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Author Topic: Best way to clean an OLD radio chassis?  (Read 1141 times)
ZS5WC
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« on: May 24, 2004, 10:26:25 AM »

Can any of the old boatanchor restorers give us some hints on cleaning old radio chassis like the KWM-2a and Hallicrafters SR-150 and HT 37.

I would like to get it shiny without losing the markings for the tubes, and affecting the rest of the components / switches etc..
Stripping the components from the tagstrips beneath the chassis is also not the route I would like to take either ,as the leads have been twisted thru the tags , and they are not going anywhere in a hurry!.
I know... I might be looking for the lazy way out-any ideas?.

Best Regards,
William- ZS5WC

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W5GNB
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« Reply #1 on: May 24, 2004, 11:48:42 AM »

I use WD-40 and a soft toothbrush.  That cuts the grime and really seems to do a great job.  You will need to be careful with the decals however; There are several ways to adhere the decals to the surface and WD-40 could attack certain types of adhesives.

I have had little problem with it though since WD-40 evaporates quite quickly after it has done its work.
Good Luck!!

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N3BIF
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« Reply #2 on: May 24, 2004, 01:50:06 PM »

http://www.eham.net/forums/Elmers/11450
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W0FM
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« Reply #3 on: May 24, 2004, 02:06:10 PM »

N3BIF refers back to a post by Steve, WB2WIK.  A short time after Steve posted the "dishwasher" solution, I tried it out on a couple of radios.  Needles to say it is a bit unnerving the first time you try it, but IT WORKS!  The dishwasher did a splendid job cleaning an old Motorola Mitrek mobile radio I was converting.  I also put a Hammarlund HQ-170 in the dishwasher and it cleaned it right up.  Read Steve's post closely and give it a try.  Nothing quite like sitting back and enjoying a ballgame on TV while the dishwasher cleans your radio!

Good luck.

Terry, WØFM
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KC8VWM
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« Reply #4 on: May 24, 2004, 02:42:44 PM »


Look for the "dishwasher safe" logo on your collectable Collins KWM-2a radio chassis.

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WA9SVD
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« Reply #5 on: May 24, 2004, 07:39:49 PM »

While the "Dishwasher" method works, I'd suggest being VERY careful about the "dry" cycle! I would remove the equipment after wash is complete, as the
                heat generated by the forced (heated) dry cycle may be more damaging than the original grime! I'd suggest letting the equipment air dry, or put it in an UNLIT gas
                oven, (with only the pilot light on) for several days. You can also use the "sunlight" method of drying, if that's available in your neighborhood. Just make sure it's
                thoroughly dried out before you reassemble and reconnect everything.
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N6AJR
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« Reply #6 on: May 24, 2004, 11:38:19 PM »

I also endorse the dishwasher method, but be sure to put it out in the sun and air dry it , turn it over and air dry it some more
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ZS5WC
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« Reply #7 on: May 25, 2004, 03:39:44 AM »

Thanks for the advice guys!

Had a good chuckle at some of the comments!
The dishwasher idea sounds like a fine one-except we do not have one of those!.
I suppose doing it carefully by hand should also work-perhaps with a paintbrush.
I think the WD 40 idea is also a good one and will stop oxidation after it has been washed.
How about washing it-and letting the radio tubes dry the chassis....-Just kidding-HI!

Thanks for the brainstorm..
Best Regards,
William-ZS5WC

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W8JI
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« Reply #8 on: May 25, 2004, 09:49:57 AM »

I'd be a VERY reluctant to put a radio with variable trimmer capacitors inside a dishwasher, no matter how much success others have had. If I did do that, I'd definately heat-dry the radio as soon as possible!!!!

Some types of trimmer capacitors and other components allow moisture to ingress into the component, and hold the water. Slow evaporation leaves deposits or can actually corrode and ruin the component.

Also, ALL water supplies are different. I've used distilled water to clean radios, and even used my water supply from my well and a hose (it goes through a VERY high quality water filtration system) but I'd certainly never dump unknown contaminants or water with unknowm pH into sensitive components like trimmer caps!!

I'd never let the thing dry slowly either.

I'm all for using pressurized air, distilled water, a toothbrush and WD-40!!!

73 Tom  
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ZS5WC
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« Reply #9 on: May 26, 2004, 05:03:07 AM »

Tom, thanks for your input.
It makes complete sense-the water sitting in the wafers of the trimmer cap...
I have compressor so blowing most of the moisture out of the rig should not be a problem-I think one has to be careful not to bend vanes of the variables!.
I could possibly reduce the pressure to one bar on the regulator to do this.
The HT-37 that I have has some rust spots on the galvanised chassis-perhaps a dremel tool with a fine wire brush attachment will sort this out?.

Bring back those TR4's with the rare Chrome chassis I say!..

Thanks for all the feedback.
William-ZS5WC
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W8JI
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« Reply #10 on: May 26, 2004, 07:13:01 AM »

We have some rust desolvers commonly available on shelves here. The best stuff I've found is for old car restoration rust removal. I don't know the chemical name but it is a light clear liquid and is meant for removing almost invisible light rust and oils from body panels before application of primer. I used it in restoring old cars, and tried some on a galavanized chassis and it worked perfectly.

Don't get the stuff that looks like a milk and changes rust to a black compound!!!    

CAREFULLY try rust remover if you have it there! Do a test spot first and see if it works.

If not I'd use a water and baking soda paste and very stiff tooth brush. I'd stay away from dremel tools unless you only use a buffing wheel. I'd also stay away from soaking equipment that uses unsealed capacitors and HV transformers. You are asking for problems.

73 Tom
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K1CJS
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« Reply #11 on: May 26, 2004, 02:54:07 PM »

Instead of spending money on WD-40, just get some kerosene.  All WD-40 is is kerosene and a little oil of wintergreen to make you think there's something fancy in the 'formula'.

73!
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ZS5WC
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« Reply #12 on: May 27, 2004, 01:27:57 AM »

Interesting comments guys; Tom, I think I know what stuff you are referring to-I will try and find out more.
I know of similar rust removers that has a etching action whitch will not be good on a galvanised chassis.
I will ask around.
I am a relatively young ham but I love REAL Ham radios-not the tupperware SMT rubbish they produce today!.

Keep them oldies glowing!
Best Regards,
William
ZS5WC
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K6LCS
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« Reply #13 on: June 03, 2004, 02:07:28 PM »

The July, 2004 issue of Popular Communications magazine includes an article on restoring old radios!

Clint Bradford, K6LCS
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Clint Bradford, K6LCS
http://www.work-sat.com
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