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Superior Shine
Apr 24th, 2005, 12:44 PM
Proper diagnosis of a vehicles finish is of the up most importance before a plan of attack can be made up. Misdiagnosis will cost you time, wasted product, possibly a damaged finish and as a pro. detailer, money.


The best tool you have is your brain. Nothing you can buy can substitute for proper training and knowledge of paint finishes and the products and tools to care for them.

You can buy a few things to help you though. To help me diagnose a vehicles finish I keep a little kit I made up of various tools to help me determine what condition a finish is in.

I store it all in a canvas bag. The kit includes a paint thickness gauge, xenon light, and an illuminated microscope. I also keep my TDS tester in there.

http://archive.meguiarsonline.com/gallery/data/500/184Auto_Detailing_053-med.jpg

http://archive.meguiarsonline.com/gallery/data/500/184Auto_Detailing_036-med.jpg

Superior Shine
Apr 24th, 2005, 12:50 PM
Here is an illuminated microscope you can get at radio shack. This is an older model that I bought about 10 years ago. The newer one looks a little different but works the same.

You will be amazed at what a painted surface looks like close up.

You can use this tool to determine if a finish is cracked, has overspray or to see if a scratch to too deep to remove.

http://archive.meguiarsonline.com/gallery/data/500/184Auto_Detailing_044-med.jpg

http://archive.meguiarsonline.com/gallery/data/500/184Auto_Detailing_045-med.jpg

Superior Shine
Apr 24th, 2005, 12:54 PM
To give you an idea if there is enough material on the vehicle to "play with" I use my ETG-1 paint thickness gauge.


This tool will give you a reading of all the material between the metal and the surface of the finish.

It will give you an idea if the panel has been refinished or buffed before.

http://archive.meguiarsonline.com/gallery/data/500/184Auto_Detailing_042-med.jpg

Superior Shine
Apr 24th, 2005, 01:02 PM
Then there is my XENON light . I love this thing.

Yesterday I polished a car that had bad buffer trails. They were easy to see in direct sun light.

http://archive.meguiarsonline.com/gallery/data/500/184Auto_Detailing_004-med.jpg


About half way through the job the skies turned over cast making it impossible to see the defects.

Out came my trusty XENON. I used it to check each panel after I polshed it to make certain that the defects were removed.

Here is a before and after pic of a panel iluminated with the XENON.


http://archive.meguiarsonline.com/gallery/data/500/184Auto_Detailing_029-med.jpg


http://archive.meguiarsonline.com/gallery/data/500/184Auto_Detailing_028-med.jpg

Superior Shine
Apr 24th, 2005, 01:07 PM
You can see in this pic how over cast it was outside. This pic was taken at about 11:00 am.

Nothing would be worst than pulling this car out of the garage on a sunny day to find buffer marks on it after the owner paid me to remove them.

With the use of my XENON I am confident that it will look good in any light.

http://archive.meguiarsonline.com/gallery/data/500/184Auto_Detailing_034-med.jpg

Superior Shine
Apr 24th, 2005, 01:15 PM
Last in my bag of tricks has nothing to do with diagnosis but helps me insure that I am using high quality ultra pure water to wash with.

Total desolved solids, TDS, are inpurities that make water hard and that will spot a finish.

Anthing above 150 ppm (parts pr million) is classified as hard water.

Here you see two glasses of water. They both look the same.

http://archive.meguiarsonline.com/gallery/data/500/184Auto_Detailing_041-med.jpg

When I take a reading of tap water from my home I get a reading of 221 ppm. This water will spot and possibly damage a painted surface.

http://archive.meguiarsonline.com/gallery/data/500/184Auto_Detailing_040-med.jpg

Here is a reading of deionized/ultra pure water, 0 ppm.
This water wil lnot spot.

http://archive.meguiarsonline.com/gallery/data/500/184Auto_Detailing_039-med.jpg

Superior Shine
Apr 24th, 2005, 01:19 PM
Cost----

Canvas bag $20 at sears.
ETG-1,$200 on EBAY, They cost about $400 new.
Micro scope, about $12.00 radio shack
Xenon light, $24.95 at lowes.
TDS tester, $19.99 on EBAY

So total is less than $300. I still want to add a laser thermometer to the mix.

