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edlithgow
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PostSubject: Lubricheck Oil Condition Monitoring Gizmo   Sun Oct 20, 2013 8:59 am


Thought this was quite interesting, but then I've become a bit geeky about my oil condition.

Assuming it sort-of-works, I'd guess the marketing problem they still have is that an oil change really isn't THAT expensive, so better-safe-than-sorry is likely to prevail, and therefore most people wouldn't save any money by using one.

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The gadget is claimed to measure a combination of dielectric constant and resistance.

Industrial monitoring of oil condition measures a number of parameters, such as pH, TAN (Total Acid Number, by titration against KOH) TBN (Total Base Number, by titration against, IIRC HCl) [I can't get my head around how you can measure those two parameters imdependantly, by titration, but that seems to be the way they are discussed], viscosity, oxidation, particle counts and metallic contaminants/wear metals.

Some of these MIGHT be within DIY scope if one was very keenly geeky, but they aren't trivial to measure.

Changes in these parameters tend roughly to correlate with changes in dielectric constant, so (with many but not all oils) you can allegedly use this as a rough proxy index of oil quality. I've seen some independent peer-reviewed-journal research that seems to support this.

Comment from people who've tried it (or its Oilyzer predecessor) is generally guardedly positive, but some units have been unreliable, its vulnerable to cross contamination if the electrode isn't thoroughly cleaned (I'd probably use alcohol but they don't suggest that AFAIK), and it apparently doesn't work with the additive packages of some oils. †

Few punters, even on BIITOG, have "control" data from conventional oil analysis, to compare it to, and it doesn't give direct numerical output of the parameter its measuring, but an LED "quality index".

Its about $40, but I dunno about shipping to Taiwan. I'd consider getting one, though I do wonder if one could make any useful measurements using a multimeter and a suitable electrode.
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PostSubject: Re: Lubricheck Oil Condition Monitoring Gizmo   Mon Oct 21, 2013 6:20 pm

That's so awesome! †Clap

Sadly, it's also pointless if you change your oil regularly. Someone who doesn't change their fluids won't care about their car enough to buy one either. So, as you said, they have quite a marketing issue.
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PostSubject: Re: Lubricheck Oil Condition Monitoring Gizmo   Tue Oct 22, 2013 9:49 am

Well, yes, though there are commercial and private users, (the latter represented, for example, on the "Bob Is The Oil Guy" oil-obsessives website), who extend thier oil changes as much as possible, often with used oil analysis data to back this up.

Some of them use secondary bypass filters, and fully synthetic oil, and in those circumstances it is claimed that oil lifespan is effectively unlimited.

I'd rather doubt that this group is a big enough customer-base to sustain this product, though.

I'm primarily interested because (as explained in one of my other threads here) I seem to be getting a lot of metal in my oil, and I'd be interested to see how the gadget reacts to that.
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PostSubject: Re: Lubricheck Oil Condition Monitoring Gizmo   Wed Oct 23, 2013 3:57 am

I'm also interested because I recently found quite a large cache of oil (lots of different bottles, some sealed, some opened) in a shed on campus. I don't know what they were there for and havn't found anyone able to suggest anything.

Though they are very old (havn't tried to check the bar codes yet, but I guess about 10 years) and have been stored in boxes which get direct sunlight and some rainwater, I'm tempted to use at least the sealed bottles.

A gizmo like this would be a way of keeping an eye on oil quality and perhaps getting an early warning if there is premature deterioration with the old oil.

I could also compare the oil bottles with each other and with a new bottle of the same type (where available. Some of them may be obsolete specs).

Differences would be off-putting.
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PostSubject: That plan sound precarious    Fri Oct 25, 2013 11:05 pm

So you'd consider buying one of these so that you could monitor the condition of ten year old oil? You know better than to try using it in the first place, surely...
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PostSubject: Re: Lubricheck Oil Condition Monitoring Gizmo   Sat Oct 26, 2013 6:32 am

Justwatching wrote:
So you'd consider buying one of these so that you could monitor the condition of ten year old oil?
Yes. I find it interesting. Sad, perhaps, but there it is. Its also (sort of) frugal, which is (sort of) our thing, no? Smile

Justwatching wrote:

You know better than to try using it in the first place, surely...
Well, I don't know what you know, of course. I do, however, †know what I don't know.

I don't know:-

(a) that this stuff is 10 years old. That's just an upper-limit guess. I'll try and check the bar codes and specs to get a better idea, but it may not be possible to establish an age.

