Ultrasonic Cleaning of stove burners.

Discussion in 'Fettlers Master Class' started by kerophile, May 23, 2014.

  1. kerophile

    kerophile United Kingdom SotM Winner Subscriber

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    Hi, today I was cleaning a couple of well-used roarer burners, using my ultrasonic cleaner and decided to take a few photos and make this post.


    The ultrasonic (U/S) unit which I have is relatively low power, max. 50W at 240V, and is intended for light household use, such a cleaning spectacles, jewellery and watch straps. These units are relatively cheap and I find it adequate for smaller stove parts and burners.


    The cleaning solution I use for stove parts consists of a teaspoon of citric acid crystals and a few drops of detergent in hot water.
    Brass parts, such as are used in classic stoves, should not be left in this solution for more than a few minutes as zinc can be preferentially removed from the surface layers of the metal, leaving a red, copper-rich deposit which has to be removed later. Always remember that you are trying to remove surface oxide from your item, not metal.


    You don't need to use the whole bath to hold the solution. Put an open glass jar, or cut-down polypropylene bottle, with the burner and solution into the water-filled ultrasonic tank. The ultrasonic waves pass directly through the glass or plastic without losing significant energy. In this way you keep the main tank clean, and use less cleaning solution. Remember though that the tank must always contain water when operating, to act as an ultrasonic coupling agent and prevent the ultrasonic transducer from overheating and destructing.


    My U/S unit has only two controls; an “on” button which initiates a fixed cycle of around 3 minutes, and an “off” button which allows you to stop the cycle at any point.

    For most domestic items, a single cycle is often enough. For burner heads I take the item out after each cycle to check progress and shift loosened dirt with an old toothbrush, or similar. I seldom exceed two cycles in the citric acid solution. Remember, if your burner starts to turn red, STOP.


    You can give your cleaned burner a final U/S cycle in a water and detergent solution or just rinse it under a tap, to remove any acid residues and dirt.

    You can now dry your cleaned burner with your partner’s favourite hair dryer.


    Here are a few photos:

    1400859404-U-S-cleaning-of-burners-1.jpg 1400859420-U-S-cleaning-of-burners-2.jpg 1400859437-U-S-cleaning-of-burners-3.jpg 1400859453-Juwel-Burner-clean..jpg 1400859464-Juwel-Burner-clean.-2-.jpg 1400859478-Radius-burner-cleaned-1.jpg 1400859498-Radius-burner-cleaned-2.jpg 1400859513-Radius-burner-cleaned-3.jpg

    This is the colour of the cleaning solution after 2 cycles (6 minutes) of operation.



    1400859522-Used-cleaning-soln.Citric-a.jpg

    Best Regards,
    Kerophile.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 26, 2015
  2. Gneiss

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    Is that the Radius I sent? If so it's come up a treat...
     
  3. shagratork

    shagratork United Kingdom Moderator, R.I.P. Subscriber

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    Thanks for posting this kerophile.
    It has reminded me that I have an ultrasonic cleaner that looks rather like yours.
    I have not used it for years. Now if I can only find it in my garage . . . . . . .
     
  4. kerophile

    kerophile United Kingdom SotM Winner Subscriber

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    Hi Chris, It is indeed your Radius burner. Good as new and only 50+ years old.
    Best Regards,
    George.
     
  5. Svea 121

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    Hi George,

    How bad the tubes were when you started? Did they get completely cleaned? I think it may help if one removes the jet. This may ease the cleaning.

    Dariush
    P.S. I'll send a PT to Ross. He must have been busy.
     
  6. Pinky

    Pinky Subscriber

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    Great post George! :clap: Very helpful stuff.

    I had never heard about being able to use the separate plastic bottle before. Too cool! That makes clean-up a lot easier!

    Have you tried this on clogged burners yet?

    If so, how do you feel it compares to other methods of clearing out a clogged burner? (Meaning the heat & air or heat & quench methods.) It seems like it would be much gentler on the burner.

    I have a very temperamental Campus 4 burner with clogging jet issues, and have been curious about trying an ultrasonic cleaner on it. :-k
     
  7. kerophile

    kerophile United Kingdom SotM Winner Subscriber

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    Hi, these burners were not blocked. They just needed a good external clean.
    If a burner is blocked, an ultrasonic clean will not un-block it.
    Ultrasonic cleaning works by producing a multitude of vapour bubbles on the surface of an immersed object.

    These bubbles have a very short lifespan, and as they collapse, they produce shock waves and rapid pressure changes. It is this which dislodges dirt and surface films. The same process causes cavitation damage on ships propellers and in pumps.

