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Old 10th September 2012, 08:04 PM   #51
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Originally Posted by Vinyladdict View Post
I have found a lot of new units listed on Ebay that fit the bill. Here is a link to one that I am considering for purchase:

180W New 6.5L Ultrasonic Cleaner w/ Timer and Heater,100% Satisfied,6L,7L | eBay
Only 40KHz though.

AuroraB's transducer/driver idea is good and 60KHz units are available. Just need to find out how to implement them. I think the transducer is simply fixed to the bath in a certain place and causes the whole thing to vibrate.
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Old 10th September 2012, 08:12 PM   #52
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Originally Posted by harwoodspark View Post
Only 40KHz though.

AuroraB's transducer/driver idea is good and 60KHz units are available. Just need to find out how to implement them. I think the transducer is simply fixed to the bath in a certain place and causes the whole thing to vibrate.
I guess the question is will a 40KHz unit get the records clean? I have been looking for a few days on Ebay and I have not been able to find a 60KHz unit for under $500 USD. From what I can gather from reading other forums a lot of people have used the 40Khz units successfully so I think I will give it a go if I can't source a 60KHz from somewhere.
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Old 10th September 2012, 08:19 PM   #53
bbftx is offline bbftx  United States
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I started down the path of looking for transducers to build my own unit. There are 80 kHz and higher frequency units available. I'd go 80 or 120 khz if I was to build my own.

The only thing that gave me pause is that there is some engineering and experimentation that would have to be done. Mating the transducers (at least 3 to get enough power) to the tank and getting it to function correctly is not trivial. I believe you need to have the right mass loading and interface when mating transducers to the tank in order to get efficient energy transmission into the fluid. To get the tank bottom to function correctly as a diaphragm would take some experimentation, which I didn't have time for. Would love to see someone go down this path, though.

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Old 10th September 2012, 09:30 PM   #54
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Hello all, I've been looking at building one of these. In a display of excellent timing Everyday Practical Electronics (UK magazine - epemag.com) ran a project article last month "Ultrasonic Cleaner, by John Clarke". It's a microcontroller based cleaner that runs frequency sweeps from 19kHz to 42kHz. With regards to the precision required in the fluid bath design, they built theirs using a plastic toilet tank - go figure. Hope this helps.
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Old 11th September 2012, 03:23 AM   #55
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... Everyday Practical Electronics (UK magazine - epemag.com) ran a project article last month "Ultrasonic Cleaner, by John Clarke". It's a microcontroller based cleaner that runs frequency sweeps from 19kHz to 42kHz. With regards to the precision required in the fluid bath design, they built theirs using a plastic toilet tank - go figure. Hope this helps.
Hi ColinAlex -- Thanks for mentioning that article. (It has been around --- originally published in Australia in 2010). My comments below are not directed at you, the messenger, at all.
But that article is a joke, frankly. The design won't work well enough to clean anything. Here it is online
Everyday Practical Electronics

1)The power supply is designed to only deliver 30W (12V x 2.5 amp). That's not enough to adequately energize the transducer they specify!
2)They specify one, 50W transducer. That is typically what you'd find in a 1 quart capacity ultrasonic cleaner, not a 6 quart or larger unit.
3)The circuit is designed to supply frequencies between 19khz and 42khz. The transducer they're using, and pretty much any ultrasonic transducer, won't resonate at such a broad range of frequencies. That transducer will only resonate between about 38khz and 42khz. (It has a bandwidth of 3.9 kHz.)
4)There are several good reasons that soundly designed ultrasonic cleaners mount the transducers at the bottom of the tank. Mounting it on the side won't work well.
5)The thick wall of the plastic tank they show in the article will not act as a diaphragm and transmit the resonant energy into the cleaning solution. There will be precious little cleaning action in that tank, even if they were providing enough power to the transducer in the first place.

Personally, I also think the design is reckless, in that they are energizing a transformer whose output side they say is at 800 or 900 volts. They are running a 2 conductor cable from that transformer in the control box, out in the open to a separate, poorly designed and executed enclosure with the transducer. There is really nothing protecting that cable. If the control box falls off the table, it's pulling directly on the cable termination at the transducer. The transducer assembly is also exposed to water and cleaning solution spills, etc.

