(Topic ID: 76507)

How do you clean cloth covered wire harnesses


By SteveinTexas

5 years ago



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  • 28 posts
  • 16 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 5 years ago by SteveinTexas
  • Topic is favorited by 3 Pinsiders

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    #1 5 years ago

    Hope this is not a silly question.

    I have spent the evening searching for suggestions and have found only a few ranging from a light rub with a damp cloth to a bingo pinball video showing a heavy soaking with a degreasing agent and a good scrubbing. Not sure about the second without some assurance from people in this forum.

    #2 5 years ago

    I've done a Gottlieb motor board the same as they do the bingo in that video. It didn't come to any harm. I blew the water off thoroughly with an airline, paying particular attention to blowing it from inside the loom, and left it to dry for two days. When I fired the game up, there was no problem. Obviously, any lubed metal to metal joints need new lube. It does give nice, clean components but I'd only recommend doing it if you intend to go through everything after cleaning.
    The cleaning did an excellent job on the ply board, components, switches etc. but I wouldn't say it made a big difference to the wiring. It did brighten it a bit, but I think the problem is, it's not real easy to get the dirt out of the cloth insulation and any colour fading can't be altered.
    I'm in the UK so used a different cleaner than the blue stuff the Dutch guys used on the bingo. Obviously, all the labels on the motor board have to be removed. The cleaner I used took all the black letter or number ink off the labels actually fixed to each relay and the score motor. Either new ones need making or letters / numbers added to the white labels with a felt tip pen. It also loosened the glue joints on the paper coil wrappers and some came off when I used the airline. They dried out OK and I refitted them. The coil wrappers on bingo games are much tougher, some kind of black insulating wrapping, a bit like the black wrapping on some Gottlieb coils. The cleaner and water doesn't seem to bother that wrap but it does affect the paper wrap.
    I've also got a bingo which was cleaned as per the video and the wiring in that is still all faded and mostly the same brownish colour.
    So I would conclude: if you want to clean the components, it's worth giving them a good wash & brush up, as long as you have an air blower to remove all the water and intend to go through everything after you've cleaned it. If your only trying to clean the wiring, I don't think it really does a good enough job to make it worthwhile.

    #3 5 years ago

    Thanks for the reply Nick.

    Its the wiring in older pinball machines I am concerned with. I did not say it but it is a Can Can Bingo machine I am currently working at cleaning it is much worse than my pinballs. Frankly it is filthy and stinks! I have the cabinet stripped and have washed the wood with bleach and all the metal internals have been tumbled or cleaned. The harness however carries a lot of dirt and tobacco stench.

    I plan then to soak it in a degreaser solution diluted with water for a day or so and then scrub and rinse. I have a compressor so blowing of the water prior leaving a few days to dry. Even if it doesn't get as clean as i would like it should lose the smell.

    Obviously the back box is the worst and that is why in the video they clean it before touching with their hands too much. I will probably go that way too.

    I wonder however what others have done for their old games?

    #4 5 years ago

    Nice game mate, should be a great bingo to play. I reckon they always got filthy, they were, at least over here, always in greasy spoon cafes, and everybody smoked.
    When I first saw the Dutch guys video, I thought, no way. I watched it a few times and, every time, it stunned me the way they soaked literally everything, wood, electrics, motors, transformers, steppers, relays. I thought, that's got to cause damage of some kind. But I have a County Fair they restored 4 years ago and it works like a dream. I was going through a Sing Along with a dirty motor board, so I thought, lets try it. The result was: no damage and a lovely clean board. All the switches and relay ladders look near new. As I said, it didn't clean the wiring that well but I'm sure your game will smell like a flower garden if you use the right cleaner. I used an all purpose kitchen cleaner recommended by a fellow bingo nut.
    I, and I'm sure others, would love to see a few pic's as you restore your game. All that tumbled metal will be a lovely sight. Post us some pic's, and let us know how the looms come up. You might hit on a brilliant method we could all use.

