Home Forums General Discussion Forum Ultrasonic cleaners.

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      I have noticed some verey cheap ultra. cleaners, About £25 or so they seem quite small has anyone had any experience with these?


        Ive had some experience with the cheapies. In watch repair, I noticed we put everything into little cups or beakers and not directly into the cleaning tub. The cheaper cleaners dont have enough strength to give good enough bubbles through the glass. I am able to clean jewelery like rings and necklaces because i put them directly in the tank. They do an ok job but I still end up using a tothbrush to get in the cracks. I would recommend getting a quality cleaner. I got mine on Ebay for about 85.00 US Dollars and its done a great job.


          Thanks Yerigh for your comments and advice, I have now purchased one with a much larger tank and a heater , Seem to do the job cost about £80.00. Many thanks. Clive


            Which Ultrasonic cleaner did you get? I’ve found a few and I have a few questions?


              I just bought a small U-cleaner on ebay. I’m not thrilled with it
              so far. I tried plain water (they recommended) not good.
              I’m trying rubbing alcohol now. Much better but still junk stuck
              on the escape wheel gear from my size 12 Waltham. A small paint brush
              got it off but left lots of lint on it. It’s not quite what I expected.
              Yerigh-Nov 17 has it right.


                Sorry to post a lot… Update tonight.. U-cleaner. Cheap UC does a respectable job without plastic basket.
                Parts just sitting on the base of the stainless steel floor with rubbing alcohol as the cleaning agent.
                I’m getting happier with it. But I need to make slings to suspend parts with tiny pivots.
                Don’t want those fragile areas bouncing on the steel floor of the pan !
                The big parts clean very well and the jewels are spotless !
                The balance wheel with hairspring, staff, etc and the pallate fork and escape wheel are my concerns.
                All else is fairly tough except for the second hand wheel gear. Tiny LONG FRAGILE stem that spins the second hand.
                Have to dry (hair dryer works) and wrap and put away. Make slings tomorrow. Necessity is the mother of invention !
                I’m relating to pocket watches.
                To all, have a happy holiday and a blessed new yew year.


                  Hi all. I bought a cheapo (£24.00) sonic cleaner from Maplin’s at the beginning of the year (2010). Not too impressed at first so I read up on how they work and what the differences are between the cheapo’s and the one’s the rich folks like Bob use. :D

                  Things to look for/out for/think about.
                  1. Temperature/adjustment/controll of cleaner/liquid.
                  2. Liquid used.
                  3. Degassing.
                  4. Cavitations.

                  Working in reverse. Cavitations are formed when ultrasonic travels through any liquid. IE: When a sound wave travels through water it deforms the molecules as in pulling/pushing. When the frequency of the sound wave reaches a certain point it literally rips the molecules apart and zillion’s of bubbles are formed under pressure. The bubbles expand until they pop and that creates zillions of tiny explosions. This action releases a huge amount of power. I read somewhere that the boffins say that every single bubble has a temperature of somewhere around 4-5000°C. Plus an estimated pressure of around 9-10,000 PSI. Think about that the next time you blow a bubble with your gum 😆

                  Degassing. The bain of sonic cleaners. :(

                  When I develop black and white film I use distilled water (real hard water where I live) as I have found that I get crisper negs and….no drying marks. If I’m just developing a test roll (restoring old cameras is another hobby) I’ll use tap water but I let it stand over night to degas.
                  Degassing is the removal of gases present in the solution. Cavitation will be much better after gasses have been removed. Unfortunately: Most of the cheapo cleaners have no degassing system so fill up a ?lt container and let it stand (cover opening lightly with a tissue) over night.

                  Water water everywhere and all the boards did shrink…..

                  Well. That’s all you’re supposed to need. Just plain old tap water. But: degas over night or use distilled water + a few drops of fairy liquid and see the difference (see temp notes) between the water only clean. Some sonic cleaning manufactures recommend special solutions but I’ve heard they can leave a residue and the one I’ve tried didn’t do as well as my cheapo distilled water and fairy set up. Make sure you give the parts a good rinse. I wash the tank out and do the above process again but omit the fairy.


