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Ultrasonic Cleaners

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  • Ultrasonic Cleaners

    A long time ago I bought a pifty little ultrasonic cleaner marketed for cleaning jewelry. It was a good size for my HO cars, but now that I am into 1/32nd it is definitely too small.

    'Sides that, I have never been impressed with its performance. I know it works because I can hear its buzz and see the 'standing waves' on the surface of the cleansing solution, but it just doesn't seem to remove much grunge.

    My interest in ultrasonic cleaning has two aspects. One, simple aesthetics. My cars get dirty, especially the underside of the bodies, and I just don't like it. Two, my philosophy that, "Dirt is the enemy of speed." Grunge can find its way into critical components, like commutators and bushings/bearings, where it does nasty things. Sessions in wet ultrasound should, in theory, winkle out grunge from all its hiding places.

    My explorations on eBay have turned up many examples of ultrasonic cleaners that look more serious than my little jewelry cleaner, and large enough for my 1/32nd cars. But their prices hint that they are third-world knock-offs of questionable quality. The name-brand cleaners -- like Branson -- are much more expensive.

    So I'm wondering if anybody can share their experience with a recently purchased ultrasonic cleaner. Have they found one that lives up to its promise, or have they been disappointed?
    Ed Bianchi
    York Pennsylvania USA

  • #2
    Mines a Chinese jobbie big enough for most 1/32 cars (the Ghostbusters Ecto1 is a challenge). I don't use it for cleaning cars only resin 3D prints.

    I tape over the holes of my motors to prevent crud getting inside.
    Kevan - Isle of Man
    Life is like a box of Slot cars...🚓🚗🚚🚜


    • HO RacePro
      HO RacePro commented
      Editing a comment
      The carbon dust generated by brush wear has to go somewhere. And if you are silly enough to oil the end-bell bearing, oil can foul the commutator. In the worst case a carbon/oil mix can lodge in the slots between commutator segments and cause shorts.

      That said, I still take note of your use of tape.

      I have experimented with covering the motor can holes with steel shim material. The idea is to reduce windage losses while improving the magnetic field circuit, with the understanding that the motor will retain more heat. The motors we use in IHSR competition are too tame to get warm, let alone hot, so the loss of cooling does not appear to be an issue. Still, I can't say I've seen a significant change in motor performance good or bad.

    • Kevan
      Kevan commented
      Editing a comment
      We use steel shim to reduce the magnetic effect as we have a 25g limit.

    • wizardgm
      wizardgm commented
      Editing a comment
      I tape over the holes when racing, but remove tape when cleaning, so 'brush dust' - the crud, can get out.
      I then tape over the holes again when putting the motor back in car.
      I've seen a car stop 'dead in its tracks' when tyre junk got into the holes during a race.

  • #3
    The Blazer CD-4800 cleaner that I use has a 6.5X5.5" inch tank, so it can fit an entire 1/32nd NASCAR type car. That unit is now discontinued, but it is still available, sometimes at an inflated price.


    • #4
      Originally posted by HO RacePro View Post
      I know it works because I can hear its buzz and see the 'standing waves' on the surface of the cleansing solution, but it just doesn't seem to remove much grunge.
      Ed, what are you using in the cleaner? And is it heated or not? I recommend a heated unit and use distilled water with some mild detergent, like Simple Green.

      My unit is a "CO-Z" with heater and timer. If I recall correctly it was around $100 on Amazon or ebay. So far it works well. When I want to use it I fill it with preheated distilled water (using the microwave) because the built in heater takes a while to heat from room temperature.

      UPDATE - was purchased on Amazon, product is now listed as CREWORKS ultrasonic cleaner, $100CAD for the model I have.

      Last edited by PetesLightKits; June 13, 2022, 10:59 AM.


      • HO RacePro
        HO RacePro commented
        Editing a comment
        I have been using a cleanser that was sold by MicroMark specifically for use in ultrasonic cleaners. But I bought it so long ago I can't remember anything more about it. MicroMark currently sells an ultrasonic cleanser called "EuroSonic", which might be the same stuff. I did not use distilled water to dilute it, and my unit is not heated. I have never heated the cleansing solution. I'm not sure how hot the cleanser could be without possibly warping a slotcar chassis. I know boiling-hot water can do that. Do you know a temperature that is safe?

        Do you use your unit to clean slotcars? If so, does it improve performance?
        Last edited by HO RacePro; June 13, 2022, 09:33 PM.

      • PetesLightKits
        PetesLightKits commented
        Editing a comment
        I'm not sure about a safe maximum temperature to prevent the chassis from warping. Probably somewhere around 60C would be fine. I only use my USC to clean motors, gears, bushings/bearings and other "running" equipment.

        I haven't done enough testing to say whether or not cleaning the motors has made an improvement. I did gather some data for one motor and, IIRC, it did pick up a few hundred extra RPM after cleaning.