    #5 5 years ago
    Quoted from SteveinTexas:

    Hope this is not a silly question.
    I have spent the evening searching for suggestions and have found only a few ranging from a light rub with a damp cloth to a bingo pinball video showing a heavy soaking with a degreasing agent and a good scrubbing. Not sure about the second without some assurance from people in this forum.

    Would you please post the link to the video - thanks!

    #6 5 years ago

    Here you go mate, be amazed:

    #7 5 years ago

    Yeah i saw that video too. I just couldnt bring myself to drown my Cypress Gardens

    --jeff

    #8 5 years ago

    A great way to clean a gunky motor board is to spray it down with brake cleaner. Remove it from the game, and do it
    outside, obviously. Set it on an incline in a shallow tray to catch the dirty fluid. It will dry rather quickly. Dispose of
    the dirty fluid properly.

    #9 5 years ago
    Quoted from way2wyrd:

    Yeah i saw that video too. I just couldnt bring myself to drown my Cypress Gardens
    --jeff

    I would never dump that amount of water into a cab. Even with leaving it out to dry, I just see too many issues arising.

    #10 5 years ago

    Nick,

    I contacted the guys in the Netherlands 'Frans and Coos'. They both have different internet sites with english translations. I asked them What is the Magic spray and the Sorbo Blue Wonder made of?

    Frans answered as follows;

    "The problem with the magic stuff and the Sorbo is that the first product is not longer for sale as it was too aggressive and Sorbo is just an ordinary Dutch detergent, used for all kinds in the housekeeping. We bought the Magic Stuff in big cans and as far as we know the staple is a sodium hydroxide solution. So you can try to dissolve tablets of the dishwasher as those are pretty aggressive. But all you need is a strong degreaser which will do the job and I am sure there are a lot of those over in the USA."

    Just getting started on this restore fixing the cabinet and making stencils of the different can can girls (you got to get the ladies just right). I will post this step when complete.

    Still most interested in others suggestions on what detergent/degreaser you have used on the wires. and are happy or unhappy with.

    Steve J.

    #11 5 years ago
    Quoted from nick-the-greek:

    Here you go mate, be amazed:
    ยป YouTube video

    Thanks for posting the link - I may give that a go with my next project.

    BTW with stuff that strong I would recommend wearing gloves and eye protection.

    Did you see the length of the guys toe nails..ughh!

    #12 5 years ago

    To each his own, but I wouldn't use water or water based cleaners on electrical components with so many steel parts and open grain wood as well. There's gotta be some seepage into areas that don't dry completely which will eventually cause problems. Brake cleaner would be preferable I believe. BTW- a common misnomer is to call the brown staining from cigarette smoke "nicotine". It's actually tar, which is quite prevalent in cigarette smoke.

    #13 5 years ago
    Quoted from woz:

    Did you see the length of the guys toe nails..ughh!

    So I wasn't the only one????

    I would never have thought about doing this. It does look great afterwords but I would think it has a negative impact on some of the components not to mention the wood.

    The $100 question is ..... when you sell the machine are you compelled to advise it was subjected to water???

    #14 5 years ago

    Water shoot with/without household products

    photo4.jpg

    Drying in front of the fireplace !

    photo5.jpg

    #15 5 years ago

    Ouch! Water is a natural enemy to steel, wiring (especially cloth covered), and wood. It just doesn't look right.
    Didn't any water get inside the total play meter?
    BTW- is that motor board from a Gottlieb "Egg Head" or "Sweet Hearts" ?

    #16 5 years ago
    Quoted from jrpinball:

    Ouch! Water is a natural enemy to steel, wiring (especially cloth covered), and wood. It just doesn't look right.
    Didn't any water get inside the total play meter?
    BTW- is that motor board from a Gottlieb "Egg Head" or "Sweet Hearts" ?

    Not to mention the paper on the playfield for the relay positions.

    Really cannot condone this method at all.

    #17 5 years ago
    Quoted from kangourou:

    Water shoot with/without household products

    Drying in front of the fireplace !

    photo4.jpg 80 KB

    photo5.jpg 74 KB

    YIKES! WTF??!!

    #18 5 years ago

    Yikes water and electronics makes me cringe.

