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Old 25th October 2012, 07:13 PM   #121
bbftx is offline bbftx  United States
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Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Austin, TX
Default BB's URC Filter

I have added a working filter setup that should essentially let one clean as many records as they can imagine with a single batch of cleaning solution in a URC. The pump and filter can be operated between ultrasonic cleaning cycles or even while the URC is being operated!

The key components are:
•a nice little fan cooled, very quiet, inline, centrifugal pump originally designed for use in beverage dispensers. $15 from SurplusCenter.
•heavy duty 4x4x4 electrical junction box used as a pump housing $10
•1 micron polypropylene 2.5"x5" filter used in small home water systems $3
•5" filter housing used in small home water systems $12

With fittings, cords, and tubing, the setup cost about $50 in parts. A little more than I envisioned originally, and probably only worth it if you're going to clean LOTS of records and want to save money on your cleaning solution. But it's a fun project for a tinkerer like me.

I first considered using a small aquarium pump and filter combination. But I soon found out that the inexpensive filters used in aquariums are usually 50 to 120 micron foam filters, which wouldn't trap ANYTHING that we'd clean off an LP! And once you start looking at finer filters, in the 1 micron range, you need a more powerful pump that can deliver more pressure.

While the specs for my pump claim almost 1 gallon per minute flow rate or more if the pump is working against 5 ft of head or less, I'm finding the flow rate in my setup is about 1/2 gpm. This is plenty for the 5 or 6 quarts of liquid in my URC system. It only takes about 3 minutes to pump 6 quarts of fluid through the filter. I will point out that the added volume of the filter housing and tubing require about 2.5 cups of additional volume of your cleaning solution. The pump's liquid temperature limit is stated as 120°F, which is coincidentally, also the max limit I've set for the solution in my system.

I drilled vent holes in my pump box to feed cool air to the motor cooling fan. Along, with a picture of the pump and motor, one of the accompanying photos shows the holes being drilled in the pump box.

I've also filmed a 30 second video which will show you my setup, give you an idea of the flow rate achieved, and will let you hear how quiet this particular pump is. The pump intake receives cleaning solution from the ultrasonic cleaner tank drain via the blue tubing. The pump outlet connects to the filter intake. The filter outlet goes through flexible tubing back into the tank.
The video is on Youtube at:
URC Filter Demo

I'll update my parts list in the near future to provide details on the parts I used for this setup.

[Side Note: One could conceivably use activated carbon filter made for the same filter housing I'm using, which would adsorb (not absorb) chemicals that a mechanical filter like the polypropylene filter I am starting with, can't. However, there is a higher pressure drop across an activated carbon filter, and I'm doubtful the pump I'm using could handle that. A carbon filter wouldn't be appropriate for some record cleaning solutions. Example: a carbon filter would strip out most detergents in a detergent-based record solution. However, it should let isopropyl alcohol in water pass, as well as the tiny bit of Photo-Flo I use, which is essentially propylene glycol. I'll probably buy a carbon filter for this setup and see how it works.]

Attached Images
File Type: jpg URC-Pump-DSC_7364.jpg (102.2 KB, 817 views)
File Type: jpg URC-Pump-Box-DSC_7362.jpg (96.9 KB, 811 views)
File Type: jpg URC-Pump-Box-Vent-DSC_7368.jpg (76.1 KB, 797 views)
File Type: jpg URC-Filter-DSC_7380.jpg (58.1 KB, 789 views)
File Type: jpg URC-Filter-Setup.jpg (107.3 KB, 790 views)

Last edited by bbftx; 25th October 2012 at 07:17 PM.
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Old 26th October 2012, 05:41 PM   #122
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Location: Vancouver
Hey BB,

Once again you have come up with a straight-forward, functional and economical design.

Thanks for taking the time to document your build for us. I will definitely be using your concept when I get the time for this add on to my URC.
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Old 27th October 2012, 10:13 AM   #123
bbftx is offline bbftx  United States
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Default Updated Ultrasonic Record Cleaner Parts List

Glad you liked the filter implementation, addict. Thanks.

Attached is an updated parts list for the ultrasonic record cleaner project, including parts for the filter system.

I'm also including a couple of photos showing how I used PCB adhesive mounts to install the pump in the pump housing.

Attached Images
File Type: jpg Pump-PCB-Mounts-DSC_7370.jpg (106.4 KB, 298 views)
File Type: jpg Pump-PCB-Mounts-DSC_7372.jpg (66.3 KB, 214 views)
Attached Files
File Type: pdf BBs URC parts list OCT2012.pdf (50.0 KB, 86 views)
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Old 31st October 2012, 01:58 PM   #124
bbftx is offline bbftx  United States
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Location: Austin, TX
Default Ultrasonic Record Cleaner Loading and Operation Video

I put together a less than 2 minute video to show the loading and operation of my Ultrasonic Record Cleaner. It's on YouTube at this link:
URC Loading and operation - YouTube

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Old 1st November 2012, 06:37 AM   #125
reemoo is offline reemoo  United States
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Thumbs up Nice video

Thanks for taking the time to produce this video. Much appreciated!
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Old 12th November 2012, 03:11 PM   #126
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Default My sincere thanks to bbftx

Don't know how I came across this thread but I am glad I did.

