Recently, a customer described using his tank all-day, non-stop. We were very interested here at UBP - we'd never actually ran tests that simulated that condition!
IMPORTANT - These are DURESS tests!
- OPERATORS SHOULD NEVER LEAVE A BALL IN THE BATH - BEFORE OR AFTER CLEANING
- NO BALL SHOULD BE RUN CONTINUOUSLY FOR MORE THAN 30 MINUTES
- The test condition was setup in my living room. The reasoning for this was that the temperature at our warehouse was not equivalent to the temperature of your common pro-shop. We expect that 65-70 degrees is what is found in normal conditions.
The house thermostat was set at 70 and multiple standalone digital temperature gauges around the room and area agreed with the termostat reading.
- Considering that we wanted a test ball that had a large weight block, similar coverstock and found commonly, I chose a Covert Ops I had sitting around for the ball to test with. I drilled into the center of the ball and inserted an ultra-sensitive temp sensor and then refilled the hole with RTV gasket material. The sensor wiring was run to a tank display.
- Using a sensor common for air measurements - I ran up into the electronics area (the Power Bay I call it) with the wiring through a air hole vent in the base. The other end was connected to the panel of its own tank display.
- Relying on the in-wall sensor already in the tank, 2 MORE in-tank sensors were added. One at the top of the tank bath away from the heater element, and another at the bottom of the tank bath- also away from the heater element. Both additional in-tank sensors were wired to their own digital display.
- Using these SIX sensors (and a gun sensor too) - first I baselined the tanks. All equipment was left untouched for 24 hrs to equalize and stabilize. As expected - all sensors showed 68 or 70 degrees.
- Next I added the hot water (~11:31am) and turned the tank heater on. I use hot-water simply to speed the process of bringing the tank bath temperate to 125 as quickly as possible. We already know the heating rate of our heating system! The water directly from my home water heater is 119 degrees. It is a fairly common home water temperature output at the tap. (At most 2 degrees higher than your average hot water tap, but my source is only 6 feet from the home water tank!). I took readings on the tank about every 5-10 minutes. As expected, the tank temperature climbed quickly from 70 to 125 in about 35 minutes. All THREE in-tank sensors showed nearly identical readings at each measurement.
As expected, the Power Bay sensor also climbed - going from 68 to 89 degrees. The system fan was running, air flow was good and sound level was normal.
- I took the ball and set it into the bath, on a caddy (~12:43pm). The sensor had been placed so the cable would come out the top, while all finger and thumb holes were in their normal position- submerged and filled with the bath. At this time - the tank ultrasonics were NOT turned on. Tank lid was shut.
- Taking measurements ~ every 15 minutes, I monitored the ball core temperate. I expected core temperature to rise but had no real idea of the rate of rise. After 1 hour, core temperature only reached ~82 degrees!
Having had the ball in the bath with the tank heater on, the bath sensors all reflected the expectation - the bath temperate declined as the ball absorbed some heat, then stabilized as the tank heater responded to the drop. The process of equalizing the bath back to 125 took ~ 20 minutes and was just as expected and designed.
- Now the tank was turned on (~1:43pm). Temperature readings were taken about every 15 minutes, documenting all 6 sensors. Each time the machine would end a cycle, I would immediately restart the machine effectively running continuously. (I have the rewiring information to enable a tank to run continuously but it was way too much work!). For three hours the ball was cleaned and measurements were taken.
- The ball was removed from the tank and set on the floor. (~4:46pm). The tank heater was turned off, and I had to leave.
- I returned about 6 hours later. Another documentation of the ball temperature was made - SIX HOURS and the ball was STILL hot at core!
... are – educational to say the least!
Balls sitting in a hot tank prior to run is not impactful. (I had to know) - I sat a ball in 125 for 1 hr. the ball barely registered any increase at core.
A ball run for 30 mins showed an increase of core temperature – nothing odd, just an expected increase. (core reached 94 degrees).
Running a ball for 3 straight hours non-stop is a really bad idea! Water temp climbed and wouldn’t recede.
Review the graph to see incredible and unexpected results. These results beg some very obvious questions.
Where did all this heat come from?
Why was ball core temperature so hot?
Why was the tank temperature above the setting?
Did the heat in the Power Bay increase the tank bath temperature?
It seems very obvious that the ultrasonic waves seem to excite the core material and actually generate heat. This ball core heat, then disappates into the bath, causing the bath temperature to rise in an effort to equalize. Because the tank is super efficient at retaining heat, the bath water temperature rises in response to the ball core temperatures' continual, gradual increase. The extra heat in the Power Bay was from the disappation of the tank, not the other way around. If the tank temperature held at 125, the Power Bay would expectedly stay slightly cooler.
The ball core temperature, after 4 hours in the tank bath, hit 191 degrees at core! (and BTW – it did not crack, although I really expected it too!)
No one should ever run a ball for 4 hours!
We know that the common cause of cracking and breaking of bowling balls is temperature differentials. A ball gets delivered and brought in from the cold outside to a warm inside. For example - I used to argue with coach Fantini that 15 mins was enough to clean a ball. Some tests I’ve done in the past showed only small amounts of oil come out from the 15 min – 30 min mark but between you and me I consider it negligible. I run balls for 10 mins. That’s it! I used to recommend 30 because that’s what all the other cleaners ran for. I think the power of my machine is so substantial that 15 mins is all that’s necessary. This is not my public statement – yet.
So what have we learned?
- Balls should never be run for more than 30 minutes. There is no need and the risk to crack becomes exponentially higher after the 38 min mark.
- Balls should never be left in tank after cleaning *IMPORTANT*
- The Power Bay cooling is not as impactual as originally suspected.
- The Tank top/bottom and side temperatures never deviate more than 7 degrees. The tank differences were greater when a ball was inside the tank - less convection current to move the heat around.
- There is no need to pre-heat the ball. AS LONG AS THE BALL STARTS AT ROOM TEMPERATURE (core AND coverstock!). Customers and Operators must be aware that balls coming from a garage, or car/truck trunk could be nearly frozen at the center core, but still feel near room temperature on the outside surface after 2 hours of sitting! And one thing I know for sure – customers… fudge.
- Remove the ball as soon as it’s done. Air temp will bring the ball temp down faster than if you leave it after it has been cleaned. Since the tank temp is +125 degrees, balls will not cool until you remove them – and the tank won’t either as the ball acts to keep the tank warm!
- Let your machines cool if they start getting real hot. To me, bath temperature of 130 degrees is no big deal but technically it is hot. One customer pours a cup of cold water in to speed the cooling between operations.
- Future tank improvement will be cooling fins to help equalize the tank during heavy operations. (Planned for 2020!)
I am going to publish my results data. A) to prove my tank is safe when used as designed and B) to show I’m still learning and improving it!
Thanks for reading and letting me bore you!