(b) I don't know of any evidence that there's anything wrong with 10-year old oil in a sealed container. It may be out there, but I havn't seen it. If you have, I'd be interested in the info.
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PostSubject: Re: Lubricheck Oil Condition Monitoring Gizmo   Sun Oct 27, 2013 4:14 pm

"Its also (sort of) frugal, which is (sort of) our thing, no? Smile"

Old oil (free?) + Gizmo (approx. $40) + shipping (unknown) Vs. New oil (about $40)

Nope. Don't see that you're saving anything there.

A lot of people on the web seem to hold the opinion that oil has a finite life span, even without use. I'll grant you that there seems to be a lack of actual evidence based verification though. That doesn't stop us reasoning about it and making sensible predictions. Now, I'm assuming that the containers are plastic. Well, plastic isn't a perfect barrier; just because it hasn't been opened doesn't mean it can't be contaminated/deteriorated. It's permeability coefficient will depend on a few factors. Namely, exposed surface area; length of diffusion path (thickness of barrier it has to travel through); moisture/humidity; temperature and any resistant relevant properties of the plastic itself (neoprene much more permeable than polyvinyl chloride, for example). Unfortunately, these all have question marks over them, so I can't say how much contamination we're talking about in the case of your newly found oily plunder. Nor can I say if that change in purity is significant (i.e. performance impacting). What I can say it that it seems foolhardy to risk it given the lack of fiscal incentive (see above).
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PostSubject: Re: Lubricheck Oil Condition Monitoring Gizmo   Mon Oct 28, 2013 12:22 am

Well, thats true, BUT its quite a lot of oil (I'd guesstimate about 30 litres, though I havn't added it up) oil is more expensive here than in the UK, and I should be able to get some warning if its going bad.

Realistically, we are talking about a disposable banger here, (unfashionable though that concept seems to have become) and I could pilot test the stuff in an even more disposable scooter.

Evidence-wise, I found this, which is sort-of relevant.

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Its titled "Lubricant Storage Life Limits - Industry Needs a Standard " but if you read it you might reasonably conclude that "industry doesn't need a standard", since they don't appear to have one, nor any basis for one.

Like most "pitches", what it doesn't say is as significant as what it does. There is absolutely no evidence reported here for on-shelf deterioration of motor oils. Instead, its served up as a ready-cooked "given" with a side order of "The sky is falling" Chicken-Little panic salad.

They survey industry recommendations. Table 4 (recommended shelf life for indoor storage at 20C) is especially instructive

Major oil company C: 10-30W Motor Oil (mineral) 1 YEAR
Major oil company C: 10-30W Motor Oil (PAO) 1 YEAR:
Major oil company D: 10-30W Motor Oil (mineral) 1 YEAR
Major oil company D: 10-30W Motor Oil (PAO) 1 YEAR:

Independant oil company B: 10-30W Motor Oil (mineral) Virtually unlimited *
Independant oil company B: 10-30W Motor Oil (PAO) : Virtually unlimited
Independant oil company C: 10-30W Motor Oil (mineral) : Infinite
Independant oil company C: 10-30W Motor Oil (PAO) : Infinite

1 year (!) isnít very long, and 1 year to infinity is a pretty wide range.

IF the 1 year has a basis in fact, it could mean that the major oil companies massive (but of course secret) testing of their latest oils, extending over several decades, has told them that their oil is particularly fragile.

OR it could be that their general knowledge of the chemistry of their product makes them think it might be particularly fragile, though its odd that the PAO, plausibly believed to be more stable in an engine, is just as fragile on the shelf.

OR it could be that they wanted to cover their big fat corporate ass, and pulled the smallest number out of it that they thought they could get away with.

(One might also conclude that either the re-stocking (or re-labelling) costs associated with this short life are carried by the retailer, or the supplier thinks closout specials are good for bizniz.)

Perhaps I'm too cynical, but I've found its actually quite difficult to be TOO cynical, and often quite an effort to be cynical enough.

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PostSubject: Re: Lubricheck Oil Condition Monitoring Gizmo   Mon Oct 28, 2013 11:30 am

There are other possible interpretations: Smaller companies inflate their shelf life to give the product more appeal to retailers. It would also mean they could store it during seasonal dips in sales without fear of it depreciating in value due to short life span (that applies to retailers and the manufacturer alike). It could also be the case that they simply don't have the research facilities/budget that larger companies do, so their estimation are not scientifically sound. I do find a 1 year shelf life hard to believe though - how could keeping in sealed containers indoors not extend its service life compared to leaving it exposed and contaminated (i.e. inside an engine)?

