tima's DIY RCM

redcars

Well-Known Member
Jan 7, 2015
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#61
Hi Tim (and dminches),

Thanks for your follow-up.

Water comes out of the tank drain and goes to a splitter “Y” with two shut-offs. When running only one pump, the other circuit needs to be shut off to prevent back-flow into that circuit. This prevents air getting into the lines.

From the “Y”, two lines go to the two filters.

From the filters, two lines go to the two pumps.

From pump #1, a line returns to a second splitter "Y" and then to the tank return.

From pump #2, a line goes through to the radiator and then to the other side of the “Y” and the tank return. This enables only one return tube into the tank.

There is a third “Y” with shut-offs just after the second “Y” and before the tank return that provides access for a drain line to flush the system. (Before I added this feature, I was removing the “U” shaped tank return and I managed to hose down a row of books in the bookcase below!)

I run pump #1 while initially heating the water to 35 degrees and while running the Elmasonic. I shut the heater off before I start cleaning.

I run both pumps concurrently (open both sides of the first shut-off valve) to cool the water in both systems.


The kill-coils and the specified tubing prevent any (visible) algae or bacteria in the lines. They do get a black coating on the coils after a time and I may have to resort to cleaning them occasionally.


As far as my tics and pops go, I am getting very close. Previously, when I cleaned a used record I would run through the entire 40 minute ultrasonic and then the Loricraft, and then test play the record. Most times I would repeat the entire process a second time and the surface condition would be greatly improved and even more details revealed in the music.

To get to the bottom of what was happening (Elma, or Loricraft, or playing the disc), I have been running a 60 minute cycle of 37/80 kHz followed by the Loricraft. So far, I have not felt the need to wash any records a second time! I will still use the 35-40 minute cycle for new or otherwise cleaned records.

Another approach might be to clean two records at a time instead of three for a shorter time. Two records seems to do a more thorough cleaning, but would also lower productivity.

Are you cleaning three at a time for only a 20 minute cycle? I forget, do you have the same Elmasonic P60H?

Maybe I will try the isopropyl (?? – I have a half case of Everclear left in the basement)

I hope that this description is more complete.

Best,
Don
 

tima

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Mar 4, 2014
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#62
Thanks for the detail Don - your account helps understand the setup and your process. You've put a lot of thought into it.

Are you cleaning three at a time for only a 20 minute cycle? I forget, do you have the same Elmasonic P60H?
I don't want to speak for David, but our systems are similar. We each use the Elmasonic P120H. Here's a quick snapshot of the differences (mostly size and power) of the various models:

Elmasonic P-Series technical data.jpg

The P120H tank holds ~ 2 gallons more than your P160H with corresponding higher transducer and heating power. Fwiw, there is now a US version of the P120H so add 115-120 to its voltage cell.

We both use the Kuzma RD rotisserie system to hold and rotate spindles of records. This is described in the first of my three articles here or you can read about it on the Kuzma Web site, here. With a tank size similiar to the Elma P120H, the RD allows cleaning of 10 records at a time, but imo that does not give enough room between the records for exposure to the cavitation action.

One difference between the RD and your nicely constructed DIY is the RD holds records on a removable spindle which is loaded with records before engaging it with the rotisserie motor. It has a stand for this which also holds the records after cleaning where the records can dry. The records are separated by Delrin(?) pucks, so the number of pucks used determines the space between records.

I clean 5-6 records at a time in a cycle of ~20 minutes, with 10 minutes at each frequency. Running 37kHz first, then 80. The Elma temperature is set at 30° C and it doesn't typically go past 35°. I need to do more research on temperature.

Wrt your speculation about cleaning 2 rather than 3 records at a time, it's worth a try. What is the distance between the 3 records versus 2? With mine - If I remember correctly - the distance is an inch-and-a-half.

