I'm a newbie here and wanted to post my thoughts on Owen's ultrasonic kit.
I can't believe the increase in clarity and "punch" that results from cleaning with the ultrasonic.
My vinyl collection goes back 40 years and for some records it seems like I'm hearing them for the first time...
I've hit the 100 mark for cleaning and I've settled on a 30 min cycle with temp set at 30c. So far I see that enough crud builds up around the 25 record mark to change the fluid.
The only 2 things that I've done so far as a "mod" is to put double stick foam adhesive tape around the perimeter of the device "lid" to kill additional vibration and also I've bit the bullet and added an extra spacer to do 4 records at a time. (have probably done "3" batch cleans for 60 records and "4" batch cleans for another 40). If I notice a negative difference, I'll switch back to 3...
All in all, a great product and a great value.
p.s. I'll upload some pix and post them (when I find my photobucket information...)
Hi all;- it's been a while since I logged in, but I woke up this morning thinking about record cleaning (many here to do) again, and this thread - which I've just re-read in its entirety! - came to mind... Being a frugal DIY inclined chap, I found myself thinking - why can't I just buy the transducers, and a driver module, bolt/epoxy them to my own (hopefully cheaply sourced) stainless steel tank, build my own housing, use any old timer control, etc.
It was cheaper before I refreshed the page, it had gone down to $55USD or so, as cheap as the kit, I'd watched the timer count down. So, maybe dodgy as per as recently read others struggles with aliexpress, but I thought worth a note. That's about the same as a driver kit with two transducers and no tank !
I can't actually really afford either at the moment, but I'm just keeping tabs on it for the future...
And I think I'll make my own motor mechanism, I have several slow and very slow motors... and I might encase the whole thing in wood, make it a bit "steampunk" in design, damp vibrations...
Was keen to get started so just added a drop of Triton without measuring it.
Straight Triton concentrate? Normally that would not dissolve at that concentration, it would sit on the bottom as a globule - but the cavitation might dissolve it, I dunno....
You want a final mix of 0.1 to 0.2% - that's 1:1000 to 1:500. The tank holds around 4.5 Litres (4500mL), so you want around 2 to 4mL of the concentrate in there. That's around 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon (of concentrate).
But......it won't dissolve easily in water - I mix a teaspoon (around 5mL) at a time, stirring, in a 500mL bottle to get a 10% mix (ie. 10 teaspoons) of stock concentrate. I leave it in the refrig overnight to dissolve slowly. Then I use that 10% stock concentrate & dilute down at 1:100x into the tank to end up with 0.1% final fluid mix.
I went searching and discovered that Triton will dissolve in water at 25C so 30 to 60 seconds in the microwave and stir in your Triton and it dissolves quite quickly.
Just now cleaned one of the dirtiest LPs I have ever seen. Xavier Cugat playing Continental Favourits on Mercury Living presence. Bought 2nd hand last week for .50c. Appeared to be no marks or scratches, but covered in large spots of white mould, plus other unidentifiable substances! Bought it as an experiment to to see how good the USRCM is.
Amazed by the result. Heated water to 20C, spun for 20 minutes, and LP emerged looking like new. Played side 1 just now, and all tracks played without extraneous noise, except a little on the run out groove. The playback quality was very good, except the music a little dated for my taste.
back in autumn i spent a week or two with the US cleaner i had purchased on ebay.au a year or so before but only used occasionally since. winter being what it is in chch i stopped wanting to spend any time in an unheated room so didn't clean any more until spring was well and truly here. during the holidays i spent a solid week focussed on getting through some records, when i forgot to turn it off overnight and the machine was suspiciously quieter. it had always made a hideous, screeching, sound! no water movement - dead... oh dear.
i googled for someone local to have a look at it and found a guy who was into recycling electronic stuff and had eco somewhere in the company name and took it to him. boy - what a shop. stuff everywhere! he said he had repaired one successfully for a friend and was optimistic so i left it with him.