    If the burner is blocked there is no liquid present near the blockage, and no collapsing bubbles to clear the blockage.

    If a burner is well-used it can accumulate a thick layer of petroleum coke on the inner walls of the vaporiser tubes. The coke insulates the vaporiser making vaporisation very difficult and also reduces the amount of fuel getting through the burner.

    To clean a burner, you have two main choices:

    1, Remove the burner from the stove and the jet, then heat and water-quench the burner to break up the coke. Blow through the tubes with an air- line

    2. Remove the burner from stove, remove jet. Connect burner to air supply and blow through whilst heating the burner. The coke will ignite, Stop heating, and allow coke to burn away to ash. Blow through to remove cracked coke and ash, Replace jet.

    Be careful not to overheat the burner or you will melt the braze holding it together.

    Summary.

    Brutal heat and quench method:

    https://classiccampstoves.com/threads/6479

    Air fed carbon burning (Original Primus method):

    https://classiccampstoves.com/posts/104661

    You need to first remove the jet, for each method.


    Primus method of Carbon burning.

    I fully endorse the carbon burning process Gary carries out, and describes in his post. This was the method used by Primus dealers to un-block coked-up burners, and as long as you remember that oxidation of carbon is an exothermic (produces lots of heat) process, and limit air supply, it is probably the best method of de-carbonising burners.

    Hope this helps.
    Best Regards.
    Kerophile.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 2, 2015
  8. Gneiss

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    Nice to see it looking so good :thumbup:

    I'm thinking this method could save me an awful lot of time cleaning small lamp parts like the air intakes on Bialaddins, filler caps etc...
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 2, 2015
  9. Pinky

    Pinky Subscriber

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    Thanks for the great explanation George! :thumbup:

    The process was pretty arcane to me, and I imagine you've made it a lot clearer for many others as well.

    Forgive me for being dense, but what if the burner is not completely blocked? Would ultrasonic cleaning be a viable option to clean the interior of the burner in that scenario? Or do they only clean the exterior?

    I have cleared out the Campus 4's burner as thoroughly as possible with manual tools and solvents, and am able to reliably pass air and liquid through. However, when I run it on the stove, it will not burn reliably. Sometimes it will run for 20 minutes straight, but when I adjust the regulator, something will work loose and clog the jet, necessitating an endless cycle of pricking. Sometimes I'm lucky to get 2 seconds of burn time before the jet clogs up.

    If the jet is removed and the solution was able to pass through the burner, would an ultrasonic cleaner be able to remove the carbon buildup within it?

    As a blacksmith, I am very uncomfortable with the thermal shock of the heat & quench method.

    With a burner that is filthy inside but not fully blocked, would you still suggest the air fed method, or do you think the ultrasonic option would be viable?

    Thanks again for enlightening us!
     
  10. kerophile

    kerophile United Kingdom SotM Winner Subscriber

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    Hi Pinky, Petroleum coke is pretty difficult to shift.

    It is primarily carbon, which chemically is a relatively inert material. It will resist most commonly available solvents and acids and only burns when there is a plentiful supply of oxygen.

    If there is a continuous film of petroleum coke on the inner surfaces of a burner I would say that it is unlikely to be shifted by a low-to-medium power ultrasonic cleaner. Any solution you might get into the tubes is effectively sitting in a vessel coated with an adhesive carbon layer.

    If I had a regulated burner such as you have in your Campus stove, I would take out the jet, pricker, regulator spindle, stuffing box etc. and burn out the carbon using an air feed if necessary. You obviously need to watch the temperature and reduce the airflow and any applied heat once the carbon starts to burn.

    The technique was tried and tested by Primus and other manufacturers and has been adopted with success by some CCS members. To me it seems much less aggressive, and more controllable, that the heat and water quench method and should totally remove any carbon present in the tubes.

    Hope this helps.
    Best Regards,
    George.
     
  11. clancambo

    clancambo Australia Subscriber

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    I love my ultrasonic cleaner for cleaning my Tilley 606 vapourisers. This has added life to a couple that should have been replaced but at A$36.00 each I am happy to save when I can.
     
  12. bem1965

    bem1965 Sweden Subscriber

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    I also love my ultrasonic cleaner!

    I also use a smaller glass jar for cleaning really dirty stuff but mostly to use the cleaner with petroleum solvents! I clean a lot of engine parts in kerosene that way.

    To clean black powder curd is a breeze with the ultrasonic, just water and Fairy Liquid an a few cycles and all parts are clean!