With regard to the silver kill-coil antibacterial strips, do you think it's possible for the black silver sulfide that accumulates on a strip to enter the tank? (Not a chemist, just guessing that's what the black is, viz. tarnish.) Could it increase TDS ?

As far as my tics and pops go, I am getting very close.
Thumbs up to that!
 
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redcars

Well-Known Member
Jan 7, 2015
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#63
Tima,
This explains a lot about why our results vary:
More water means better cooling over a limited time period.
It also reduces your ppm reading.
More power per record means shorter time per cleaning cycle.

My records are 1.25 inches apart. With any more than this, three 12 inch records will not fit in the P60H.
My next step will be to call the folks at Tovatech and ask for their suggestions.
I'll post if they have anything constructive.

Best,
Don
 

Stacore

Industry Expert
Feb 23, 2017
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Gdańsk, Poland
stacore.pl
#64
I don't know how much of a role friction plays in stylus deflection and the generation of signal amplitude. I don't know if reducing friction changes the signal coming out of the cartridge. If you hear a difference in records with L'Art du son applied, then perhaps it does.
That's my suspicion too. I was using few drops of Kodak PhotoFlo in 2 out of 3 step cycle (Okki Nokki mechanical pre-clean, Ultrasonic, OkkiNokki rinse). I suspect that despite rinsing it was leaving some residue (glycol was it?), diminishing friction and giving unpleasant "plasticy" taste to the sound. I had to re-clean all reacords cleaned with it (fortunately it is easily removed by lots of water). More direct, "harder" groove reading is back. Now I use Tergitol.

Cheers,
 
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tima

Industry Expert
Mar 4, 2014
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#65
Thanks for your report Jarek!

There's a fair amount of discussion that goes back across several years about using Kodak's Photoflo in record cleaning solutions and processes. I've read quite a few pages of that but not all. While I have no interest in curating that history my sense of it has Photoflo recommended early on, with growing scepticism over time, and now some people having experience with it reject its use and recommend not using Photoflo. You've added more evidence for such.

Two known forums with Photoflo discussion include:
Using Kodak Photo-Flo in Record Cleaning Steve Hoffman forums
My Version of an Ultrasonic Record Cleaner - DIY Audio - link = search results for Photoflo

Some claims against use of Photoflo as a wetting agent in record cleaning solution say it leaves a residue. Some making those claims say they discovered this through its photofgraphic use.

"Note: The US equivalent wetting product from Kodak, “Photo-flo” is specifically not recommended for cleaning records as it contains chemicals which remain as a coating on the surface, which will contaminate the stylus tip. I have no personal knowledge of its effects but it seems well documented, though as with everything, the internet can be an echo-chamber of misinformation." Link

Kodak's data sheet for Photoflo tells us its composition:
2. COMPOSITION/INFORMATION ON INGREDIENTS
Weight % - Component - (CAS Registry No.)
60-70 Water (007732-18-5)
25-30 Propylene glycol (000057-55-6)
5-10 p-tert-octylphenoxy polyethoxyethyl alcohol (009002-93-1)
I don't have references at hand but recall reading that Photoflo's properties as a surfactant and wetting agent vary with its concentration in use.

I've not used Photoflo, preferring Ilford's Ilfotol product which was created likewise as a wetting agent for use in photograph development. Adding Ilfotol to my water + IPA soultion yields a TDS reading of ≤ 00001 ppm. Letting that solution dry on a piece glass I see no residue with my eye. I've been satisfied with cleaning results using Ilfotol.

I've read about using Tergitol but have no experience with it. Its tout is "used by US Library of Congress."

Product data sheets belwo. (PDF)
 

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dminches

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Oct 22, 2011
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#66
After seeing Don's posts I have added a radiator and 2nd pump to keep the liquid at whatever temperature I set, currently 30 C. Before this the temperature continually rose which is not what I wanted.


