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What grease to avoid?

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#1 Hilmi

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 04:56 AM

OK, here goes. There has been many discussions about what grease to use, and most of the discussions are based on products with US brand names that might not be available under the same branding in other countries. I am still waiting for my replacement motors to be shipped to me since December 17th, meanwhile I have decided to clean up my mount to keep busy. So here goes.

What grease should I avoid? Don't tell me to get SuperLube, because they don't sell it here. I even went to ACE hardware across the border, that's a good 4.5 hours drive.

I decided the easiest way to find out what grease to buy within the constraints of the marketing brands available here is to know what properties to avoid in a grease. If it helps, I live in a hot country where in the summer it might get to 45 C in my observatory for 1 or 2 days a year and in the winter it gets down to no less than 17 C.

So, I figure the grease shouldn't run in the heat. How would I know the grease doesn't run in the heat? I don't want to go by trial and error. I am looking for something like for dummies recommendations. For example, I have at home a spray on lithium grease and a spray on dry lubricant for bicycles, I think it's Teflon based. Would any of these do the job?

#2 biz

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 06:11 AM

I'm down In NZ and with the mild climate in my area, superlube is what I use.. Now as you mentioned that you cant get it then perhaps you could look for a substitute. It is a multi-purpose, heavy duty, synthetic with PTFE.. A very good product indeed but there must be other brands similar that you could use.. also, personaly I would not use lithium based grease.
cheers.
Graham.

#3 Midnight Dan

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 07:24 AM

Hi Himli:

I can't recommend a local substitute for Superlube since I don't live there, but there are many online sources for Superlube. Perhaps you could find one that would ship it to you? Another grease that is recommended by one high-end mount manufacturer is Lubriplate 105 - again available online.

In general, I would avoid spray-on lubes. They tend to be thinner and are optimized for quick delivery through a pressurized system, not for long life in a sealed environment.

In terms of general qualities, you just want a high quality, synthetic grease with a wide temperature operating range. Lubriplate 105 is marketed as an "engine assembly" grease if that helps. Avoid cheap brands, and look for something that is made by a manufacturer which sells a range of greases specifically designed for different purposes or environments. A manufacturer like that will be more like to produce high quality greases that perform well.

-Dan

#4 mega256

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 09:25 AM

Himli
This ships worldwide
http://www.ebay.com/...476577?pt=LH...

#5 Hilmi

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 01:34 PM

So super lube is a Teflon based Lubricant. That a start. If I cant find something I will order super lube Online

#6 Billydee

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 03:38 PM

If you know any telescope shop in your country, please ask what they use and where they buy it. If not, try a machine shop and ask they what they use that is like SuperLube. If not try an aircraft repair shop.

Luck, Bill

#7 Hilmi

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 01:18 AM

I'd save a few hundred to a couple of thousand dollars in shipping each year if we had a local telescope store :(

That's why I am now so into finding local alternative products.

#8 EFT

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 02:56 PM

Take a look at the specs for SuperLube and see what you can come up with that is similar. There are some bike lubricants that might work, but you want a grease, not a liquid since the liquid will not stay in place. Teflon based, synthetic with good temperature properties is the key in general. There are some very expensive lubes out there, but it is not worth spending that much. In addition, you need only a small amount. A 3 ounce tube of SuperLube is enough for me to lube a good number of mounts. The 1/2 ounce that I include with kits is plenty for a mount.

Do not use lithium or white lithium lubes as they dry out and turn to clay over time. Petroleum based greases (often used by mount manufacturers) are poor performers in heat, tend to break down and separate and require replacement far too often.

#9 Billydee

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 04:42 PM

Hilmi,

Ed Thomas has a great idea, find a bike shop. Their lubes should work. The wheel and headset bearings are open sets and carry about the same loads at the same speeds as a G-ll. I well remember "Phils's" bike grease in a tube, it works and cleans up with ease.

Luck, Bill

#10 Midnight Dan

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 05:21 PM

I wouldn't agree with the bike shop idea. Greases are designed to work in specific environments and meet specific needs and tradeoffs are made to accommodate those needs.

Bikes need to have grease that works well in wet/muddy conditions, but it doesn't have to stay on and maintain integrity for long periods of time or in very cold temperatures. On bikes it doesn't matter if it doesn't hold up for months or years and the grease manufacturers assume that you will reapply it regularly.

These are very different design goals than what you need in a mount and I wouldn't be confident that those greases would work well long term. Just my 2 cents.

-Dan

#11 Bart

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 05:54 PM

Try to find something locally. Meanwhile, order superlube online.

#12 DavidNealMinnick

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 01:02 PM

This product has an effective temp range of -45 to 450F: Lubriplate

#13 EFT

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 02:12 PM

This product has an effective temp range of -45 to 450F: Lubriplate


That's about the same range as SuperLube only more expensive.

#14 Starhawk

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 02:34 PM

Huh? Not the Teflon based bike lubes I have used. Take a look at something like this. Ed, please comment if there is something you don't like, here:

http://www.rei.com/p...ease-35-oz-tube

-Rich

I wouldn't agree with the bike shop idea. Greases are designed to work in specific environments and meet specific needs and tradeoffs are made to accommodate those needs.