I can see that the quantity of oil may change the equation and make it more appealing, btw. It's all of a type/grade you can use?

Back on the gizmo. The reading it gives is arbitrary, so does it advise you on how to interpret it?
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PostSubject: Re: Lubricheck Oil Condition Monitoring Gizmo   Tue Oct 29, 2013 8:52 am

Sure, all possible interpretations (some of which I covered) but I think less likely.

In the abscence of evidence, one goes with what seems plausible.

PAO can do 20,000K plus in the harsh environment of an operating engine but a year on the shelf at 20C is game over?

Phooey!

I've seen some anecdotal reports of tests on old samples of oil and its all been the other way, i.e. same numbers as the new stuff. I havn't seen any reports of formal research though.

About half of ithe cache is Yamaha motorcycle 4T oil, but that should be OK in a car engine.

There's about 4L of 2-stroke, which of course won't be. I do have a 2-stroke motorcycle, but I probably wouldn't use it in that either since I'm less sure of the long-term stability of 2T, (since 2T is a total loss system) and a seized engine could kill me.

A 2T scooter wouldn't be so scary, since I'm told the auto-trans will disconnect quick enough to save you.

IIRC this gizmo's scale has green, yellow and red sectors, and they suggest you change on orange, with red indicative of am engine fault. I THINK (or at least they seem to imply) that they integrate permittivity and resistance measurements to give the output. I'd prefer it if these measurements were accessible separately, though I can see it might be a harder sell.

I do wonder if a multimeter could provide similar info.
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PostSubject: Re: Lubricheck Oil Condition Monitoring Gizmo   Tue Oct 29, 2013 12:29 pm

Possibly - depends what magnitude of resistance change we could expect see over the service life of the oil (minuscule differences may be difficult to detect reliably using a cheap, handheld multimeter). You'd have to control for other property changing factors (oil temperature, for example), especially if the changes in resistance are as small as I think they'd be. Then of course, we're back to the issue of being able to interpret that data meaningfully.
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PostSubject: Re: Lubricheck Oil Condition Monitoring Gizmo   Wed Oct 30, 2013 3:22 am

I'm thinking some crude DIY tests might be possible, perhaps viscosity, pH, "crackle test" (for water contamination, IIRC you drop some on a hot-plate and ..er...listen) and perhaps a qualitative assessment of response to heating (stick some in an oven on a white tile), perhaps in combination with paper chromatography, all compared to new oil.

Possible, but I doubt I'll actually get around to doing it, since today, for example, I've got seven hours of teachy time with no lunchbreak, finishing at 10pm, with an 8am start the next day.

I've had proper jobs with longer hours, but they were A LOT better paid, and I was A LOT younger.

Still, an old man's gotta to do what an old man's gotta do
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PostSubject: Re: Lubricheck Oil Condition Monitoring Gizmo   Tue Feb 18, 2014 11:40 pm


Did you get anywhere with devising a DIY oil condition test edlithgow?

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PostSubject: Re: Lubricheck Oil Condition Monitoring Gizmo   Wed Feb 19, 2014 10:47 am

Nah, I'm all talk, but in my defence I did fix my oil leak over the vacation, which had a higher priority, and NOW I'm writing a new "Intercultural Skills English" (whatever TF that means) course they've landed me with. (Starts tommorrow. Loads of time †:Cr:†)

4WIW (Probably rather little on its own, though it is apparently used in industry) I did try this a while ago.

The first picture just shows the result of wiping a magnetic pickup tool (that had been in the dipstick hole for 5 days) on a piece of printer paper.

The contrast between the (presumed ferrous) tip deposit and the relatively clean oil from the rest of the tool is, I think, quite clear.

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The others are preliminary punk versions of Radial Planar Chromatography, apparently an industry-recognised technique for qualitative monitoring the condition of used oil, brake fluid, etc outlined here, but without a full description of the method:-

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In particular, the TLC medium (thin layer chromatography) is not specified, but the method appears to be quite simple(It doesn't use any solvent elution, for example.)

A DIY version is sold by these people, (who also do a not very good, IMHO, magnetic oil filter device.)

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with a chart comparing oils at varying stages of degradation. There is no solvent elution. The medium isn't specified here either, probably for commercial reasons, but I thought it quite likely that it wasn't a TLC medium, and might just be filter paper.

