cleaning the Optimus

Discussion in 'Fettling Forum' started by Emiel, Dec 5, 2019.

  1. Emiel

    Emiel Netherlands Subscriber

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    Hello everybody,

    My name is Emiel and I'm new to the forum. I found this nice place after googling for some tips and tricks on restoring pressure lamps. I guess I found the holy grail.

    I recently purchased an Optimus pressure lamp online in the hopes of it being in rather good condition just like the Petromax I bought last year. Unfortunately it isnt. I've put some pressure in the tank, but this pressure cannot be released. Not via the pre-heater and also not via the carburator (is that the right word for it?). I've taken it apart to have a look. The intake rods are covered in in a layer of what seems to be black paint. Its dry and glossy. This stuff probably clogged up everyting. Probably the inside wall of the tank is also covered with this stuff. 20191205_133043.jpg 20191205_133033.jpg

    Please have a look at photo's below. Hopefully someone can give me some tips on cleaning this mess. I have an ultrasonic cleaning device to my disposal. Would this be a good idea?

    If more info is needed, just let me know.
    Thanks! Emiel

    20191205_133043.jpg 20191205_133033.jpg
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2019
  2. Erik Leger

    Erik Leger Germany Subscriber

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    Hi Emiel,
    these are the remains of fuel (gasoline) left in the tank for a couple of decades. It looks like a hard plastic coating and does not come off easily.
    I would use a solution of caustic soda to dissolve it. I know this works fine but requires safety precautions (face shield, long rubber gloves).
    I did not try citric acid so far on these fuel residues but it might work, too. (not so dangerous as caustic soda but aluminum parts will simply "vanish" with both of the chemicals.)

    Erik
     
  3. MarkC

    MarkC Subscriber

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    A soak in acetone should dissolve it.
     
  4. Nils Stephenson

    Nils Stephenson Founder Member

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    I agree with the acetone. From experience citric acid does not work on these residues. An ultrasonic cleaner is always good for cleaning small parts.

    As has been mentioned above, always take the correct safety precautions when using chemicals.
     
  5. M.Meijer

    M.Meijer Subscriber

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    Yes, acetone. Since you are starting out, with (oh yes!) many more lamps to come, you will find lamps that have been abused by improper fuels also, if it is not the case here. I mean the 'oils' often coloured and scented and sold by (dutch) outlets like Kruidvat and Xenos that are meant for wick lamps.

    Dumb people often rendered good lamps useless, clogging pick up and sieves, and not seldom generators as well. A good soak in acetone is a good remedy. You should look on 'Marktplaats' to find 5 liter cans for about 22,00 euro's
    If this is too overwhelming, look for 1 liter packages as well, as the tiny bottles in the drugstore are a rip-off. Succes!
    And welcome to this global band of lampies! Mike
     
  6. JEFF JOHNSON

    JEFF JOHNSON United Kingdom Subscriber

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    Welcome aboard!:thumbup:
     
  7. MarkC

    MarkC Subscriber

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    You can always "borrow' your wife's nail polish remover. It is the same stuff.
     
  8. M.Meijer

    M.Meijer Subscriber

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    Always a good thing to get her involved too!
     
  9. Emiel

    Emiel Netherlands Subscriber

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    Thanks a lot guys. Great you took the time to help me out. I'll try to post updates on the "restoration" process.
     
  10. Emiel

    Emiel Netherlands Subscriber

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    The first issue with this lamp is fixed. Asked the Mrs for some nail polish remover because the local hardware store didn't have any acetone. Only some stuff called Eco Acetone Replacement. Didn't want to take the chance so went back home and try with the nail polish remover instead. Unfortunately, this stuff was also "100% Acetone free". But luckily, it got the job done. With the limited amount of this stuff that was left in the bottle I was able to soak and clean both rods and especially the intake part of the generator. After removing the black layer from the outside I was able to remove the valve sleeve from the stem. It was completely filled with a brown goo. After soaking these parts in the nail polish remover it cleaned pretty well and now the valve is working again. The sieve is clean the spring and valve are working and air comes out of the nozzle on top of the carburetor when opening the valve. So, i'm confident this lamp will burn again.
    Next step is to clean the pre-heater. The nozzle is still completely blocked. I don't have a needle small enough to poke the hole so hopefully some time in the ultrasonic bath will clean this up.
    Keep you posted.
     