There are much better DIY ultrasonic cleaner build concepts out there ...
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Old 11th September 2012, 03:43 AM   #56
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Hi BB, thank-you for your input, you've saved me from a disappointing build. Can you provide some direction to more effective designs?
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Old 11th September 2012, 04:51 AM   #57
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Colin,
I wasn't able to find an "all-in-one-place" build description with evidence of successful cleaning. This was the first indicator to me that it might be more trouble than it's worth.

I did find bits and pieces of potentially useful info though.
If you really want to build something from scratch, this guy reverse-engineered the PCB of a small commercial unit:
Ultrasonic Cleaner Reverse-Engineering (Codyson CD-7810) Jumper One
You'd have to redesign the circuit for a larger machine, and I didn't go that far.

If you didn't want to start from true scratch-level components, you could buy transducers, use a sound card or oscilloscope to generate your frequency, and use a linear amp (capable of handling your frequency) to energize the system. Connect that output to your transducers, secured to the bottom of your stainless steel tank, and hope it works. That was the route I was investigating, but these two quotes, from two very experienced DIY project guys, were my next deterrent:

"Yes, I see how a PC sound card and software frequency generator could be used for a source signal, and how a linear amp could be used for power generation. If you're experimenting, I suggest trying a 120Vac PA amp. Working along these lines, I can see getting a working small tank together, maybe a couple gallons. When I looked at it for myself, I soon saw that the time and money to build such a thing was almost more than just buying one."

"The trouble is not driving the transducers or getting them to resonate, but TUNING the system (tank, horn, or whatever else will be vibrating) to resonate along with them. Just attaching a transducer to a metal pan will not make you an ultrasonic cleaner. It needs to be made to the right dimensions and thickness to resonate at the necessary frequency to get the waves into the water."


That last part is what ultimately deterred me. I understand resonance and all the engineering required --- I was a mechanical engineer. But I knew that there would be lots of trial and error to find the right design and setup. I foresaw buying lots of different stainless steel pans and perhaps going through many transducers!
And to top it off --- there is really no inexpensive way to measure the cleaning energy you're generating in the liquid at different areas in your tank! You'd have to build it, try cleaning stuff, and if it didn't work well, rearrange things and try again. And again. And again. All the while, not being able to measure what's really going on in the bath.

Ultimately, I've just got other things that interest me more than trying to build an ultrasonic system from scratch. Whoever does it successfully though, will be a DIY stud.

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Old 11th September 2012, 05:16 AM   #58
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Thanks again BB, your point is taken. I think I'll recase a commercial unit for looks and noise and leave well enough alone. My studly days are long gone. Cheers.
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Old 11th September 2012, 12:50 PM   #59
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Default Heat on 60 kHz unit

Hi BB

Are you using the heat function on your Sonix IV cleaner? Looks like it has no user control of the thermostat. Is the default preset temp suitable for vinyl?

Ishmail
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Old 11th September 2012, 01:21 PM   #60
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Default Heater

Hi Ishmail,
I've been experimenting with the heat function on the Sonix. But the heater on the Sonix is not set up real well. You're right, no user control of temp. It's on or it's off.

The top of the tank above the waterline can get very hot if you leave the heater on ---- I'm talking boiling point hot (even though the liquid isn't anywhere near that hot). So, it's a bit dangerous for fingers and vinyl. I don't know if heaters on other UCs have the same problem or not. I suspect they might, since heat applied to the steel tank would have a tendency to rise up the walls. The heater on the Sonix seems to be on the SIDE of the tank, not the bottom, on the same side as the heater switch.

The cleaning definitely works best if the liquid bath is warm rather than room temp. I shoot for 100 to 105F to start with and leave the heater off once vinyl is in the vicinity. The cleaning solution seems to stay at that temp, and maybe get a little warmer, if you leave the machine running to do a number of batches. Since my heater is a bit flaky, it is almost just as easy to pre-heat the DI or distilled water to 100F in the microwave oven, before you put it in your tank.

I bought the Sonix in part, because it came with the heater. But, now that I've seen that particular heater in action, I wouldn't buy one unit over another because of that feature. I still like the Sonix though, because of the cleaning action and 60 kHz frequency.

Last edited by bbftx; 11th September 2012 at 01:36 PM.
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