Harmful to Your Ultrasonic

Elaine Corwin gave a listing of reasons for not putting things
directly on the bottom of your Ultrasonic cleaner. Like all of
Elaines notes the listing was clear, concise informative and
correct. Their is one additional and EXTREMELY important reason
for not putting a BEAKER on the bottom of the ultrsonic cleaner.
Cemented to the underside of the tank, is the transducer which
converts electrical energy to the vibratory energy which it
transmits thru the metal of the tank to the water. This
transducer in operation gets VERY hot and is cooled by the water
in the tank.( You can prove this to yourself by dipping your
finger into the water at the start of work, and repeating at the
end of the day, You will be surprised at how hot the water gets.
Of course I’m assuming that you are not using a heated tank. ) By
placing a beaker on the bottom of the tank you are reducing the
water thickness under the beaker to at most a thin film, which
provides little or no cooling. Use a beaker by all means…it
makes it so much easier to keep the tank clean. But put something
under it like a wire mesh bracket or even a few marbles.

My own history of woes with an ultrasonic cleaner includes one I
lost when I neglected to turn it off at night. The heated water
evaporated. The tank ran dry and left the transducer uncooled.
The result of my carelessness was a failure of the cement that
mounted the transducer to the tank. Repair cost estimates were so
high that it was easier to buy a new one

Sol K.

The below, especially the last sentence (about
ultrasonic water getting quite warm after running for a while)
is very interesting. Is the heat enough for one to avoid paying
extra for a “heater” on an ultrasonic??? Or can one just run
their ultrasonic long enough for the water to get hot and then
throw in whatever needs to be cleaned?

Thanks for the info (in advance!)


Don’t go there! If you use your ultrasonic every day and depend
upon it for speed, (i.e. to be there when you need it) you need a
heated model as hot solution makes all the difference in the
world. It’s still nice reguardless and does not cost that much


I have a non-heated ultrasonic, and have found that if I run it
long enough, the solution within usually gets warm enough to
speed cleaning…but, it takes about 1/2 hour of continuous use
to get it even a little warm. I’d bet it’s really hard on the
unit, though…not to mention really noisy! To get around this
issue, I mix a fresh batch of solution every time I need to
clean my work using hot water. (I usually polish in batches, so
it gets dirty real fast anyway…)

Now, my question for those who know would be - Is running your
(small - not industrial size) ultrasonic for long periods of
time shorten the life of your machine considerably?

Marlo M.

I agree with Elaine,“don’t go there”.I have had an ultrasonic
without a heater when I first started working on my own and I
will never go back to that! Pay for a good ultrasonic now and
you will never regret it. It will save you time and money!

... Is running your     (small - not industrial size)
ultrasonic for long periods of time shorten the life of your
machine considerably? 

G’day; I’m always careful to run my ultrasonic only for a few
minutes (can’t afford another - repairs are a horrendous price
here) I personally know two jewellers who had to have repairs
done - one who always left his ultrasonic running whilst he did
something else had to have it repaired twice. It would be on
for at least 20 minutes at a time. Don’t know what was wrong with
it, but suspect 1) the little ‘speaker’ cone under the bottom of
the tank had come unstuck 2) the electronics overheated and burnt
out. I can’t see why one shouldn’t simply slowly heat the grubby
work in a little pan with the appropriate cleaning solution
(everyone seems to have a preference, but I use a detergent plus
washing soda solution - sodium carbonate to make it very
alkaline) - and one can see the dirt bursting away from the job
which is cleaned inside about 3-4 minutes at the most.
Incidentally my ultrasonic was made for cleaning drawing pens by
the German firm ROTRING, and was a lot cheaper than the baths
made specifically for jewellers. Cheers’ –

       / /
      / /      Johnb@ts.co.nz
     / /__|\
    (_______)  In sunny temperate Mapua NZ -

Autumn’s here, leaves are missing, but the weather is really beautiful.

 Now, my question for those who know would be - Is running
your (small - not industrial size) ultrasonic for long periods
of time shorten the life of your machine considerably?  >> 

Hi Marlo,

It is not a problem to run your small ultrasonic for long
periods of time provided it is a ‘professional’ style ultrasonic
and not one of the ‘toys’ that are sold for home use.

Will it shorten the ultrasonic’s life? Yes, but probably not
dramatically. I mean you don’t run it all day non-stop, right?
An hour or two at a time is no big deal. Just make sure you
keep the water level topped off - should be about an inch from
top of unit.

Hope that helps but if you have any additional questions, please
email me here or give me a call at the number below.

Best Regards,

Elaine Corwin
Phone: 1-800-544-2043 ext 287
Fax: 203-335-0300

Couldn’t you microwave the cleaning solution to heat it?



It’s logical that the more you use something, the faster it’ll
wear out. If you have just a small ultra, get a little item used
to heat single mugs of coffee or tea. It’s simply an electric
heating element with a cord. You just hang it on the edge of
your ultra and plug it in. Check your local variety store.


Heating your ultrasonic solution can dramatically improve
performance, depending on what grime you are trying to remove.
The heat will soften greasy deposits, for instance. (Had a job
tryout today who used his to remove flux; he had never been
acquainted with pickle!)

Fill your machine with unheated solution. Ultrasonics have
transducers glued to the bottom of the tank. These guys create
the waves, sort of like speakers. If you dump hot solution into
a cold tank, the thermal shock will often lead to premature
failure of the glue. If your machine isn’t performing like it
used to, you might open it up and check for unbonded transducers.
You can rebond them yourself; call the manufacturer for the
correct cement.

If you have an unheated machine, or just want to bring a heated
one up to temp faster, you can use one of those immersion heaters
used to make a single cup of tea. The aluminum ones found at the
local housewares store are cheap, but some solutions will attack
the aluminum and they are not built to last. If you can find a
stainless steel one it will give years of service (I got mine
from Brookstone Hard-to-Find-Tools in the distant past). Just
put the heater in for a few minutes, and then unplug and remove
it before you turn on the ultrasonic.

A lid covering your sonic will bring the temperature up much
faster and hold it there more effectively, no mater how you heat
the solution. A small baking sheet is an okay substitute.

Running your sonic to heat it is much less efficient than using
a heater, sort of like heating your house with lightbulbs.
Cheaper to pay for the heated version up front.

Oh–and if you want to clean those Rotring pens, John, forget
the heat. A really hot sonic will soften and warp the flexible
ink chamber, making it hard to reinstall. Correct choice of
solution is probably the key to dissolving pen ink.