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Author Topic: SMOKE ODOR=TRYING TO GET RID OF SMELL-NOT MUCH LUCK  (Read 5033 times)
N6QWP
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Posts: 732




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« on: April 01, 2018, 01:46:34 PM »

An earlier thread, due to some highjacking and some extraneous off the wall rantings, was locked by the administrator before I could continue to relate all of my efforts and results.  Thought I would continue to pass along the saga in my pursuit to rid two radios of smoker odors.

I have exhaustively tried multiple "cures".....all to no avail.  I just lately purchased two Kenwood radios, TS-930 and TS-940.  Forgot to inquire about if they were from a smoker environment.

To date, have bathed the rigs in cans of electronic cleaner, four baths of Windex, Fabreeze and another similar odor "eliminator" (which end up smelling almost as offensive as the smoke), locked in a garbage bag with 2 differerent jars of Odor Magnet for over two weeks, and soapy water and rinse.

First, my recommendation would be to NEVER use a product like Fabreeze that leaves another, more offensive odor-ON TOP OF THE SMOKE.

I'm left with trying an ozone generator.....which is my last hope.  Looking for a source to rent one of these to give them a "Hail Mary" attempt.

I now believe that there is really no way to completely eiminate the smell of tobacco smoke.....no matter how persitant one's attempts are.

In closing, NEVER PURCHASE A RADIO THAT YOU CAN NOT VERIFY WAS NEVER EXPOSED TO A SMOKER.  One of those was actually purported to qualify, but reeks of floral spray (that was used to cover up odors).  That is almost more offensive than smoke.  

They are presently outside after a final bath in Windex, drying in the sun....but I can still smell the odors.  The Windex is the least offensive of smells, but the smoke and others still persist and are coming through.
« Last Edit: April 01, 2018, 02:06:49 PM by N6QWP » Logged
K0UA
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« Reply #1 on: April 01, 2018, 01:54:04 PM »

Good luck with that.  I have had no success with them.  The key is to never buy a rig that has been in a smoking environment.  Just use your nose, if it stinks of smoke then leave that one one the table for a smoker to buy.  They won't smell it as they reek too. Smoking rigs go to smokers, non-smoking rigs to non smokers.  It is as simple as that.  But let us know of your success or failure please.
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73  James K0UA
ARRL Missouri Technical Specialist
N6QWP
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« Reply #2 on: April 01, 2018, 02:14:16 PM »

One of these was purchased over a swap-net.  The other was my fault....I purchased it at an outdoor swap-meet and did not notice the odor until after I was home.

Now that I am aware of the potential to end up with one of these "skunks", I would never make the same mistakes.

Just wanted to pass along my experiences so that another unwary seeker of a "deal" would have their guard up and not have to end up with a problem--to which there appears to be no solution.
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SOFAR
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« Reply #3 on: April 01, 2018, 02:35:24 PM »

Unless you remove the film left behind by the smoke, the odor will persist.

Most 'treatments' are wishful thinking. The film still remains, odor to be awakened by temperature, etc.
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N6QWP
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« Reply #4 on: April 01, 2018, 02:56:56 PM »

The most offensive of the two radios now, is the one which smells of floral spray.  No idea which product was used, but it is almost more persistent and annoying than the cigarette smoke odor on the other one.

The sweet smell is very noticeable, even after a week in the bag with the Odor Magnet, and sprays with Fabreeze and then a soaking with Windex.
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N6QWP
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« Reply #5 on: April 01, 2018, 04:56:23 PM »

Sorry, just realized that I posted this in Mobile.....should have been in another category.
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N6QWP
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« Reply #6 on: April 02, 2018, 03:49:14 PM »

I have continued on in Mods and Repairs
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K0RO
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« Reply #7 on: April 10, 2018, 12:57:36 PM »

I bought an Ameritron AL80B that had spent over 10 years in a house with three smokers, four dogs and uncounted cats.  I had agreed sight-unseen to buy it as it was from an SK and the widow needed money.  I was unfamiliar with the home environment when I made the deal but could not back out.  I've never seen a piece of equipment so filthy and stinky.  I didn't dare to even plug it in, much less attempt to operate it in that condition.

I read somewhere that Krud Kutter, a cleaning solution available at Lowes etc. would do the trick.  I sprayed it on the back panel just to test it and the tar and nicotine just flowed off.  It was amazing how quickly it worked.  I followed that with a spray of electronic cleaner and then a liberal spray of denatured alcohol.  There was no visible residue left and the odor was completely gone.

So I totally disassembled the amplifier and cleaned everything with the Krud Kutter. The only thing I didn't soak with the stuff was the exposed laminations of the transformer windings.  I didn't want to risk getting it down into the windings.

To date, the unit is factory clean and  odor free. 
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K4AX
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« Reply #8 on: May 14, 2018, 12:45:30 PM »

I agree with K0RO's approach.   I purchased a ALS 600 about 10 years ago that darn near knocked me over from the cig smell when I unboxed it.  I swear there were cigeratte ashes in the bottom of the box, the amp and power supply must have been covered with ashes and it piled up inside the plastic coverings and the packing box, it was unreal.

I DID make the mistake of firing it up first before cleaning, it stunk up the house in short order. 

I tore it all down, took out the boards and brushed it all with denatured alcohol, then wiped it down qtips and cotton balls and rags and everything else until I could wipe something down and not have turn the rag yellow.  It worked like a charm in the end, no more smoke smell.    If I were to do it again today I would probably clean the big surfaces with SuperClean, that stuff is magic, it doesn't smell bad, just as strong as any powerful degreaser I've tried by much less "chemical" smelling. 

Radios can be tough, if you can get the knobs off and the front panel off it makes for a much easier cleaning job.  If they gave you a hand mic with it, toss it in the trash and get a new one, if you can't do that, strip the mic down, clean the guts and soak the shell with something like SuperClean, Krud Cutter or whatever until it looks and smells like new.
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LYFAN
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« Reply #9 on: May 26, 2018, 02:04:54 PM »

Do note, Febreze only leaves an odor because people want a fresh scent. Febreze actually chemically neutralizes the "evil" odors, it doesn't just mask them. That's the one-trick-pony that brought it to market.

Ozone generators are the last word in odor control. Beware the cheap ones on ebay, many actually do nothing except light an indicator light. (Wow, cheaters on ebay?!)

But first I would use tuner cleaner, or flux remover, or other "contact cleaner" (big cans from CRC fairly cheap in auto parts stores) or the old "magentic tape" freon type cleaners, any chemical spray, and some sort of paper towels even with isopropanol to try physically cleaning as much of the grunge off things as you can. Ventilate well while you're working.

Then put it in a box with the ozone generator and check it every six? eight? hours. Don't just let it cook over the weekend, use the ozone generator only as much as it needs to be used.

Leaving the chassis exposed to sunlight, or a UV-C light, can also break down the smoke residue. Again, UV-C lights should only be used as needed, and never looked at with bare human eyes.

If it seems too complicated, call one of the "disaster recovery" places in the phone book, they deal with fire, smoke, floods, all the time and getting smoke odors out of things is their everyday business. If you say "Can you do this next time you're doing a batch of..." rather than saying "I need it now" you may get a break on price.
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