Radiator.jpg

System.jpg
 
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redcars

Well-Known Member
Jan 7, 2015
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#67
Dminches,
Sure looks a lot more simple than my snake's nest.
Looks nice!
Don
 

dminches

Well-Known Member
Oct 22, 2011
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#69
Very, cool David. A nice tidy arrangement. Is that a Thermaltake radiator? PC gaming comes to record cleaning!
Yes, it is a Thermaltake CL360 with 3 120mm fans. This setup cools the water below 30C. I can hear the tank heater turn on periodically.
 
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dminches

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Oct 22, 2011
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#70
Dminches,
Sure looks a lot more simple than my snake's nest.
Looks nice!
Don
The simple approach seems to accomplish its goal: circulate the liquid through a filter to keep the liquid "clean" and now cool the liquid so it remains at whatever temperature I set the tank at, currently 30C.

Tim designed everything other than the cooling.
 

redcars

Well-Known Member
Jan 7, 2015
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#71
Hi guys,
I spoke with Tovatech (the Elmasonic distributor) today and learned a few things that were new to me about my P60H.

I was inquiring primarily about speeding up my 60 minute cycle.

I learned that if you hold down the “kHz” button for two seconds, an asterik will pop up on the screen and the machine will then alternate between 37 and 80 kHz every 30 seconds. I am going to try this.

The “Pulse” button increases the power by 20%, but it is louder, and no one seems to know if the life of the machine is affected because pulse is not designed for continuous use. I will not be using this.

I learned that having constantly flowing water reduces the effectiveness at some point. My pump is rated for 1500 L/h max, which is approximately 6 gallons per minute. I don’t think that mine is flowing this fast, but I may try restricting the flow (?)

Since alcohol is flammable, their lawyers won’t let them comment on it.

I could buy a P120H ($$$), but running four records at a time would make my Loricraft cycle the time limiting factor, so I would not gain much.

Best,
Don
 
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tima

Industry Expert
Mar 4, 2014
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#72
Hi guys,
I spoke with Tovatech (the Elmasonic distributor) today and learned a few things that were new to me about my P60H.

I was inquiring primarily about speeding up my 60 minute cycle.

I learned that if you hold down the “kHz” button for two seconds, an asterik will pop up on the screen and the machine will then alternate between 37 and 80 kHz every 30 seconds. I am going to try this.

The “Pulse” button increases the power by 20%, but it is louder, and no one seems to know if the life of the machine is affected because pulse is not designed for continuous use. I will not be using this.

I learned that having constantly flowing water reduces the effectiveness at some point. My pump is rated for 1500 L/h max, which is approximately 6 gallons per minute. I don’t think that mine is flowing this fast, but I may try restricting the flow (?)

Since alcohol is flammable, their lawyers won’t let them comment on it.

I could buy a P120H ($$$), but running four records at a time would make my Loricraft cycle the time limiting factor, so I would not gain much.

Best,
Don
Hi Don - thanks for the update about your conversation with Tovatech. You raise three interesting topics.

1. For readers not familiar with the Elmasonc USC machines, I believe units in the Elmasonic P-Series all share the same software/functionality feature set, with differences largely being size, volume, number of transducers, power and power consumption. (See the chart in message #62, above.) The various functions and modes of operation are listed in the machine's manual. For interested others, here's a summary from Elma literature:

Elmasonic P-Series Features.jpg

I've tried the automatic frequency switch-over (37kHz-->80kHz-->37kHz every 30 seconds) and the Pulse mode. They do work, but I'm not sure we gain much for our recording cleaning efforts. I choose not to use these based on my vague notion that not using them may prolong transducer life-span I manually switch frequencies once in my 20 minute cleaning cycle. I also

2. Wrt flowing water/solution coming off the filter and USC effectiveness ... Flow ratg will typically be cited as a function of a pump's head-feet rating. According to its specs, the Little Giant 1-AA-OM pump in my system yields roughly 100 gallons per hour at 2 head-feet. So a 40 minute cycle for 11 records is about 66 gallons of throughput. I don't know if or how much passage through the 0.35 micron filter changes that. I assume specs from pump vendors are for best performance and optimal conditions.

