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transformer oil

Discussion in 'Electronic Repair' started by James Sweet, Mar 3, 2008.

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  1. James Sweet

    James Sweet Guest

    Will ordinary 10w30 motor oil work ok as transformer oil? This is for some
    HV experimenting, not any sort of commercial or permanently installed
    product. It's thermally stable and not particularly flammable, but I don't
    know how the various additives affect the insulating properties. Is there a
    better choice that I can pick up locally for a reasonable price?
     
  2. Mineral oil.

    Jonesy
     
  3. James Sweet

    James Sweet Guest


    Isn't that primarily what motor oil is? I can get small bottles of clear
    mineral oil at the pharmacy, but it would cost a fortune to get the gallon
    or two I need.
     
  4. Dave Platt

    Dave Platt Guest

    [/QUOTE]
    Motor oil usually contains a complex series of additives, which might
    or might not be compatible with electrical applications.

    I certainly wouldn't want to buy mineral oil in quantity in the sort
    of pint bottles you find at a pharmacy... too expensive that way. The
    least expensive place to get pure mineral oil is probably a veterinary
    supply store. It's used as a laxative for animals. The cheapest
    online price I see in Google is under $11/gallon, which is reasonably
    competitive with motor oil.

    Food-grade and animal-grade mineral oil would lack the possible
    toxicity issues which might come with the additives in motor oil.
     
  5. PeterD

    PeterD Guest

    Motor oil usually contains a complex series of additives, which might
    or might not be compatible with electrical applications.

    I certainly wouldn't want to buy mineral oil in quantity in the sort
    of pint bottles you find at a pharmacy... too expensive that way. The
    least expensive place to get pure mineral oil is probably a veterinary
    supply store. It's used as a laxative for animals. The cheapest
    online price I see in Google is under $11/gallon, which is reasonably
    competitive with motor oil.

    Food-grade and animal-grade mineral oil would lack the possible
    toxicity issues which might come with the additives in motor oil.[/QUOTE]

    If you want to go cheaper, get hydraulic oil. It is about 10 wt (bit
    thinner than 30 motor oil) but has virtually no additives.
     
  6. James Sweet

    James Sweet Guest

    Cool, thanks, I ought to be able to find that locally. The thing I'm trying
    to avoid is shipping, these days it will double the cost of a gallon of oil
    which is irritating.
     
  7. Arfa Daily

    Arfa Daily Guest

    A lot of motor oil is totally synthetic now. I wonder what the electrical
    and RF characteristics of it are like, compared to traditional motor oil.
    Does this synthetic stuff have all of the cling enhancing additives and
    whatnot in it, or is it formulated to be superior in this respect in the
    first place ? In fact just what *is* it made of ? It seems to stay an awful
    lot cleaner than 'real' engine oil. I have used conventional stuff for
    cooling a high power RF dummy load, and have not had any high voltage issues
    with it. It would be interesting to do a microwave oven test on both normal
    and synthetic motor oil to see how bad they are at absorbing RF.

    Arfa
     
  8. James Sweet

    James Sweet Guest


    While getting a little off topic http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synthetic_oil

    It does seem to hold up better. I run it in my cars, it makes a difference,
    especially in the one with the old oil cooled turbo, that thing glows orange
    when worked hard and would cook conventional oil dark black in 3K miles, now
    I run synthetic for 5K and it's only brown by the time I change it.
     
  9. Jamie

    Jamie Guest

    ha
    I know some one that owns a dodge Ram that now should have well over
    100K miles on it..

    After the first 5k miles or so, he started to use 100% synthetic oil,
    and all he does at oil changes is replaces his filter and adds to what
    ever he loses in the process.
    He has well over 100K doing this. His engine sounds like new still and
    has never had any thing done to it other than normal things that break
    down like starters, alternators, belts, hoses etc..
     
