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Plum Hill
02-21-2015, 09:09 PM
Looking at the various threads on chains got me wondering if anyone uses an ultrasonic cleaner to clean their chains (and other parts).
LBS has been using one for a while. It looks to be a good alternative to using chemicals for the purpose.

Joachim
02-21-2015, 09:39 PM
not sure what you meant by alternative to chemicals, since the cleaner still uses chemicals (solvents). I've used one and the strong solvents work pretty well removing grease and grime when in the cleaner.

shovelhd
02-21-2015, 09:44 PM
I have one but do not use it to clean bike parts.

staggerwing
02-21-2015, 10:04 PM
Sure, I use the one at work. Chain goes in a peanut butter jar full of stoddard solvent, and that combo goes into the water filled ultrasonic cleaner. Works beautifully. Filter the solvent occasionally, top off, and you are good to go.

It is a very useful tool, but don't expect to just drop the chain into a warm water filled vat, and have it come out sparkling. Must have either a strong detergent or solvent to break down/disperse the embedded grease and grime.

Warm, non-sudsing detergent, and an ultrasonic cleaner work a treat on glasses and jewelery too.

kramnnim
02-21-2015, 10:16 PM
I got one recently, a 2L, $75 deal. It seems to work well enough for cassettes if they aren't too caked up. Need to dump out the dirty water several times. Same with chains, but now people are saying that chains shouldn't be stripped so clean?

Idris Icabod
02-22-2015, 12:21 AM
I also use one at work. Chain goes in plastic jar filled with hexanes and sonicate, you would be amazed at the amount of small gritty particles that you can get out of a seemingly clean chain.

Velosmith
02-24-2015, 10:01 AM
I use Cascade dishwashing detergent (the dry kind) in my heated ultrasonic cleaner. It works great and no solvents to worry about.

Vinci
02-24-2015, 10:24 AM
I've done it before with Simple Green in a heated bath. Worked well, but it's not like it came out 100% clean. Some of the really nasty stuff inside the links remained.

Overall, it was a lot more effective than other methods I've used.

You'll need to soak it in something afterwards, IMO. The ultrasonic cleaner gets out oil/lube/grease where you might have a hard time reapplying otherwise.

cfox
02-24-2015, 10:35 AM
Total overkill for a bike chain; a bike chain doesn't need to be that clean. It's not really that precise a part. If you wipe it down and keep it lubed it should never really get nasty enough to need a cleaning like that. You can use Pro Gold or something like that; it has a cleaning solvent that dries and leaves behind a lubricant.

spacemen3
02-24-2015, 10:43 AM
I put the chain in a ziploc bag, spray it thoroughly with WD-40, and then leave it overnight. The next day I run it through the ultrasonic parts cleaner. After toweling it off, the chain looks a whole lot better.

FlashUNC
02-24-2015, 10:48 AM
Ultrasonic tank with some simple green cut with water does wonders for the metal bits.

HenryA
02-24-2015, 04:30 PM
The ultrasonic works great for cleaning all kinds of things, including bike parts. You should buy Oileater at your local autoparts store and mix it with water for use in your cleaner or with a brush.

Where the ultrasonic really shines is cleaning cogs and other truly nasty small parts or anything with small details or holes.

kppolich
02-24-2015, 11:06 PM
Does a sonic washer degrade parts faster? Has anyone used Simple Green in a sonic washer?

onekgguy
02-24-2015, 11:51 PM
This is the one I have (http://www.amazon.com/INDUSTRAL-5-29PINTS-ULTRASONIC-CONCENTRATE-SUPERMARKET/dp/B000S6VIEI/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1380689665&sr=8-4&keywords=codyson+ultrasonic+cleaner#) and it's been serving me well for at least 5 years. It does a nice job on my chain and cassette. It can handle my small chainring but not the large.

Kevin g

oldpotatoe
02-25-2015, 07:59 AM
This is the one I have (http://www.amazon.com/INDUSTRAL-5-29PINTS-ULTRASONIC-CONCENTRATE-SUPERMARKET/dp/B000S6VIEI/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1380689665&sr=8-4&keywords=codyson+ultrasonic+cleaner#) and it's been serving me well for at least 5 years. It does a nice job on my chain and cassette. It can handle my small chainring but not the large.

Kevin g

What do you use inside? What liquid?

HenryA
02-25-2015, 09:02 AM
What do you use inside? What liquid?

You were asking onekgguy, but here is the link to Oileater that I use. You mix it with water and a gallon goes a long, long way.

http://oileater.com/household/cleaner-degreaser/

You want the original Oileater Cleaner/Degreaser as on the page above.