Once I read through it my records seem to be noisier than ever!

Funny how knowing there is a solution to a problem makes you more sensitive to the ticks and pops.

Read through it again and decided to jump in. Ordered a machine (due tomorrow) the corks from the UK and the motor from the source you specified.

THANKS for your work on this. I have tried all of the record cleaning schemes, well, not a KEITH MONKS, but ... this one makes the most sense to me along with being affordable.

Can't wait to hear some clean records.

Also, looking forward to hearing more about your detergent experiments.

I have some diskdoctor cleaner which I have been using with George Merrill's water jet method. Do you think this could work with the ultrasound - have you tried it?

So for someone starting out what do you recommend - ALCONOX, TRITON x, or ....

Thanks, again.
Rick McInnis
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Old 12th November 2012, 04:16 PM   #127
bbftx is offline bbftx  United States
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Default Cleaning Solutions

Hi Rick,
As far as cleaning solutions go, I'm convinced at this point that "less is more." Water alone works OK, but the cleaning is improved a lot with just a little pure isopropyl, which leaves no residue, and a bare minimum of a surfactant or detergent. I think Photo-Flo, Triton-X, Alconox, or Liqui-nox (liquid version of Alconox), are probably all fine, but I'd use as little as possible of any of those. A few drops is generally optimal. I think the optimal amount may depend a little bit on the water you use.

I have only used photo-flo, and too much of that, like anything, will leave a residue I think. But at the recommended dilution amount or below (200:1 on the bottle, or 1500:1 in my current mixture) there is no residue. At least, that's what the photographic film folks say, and they are probably even more sensitive to the residue issue (messing up photos) than audio folks.

Liquinox has a shelf life of a year, so it may be best to use Alconox powder if you go that route. But I'd use a lot less than what someone might use for cleaning medical instruments in an ultrasonic cleaner, for example. A strong detergent mixture just isn't needed for cleaning the typical LP.

Another reason to not use much surfactant or detergent is to possibly eliminate the need for a rinse step. Again, the photo guys will tell you that even distilled water rinses can leave spots (i.e. residue!). Whether the spots are the result of impurities that come in the water (nothing is "pure"), or whether air dust is attracted to the distilled water drying on the surface, I don't know. But a little surfactant, just a little, allows most of the solution to run off the record, and what remains evaporates quickly, miniming dust attraction while the LP is wet.

I think the addition of a filter is also probably required if you're not going to do a rinse step. That's a big reason why I added my filter setup.

Disc doctor cleaning fluid is just an expensive version of what I'm mixing myself. Disc Doctor is pure water, some surfactant, and propanol.

As far as noise, recognize that nothing is a cure-all. There are some noisy records out there that no amount of cleaning will completely fix. A record cleaning system can reduce surface noise and ticks or pops from dust particles on the record, but it can't fix scratches, and it can't fix LPs that were recorded with lots of tape or electrical noise in the background. I've found a few records that are still disappointingly noisy after a run through the URC, but I'm convinced that it's not because there are any impurities left on the LP. But the vast majority of my records are definitely improved by this cleaning method.
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Old 12th November 2012, 08:45 PM   #128
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I would concur with BB on the mixtures with less being more. When I first started I was using way too much Triton X and was actually getting suds which of course left a bit of a residue. My current mixture is 100ml of 99% IPA and about 6 drops of Triton X. With the 500+ albums I have cleaned with my machine, I have played with all sorts of mixtures including tap water vs filtered tap water vs distilled and I use different combinations based on what I am cleaning and how grungy the records are (i.e. garage sale finds).

Another really important step is to make sure you are degassing before running your records through a cleaning cycle. I usually run a 15 minute degassing cycle with my particular machine.

Welcome to the club and let us know how you make out!
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Old 13th November 2012, 01:32 AM   #129
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I'm wondering about the importance of the temperature of 120 degrees. While I do have many vinyls I wish to clean (including some Sheffield Labs direct-to-disc recordings), I also have 8,000 78 RPM "shellac" records. 78s cannot handle sudden temperature changes. Recommended change is about 10 degrees per hour to prevent delamination. Alcohol dissolves their surface but I have found that a very dilute Dawn dishwashing liquid doesn't hurt them. Have you tried your system on 78 RPM records -- pre-1940s era or even 1912 era? My guess is "no" but if I go with this system I'll probably try some junk sacrificial records. But my main question is the importance of the higher temperature.
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Old 13th November 2012, 01:37 AM   #130
freax is offline freax  Australia
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What have you guys done about the residue that sticks to the record when you pull them back out again?

I'm wondering if a harder water wouldn't fix this and cause most of the deposits to go to the bottom.
"It seems that perfection is reached not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away" - Antoine de Saint Exupéry

Last edited by freax; 13th November 2012 at 01:40 AM.
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