Mike Phillips
Apr 24th, 2005, 01:30 PM
Hi Joe,

This is great information, also very professional. One of the things I like about our forum is the University Level information available here through the contributions of peoples such as yourself that you just cannot find on other forums.

:bow :bow :bow

Superior Shine
Apr 24th, 2005, 01:39 PM
One of the things I like about our forum is the University Level information available here through the contributions of peoples such as yourself that you just cannot find on other forums.


Thanks Mike.

Professor Joe at your service. :cool: LOL!!!

Tim Lingor
Apr 24th, 2005, 03:18 PM
Awesome post Joe!!! :bow :bow :bow

Using equipment like yours is what makes a Pro detailer!!

Tim

scrub
Apr 24th, 2005, 03:48 PM
Went out and got the micro scope tonight. $9.99 Radio Shack.

PLEASE make this a sticky for others to learn from.

Outstanding.

:bow Thank you Joe! :bow

RamAirV1
Apr 24th, 2005, 03:57 PM
Very informative thread! It makes us realize that lighting is everything when it comes to evaluating a finish.

I imagine there often cracks in the paint that the unaided human eye can't see but you can with the magnifier. Sort of advanced warning what's coming down the road.

How do you alter your wash routine if the water is very hard?

RamAirV1

Beercan31
Apr 24th, 2005, 08:05 PM
Joe

Awesome write up, not only what each tool does but a good picture to show the devise in use. Can you please get me some more info on your tools you displayed. I have found the Radio Shack Illuminated Microscope locally for $9.99 and I'm sure I'll fine the Xenon light at Lowe's locally also but as of yet I have not found the rest. The info that would help is who makes the ETG, TDS and Xenon light, also if there is a part number available.


Thank You

Superior Shine
Apr 24th, 2005, 08:34 PM
Automotive International (http://www.autoint.com/autostore/pc/viewPrd.asp?idcategory=0&idproduct=131) sells the ETG and I got the TDS on Ebay.


We don't really change the way we wash cars other than dry it right away but the pure water improves the quality of our wash. Also, water that drips from mirrors and moldings dry spot free.

George Wax
Apr 24th, 2005, 10:20 PM
Joe, good info for sure I plan to make the same kit you described here for my own use. You are the definition of a professional mobile detailer. I alway's talk to my friend's and co-worker's, and my brother about your work.

Scottwax
Apr 24th, 2005, 10:21 PM
Thank-you for sharing your knowledge of little known tools with us, Joe. I'm definitely going to be doing some shopping this week. The light will really come in handy come fall when the cloudy days seem to outnumber the sunny ones.

Alfisti
Apr 25th, 2005, 01:24 AM
Thanks for the great advice, Joe...very professional.

Looks like I'm going shopping! :xyxthumbs

2000
Apr 25th, 2005, 04:00 AM
wow, very informative and well explained. :xyxthumbs I feel like I've used them before just by your deminstration. great job.

Mosca
Apr 25th, 2005, 04:23 AM
For home users and hobbyists who don't want to spring the $20 for an electronic paint thickness gauge, there is a magnetic one avalilable for about $15. With proper technique, it is more than accurate enough for casual use. I'm on my way out the door, I'll try and post a pic tonight.


Tom

SteveT
Apr 25th, 2005, 05:19 AM
Is Xenon a brand name or type of light? Is it a halogen or some other type of light. I am looking for something that will help me see defects on silver easily. Right now direct sun light with a pair of sunglasses on is the way I find shows the most defects on silver. I can't see anything but severe defects when using halogen or flouresent (sp?). How well does the Xenon work on silver paint?

Superior Shine
Apr 25th, 2005, 07:12 AM
Man too bad I don't sell this stuff!!! Looks like everybody is going to buy at least one of the items I have in my kit.


Xenon is a type of light and not the name of the manufacture.

SteveT
Apr 25th, 2005, 11:03 AM
Originally posted by Superior Shine
Man too bad I don't sell this stuff!!! Looks like everybody is going to buy at least one of the items I have in my kit.


Xenon is a type of light and not the name of the manufacture.

How does it compare to a halogen on silver paint? Where would I get one and how much. I would really like a light source that shows defects on silver indoors or in the shade. Everything else I have tried doesn't work well. I am forced to use the sun or the yellow metal halide lights at the mall parking lot at night.