4wks later i decided to see how things were going. he had replaced the burnt out parts and was confident of getting it running soon. 2wks later and he would get around to it soon... definitely before christmas...
so i start looking on ali-express for a possible replacement and found a few but the prices have risen and shipping has too. so i amble over to ali baba and look at what is there. the brands were different. and there were some with 90min timers. the ones with 30min timers carried the warning not to use for more than 30mins continuous, but these 90min ones didn't. were they "heavy duty"? ali baba doesn't work the same as ali-express. more set up for businesses and bulk, but by restricting my searches to "will ship single units" or "samples" i got some choices. prices ranged from US$100 to 600 for a 6.5l tank. some were 30min but most were 90. i was a bit suspicious of the cheap one and encountered something i could do that would get quotes from manufacturers for my specific requirements - alisourcepro! sounded good so i opted in and got about 20 quotes over 2 or 3 days.
the company with the $100 unit replied so i thought i would ask some specific questions of them, all of which got answered satisfactorily. so for another $100 for shipping and $6 for i know not what, i made the order. currency exchange put the cost at NZ$324.58. it arrived this morning. it had a real user manual in real english! well almost. it said to only run 30mins the 1st time to "allow for burn in" . woohoo - a real audiophile cleaner! and despite the 90min timer to not run continuously for more than 60mins. so i got it ready and ran with just water for 10mins.
i have 2 records i really like but never play as they have way too much surface noise. they have been cleaned many times! hand with a shaving brush, KAB, VPI 17, and 3x with the 1st US! warren zevon epon and sticky fingers. thought many times of replacing them, but no surface scratches so .....
gave them a 20min clean together, dried them on the vpi and put sticky fingers side1 on the tt. the 1st minute of wild horses is the test. previously unlistenable. now? i would love to say silent, but that wouldn't be true, unfortunately. but much reduced and definitely ok but still a bit on the noisy side. frank and jesse james starts with solo piano and was a bit loud for 30secs but then was not too bad. significant improvement and listenable but spoilt in parts was my verdict.
so i decided to give them another go. 25mins this time. now i would describe them as "good" though still not perfect, but soooooo much better. now i won't hesitate to play either of them. so if any of your US cleaners die, this might be a way to go.
and i still haven't heard from the repairer about the other one. and i am also wondering if it had ever worked properly.
Haven't posted in a little bit and just thought I'd spew forth a couple of observations.
For some really "rough" records that have still shown a bit of surface noise post cleaning, I've run them a couple of times in the cleaner at 30c.
I've noticed that if I up the heat from 30c to 40c for another clean cycle, there tends to be a bit more "crud" buildup in the tank with the higher cleaning temperature. I've done quite a few records a few times at 30c and not noticed any real buildup in the tank afterwards. To me it looks as though the higher temperature might help pry out the really stubborn deposits in the grooves.
Please note that the guinea pig lp's that were thrown to the lions all were samples that I was willing to lose in the process if it all went sideways (though I'm sure that Robin Trower wouldn't be thrilled)...
I've not had anything warp or bow and there has been a modest bit of improvement in the reduction of surface noise.
All in all (and solely in my opinion), the ultrasonic cleaner has been the smartest investment and has yielded the biggest improvement in the enjoyment of lp playback to date.
Kind of a shame that there' nothing left to clean except for new finds...
Hi Joe.... Thanks for the feedback - about temperature, cleaning durations, etc.
The nylon bushing is a nice idea to prevent any 'crawling' of the shaft out of the motor drive (if/when any dirt/friction builds up in the end bearing.
We now make sure that the rivnut friction fit of the main frame to the tank is firmer, to prevent any movement of the frame & unit under vibration (the records are a close tolerance fit in the tank length in order to maximise depth immersion to near the record label & any sideways movement of the frame/spindle could result in records jamming against the tank end).
If your SS frame is easily moving, I suggest just gently bending the rivnut side flanges inward a little, in order to tighten the fit to the tank sides.
Also, we ensure that the ball-bearing units are low friction, 'flushing' them if necessary if we get a batch with too much grease friction.
Nice to hear from you & we trust that the 'winter' weather has relieved the wildfire threat in CA?
Thanks for the kind words! Funny thing is that So Cal is always in some state of emergency these days...
I'm sorry if I implied that the frame to ultrasonic fit was not tight enough. The fit and finish of the kit to the cleaner are exceptionally tight and there are no issues with regard to the fitting of the kit.
I was just trying to quell some of the extraneous vibrations in the lid to cleaner contact area (dentist drill sound anyone?) Yowza!
With larger batch size (laser-cutting in particular & also parts purchase), some fabrication re-thinking & new tools / improved efficiency (riv-nut installation, spacer drilling, etc), we've been able to reduce costs a bit.