  11. M.Meijer

    M.Meijer Subscriber

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    Emiel, good to hear you are making progress. Funny how acetone-free is in vogue, as there is little wrong with it in the field of personal health. Any healthy human being has a measure of acetone in the blood, even if very little. That, to my knowledge, cannot be said of the acetone replacement.
    Anyway, the word of caution goes towards your aim at freeing the tiny orifice of the pre-heater. Never, maar dan ook nooit, should you try this with any mechanical means. Just soak in acetone, and see if you can free any tiny debris with compressed air. Your ultrasound device can come in handy here too, but perhaps with its own kind of solvent. Good luck!
     
  12. Emiel

    Emiel Netherlands Subscriber

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    Thanks for the heads-up Mike.
     
  13. Emiel

    Emiel Netherlands Subscriber

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    Well, got the thing running. Just had to light it using the spirit cup as the Jet pre-heater is still not working. After a week-long soak in acetone and an hour-long dip in the ultrasonic bath the thing is still blocked. Both the air and fuel hole. Anyway, glad the lamp is working.
    optimus.jpg
     
  14. M.Meijer

    M.Meijer Subscriber

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    Dag Emiel, congratulations with the running Optimus! As for the starter, I take it you have made sure the feed tube with sieve is clear? If you have a high-magnifying glass, scrutinize the orifice. If a long soak etc. does not work perhaps someone before you attempted to open it up with whatever is now stuck in it.
    Either way, it should not be too hard to find a working replacement, but another go with compressed air is still worth the effort.
     
  15. Matti Kucer

    Matti Kucer Sweden Subscriber

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    Hi!
    A cleaning needle would help in clearing whats blocking.

    Regards
     
  16. M.Meijer

    M.Meijer Subscriber

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    Matti, a typical cleaning needle is way too thick for the ultra small orifice of a quick-starter. Besides, any damage to that tiny round passage in relatively soft brass will disturb the atomising process and make it useless, so any poking through it is not recommended.
     
  17. Matti Kucer

    Matti Kucer Sweden Subscriber

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    IMG_20190905_191307.jpg
    Youre correct, but You can use a cleaning needle from a lantern, I think i used one from a 200P lantern
     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2019
  18. Nils Stephenson

    Nils Stephenson Founder Member

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    If I remember correctly, the jet hole on the quick starter is 0.25mm (don't quote me on that :) ), so it is possible to find a pricker that will fit. Don't use one from a stove though. I almost always use the alcohol preheater anyway.
     
  19. Tony Press

    Tony Press Australia Subscriber

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    If it’s 0.25mm for the jet of the quickstarter (a Tilley jet is around 0.16mm), then a high E steel guitar string should work as a pricker. Check it first but it’s usually 0.19 to 0.20mm.

    Tony
     
  20. Emiel

    Emiel Netherlands Subscriber

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    Excellent replies guys! Thanks so much. The guitarstring suggestion is great. If this fails, I'll buy a 200 needle.
     
  21. MYN

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    Any needle that's less than or equal to 0.2mm diam. should work on the preheater orifice I think.
    I've successfully pricked the one on a 350cp Butterfly unit to make it work. It shouldn't differ much, if any, on a similarly rated Optimus. Its safer to start with the smallest you can find, though.
     
  22. Emiel

    Emiel Netherlands Subscriber

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    Well, finally cleared the blocked rapid heater part. Used the pricker needle from my recent acquired H202. So this part is working now.
    Next issue is the NRV. This one is leaking a lot so I had to remove and clean it. I quickly learned the Optimus NRV is a different beast than the ones I'm used to so I had to fettle a tool to get it out.
    20200115_202439.jpg
    Just like the rest of the parts this one was also covered black goo. It cleaned nicely in some acetone but I cannot get it back to life. It's still leaking.
    Are these valves the same as the ones in the optimus burner? I saw the fettlebox has some parts to revive these valves.
    20200116_213208.jpg
    All advice is welcome. Thanks!
     
  23. M.Meijer

    M.Meijer Subscriber

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    Which Optimus burner; there are dozens. But most brass models have the very same NRV. For faulty ones you can get new rubber pips, Viton quality is best resistant against most fuels. But before that nitrile rubber was used with good results, so do not block progress because the name ain't right. Also, check the spring and a clear travel of the pipholder. Good luck, Mike
     
  24. ROBBO55

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  25. Nils Stephenson

    Nils Stephenson Founder Member

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    @Emiel
    Your NRV is one of the later Optimus types where the 'pip' is a formed rubber piece without the brass cup. These get hard and replacement parts for this one are not available. I believe the Fettle Box has a replacement brass cup and pip that will work. Then it will be serviceable in the future as well.
     

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