Aldi ultrasonic cleaner

I was wondering if anyone had seen or used cheap ultrasonic cleaners for workshop purposes such as the one which Aldi list:
http://www.aldi.co.uk/uk/html/offers/58_8580.htm
In particular can this type of low cost ultrasonic cleaner be safely be used with non-aqueous solvents, which are inflammable (within reason, I wasn't planning on using ether).
Alan
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On 10 Jan 2009 21:35:00 +0000 (GMT), Alan Bain

I've used a similar older Aldi offering out of doors with meths, quite successfully.
I won't comment on the safety, but did keep it well clear of other flammable stuff.
Tim
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I use water and a drop of washing up liquid in mine, in fact I cleaned some paraffin camping stove parts in it just today.
Martin P
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So they don't call you campingstoveman for nothing then!!
campingstoveman wrote:

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Nope, I have over fifty in my collection.
Martin P
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On 10 Jan 2009 21:35:00 +0000 (GMT), Alan Bain

I don't know whether this one can (but don't see why not), but when I ran an optical coating company, we had several larger 5 litre U/S cleaners in the lab, and ran them with Isopropyl Alcolhol and Pet Ether as well as water.
Peter
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wrote:

I have an American made bransonic cleaner. It works best with water in the tank, with containers of ammoniated solvent sitting in it. I think you know the pure solvent as white spirits. Water with some household ammonia in it will work for anything that will not rust.
Steve R.
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That's a bit rash. Ammonia brightens brass by extracting zinc from the alloy, and will utterly destroy aluminium and its alloys.
Cliff Coggin.
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Commonly used in watch repairing! I used to limit exposure to 5 minutes, then an ultrasonic rinse in residue free white spirits. 10 to 20 minutes in the cleaning solution will remove the nickel plating from a watch movement! I found out, while cleaning a junk movement, before anyone asks! :) Five minutes did no harm. Note the above is for the ammoniated white spirits, use an H2O rinse for aqueous cleaning solution. Five minutes max will do no harm, the solution should not be overly strong, and a little dish washing detergent helps a lot.
Steve R.
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Water and washing up liquid always works for me. I'd say try that before moving on to more exotic, hazardous and expensive solvents. But a modern ultrasonic cleaner shouldn't include anything likely to ignite flammable vapors except any on off switches (sparks). You can't be sure though as the design might include relays which also spark. I guess it's best to prevent any high vapor concentrations outside the actual cleaning tank. It's a case of ensuring plenty of ventilation. With any fire hazard working on the basis that one day it will inevitably catch fire has got to be safest safest! One unusual extra potential problem comes to mind. Ultrasonic misters or foggers break water into an impressive looking fine mist. Sometimes I've noticed the effect to a small extent in my ultrasonic cleaning tank. If you happen to place parts in your tank of solvent in just the 'wrong' way you might end up pumping out solvent vapor via a mist at a dangerously higher rate than you'd normally expect. Probably not going to happen though...
Scrim
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On 10 Jan 2009 21:35:00 +0000 (GMT), Alan Bain

I use neat Jizer (Basically paraffin with surfactants) in my Lidl 50W US cleaner. Seems to do a good job. May be less aggressive than water with surfactants, but works well for cleaning hardened grease/oil/crud of screws and ball bearings (replace the Jizer before doing the bearings!).
The see through plastic window in the lid got crazed. So what, You don't need to watch things being cleaned...
Mark Rand RTFM
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On 10 Jan 2009 21:35:00 +0000 (GMT), Alan Bain