    Caution given to any and all who attempt to use NAOH (sodium hydroxide) as a cleaner. Acid gloves and goggles probably a good idea. Highly caustic and can cause burns at these concentrations.

    That said I have never cleaned a harness so I have nothing to add except these cleaners do what they do due to their naturally aggressive nature. Do not forget to work SAFELY.

    Have fun play pinball

    #19 5 years ago

    Woolite.

    #20 5 years ago

    4 Words:
    "No, not me... ever"

    #21 5 years ago

    The video of Bally bingo is exactly the same process that me....

    Most of my 26 motor board were cleaned with water.

    No longer any dirt, no rust, no wood swelling.

    Quoted from jrpinball:

    Didn't any water get inside the total play meter?
    BTW- is that motor board from a Gottlieb "Egg Head" or "Sweet Hearts" ?

    No problem for total play meter and transformer !

    It's a "Jungle Queen" motor board.

    Quoted from SteveFury:

    4 Words:
    "No, not me... ever"

    Only 3 words :

    "Try and see"

    #22 5 years ago

    I've used carpet/upholstery cleaner in the past. Oxygenated seems to work best. Spray it on, then dab it off with a paper towel. Shoot it all over hell and back if you want, or try to contain it to the wires. Your call.

    #23 5 years ago

    I am told European water contains natural additives which not only resist harmful effects upon electrical, metal & wood products but actually enhance their function.

    #24 5 years ago
    Quoted from wayner:

    I am told European water contains natural additives which not only resist harmful effects upon electrical, metal & wood products but actually enhance their function.

    I don't know if this is true, but I am sure that European water is good for health with Pastis RICARD !

    large-laaaarge-blog-ricard-2.jpg

    #25 5 years ago
    Quoted from kangourou:

    I don't know if this is true, but I am sure that European water is good for health with Pastis RICARD !

    large-laaaarge-blog-ricard-2.jpg 62 KB

    Almost a 'Centigrade 37'!!

    #26 5 years ago

    I wouldn't be worried about the electrical as much as I would be worried about the wooden cabinet. The Dutch guys are getting a lot of water into that cabinet, and there isn't much holding those things together to begin with. Whatever time you save on the cleaning you're going to lose when you spend 2 days gluing and clamping that cabinet back together.

    #27 5 years ago

    The wood in those old bingo games is mostly covered in a film of oil and crap anyway, I doubt much actually soaks in. The water, in any quantity, is only there for a short while. It's quickly blown away with an airline, leaving little to air dry.
    If the cabinet joints are bad enough for that to open them up, they need re gluing anyway.
    I have a game that went through that exact process four years ago, it is still absolutely fine in every respect, no loose joints, no corrosion, looks and plays as good as new.
    And, bear in mind, that cleaning is the initial stage of the restoration. After all has dried out, the game is restored top to bottom. Any loose joints are re glued and clamped, everything is dismantled, contacts cleaned & adjusted, steppers stripped & rebuilt, control and mixer units stripped & rebuilt, cabinets re painted. When they've finished, those games are near new. These guys are passionate about old bingo games, they don't do a quick flick job and sell them on.
    See here:
    http://coos.net/bingo_e/

    #28 5 years ago

    Great feed back to the video evidence. I have to agree with Nick about old bingo games as my bingo is a whole lot different to my old pin-balls. The bingo was full of oil and probably tar not nicotine (jrpinball point is probably spot on), the head still is filthy so this type of cleaning is probably the way to go before I strip it down. The use of the magic cleaner as 'Frans' admits and 'Shoot-Again' mentions is a caustic(sodium hydroxide) cleaner we don't know the strength but just look at how the grime washed away. However, I am unwilling to try it and Frans agree's it is not the way to go.

    As per the old pinball wood I have liberally 'washed' an old EM machine component base board but I did use a compressor to remove the rinse water and detergents quickly. It is much cleaner and no harm done to wiring (which is a lot brighter) and components etc.

    Check out the site Nick has linked they are excellent restorers. Also Frans site is;
    http://ballybingo.nl/

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