    If ever again I get an old dirty stove I'll use the ultrasonic cleaner on it!

    /Lars
     
  13. n2666s

    n2666s Subscriber

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    George; have a question :? do you take out the spindle to blow compressed air while heating the burner with a torch?; tried that last night and was putting a bit less than 125 lbs pressure but it was bypassing the jet opening and taking the path least resistance and coming out the spindle feed so went ahead and replaced the spindle and put air again while heating the burner with a torch got a few sparks/embers to pop out through the jet opening but nothing really dramatic;
    Lou
     
  14. kerophile

    kerophile United Kingdom SotM Winner Subscriber

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    Hi Lou, no one but you would try to carry out air fed carbon burning with a jet in place!

    Have patience and wait until your jet key arrives.
    It is important that the regulator spindle is removed when the oxidation is taking place as the seat of the regulator and surrounding area is a prime spot for carbon build-up.

    Remember too that the packing is graphite tape, which if left in position during the burning process is likely to be destroyed.

    Once stripped down and connected to an air line it doesn't matter whether the exhaust gases and ash come out via the jet hole or regulator aperture.
    Best Regards,
    Kerophile.
     
  15. n2666s

    n2666s Subscriber

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    George; :) before attempting the Burn I did remove the jet in the optimus two burner frankenstove and did remove the packing from the spindle; I can access and remove the regulated burner jet w/o any problems with muy straight tool; it is on the roarer jets that things get complex. ](*,) .....indispensable is the word for the articulating jet removing tool :clap:

    1401048783-2014-05-24_03.15_both_ready_to_go.jpg


    will redo it today with your recommends and I also received the lovely little valve removal tool yesterday afternoon... :clap: so I can address the petromax frankenstove roarer burner also, any suggestions on addressing the needle seat? as always my deep thanks for and others in this forum for leading me towards the right path;
    Lou
     
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  16. Pinky

    Pinky Subscriber

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    Thanks for the great explanations George!

    They've made it much easier to understand for my little walnut brain! That info belongs in a Fettlers Master Class post.

    I'll speak with Gary about cleaning out that Campus burner if he's game for it.

    I attempted the process myself last year on a different burner, but my old hand-crank forge blower couldn't provide the needed airflow.
    :oops: :oops: :oops: :lol:



    1401253715-IMG_20130328_173308_opt.jpg



    It was fun to try, but I really do need to get an air compressor. :oops: :lol:
     
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  17. kerry460

    kerry460 Australia Subscriber

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    crank it faster Pinky :) :lol:
    cheers
    kerry
     
  18. kerophile

    kerophile United Kingdom SotM Winner Subscriber

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    Have you tried connecting the burner to a fully inflated tyre? There should be plenty of air and enough pressure to do the job on the choked burner yourself.
    Best Regards,
    Kerophile.
     
  19. sail843

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    George,

    Thanks for the posting. I have a couple of follow-up questions for those more experienced than I.

    First, I've been burning quite a bit of fuel thru the old Taylors and am still not satisfied with the burner performance. While considerably better than when I began, I still get what seems to me as a slightly fuel rich burn... Very small tongues of yellow flame pop out from time to time. It's just like a carbon deposit (like when you tap the burner while lit) but a tad bit larger/stronger. These appear randomly around the burner so it doesn't seem tied to any specific deposit. Have tried new inner and outer caps -- makes no difference.

    My question is if this behavior is indicative of a burner that needs an internal cleaning. It's certainly not clogged all the way, but the overall output is not quite as hot as a fresh burner so I'm guessing here...

    The second question is if anyone knows the thread size on the bottom of a 2 pint riser tube. I am assuming it is metric and finding adapters here in the states can be a challenge. Knowing the size would allow me to order one on-line. My plan is to cobble together an adapter so I can heat a burner with airflow to clean it out. Have a small collection of older burners and would like to rejuvenate the lot.

    Thanks for any assistance,

    -- Sam
     
  20. kerophile

    kerophile United Kingdom SotM Winner Subscriber

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    Hi Sam, did you fit new jets?
    If you think you have a fuel-rich flame that is often the first option.
    The vast majority of classic stoves used Imperial, not metric threads, as no metric standards were available when these stoves were first introduced in the late 19th Century.
    However you do not need a threaded adaptor to carry out a successful air assisted carbon oxidation . Look at this post by Gary:
    https://classiccampstoves.com/posts/164554

    In fact the whole thread is worth a read.

    Best Regards,
    Kerophile.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 1, 2015