- Written by Rick Schmidt
- Published on 01 October 2012
Insert your dirty record in the top slot, give it a slight turn to the left to make sure the little rubber squeegees are lined up – i.e., not folded over at the corner. These little squeegees will remove cleaning fluid from the spinning disc on the part that is emerging from the bath.
Press the red start button. The length of the cleaning process is easily selectable by the length of time the start button is held down. As you hold the button down the number of beeps tells you the number of minutes of cleaning - one to five. The dry time is an additional couple of minutes on top of whatever you select.
As the cleaning begins the cleaning fluid is pumped up from an internal reservoir to about the level of the run-out track on the record, well clear of the label. Each side of the record is embraced by a pair of round white brushes. The brushes spin quickly, bathed in the fluid along with the record, as the record is spun slowly around. Somewhere deep in the machine the fluid is excited by ultrasonic waves. As the wet side of the record emerges from the machine on the other side, the rubber squeegees keep the fluid from leaving the machine. This is key. Conceivably the Vinyl Cleaner would all work just as well without this little feature but then the top half of the record would be wet, and the fluid would run down onto the label. Isn't this a problem with the Spin Clean? I would think so but it doesn't seem to bother people.
After the selected cleaning cycle the drying cycle begins, this lasts about two minutes and is slightly louder than the cleaning cycle. The record is spun a little faster as the fans mounted on the upper right (from the front) of the machine dry the record. A series of beeps announce that the record is ready to play.
I have found that if I leave a record in the machine for a long while after the cleaning is done the very bottom part of the record will have a couple of drops of moisture. I dry it with a micro fiber cloth that I keep handy for this.
When the machine is not in use you certainly will want to have some sort of dust cover over the top to keep the inner workings clean. The Vinyl Cleaner comes with a cloth dust cover. This cover lets some water evaporate from the machine and so I have found that I have to refill a bit from time to time. Not too bad but I typically don't notice when fluid is needed until I try to clean a record. I also had an incident where the machine seemed to be on strike - the brushes come up but they would not engage with the record and did not spin. I was worrying that I would have to send the machine back for repairs but eventually figured out that a gentle nudge got the brushes unstuck and back to work. I contacted Robert Stein from The Cable Company about this and he said yes the machines do develop personalities and may need such nudging occasionally but they keep on working and if not, the manufacturer is good about repairs and replacing.