Out of curiosity, I did a spot-test on Advantec Qualitative Filter Paper, and another on printer paper (probably "Paper One Premium Laser Copier", 70g/m sq., though I didn't take it straight out of the wrapper). The oil was cold, the engine not having run for 10 days, but there is the possibility of some disturbance due to the prior removal of the magnetic pickup tool above. The dipstick was held above the paper until a single drop fell off (slightly different to the "OneDrop" method, which touches). The oil was then left to spread for two days, and photographed.

Transmitted light, filter paper

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Incident light, filter paper

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Transmitted light, copier paper

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These photos aren't very clear (borrowed camera with the wrong lens), but there is a suggestion of a separation into a central darker (debris?) field with outer light brown and clear zones. These were clearer with the eye, and since the pictures were taken the spots have spread further and the central zone has formed a black ring. I suspect this ring is metallic and/or carbon particles.

The ring is more pronounced with (stirred up?) oil from a recently run engine, but, since this is thinner, the droplet had to be touched twice onto the medium to transfer a similar amount of oil.

While firm conclusions aren't possible, the appearance is closest to the non-degraded oil sample in the "reference" pictures, but with more debris.

EDIT: Actually, on a second look, I'd say it looks most like the "Good" reference pic of gearbox oil, perhaps because this engine is putting more than the expected amount of metallic debris into the oil, so is behaving more like a gearbox. ENDEDIT.

I'll have to see if I can get access to a decent microscope. And some TIME.
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PostSubject: Re: Lubricheck Oil Condition Monitoring Gizmo   Wed Feb 19, 2014 2:04 pm

Started thinking about this again recently. In all honesty, I rather like the idea of a pocket-sized gizmo that will hold my hand and spoon feed me the answer by flashing led lights. I was almost to the point of buying one, but their FAQ section smells like snake oil to me.

Good job with the filter paper. We're making progress. The next question is how to we interpret the results? Looking at the pictures you provided, I'm still clueless as to whether that oil is good, bad or okay. I'm not sure comparing it to a clean oil sample is a good reference either. All that tells us is the old oil has more deposits than the new oil. What we need to know is what level is acceptable/normal so we know when to change it out.

I thought I'd try doing a PH test using litmus paper. As I suspected it didn't work. It just stained the paper brown...

You can buy batter powered tester probes that gardeners stick into soil to measure PH and moisture levels. Do we think this could be any use for testing oil? Link below to see what I mean.

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PostSubject: Re: Lubricheck Oil Condition Monitoring Gizmo   Wed Feb 19, 2014 11:26 pm

How about a TDS meter?
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PostSubject: Re: Lubricheck Oil Condition Monitoring Gizmo   Thu Feb 20, 2014 12:00 am

You want theory? I got lots. What I'm short of is practical tests, and the time to do them.

You want speculation? I'd speculate that you MIGHT get some kind of result with pH/Universal Indicator paper by wetting it first (with distilled water) and then dipping it in oil and leaving it there for a while, or possibly spotting some oil on wet indicator paper

The idea here is some of the acids/bases will diffuse from the oil into the water phase (they wont mix). pH paper (and indeed the concept of pH itself) assumes an aquatic environment, and I don't think the indicator chemistry will work dry.

This isn't an industry- recognized technique but it might be worth a try.

There ARE recognized techniques for measuring pH (sort of) in oil. They use a bridging solvent (propanol IIRC) to get the acids into the water so you can measure them. You can get quite cheap pH meters so these techniques should be within DIY scope if one was sufficiently geeky.

I've got some links to methods, but don't have time to dig them out right now.

This is of course for general oil condition monitoring. Its not relevant to my particular issue (if it is an issue) because I've got metal in otherwise OK (I think) oil, and for that I'd probably need spectral analysis and/or particle counts, which aren't likely to be home science projects.
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PostSubject: Re: Lubricheck Oil Condition Monitoring Gizmo   Thu Feb 20, 2014 2:29 am

Justwatching wrote:
I'm still clueless as to whether that oil is good, bad or okay. I'm not sure comparing it to a clean oil sample is a good reference either. All that tells us is the old oil has more deposits than the new oil. What we need to know is what level is acceptable/normal so we know when to change it out.


Not sure that's strictly true. It's claimed that the appearance of the spots changes qualitatively (i.e. different shape and zoning) with degraded oil. Have a look at the reference pictures on the site I linked to.