You note that constantly flowing water reduces effectiveness at some point. Do you have any more info on this? It's not surprising given that small cavitation bubbles are milling about in the tank and return flow could move them around. I don't know if location of the return has an impact, or what's the best location for it. My return is just the output tubing positioned against the side of the tank, maybe two-inches in and about one-third the way from the drain. I gauge performance effectiveness from playing cleaned records. I'm not giving up filtering so there will be always be flowing water. I'm guessing if this is a concern one could always increase cycle time. I definitely would like to know more about this. One take-away points to the advantage of a DIY system similar to ours that allows adjustment or balancing of the factors in play.

3. You mentioned alcohol, flammability, and lawyers - all deadly. Ignoring the lawyers for now, this ties into the question of heat and its use in ultrasonic cleaning of records. 99% pure IPA is highly flammable, with a flashpoint around 13° C - yikes. But our solutions have the IPA highly diluted in water. Flash point is the temperature where vapors ignite given an ignition source.. With IPA being a commonly used cleaner and solvent, there is a lot of information and several scientific studies on the Web about the ethanol-water mixture flash point and how to calculate that. Lord knows we don't want to start a fire while cleaning records.

I use roughly 1.3 cups or 312ml of IPA in a tankful of water, approx 13000 ml - that's a concentration of much less than 1% (~0.024%.) An entry in a chemical engineering blog suggests a 10% concentration of IPA in water has a flashpoint of 49° C, with a 5% concentration having a flashpoint of 62° C (~147 ° F). I am not a scientist, much less a chemist, but I'm thinking we don't have much to worry about blowing ourselves up when using a small amount of IPA in a reasonably heated record cleaning solution. But I'll keep my fingers crossed.
 

redcars

Well-Known Member
Jan 7, 2015
30
38
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#73
Hello everyone,

I’m going to do something a bit different here: The following post by Tima to the "Degritter Ultrasonic Record Cleaner" thread caught my eye and I’m hoping that it is ok with tima and everyone to copy it here:

https://www.whatsbestforum.com/threads/degritter-ultrasonic-record-cleaner.25281/page-21#post-587581

degritter_taniel said: The melting point for PVC plastics that Vinyl is made out of range from 100 C - 200 C, but the materials become soft long before this happens. Starting from temperatures of 40 C you can start seeing warping damage on records.

Tima said: Thanks for your follow-up.
So your rationale here for a temperature warning at 35° C is based on the potential for record warpage or damage at higher temperatures around 40° C, and that is based on observation of deformation at the higher temps. I too have seen very slight deformation (say 1-2mm) at temperatures north of 40° C. From observation I'll note this in the bath while upon removal to cooler temps (room temp) records always return to the same flatness they had prior to heating. I have not seen a record fail to return to flat, although I've also not exposed records to temperatures higher than 42-43° C. Which isn't to say it cannot happen.

So damage potential is a rational for staying below a specific temperature.

My understanding of using heat as part of the ultrasonic cleaning process in general, not just for records, is that heat can improve cleaning effectiveness. Heat may improve the strength of cavitation. Likewise the amount of heat to use may tie to the material cleaned and the makeup of the cleaning solution. This is why many commercial USC machines have heaters and thermostats. (I understand your product does not have a built-in heater and heat generated with it comes from the transducers putting energy into the solution, so this angle may not be of interest to you. Not a criticism.)

But I'll ask: Has Degritter done any research into the amount of heat to use for optimal cleaning of vinyl generally or the material composition of a vinyl record?



No one has replied to Tima’s question as of this moment.

I’ve noticed that, on this (tima's DIY RCM) thread, dminches (and Tima?) are limiting the temperature rise to 30 degrees C, whereas I have cleaned hundreds of records at up to 45 degrees C, and had no issues with warpage that doesn't go away quickly. I did a test with a thin record at 50 degrees C and it recovered as well.