Bikes need to have grease that works well in wet/muddy conditions, but it doesn't have to stay on and maintain integrity for long periods of time or in very cold temperatures. On bikes it doesn't matter if it doesn't hold up for months or years and the grease manufacturers assume that you will reapply it regularly.

These are very different design goals than what you need in a mount and I wouldn't be confident that those greases would work well long term. Just my 2 cents.

-Dan



#15 Billydee

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 08:47 PM

I agree with Rich, bike grease is very high quality and comes in many top line lubrication products. Phils is repackaged lubrimatic (available at Lowe's in 1 lb tubs for $2.99), RingDrive, Kytox and Finishline teflon are just a few of the very high quality bike products. These work in bearings that are like Losmandy usage (open caged) and in the same weight range (20 to 200 lb) and speed range. These products have the same viscosity needs and are usually cleaned and repacked about once a year.

Luck, Bill

#16 Hilmi

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 11:51 PM

Now bike grease in different varieties I can definitely find here with ease. I'll dig up what types of shimano grease they have available as that's the most commonly available here.

#17 orion61

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 11:07 AM

I found an excelent lube. it is expensive.
P.A.O. Synthetic lube is great! it is thin in Very Cold weather and it does not thin in the heat. its kind of a NASA type multi lube I get it on EbAy, It is about $6.00 an ounce tho!

#18 ///^**^\\\

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 02:04 PM

There are tons of Bike lube products. Some which may not be a good choice for mounts.

On the other hand there are bike lube products that are simply the finest instrument lubricant availible commercially. Flourinated oils and greases of all types of weights. Generally bike racing lubes are pretty light to eliminate any running drag caused by heavier automotive type lubes.

So any good racing headset/bottom bracket lube will be a light year ahead of what the chinese use in the mounts.

#19 Midnight Dan

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 02:36 PM

"Light" is not necessarily a good characteristic in a mount grease. A light grease promotes low friction, especially at high speeds - like you'd find in a bike. For example, some mounts rely on the grease having a certain amount of body which produces smoother motion (and smoother PE) at the expense of a small amount of added friction. To a mount, that added friction is nothing - to a bike rider it is everything. On the other hand, bike riders don't care a bit about periodic error. Different design goals, different grease.

The issue with bike grease is not that it's lower quality. There are both low and high quality greases in the bike world, just like any other area where lubrication is used. The issue is different design goals. In whatever situation you use grease, you want one that is designed to meet the needs of your equipment. If you can ascertain that the grease you've selected meets the needs of your mount, then a good quality bike grease is as good as a good quality grease used in any other market.

Nothing wrong with bike greases at all. But to meet the very different needs of an astronomy mount, the safest bet is to stick with greases that are recommended by the best manufacturers, or have been tried and found effective by the larger community of mount owners.

Just my 2 cents.
-Dan

#20 Billydee

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 08:17 PM

Dan,

You miss his major point. He could not find any grease in the country he is in. Finally he has an option. "Bike Grease".

Bill

#21 Starhawk

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 08:23 PM

well, "Teflon bike grease" or "Fluorinated Bike Grease" I was surprised to see a mention of krytox- very good grease, expensive, but only a little is needed. If you can find it, it lasts and lasts.

-Rich

#22 hectar

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 10:52 PM

Here are my 10¼ grease suggestions, in general:

1. Read the motor/telescope manufacturer's specifications and requirements for lubrication and find out what they recommend, then try to find/match greases meeting their specs.
2. Avoid no names ( ie buy brand names only, eg shell, chevron etc.)
3. Avoid those which are not approved by the NLGI (National lubricating grease Institute) or not certified.
4. Read the test data of greases available there. google them, its easy.
5. If buying online, avoid ebay, dot coms without brick and mortar address, companies without street addresses (eg PO boxes), non legit fax/phone numbers etc.
(You dont want to use sub-standard grease to void manufacturers warranty??)
6. Avoid black or brown greases, its hard to tell the color change (when grease gets overloaded/depleted, its color turns brown/black)
7. Use greases which had additional words "EP" (extreme pressure) grade mentioned on them.
8. Use greases which are water resistant if its open/exposed to the environment (eg Lithium based greases are usually recommended by the most manufacturers)
9. In addition to above, use greases which are meeting the operating temperature requirements (you will find this info in the test data published by the grease manufacturer).
10. When pumping grease to the bearings, avoid pumping excessive amounts. Bearings would fail if packed up full/too much. (Assuming that there are grease fittings on the motor, I am not sure how the grease would be applied in your case)
10¼.. Do not mix two different greases. Remove the old one totally and then apply new one.