Of course, its a subjective judgement perhaps requiring some skill, and you'd never run your own oil out to the extreme, though perhaps you might see it if you inherited an abused banger. My Sierra had some fairly treacly oil in it when I bought it, but I didn't keep a sample.
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PostSubject: Re: Lubricheck Oil Condition Monitoring Gizmo   Thu Feb 20, 2014 12:39 pm

Justwatching wrote:
How about a TDS meter?

Didn't know what that was, and now I only know what Wikipedia tells me, but it seems to be based on electrical conductivity. I'd guess there would be some increase with oil degredation/contamination, but dunno if standard meters would be sensitive enough. I also think that, like pH, it assumes an aqueous medium.

I THINK I've seen a patent by GM? McDonnel-Douglas? someone like that, for monitoring oil condition by conductivity/resistance. Think they had to use AC because otherwise the electrodes got polarised.
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PostSubject: Re: Lubricheck Oil Condition Monitoring Gizmo   Thu Feb 20, 2014 11:39 pm

So regarding the 'One Drop' link you posted, where does your oil sample fit? It doesn't look like any of them. It's too dark to be 'new' but lacks the outer ring to fit any of the other profiles. Or does it settle out differently due to a property of the medium they used? It's odd that they show the darkest ring on the outer edge. I thought the darker stuff would be particulate/contaminants, and thus settle near the middle due to weight.

Going to try your suggestion of wetting the litmus paper before adding the oil sample. That might just stain it brown again, in which case I'll try mixing the oil sample with water and dip the paper in the water, avoiding the oil.
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PostSubject: Re: Lubricheck Oil Condition Monitoring Gizmo   Thu Feb 20, 2014 11:43 pm

"who also do a not very good, IMHO, magnetic oil filter device"

It's the same principle as a magnetic drain plug (only better as the oil is actively brought to the magnet). Why don't you like it? Neat idea if you ask me.
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PostSubject: Re: Lubricheck Oil Condition Monitoring Gizmo   Fri Feb 21, 2014 4:16 am

Justwatching wrote:
So regarding the 'One Drop' link you posted, where does your oil sample fit? It doesn't look like any of them. It's too dark to be 'new' but lacks the outer ring to fit any of the other profiles. Or does it settle out differently due to a property of the medium they used? It's odd that they show the darkest ring on the outer edge. I thought the darker stuff would be particulate/contaminants, and thus settle near the middle due to weight.

Going to try your suggestion of wetting the litmus paper before adding the oil sample. That might just stain it brown again, in which case I'll try mixing the oil sample with water and dip the paper in the water, avoiding the oil.

Like I said, I think it looks most like "good" gearbox oil. Bearing in mind the "improvised" medium and the lousy photography, I think the oil would be pretty shiny-looking if it didn't have so much metal in it.

However, that sample was from the oil that was in the car when I bought it. I don't know for sure how old/used it was, or what brand, but the previous owners told me they'd had it serviced just before I bought it, and the service records I've had translated seem to confirm they had it dealer-serviced by the book at rather non-banger expense (while doing absolutely nothing about the rust that was killing it. Go figure)

Since then its had approx 2.4 oil changes (it had a big leak) on very low mileage, and still seems to be metallising its oil excessively.

Re the litmus, wetting the paper has the advantage of a low volume of water, with consequently short diffusion paths and low dilution. You might get some partitioning of acids into the water phase if you shake it up, but it'll likely be very dilute.

Re litmus, a few decades since I used it, but IIRC its a fairly binary 2-state acid or alkali test. You might be better off with Universal Indicator paper.

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PostSubject: Re: Lubricheck Oil Condition Monitoring Gizmo   Fri Feb 21, 2014 10:08 am

Justwatching wrote:


I'm still clueless as to whether that oil is good, bad or okay. I'm not sure comparing it to a clean oil sample is a good reference either. All that tells us is the old oil has more deposits than the new oil. What we need to know is what level is acceptable/normal so we know when to change it out.

I don't think I'd ever use this as a basis to extend an oil change interval, but I might use it as an additional way of keeping an eye on oil condition during the "normal" service period.

I might use it to evaluate my stash of old oil though, since I could thermally stress it on a hotplate (a lab would probably use an oven, but that might give the Sunday Roast a rather industrial quality) and run comparative time series with old and new oil.

Some other reports on the blotter test, including one on a gadget for numerical analysis of the spots. They use (effectively) a digital camera with direct incident light.