  10. Ross Herbert

    Ross Herbert Guest

    :Will ordinary 10w30 motor oil work ok as transformer oil? This is for some
    :HV experimenting, not any sort of commercial or permanently installed
    :product. It's thermally stable and not particularly flammable, but I don't
    :know how the various additives affect the insulating properties. Is there a
    :better choice that I can pick up locally for a reasonable price?
    :


    Perhaps you should first do some reading on the properties of transformer oil
    before making an arbitrary decision to use automotive grade oil in your
    transformer. The old and venerable J&P Transformer Book has good information on
    this subject. Using the wrong oil may compromise your transformer - and your
    insurance if it bursts into flames.

    Long url so watch line wrap.

    http://books.google.com.au/books?id...sig=XgLKbHHlA3M-7JJZcbCT7tp7DZI&hl=en#PPP1,M1
     
  11. James Sweet

    James Sweet Guest



    Hey that looks like a pretty handy book.

    LOL as for insurance, if they saw the "transformer" in the first place,
    they'd probably crap a brick sideways. I think the oil bursting into flames
    is the least of my worries with this unarguably dangerous concoction. At any
    rate it will never be used for more than a few tens of seconds at a time,
    and only while closely supervised. What fun is life without a little risk of
    being vaporized?
     
  12. hr(bob)

    hr(bob) Guest

    How about giving us a little bit more of a clue as to what you're
    hatching!
     

  13. Don't you have a oil wholesaler or transformer shop in your area?
    Sometimes a call to your electric company can get you a quart or two
    from the bottom of a 55 gallon drum for free. They have to top off and
    change the oil in large transformers from time to time and buy it in
    bulk. The last time I needed some, I got it from the R&D lab at a local
    Steel mill, in Ohio.


    --
    Service to my country? Been there, Done that, and I've got my DD214 to
    prove it.
    Member of DAV #85.

    Michael A. Terrell
    Central Florida
     
  14. James Sweet

    James Sweet Guest

    How about giving us a little bit more of a clue as to what you're

    6 matched microwave oven transformers in series to provide approx 12KV at 10
    KVA or so. I've seen it done, with the transformers submerged in oil to
    prevent arcing to the core. It only needs to run for a short period to
    bombard a neon tube, mostly around 300mA output, but ideally I'd like to get
    around 800mA max. The whole thing will be powered by a 50A 240V circuit with
    the current regulated by an arc welder in series with the output shorted.

    The alternative would be winding my own transformer, but I already have a
    pile of MOTs and they were free.

    Yes, the output from this thing would be absolutely lethal if touched, do
    not attempt this at home.
     
  15. James Sweet

    James Sweet Guest


    That's another thought. There's probably one out in downtown Seattle
    somewhere, most of those sort of places are only open during the 9-5 period
    I'm at work so it's probably easier to just mail order it unless I can find
    something suitable at a hardware store or something else local that's open
    evenings or weekends.
     
  16. If I wasn't going to the trouble to find transformer oil, which is mineral
    oil based with a high flashpoint, my 2nd choice would be mineral oil as
    somebody else stated, 3rd choice would be automatic transmission fluid
    before using motor oil. The detergent properties of motor oil which keeps
    contaminants in suspension could compromise it's insulating qualities.
     
  17. A lot of motor oil is totally synthetic now.

    No, most of it is still petroleum-based. But almost every oil company has a
    synthetic product.
     
  18. Why don't you just find a company dumping its PCBs in the local lake, and
    pick up some?

    ---- The Lady from Philadelphia
     
  19. Arfa Daily

    Arfa Daily Guest

    Sorry William, but that's just pedantic semantics ...

    Apart from which, I haven't owned a car in god knows how many years, that
    hasn't specified a synthetic product for its lubrication.

    Arfa
     
  20. "A lot" suggests a high percentage -- perhaps 25%. I doubt 25% of all motor
    oil sold is synthetic. Or even 20%.

    You said "specified". You mean that synthetic oil was supplied with the
    vehicle, and was the preferred lubrication?
     
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