My rational is that warmer is better, any spot on the records is only in the bath about 40% of the total time, and for 60% of the time the spot is cooling. Another way to phrase this is 4 minutes in the water, and 6 minutes out per cycle. Only the last two cycles get above 40 degrees C.

I would WANT TO lower my temperature if I thought some damage was occurring, or that I was not gaining much for the additional heating. I don’t like doing things for only a bigger safety factor without supporting evidence.

I will try lowering my temperature range from 35-45 to 30-40 and see if the cleaning is as good.

Any further comments or evidence would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
Don
 

tima

Industry Expert
Mar 4, 2014
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#74
My rational is that warmer is better, any spot on the records is only in the bath about 40% of the total time, and for 60% of the time the spot is cooling. Another way to phrase this is 4 minutes in the water, and 6 minutes out per cycle. Only the last two cycles get above 40 degrees C.

I would WANT TO lower my temperature if I thought some damage was occurring, or that I was not gaining much for the additional heating. I don’t like doing things for only a bigger safety factor without supporting evidence.
Absent information about temperature specifics for effective vinyl and vinyl record cleaning , we're left to gaining experience.

As it stands now, using heat and the amount to use is a question of balance. We want to use effective technique without harming what we're cleaning. The right amount of heat but no more. I think we tend to be cautious in the discovery process. In the absence of expert data I've been trying to gather information on the use of heat in ultrasonic cleaning, but have no conclusions.

Here are summaries of some things I've read from authoritative sounding industrial sources, not oriented to cleaning records. I'm not endorsing any of this, but here it is.
  • The temperature at which an ultrasonic cleaning system operates plays a role in the distribution of ultrasonic cleaning action, the power of the ultrasonic cleaning action, and the effectiveness of the detergents being used.
  • Ultrasonic energy moves best through water at a temperature between 140 and 170 F. In addition, hot water helps dissolve many soils, further enhancing parts cleaning.
  • Best Ultrasonic Performance is roughly 65% of the Boiling Point of the Fluid in Use. edit: The boiling point of water is 100° C / 212° F. The boiling point of isopropyl alcohol is 82.5° C / 180.5° F. From those in discussion, we're well below those temps.
  • Temperature Above 65% of the Boiling Point will Decrease Scrubbing Force of the System, but will Improve Distribution of that Force.
  • Most Ultrasonic Cleaners Utilize Temperatures between 130 and 180 degrees F.
  • When Using Acidic Materials, Use the Lowest Temperature Possible to Reduce Potential Damage to the Stainless Steel Tank.
Take note of my comments in msg #72 above regarding using flammable chemicals and their flashpoints.

I'll try to come back to the question of heat. All comments welcome.
 
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dminches

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Oct 22, 2011
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#76
Would one of you Masters of The Art consider making one and selling it to a customer in the USA? Or a kit?
Where are you located?
 
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tima

Industry Expert
Mar 4, 2014
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#78
Would one of you Masters of The Art consider making one and selling it to a customer in the USA? Or a kit?
Hi - never had that question before, made me think about it. Please bear with my somewhat long answer to your question.

In a sense my DIY RCM project is like a kit because it uses off the shelf components and a few parts that require putting together.

The difference between a kit and doing it yourself (DIY) is a kit means gathering all the parts and selling them together along with a set of instructions. What I've written up - though it's spread across different pages - is the design and some basic assembly instructions, along with a parts list.

There are 3 main components:
- the USC tank. This is bought already built. No wiring or assembly required. Plug n play.

- the Rotesserie, the thing that holds and turns the records as they get washed. I used a unit offered by Frank Kuzma that comes as a kit. It is top quality and super simple to put together.