                  I found that by turning my machine on for 8/10minutes before I dunk the parts in it I get a much better result. Guess that temperature has its part to play and some say that… 50-65 deg’s is the dogs! Have to say it gets better with a bit of heat.

                  If you want to see how your sonic is performing then….take a glass slide and wet the frosty side with ordinary tap water. Draw an X with a pencil (I read that a No 2 is best? Thanks to Nicolas-Jacques Conté 1755-1805) from corner to corner of the frosty area. Place it in your tank (set up your tank as you would normally) then turn on.
                  The X should start to fade/disappear almost immediately. My tank takes just over 10sec’s to remove it completely (tank warmed up, distilled water and a drop of fairy liquid).

                  I try not to use the plastic basket as I think it reduces the effectiveness so I made up a plastic frame that looks like the head of a tennis racket and I hang parts off it on 12lbs fishing line taking care with spacing so as to avoid the parts hitting each other. Might seem a bit of a palaver to some but I think the repairing/restoring of a watch, any watch, is a 100% effort all the way down the line and the cleaning is just as important as the choice of oil, maybe even more so?

                  Apologies for the saga. Just thought you might find it of help. Mind you, if you think is long wait until I write about Tweezers! 😮
                  Man, there are some real crummy ones out there! And some are….. Non Gradus Anus Rodentum! so…….Caveat emptor!

                  Happy new year folks!



                    WOW Scott…that’s some fantastic and useful information!
                    Thanks for posting it.

                    Happy New Year Scott,


                      And…..thanks for the warning! Excellent info,,,,,even the Latin.

                      Happy New Year all!
                      Ron Hill


                        Hi Ron/John. Glad you found it interesting. One point I forgot to mention is that when buying a sonic cleaner check to see if the power lead s detachable. Mine isn’t and that’s a real pain when it comes to emptying the tank.



                          “use distilled water + a few drops of fairy liquid”

                          Someone help me to understand ‘fairy liquid’!
                          Do I need to call Peter Pan??? Cosmo and Wanda? Google translator didn’t helped me! (Typing from Brazil)


                            Hi pkamargo. Fairy liquid is UK brand name for washing up soap. A consentrate that is very good a cutting through grease and grime. But I’m now trying Commer in my tank and this is a non toxic cleaner used in the motor trade to clean all parts. I’ve used it many times on my bike and car and it works real good with very little effort from me :D

                            I’ve tried a couple of commercial watch cleaning solutions and they were ok but I get just as good results with the washing up soap, plus, I enjoy experimenting.

                            All the best.


                              Thank you, samspade! Now I understand.


                                Samspade: Thanks for the instructive and very amusing essay on ultrasonic
                                cleaners. I’ve been using regular rubbing alcohol in my cheapie.
                                Very nice results. No basket– just lay ’em on the pan floor.
                                This watch tinkering stuff is new for me so I have a note folder and
                                log my screwups. Here’s the latest. If you ARE inclined to try alcolol,
                                don’t make the mistake I just made. I left the parts to soak 1 day and
                                a half ’till I could finish my cleaning. BIG boo-boo !
                                Rubbing alcohol is 30 % water (who knew–tongue-in cheek) and steel parts began to
                                RUST ! Also, don’t dry your parts on napkins or paper towels.
                                LOADED WITH LINT. Oh, alcohol WILL melt the lexan lid on your cheapie US cleaner.
                                Acetone works very well too- same caution.. DON’T SMOKE NEAR IT unless you want
                                a really intersting perm ! Also, had a jewel fall off a pallate fork. Don’t know if it was
                                ready to fall off anyway. Clues ? Micro-surgery to re-attach it !

                                Thanks again, samspade !

                                Looking forward to your tweezer tutorial !

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