Superior Shine
Apr 25th, 2005, 11:43 AM
Havnt tried silver yet.

Bill D
Apr 25th, 2005, 11:56 AM
Oh boy, I had read about the xenon light here earlier and now I see it is at Lowe's. I better add it to the collection eventually. I presently use the 1000 watt halogen stand, a typical 75 to 100 watt incandescent trouble light, the fluorescent lighting in the garage, a fluorescent trouble light and a good old fashioned 200-300 watt incandescent trouble light.

If I even had the slightest doubt left that inspecting under various lighting isn't that involved, I fully know now I'm dead wrong. It's not joking when they say the inspection can take quite a bit longer than the actual detailing!

Oh and the lighted magnifier from Radio Shack: AFAIK they only have it in 60X + strength, was actually too strong for my liking. I took it back.

The original one mentioned in discussing this product, a 30X, is available from Auto Int also. It's $10.

Perhaps, an ETG may eventually be on the horizon too :D. However, I'd like to hear more about the very economical manual model Mosca finds plenty sufficient for crazed enthusiast use.

Alfisti
Apr 25th, 2005, 12:00 PM
Steve, I've never tried a Xenon light so I can't compare, but I use a metal halide light on a stand instead of the dual halogens I once relied on.

The metal halide shows up defects much better and directs minimal heat on the user.

scrub
Apr 25th, 2005, 01:24 PM
Originally posted by Superior Shine
Automotive International (http://www.autoint.com/autostore/pc/viewPrd.asp?idcategory=0&idproduct=131) sells the ETG...


What do you use for fiber glass bodies?

Superior Shine
Apr 25th, 2005, 02:18 PM
Paint thickness gauges are made for other materials as well. Aluminum, fiber glass, etc.... Expect to pay $1500-$2000 for one of those.

scrub
Apr 25th, 2005, 03:56 PM
Originally posted by Superior Shine
Paint thickness gauges are made for other materials as well. Aluminum, fiber glass, etc.... Expect to pay $1500-$2000 for one of those.

How will you handle that situation when it arises? I won't be able to shell out $1500-2000 just yet. Just wondering what you plan to do when you have to buff a vette or something. I'm sure you already have used a rotary on a vette though.

Thanks

SteveT
Apr 25th, 2005, 04:27 PM
Originally posted by Alfisti
Steve, I've never tried a Xenon light so I can't compare, but I use a metal halide light on a stand instead of the dual halogens I once relied on.

The metal halide shows up defects much better and directs minimal heat on the user.



Where did you get the metal halide light on a stand?

Superior Shine
Apr 25th, 2005, 04:46 PM
Originally posted by scrub
How will you handle that situation when it arises? I won't be able to shell out $1500-2000 just yet. Just wondering what you plan to do when you have to buff a vette or something. I'm sure you already have used a rotary on a vette though.

Thanks

Very carefully.

scrub
Apr 25th, 2005, 04:51 PM
Thanks again for the info. Tonight I got the carry bag and light. Next up is the ETG.

Where can the laser thermometer be purchased? How much too?

Thank you.

Bill D
Apr 25th, 2005, 06:20 PM
I've seen some decently priced infrared thermometers on Ebay and they run about $50 at Radio Shack.

Superior Shine
Apr 25th, 2005, 06:24 PM
Any mechanic tool supply shop should have them with RAYTECH being one of the more popular ones.

Ebay is an excellent source.

rusty bumper
Apr 26th, 2005, 10:59 PM
I like Joe's TDS tester.....Very convenient!

But there is another option.

Just go to a place that sells tropical fish, and ask for a water hardness test kit....I think they sell for less than $10.00.

But for simple convenience, it's hard to beat the TDS tester.

Does it have to be calibrated Joe?

Might could use one for my aquariums.

gb387
Apr 27th, 2005, 04:30 AM
This is great information... Thanks for the post!

:bounce :bounce :bounce :bounce

Tom Weed
Apr 28th, 2005, 05:50 AM
need some advice,

I went to Lowes looking for the Xenon spotlight that they had advertised for $22.00, as thier web page showed it to be in the store in my area. I could not find one, and the salesperson kept trying to talk me into one of the quartz halogen spotlights.