Idris Icabod
02-25-2015, 10:29 AM
We put deionised water in ours (pharma chemistry lab) at work and then put a bottle of solvent in the water that contains the part to be sonicated. Not sure I'd want to gunk up the sonicator bath. We use hexanes in the bottle, 'grease dissolves grease'. Mineral spirits would be a readily available substitute as it's mostly octanes I believe.

joco
02-25-2015, 10:37 AM
I have used this one for years. Does a great job and can't be beat for $80.

http://www.harborfreight.com/25-liter-ultrasonic-cleaner-95563.html

cloudchaser
02-25-2015, 11:00 AM
I use the same Harbor Freight one. With water in the tank, and large ziplok bags for the dirty bits. I have been using Pinesol in the bags. This size will work with the large chain ring. You just have to rotate the ring 90 degrees each cycle to clean the part submerged. I use it for cogs and rings, not my chain.

joco
02-25-2015, 11:21 AM
I use the same Harbor Freight one. With water in the tank, and large ziplok bags for the dirty bits. I have been using Pinesol in the bags. This size will work with the large chain ring. You just have to rotate the ring 90 degrees each cycle to clean the part submerged. I use it for cogs and rings, not my chain.

I usually use with with a 20% solution of simple green.

oldpotatoe
02-25-2015, 03:28 PM
I usually use with with a 20% solution of simple green.

Ok, I just bought one of the 2500ml ones mentioned. So just some water and simple green? Or parts in a bag with something more 'aggressive'? I don't know diddly about sonic cleaners.

joco
02-25-2015, 03:48 PM
Start with water and simple green. Just may need a few runs through the cycle tho. I've never put parts in a bag, but then again I usually use it to clean my chain.

joco
02-25-2015, 03:49 PM
And don't forget you need to wash the parts off with good old soap and water (I use dish detergent) to strip the Simple Green off. OW your new lube won't stick.

staggerwing
02-25-2015, 03:49 PM
Ok, I just bought one of the 2500ml ones mentioned. So just some water and simple green? Or parts in a bag with something more 'aggressive'? I don't know diddly about sonic cleaners.

Find a PET plastic jar, like a peanut butter jar, and put your dirty parts and cleaner of choice inside. Put said jar in sonicator and fill will clean water to appropriate indicator line. Sonicate at will.

Rinse, lather, repeat, and Bob's your uncle.

As noted, no real reason to dirty up the sonicator, especially if it doesn't have a drain line, or if you are using solvent, rather than some aqueous detergent solution.

joco
02-25-2015, 03:52 PM
Find a PET plastic jar, like a peanut butter jar, and put your dirty parts and cleaner of choice inside. Put said jar in sonicator and fill will clean water to appropriate indicator line. Sonicate at will.

Rinse, lather, repeat, and Bob's your uncle.

As noted, no real reason to dirty up the sonicator, especially if it doesn't have a drain line, or if you are using solvent, rather than some aqueous detergent solution.

Interesting idea... will have to give that a try. Thanks!

HenryA
02-25-2015, 05:23 PM
Be careful with the Simple Green on aluminum parts.

http://simplegreen.com/faqs/

Rnaymik
02-25-2015, 10:25 PM
Gotta be honest, I think taking the chain off to clean is overkill, and completely unnecessary. That said, I'm borderline overly meticulous about keeping my gear clean. My theory is that if I try to keep equipment as close to as clean (and properly lubed) as new, everything should in theory work well, and the same every time I get on the bike. Obviously that means I spend a ton of time cleaning. Works for me, but I realize some of us just don't have time for that.

I'll give you my usual bike cleaning method, err mostly drivetrain related:

1) bike in the stand I spray off grime/salt/dirt/whatever I can with the hose (or garden sprayer in the winter)

2) I spray the chain, and only the chain, with normal wd40. I know convention tells us wd40 is bad, but I'm not using it as a lubricant. Only as a solvent. It's cheap and works really well. I run the gears through a few cycles to coat the cassette/chainrings and work it into the chain. A thick black film forms on everything.

3) drop the wheels out and clean the frame above the drivetrain with soapy water. Brakes, and wheels as well. I use a fingernail brush on the cassette. works 1000000% better than any cassette specific brush out there.

4) using a chain cleaner (park, pedros pig, whatever) I rinse the goop out of the chain with soapy water (no extra degreaser at this point) until the chain cleaner reservoir remains clear-ish. I then use the nail brush/sponge to clean the chainrings, and then clean the derailleurs.

5) Once the drivetrain muck is all clean I finish the frame area around it I have yet to clean.

Sound like a tedious process, and it is, but start to finish I'll have it all clean and back inside ready for drying/lube in under 20 minutes. I've got a pretty good system down for myself, and it's a regular routine. The chain/drivetrain always comes out at least ~90% clean, depending on my attention to detail. I'll usually lube the chain once after it's visibly dry to push out any remaining water/dirt/lube, then wipe that clean, and re lube for a final time. I'm all campy 11, or shimano 11, so removing the chain to clean regularly isn't really an option anyhow. Any time I remove a chain is to put a new one on.

All that said, I'd definitely use one for cartridge bearings, or if I worked in a shop where people brought in ····tastic bikes held together by gunk.

Here's a pic of my drivetrain. Ideally it'd look like this every time I left the house. Doesn't all the time, but I keep it clean enough to get back to this point without much effort.

http://imgur.com/ArIUg8V