BTW, I dont have my observatory yet but I have been working past ten years for a industrial manufacturer and we use "Chevron Delo EP NLGI 2" grease on various pumps, a/c motors and steam turbine bearings (ball/spherical roller bearings). They buy it in bulk and cartridges both. It's blue in color, Water resistant, NLGI approved, 11% Lithium complex based, has operating temperature range of -18°C(Minimum)(0°F) to 177°C(Maximum) (350°F), Dropping point is 265°C (509°F) and Kinematic viscosity is 189cst at 40°C.


my 2¢

#23 EFT

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 11:37 PM

Here are my 10¼ grease suggestions, in general:

1. Read the motor/telescope manufacturer's specifications and requiremnets for lubrication and find out what they recommend, then try to find/match grases meeting their specs.
2. Avoid no names ( ie buy brand names only, eg shell, chevron etc.)
3. Avoid those which not approved by the NLGI (National lubricating grease Institute) or not certfied.
4. Read the test data of greases availble there. google them, its easy.
5. If buying online, avoid ebay, dot coms without brick and mortar address, companies without street addresses (eg PO boxes), non legit fax/phone numbers etc.
(You dont want to use sub-standard grease to void manufacturers warranty??)
6. Avoid black or brown greases, its hard to tell the color change (when grease gets overloaded/depleted, its color turns brow/black)
7. Use greases which had additional words "EP" (extreme pressure) grade mentioned on them.
8. Use greases which are water resistant if its open/exposed to the environment (eg Lithium based greases are usually recommended by the most manufacturers)
9. In addition to above, use greases which are meeting the operating temperature requirements (you will find this info in the test data published by the grease manufacturer).
10. When pumping grease to the bearings, avoid pumping excessive amounts. Bearings would fail if packed up full/too much. (Assuming that there are grease fittings on the motor, I am not sure how the grease would be applied in your case)
10¼.. Do not mix two different greases. Remove the old one totally and then apply new one.


BTW, I dont have my observatory yet but I have been working past ten years for a industrial manufacturer and we use "Chevron Delo EP NLGI 2" grease on various pumps, a/c motors and steam turbine bearings (ball/spherical roller bearings). They buy it in bulk and cartridges both. It's blue in color, Water resistant, NLGI approved, 11% Lithium complex based, has operating temperature range of -18°C(Minimum)(0°F) to 177°C(Maximum) (350°F), Dropping point is 265°C (509°F) and Kinematic viscosity is 189cst at 40°C.


my 2¢


Well, I will have to add my 2 cents based on my experience tuning mounts.

1. This is fine except that most manufacturers of consumer level mounts tell you nothing in this regard.
2. "No name" depends a lot on how far you want to take this. SuperLube is from Synco Chemical Corporation which was founded in 1980. Not particularly old, but good enough in my opinion.
3. I can't comment on NLGI or its relevance under these circumstances.
4. Test data is interesting but may need to be extrapolated to the relatively low demand operations in telescope mounts as opposed to the more common high rpm uses tested.
5. Any greasing you do on your own will void the average telescope mount warranty because any work you do on your own will void the warranty. We buy most astronomy gear from .com companies these days so brick and motor is not a necessary requirement.
6. I agree that avoiding black or brown greases is a good idea. In addition, many of these greases are petroleum based anyways and are not a good choice. However, do realize that most light or clear synthetic greases will darken almost immediately upon use in telescope mounts where significant amounts of soft cast aluminum are present in the housings or the gears themselves.
7. EP greases are not necessary as such pressures do not exist in the average telescope mount. These are not universal joints or construction equipment we are working with here and these types of grease might easy gum things up making rotation more difficult in critical areas similar to the gunk (similar to damping grease) that some manufacturers have used in their mounts.
8. Water resistance is in deed a good quality. Many of the bearings used in mounts turn very freely with no grease at all, but without grease they also tend to rust easily. Water repellant or proof greases are needed to avoid this.
9. Grease that will not degrade in temperatures well below zero F and above 125 F are definitely the best bet, but these ranges can be adjusted depending on whether you live in the frozen north or hot south.
10. Do not pump grease into mount bearings. It will simply be too much grease for the slow motions involved and stiffen up the mount making balancing difficult. If fact, I don't recommend opening sealed bearings and trying to clean them out and regrease them since you are more likely to introduce contamination that improve things. If you don't mind spending a lot, you can install full ceramic bearings and avoid all grease use and get the most free motion possible, but you will pay a steep (and unnecessary) price to do so.
10.25 Agreed. Mixing grease is bad. One grease (or its components) can react with another to render them ineffective. However, at least some synthetic greases are fairly non-reactive and thus, while cleaning as much of the old grease out as possible is best, you don't have to go nuts doing it.

P.S. It is best to avoid changing the subject of a post in a thread because it can make you post difficult for anyone to find.

P.P.S. I don't have any particular problem with the bicycle grease idea as long as it is sufficiently grease like (as opposed to oil like) to stay where it is put. The big think with bike grease is that it can be fairly expensive, but you have to use what you can get.

#24 Hikari

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 12:04 AM

Elbow grease--I avoid it like the plague...

#25 EFT

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Posted 16 January 2013 - 12:16 AM

Elbow grease--I avoid it like the plague...


Considering I'm going in for elbow surgery on Monday, I'm know that I'm going to want to avoid it, but until then I'm going to use as much as possible. :smirk:






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