I wonder how well a colour flat-bed scanner would do? Got access to one, and it saves as a TIFF file, which is suitable for analysis software, unlike the lossy MPEG my cheapo camera does.

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Pitch for DIY blotter test, plus some other tests, some of which aren't within the scope of DIY

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Test kit required for a basic oil-testing lab, some of it quite simple

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Optical CCD camera-based device with direct lighting, used for numerical evaluation of the blotter test with image analysis software. Artificial thermal ageing of oil tested.

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Article on use by a bus company. Notes on interpretation and integration with lab analysis.

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bit more on the method in use at the above bus company.


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PostSubject: Re: Lubricheck Oil Condition Monitoring Gizmo   Fri Feb 21, 2014 10:56 am

Justwatching wrote:
"who also do a not very good, IMHO, magnetic oil filter device"

It's the same principle as a magnetic drain plug (only better as the oil is actively brought to the magnet). Why don't you like it? Neat idea if you ask me.

I don't like that implementation of it much, and I have some reservations about them in general, since I'm not clear that magnetised wear particles are something I'd want in my engine.

I did look into it a bit though. Some notes below, in case you're interested.

The standard lubrication system on cars is a piss-poor, minimum performance design, which OEM's apparently don't think it would be commercially rewarding to improve.

Magnetic oil cleaning seems to offer a relatively simple DIY way of improving it, and there are various commercially available magnetic add-ons to the standard spin-on filter. Some examples:-

These people [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] do a magnet that fits inside the filter, in the central outflow channel. Apparently not much to it, just pop a magnet in. Rather disappointingly from a flux density point of view, itís a ceramic (ďceramic-8Ē) magnet (though in this invasive location, temperature stability will be an issue with at least some grades of neodymium magnets.)

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The filter outlet channel seems the wrong place for a magnet, since if the wear particles are washed off by the relatively high oil flow there, there is no downstream physical filter to protect the bearing journals from the clumps of possibly magnetized wear particles.

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This appears to be an in-line post-filter device, incorporating some physical filtration along with a magnet, which may be an attempt to address the above concern. It apparently fits between the std spin-on base and its mounting, and is apparently consumable, lasting 50k miles. Website is rather short on detail.

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This design [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] differs in that it apparently has a large powerful neodymium magnet which is located outside the dome-end of the spin-on filter by a steel(?) coil. It seems possible that the magnetised coil transfers trapped particles down to the magnet, perhaps improving trapping efficiency and capacity (though I havnít seen that claimed).

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I'd be concerned that a very powerful magnet in that location might interfere with the operation of the filters internal bypass valve, which is often at that end of the filter

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A bandolier jacket of neodymium bar magnets around the circumference of the filter seems like a better design, and there are several commercially available

For example, these people [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]do a slap-on semi-cylinder filter jacket, apparently made up of bar magnets.

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I could just buy a pair of them but I don't really want to pay the shipping, and it looks improvisable if I can get the magnets in Taiwan?

Hard disks have strong neodymium magnets in them, and I've tried a couple of computer repair places, but no scrap HD's were apparently available.

This lot, in the UK [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] do a pretty wide range, and I could order from there, but I'd like to source locally if possible
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PostSubject: Re: Lubricheck Oil Condition Monitoring Gizmo   Fri Feb 21, 2014 2:14 pm

This whole time I though the centre was the out-flow †Headbang
I agree - with the magnet being downstream of the filter medium, it doesn't seem like such a good idea after all.

That magnetic filter jacket is way too expensive! DIY version for sure. This is a bit better in terms of price
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Surely you could just slap some magnets on without having to fabricate anything. All the outer rubber/plastic constructions don't appear to do anything in terms of holding the device in place.

RE PH testing: Using scarily cheap universal indicator strips I trialed the two previously discussed methods. I wet the first strip using tap water which turned it green (a little too green actually. Indicated PH level of about Cool, placed it inside a plastic ramekin and added one drop of engine oil. Whilst leaving that to do its thing, I gathered a few more drops of engine oil in another plastic dish, added a splash of water and mixed it around for a while before dipping an indicator strip in the water. Both methods produced some change, though the second test was very weak and so disregarded.

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The colours look darker in the photo than they do to the eye. The oil appeared to be a 5/6, so mildly acidic. The sample is from my 1990 Volvo 740 with approximately 6 months/3,000 miles on its current oil.
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