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Author Topic: cleaning smoke nicotine on radio  (Read 16720 times)
KD0ACY
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Posts: 93




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« on: March 03, 2011, 10:23:18 PM »

I have a Hammarlund HQ 120X that has a gray cabinet, the only one I have ever seen. It is coated with nicotine and looks like it has been in a smoking bar for thirty years. Otherwise the paint is very good. My question is , does anyone know how to remove it without damage to the paint?
Mike
KD0ACY
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AC5UP
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« Reply #1 on: March 04, 2011, 03:27:19 AM »

Nicotine residue from the Pleistocene age has two characteristics that need to be fully understood before it can be effectively removed:

1) It has a slightly oily nature. The cleaning agent should do well at dissolving oils & greases.
2) It has been dried and cured over the past 5,000 centuries so it may need some time to rehydrate, loosen and lift gently off the painted surface.

Something like KrudKutter is very good at breaking up oily residue. The same can be said for other, and milder, cleaning agents like ammonia or dishwashing liquid. There is no substitute for time. So... What to do? Remove the chassis and break the cabinet down as best you can. Locate a tub, pan or other waterproof container large enough to soak at least half the cabinet. Soak the cabinet for at least 12 hours in a dilute mixture of your favorite cleaning agent and use a sponge every few hours to give it a wet rub down to loosen the residue as it re-hydrates. If the tub can't accommodate the entire cabinet, flip it every time you do a sponge rub. If the water starts to get too dark & nasty, replace it. You want the lifted nicotine down the drain, not back on the cabinet.

Concept is to avoid a harsh cleaning that might damage the original paint by substituting soak time for a chemical nuke but without extended wet time that might promote rust. Use your best judgment to balance the two then rinse and dry the cabinet thoroughly after it's clean.
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N4NYY
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« Reply #2 on: March 04, 2011, 04:55:57 AM »

Krud Kutter works the best that I have seen. It is biodegradeable, does not harm plastics. You put the case on top of the towel, spray the case liberally, let sit for only about 1 minutes, rinse with water. Then dry and repeat until no nicotine is left.

Here are pics of Bakelite case I did yesterday. I did 3 wetdowns with Krud Kutter, each resulting in less nicotine removal. As Nelson said, the radio needed diapers:

First spray: http://i224.photobucket.com/albums/dd78/yankees_1996/P1010098.jpg

Second spray: http://i224.photobucket.com/albums/dd78/yankees_1996/P1010099.jpg

Third spray: http://i224.photobucket.com/albums/dd78/yankees_1996/P1010100.jpg
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WA0ZZG
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« Reply #3 on: March 04, 2011, 06:18:17 AM »

Gentlemen;

I would like to propose that nicotine is also an excellent presertive.  It prevents an oxidizer, like oxygen, from attacking painted surfaces.  It's also nasty stuff for humans.
Now, does anyone still restore radios by removing moisture sensitive components and running the chassis through the dishwasher?
I also liked to oven bake them afterwards.  You will need a very understanding wife.
Dave
WA0ZZG
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N4NYY
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« Reply #4 on: March 04, 2011, 07:01:13 AM »

Quote
Now, does anyone still restore radios by removing moisture sensitive components and running the chassis through the dishwasher?

I would never do this nor would I recommend anyone do this. I used to cleaned industrial equipment. Basically, we removed or sealed the moisture sensitive components like transformers. We would spray an aluminum wheel cleaner on the chassis. Dry in a low hear oven overnight, like 125 degrees or so. We tried simple green, fantastic, 409, and others, but aluminum wheel cleaner was best. After we let the cleaner sit for about 1 minute or so, would rinse with water, and try to spray only the chassis. Air dry it with a compressor. Then shove it in the low heat oven.

Now, since  do not work at that place anymore that had the tools to accomplish this, I replace the oven by using a shed, garage, or attic in mid summer heat. Let it dry for like a week. I obviously cannot do this in the winter.

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KE4JOY
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« Reply #5 on: March 04, 2011, 07:06:07 AM »

Before you go hosing it down with Krud Kutter test it a little first.

I have seen Krud Kutter melt away silk screening.
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N4NYY
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« Reply #6 on: March 04, 2011, 07:41:56 AM »

Quote
I have seen Krud Kutter melt away silk screening.