- the Pump and Filter. The filter is off the shelf, a cannister and filter medium. The Pump I built is the one thing that required assembly. It includes a pump, a box to hold it and the pieces (hose barbs) to connect some tubes that carry the water from the tank through the filter and back to the tank. It is also possible to buy an off-the-shelf self-contained aquarium style pump ready to go except for the tubing.

@dminches (David) used the same components and parts that are in my unit and put it together himself. I offered a few tips along the way. He can comment on the ease or difficulty from his experience. I am not a DIY person and have no special skill, but I thought it was pretty simple doing it from scratch. A few others have done pretty much the same thing based on what you read in this thread.

The parts list is on this thread here.
The first of my three articles published at The Vinyl Press describes assembly with some photos. You can read that here. Subsequent to that effort I replaced the USC tank and filter with much better ones - those were drop-ins and described in my third article, here.

I'd like to suggest that you look at the parts list and read the article cited above to get a sense if you could do this yourself. Then come back here and we can talk. I have sources for the various parts, mostly from Amazon, and I'd be willing to correspond with you via PM or e-mail to answer questions. Like I said, it's pretty much a kit already.

I'm biased but do my homework. In my opinion the end result is easily superior to any of the single-slot desktop units on the market today. Thanks for your inquiry.

tima
 

stereonut8

New Member
Jul 12, 2018
20
1
1
#79
Hi - never had that question before, made me think about it. Please bear with my somewhat long answer to your question.

In a sense my DIY RCM project is like a kit because it uses off the shelf components and a few parts that require putting together.

The difference between a kit and doing it yourself (DIY) is a kit means gathering all the parts and selling them together along with a set of instructions. What I've written up - though it's spread across different pages - is the design and some basic assembly instructions, along with a parts list.

There are 3 main components:
- the USC tank. This is bought already built. No wiring or assembly required. Plug n play.

- the Rotesserie, the thing that holds and turns the records as they get washed. I used a unit offered by Frank Kuzma that comes as a kit. It is top quality and super simple to put together.

- the Pump and Filter. The filter is off the shelf, a cannister and filter medium. The Pump I built is the one thing that required assembly. It includes a pump, a box to hold it and the pieces (hose barbs) to connect some tubes that carry the water from the tank through the filter and back to the tank. It is also possible to buy an off-the-shelf self-contained aquarium style pump ready to go except for the tubing.

@dminches (David) used the same components and parts that are in my unit and put it together himself. I offered a few tips along the way. He can comment on the ease or difficulty from his experience. I am not a DIY person and have no special skill, but I thought it was pretty simple doing it from scratch. A few others have done pretty much the same thing based on what you read in this thread.

The parts list is on this thread here.
The first of my three articles published at The Vinyl Press describes assembly with some photos. You can read that here. Subsequent to that effort I replaced the USC tank and filter with much better ones - those were drop-ins and described in my third article, here.

I'd like to suggest that you look at the parts list and read the article cited above to get a sense if you could do this yourself. Then come back here and we can talk. I have sources for the various parts, mostly from Amazon, and I'd be willing to correspond with you via PM or e-mail to answer questions. Like I said, it's pretty much a kit already.

I'm biased but do my homework. In my opinion the end result is easily superior to any of the single-slot desktop units on the market today. Thanks for your inquiry.

tima
Thanks for the thoughtful and thorough reply. It really helps.
 
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tima

Industry Expert
Mar 4, 2014
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#80
I want to draw your attention to a very interesting document: Precision Aqueous Cleaning of Vinyl Records. This is written by Neil Antin and published at Bill Hart's site The Vinyl Press. Neil is a retired Navy Technical Warrant with 20+ yrs extensive technical experience in cleaning stuff. You may have seen his commentary on other Web sites. Here he aggregates his knowledge into a well-organized document.

It's 85 pages of gobs of information about record cleaning related topics based on experience and oodles of documentation. If you're a nut about this topic as am I, you may really enjoy it. I asked Neil to comment on the approach discussed in this thread.
 
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