I've got a similar one, I use warm water with drop of detergent and a splash of meths or lighter fluid. I don't know that I'd be comfortable with using neat flammable fluids - I suppose the unit is cheap enough to be worth testing whether it would work ( preferably outside ).
Regards,
--
Stephen Howard
Woodwind repairs & period restorations
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Are we being a bit paranoid about flammable fluids here? A chip pan fire is easy to put out with a wet but well wrung out tea towel, provided you don't panic. These US cleaners are even smaller: have a damp cloth ready if you are really nervous. Of course the chance of ignition depends on what solvent you are using. The solvent will warm up a little if you leave it running a long time. Little risk with white spirit or paraffin or diesel. Rather more with petroleum ether. Also of course be aware of ignition sources like an operating gas cooker (or one with pilot lights, if such things still exist).
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Maybe, but one will never know until it is too late. I use an ultrasonic tank regularly, normally with aqueous liquids, but when an organic solvent is needed I put it in a loosely sealed jar and immerse that in water. As long as we are aware that solvent vapours are all heavier than air and hence will drift over the top, down the sides, and into any vents in the case where they will contact the electrical components. Quite what the potential for a spark or a hot spot from those components is, I have no idea, but the problem is easily avoided.
Cliff Coggin.
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I remember being shown a Health & Safety film of someone using an inflamable solvent in an ultrasonic bath with rather exciting consequences. However, the equipment was much older and used valved circuitry to generate the ultrasonic power, so I guess the potential for undesirable ignition was much greater with 300/400V HT supplies around.
However, thanks for the various comments, it sounds like the Aldi bath should prove useful and I will give one a try.
Alan
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I've one of the earlier Aldi offerings, works a treat. Maybe a bit on the small side.

The solvent is more of an issue. I've used meths, paraffin (both outside), "soapy water" and "Hyperclean (sort of "Gunk" / "Jizer") (both inside).
None got "hot" or even noticeably warm (or warmer in the case of the water which I'd heated first) but the meths did seem to vaporise more quickly (I suspect due to the surface disturbance- if my O level physics is still correct, a liquid with a rough surface evaporated more quickly).
--
73
Brian, G8OSN
www.g8osn.org.uk
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Bought one today, 3 years warranty etc, cant get vexed for 17-49.
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DCreed
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I've just bought one of these from Aldi too. They have about 7 or 8 of them left at the Nacton Road, Ipswich Aldi. 17.49.
It's actually identical to the Ultra 7000 model sold by Maplin for 45!! http://www.maplin.co.uk/Module.aspx?ModuleNo "3108 . They're also on eBay too, just search for 'Ultra 7000' (http://shop.ebay.co.uk/?_from=R40&_trksid=m38&_nkw=ultra+7000 ). Another name they appear to go under is JPL 7000.
Maplin also have the Sea-Clean solution for 4.99. http://www.maplin.co.uk/Module.aspx?ModuleNo !8729 .
So far I've tried using just water alone, and the results are pretty ok. If you want to test yours' then get a bit of tin foil and lower it into the solution, it'll start to disintegrate. :rolleyes:
Usually I use bleach and a toothbrush, and for things like retro computer keys/small parts I put them into a cut off leg from a pair of thick tights, and put them in the washing machine with the weekly wash.
Are there solutions that we could make ourselves to use in the unit?
--
Alison F
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Try water and washing up liquid. I use a stronger solution than I'd use for washing up - something like a 1to2 second squirt in a pint of water. As long as the solution can make foam it should still be working I figure. But stronger still: Before I had an ultrasonic cleaner I used very strong solutions of washing powder in water for extreme cleaning. That stuff can clean grease of old bicycle chains. I've never needed to try it in an ultrasonic cleaner but I imagine it would be devastatingly effective. One problem though - using a hot solution in a cheap ultrasonic cleaner might damage it. The instructions with mine were no help on that point. Reading around on industrial manufacturers sites, apparently the cleaning effect with water peaks at about 80C but cheap unheated ultrasonic cleaners may rely on cold water to cool the transducer so may need you to use cool water. I often used with water from the hot tap at about 50C. The first problem was that the epoxy resin holding the transducer on the bottom of the tank lost it's grip, presumably because the higher temperatures softened it. After regluing with better epoxy it worked well again but eventually the transducer burnt out. I don't know if this was because I used hot water or not though. My latest larger ultrasonic cleaner, which has a built in controllable heater working up to near boiling point is obviously designed for use hot. I notice they have used a piece of gauze between the transducer and the tank which presumably acts to confine any tendency for the epoxy to delaminate to one gauze cell. At 17 it's worth experimenting, but if you open one up beware of high voltages. By the way, I reckon my cheap cleaner was more effective than the new very noisy and expensive model I have. I wish they could reduce the noise they make which really irritates my ears. The ones dentists use are silent!
Scrim
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