I just used Krud Kutter on a 1948 RCA bakelite radio. I used on in its silk screen brass dial with painted black numbers. The numbers silk screening was unaffected.

Granted, those numbers were likely painted with oil base paints. I cannot speak for latex or stickered-on labeling.   
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KE4JOY
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« Reply #7 on: March 04, 2011, 08:03:44 AM »

All I know is just last week I was refurbishing a power supply Heathkit HP-23 and went to clean the cabinet with Krud Kutter and the silkscreen immediately began to melt away.

Fortunately I was able to quickly dab it with paper towels and save most of it.

Just saying test first is all.  Wink
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KA5N
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« Reply #8 on: March 04, 2011, 08:13:02 AM »

While I know that almost everyone calls the greasy yucky residue left by cigarette smoke
"nicotine" stain, it is really tar stain (and some nicotine may still be there).  In the old days
when I was working my way through college by repairing TV sets, I would often visit homes where the TV picture could barely be seen.  Spritzing a bit of Windex and wiping the front glass would help.  But usually it took pulling the chassis and sometimes when the picture tube
was not mounted directly on the chassis, pulling the picture tube as well.  Then the glass on the inside of the set was cleaned and the picture tube was also cleaned.  The people were
usually amazed that their TV picture was bright again and promptly settled back to enjoy a TV show while puffing away on a butt.
Of course with the TV, the high voltage associated with the picture tube attracted the
tar molecules and grease from southern frying and  who knows what all.
Windex is good for cleaning but it may also take away stuff you wanted to keep.
Anyway "Keep on mopping"
Allen
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AC5UP
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« Reply #9 on: March 04, 2011, 08:15:11 AM »

Quote from: KE4JOY
Heathkit

Well... I think we can see what the problem is in this case.  Roll Eyes

Quote from: WA0ZZG
I would like to propose that nicotine is also an excellent presertive.  It prevents an oxidizer, like oxygen, from attacking painted surfaces.

What an intriguing concept... When it comes to old radios, a coating of nicotine residue can MUMMIFY them while waxed paper condensers can HUMMIFY them!

I think I feel a song coming on.................................
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KE4JOY
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« Reply #10 on: March 04, 2011, 08:56:50 AM »

Well... I think we can see what the problem is in this case.  Roll Eyes

Heh... he gets a kick out of picking on my pathetic station  Grin
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KD0FAT
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« Reply #11 on: March 04, 2011, 09:00:47 AM »

I would raise a note of caution on using ammonia. A quick web search indicates that aqueous ammonia will react with aluminum (your front panel). Suggest you start with warm water and some liquid dish detergent. If you can, remove the panel and soak it in a tray, then try gentle cleaning with dishcloth after an hour or so. It's hard to go back if you start by being overly aggressive...  73
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AA4HA
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« Reply #12 on: March 04, 2011, 02:47:25 PM »

The people were usually amazed that their TV picture was bright again and promptly settled back to enjoy a TV show while puffing away on a butt.
Of course with the TV, the high voltage associated with the picture tube attracted the
tar molecules and grease from southern frying and  who knows what all.

A perfect time to really raise the anode voltage. It would be a contest, the cancer from smoking or the cancer from X rays. <j/k>

"Martha, that picture is SO BRIGHT!" The poodle walks by the television and gets sucked onto the glass by the static electrical charge. <lol>

Ms. Tisha Hayes
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Ms. Tisha Hayes, AA4HA
Lookout Mountain, Alabama
KD0ACY
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Posts: 93




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« Reply #13 on: March 04, 2011, 11:14:44 PM »

Thanks to all for the advice. Got some of the Krud Killer and boy does it work! I have never seen so much crap on a radio, like this one. The more I took off the more dings and dents, I found and finley junked the whole Idea. I had nicotine up to my elbows.
Mike
KD0ACY   
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N4NYY
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« Reply #14 on: March 05, 2011, 04:24:04 AM »

That stuff is great. The only problem is nicotine hides imperfections. They come out during the cleaning. The way to go with the Krud Kutter is spray down completely, then rinse, and repeat. The spray and wipe does not work, as it just pushes nicotine around.
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