dry, in the long run I think the bread cutter rack would be the way to go.

 

Regarding the number of records that can be cleaned on one tank I suppose that just observing the amount of dirt in the solution is the indicator?

 

Thank you for all you help on this.

 

PS I suggest anyone using the Triton X-100 get the MSDS and read the safety information, particularly with regards to handling the undiluted liquid.

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4 hours ago, Owen Y said:

 

PS. I don't know the Ilfotol ingredients, but if it's similar to Kodak Photoflo, it contains non-ionic pure surfactant (plus some other ingredients).

However, the surfactant/detergent concentration is only around 5-10%, so you'd need to mix at 1:50 to 1:100 with water to get 0.1% detergent concentration - ie 45 - 90mL for ea 4.5L tankful. Which might be a costly way to buy pure detergent.

 

Cheers, Owen

http://darklanternforowen.wordpress.com/

 

AIUI (from gleaning this info from many post on the 'Net), Photoflo has one extra undesirable ingredient, compared to Ilfotrol.

 

The recommendation which I found was 0.05% of Ilfotrol - so 2.25ml in a 4.5L tankful.  My tank is 8L - which gives 4ml ... but I have found the drying works better if I use 8ml.

 

Andy

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1 hour ago, Edd said:

 

Regarding the number of records that can be cleaned on one tank I suppose that just observing the amount of dirt in the solution is the indicator?

 

 

Can I suggest you should rig up a filter (you can do this even if your tank doesn't have a drain spigot).

 

Andy

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1 hour ago, Edd said:

Hi Owen,

 

I received my Triton X-100 yesterday and have cleaned my first seven records. Great result. Interesting time mixing up my first lot of Triton, overnight in the fridge was the trick in 'desolving' it. For these two runs I just lifted the rack out and waited for the records to dry, in the long run I think the bread cutter rack would be the way to go.

 

Hi @Edd - that's excellent.

 

Triton (or similar) mixing down - the method suggested by a chemist elsewhere on the net is as follows:

Quote

You can't just add concentrated detergents like Triton or most Tergitols to water and expect them to dissolve. You have to add small amounts of water gradually and mix it in. It takes time for them to organize into hydrated micelles. Never add them to hot water as they will take forever to dissolve. Once diluted to a 10% stock, they easily mix well in water to get to working concentrations.

 

One easy method is to just mix a teaspoon of 100% Triton with a teaspoon of distilled water and work it in slowly to dissolve. Gradually keep adding more teaspoons of distilled water and mixing until a total of 9 teaspoons have been added (roughly a 10% detergent stock).  You want a final concentration of detergent around 0.1 to 0.2% so this 10% stock gets diluted 50 to 100-fold in the final working wash solution.  (Absolute detergent concentration really doesn't matter as long as we are in a range where it can be easily removed in subsequent rinsing.) 

 

I make up a 500mL bottle like this.

100% Triton does not dissolve easily but yes, it miraculously dissolves overnight, eg in the refrig.

 

Cheers, Owen

http://darklanternforowen.wordpress.com/

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1 hour ago, Edd said:

Regarding the number of records that can be cleaned on one tank I suppose that just observing the amount of dirt in the solution is the indicator?

 

 

There are 2 issues I think:

 

(i) The amount of contaminants in the fluid will increase to the point where it starts re-contaminating the discs.

 

(ii) Because of the way detergents work, there is no point in filtering (see my Weds post above) - essentially, detergents 'combine' with contaminants & thus the detergent in the fluid mix becomes 'used up', in the same way that soap loses its 'lather' after removing dirt. So, the fluid should be replaced eventually with a new mix. Filtering will not renew the detergent concentration.

 

Cheers, Owen

http://darklanternforowen.wordpress.com/

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Hi Owen,

 

Thanks for this explanation. Very happy with the results.

 

Cheers

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1 hour ago, Owen Y said:

 

There are 2 issues I think:

 

(i) The amount of contaminants in the fluid will increase to the point where it starts re-contaminating the discs.

 

 

Absolutely!  :thumb:  Except I would say that as soon as there are contaminants in the fluid ... you are re-contaminating the LP surface.

 

Quote

(ii) Because of the way detergents work, there is no point in filtering (see my Weds post above) - essentially, detergents 'combine' with contaminants & thus the detergent in the fluid mix becomes 'used up', in the same way that soap loses its 'lather' after removing dirt. So, the fluid should be replaced eventually with a new mix. Filtering will not renew the detergent concentration.

 

Cheers, Owen

http://darklanternforowen.wordpress.com/

 

Do you class Ilfotrol as a detergent?  (I thought it was a surfectant ... although I don't know whether a 'detergent' - ie. dish-washing liquid - works by being a surfectant.)

 

From observing what happens in my US tank, I think there must be a difference between the two - as the surfectant result (water sheeting off the LP surface when you lift the LP out of the tank) is still there in the fluid (95% distilled water / 5% IPA + a few ml of Ilfotrol) after filtering.

 

But of course, yes, eventually the fluid in the US tank needs to be replaced.  But this is after, say, 50-100 LPs (6 at a time) ... instead of after one batch of 6.

 

Andy

 

Edited by andyr

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I use surfActants every day in industrial formulations. From Fluoro-surfactants, through to APEO surfactants like Teric gn-9, X-10,Triton CF-x. BTW, some surfactants are very bad for you and the environment. There is a global push to reduce the use of APEO's.  Be very careful. 

 

I have never heard of surfEctants. What do they do? 

 

 

Edited by christosd

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Thanks, guys.

 

My understanding is that a detergent & surfactant are same thing..

Except that commercial 'detergents' contain many additives (ie. in addition to pure detergent/surfactant) - which we do not want/need on our records.

 

Cheers, Owen

http://darklanternforowen.wordpress.com/

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