I told him that I would be using it to look for scratches and swirls in a cars finish when I wouldn't be able to view it in the sunlight. He didn't think the Xenon light would be the best for that.

So my question is, is the Xenon bulb better than a Quartz Halogen for identifying swirls, etc.?

Thanks everyone,

Tom

Superior Shine
Apr 28th, 2005, 07:56 AM
So my question is, is the Xenon bulb better than a Quartz Halogen for identifying swirls, etc.?

I have never compared the two.

Bill D
Apr 28th, 2005, 01:32 PM
Different lighting can reveal things others don't. Different lighting may also be better at spotting defects on different paints than others. I don't find my 1000 watt halogen stand to work well on my white car but it works great on my black. A hand held fluorescent light seems to do better on the white as does a good ol' 75-100 watt trouble light. I also have 200-300 watt halogen inspection lights. All a matter of experimenting and mixing and matching to see which combinations show you the most defects.

That xenon light sounds like a terrific addition to the defect spotting light collection :D

MichaelM
May 2nd, 2005, 11:05 AM
Where can the laser thermometer be purchased? How much too?

I got mine at Radio Shack for ~$50.

imacarnut
May 4th, 2005, 09:46 AM
i went to my local lowes and they didn't have the xenon light :mad:

Jimmy Buffit
May 19th, 2005, 09:00 AM
I got the same xenon light Joe pictured at Lowes yesterday. Guy in electrical said no, we don't have any xenon lights at all, period.
A little online research taught me that Lowes calls it a flashlight, and they are kept at the checkout area, along with MagLites, etc.

I've used this morniing and I like it alot. I use a 500 watt halogen on a stand, but the flexibility of the handheld unit lets me a great reflection from so many more angles!

I think it is equivalent to the halogen in terms of what it reveals, just so much more flexible.

Jim

Bill D
May 19th, 2005, 09:47 AM
Yes, Jim is correct. I just came back from ****** and got the xenon light :D

You can use it right out of the package but I am charging it now. I tried it in the garage and already saw a "spot I missed" that my other lighting sources neglected to reveal. So I'll go over that spot and throughly inspect the cars both inside and outside once the light is fully charged.

Oh boy, when I'm doing a complete detail now or just a spot repair I can now have quite an elaborate inspection procedure before I move on to the next panel using the halogens, the fluorescents, the two levels of incandescents and this xenon spot light! Off my rocker, oh yeah, for sure, I know :D

the other pc
May 19th, 2005, 09:58 AM
Originally posted by Rusty Bumper
I like Joe's TDS tester.....Very convenient!...Does it have to be calibrated ...?... First off, sorry about the nit-picky tone of this reply, it's a subject that's close to home for me. It both pays my mortgage and causes me endless headaches.

If you want to be really picky any measurement device has the potential to deviate out of its intended performance range and if the readings have any importance the instrument should be calibrated.

From a practical perspective many measurement devices are stable enough to provide useable performance in non-critical applications without routine calibration. It depends on the device, required measurement performance and the operating environment. Just about everybody expects to reset their watch every once in a while. Nobody wants to have to verify the accuracy of their thermostat or bathroom scale regularly.

The TDS meter is basically an electrical resistance meter. The technology used in them is quite stable and for non-critical uses it is possible to maintain usable accuracy for the life of the product. A pH meter, on the other hand, utilizes technology that is highly unstable and it is common practice to calibrate one every time it's used.

Calibration, or at least comparison with a similar unit, is a good idea every once in a while if it's at all feasible.


PC.

Mike Phillips
Sep 21st, 2005, 06:31 PM
***Bump***

Jim Hammill
Oct 5th, 2005, 08:12 AM
The paint magnifier is a great tool, here is an example that is similar to what you can expect to see.

http://www.advancedimagingpro.com/article/photos/1120231982725_aiSupp6_05micro2.jpg


It is great for identifying different contaminants and then using the correct procedure for removing them.

Jim Hammill.

Superior Shine
Aug 16th, 2008, 05:20 AM
***Bump***

oldie but a goodie ........:chuckle1

acsuppa
Aug 16th, 2008, 06:04 AM
Cost----

Canvas bag $20 at sears.
ETG-1,$200 on EBAY, They cost about $400 new.
Micro scope, about $12.00 radio shack
Xenon light, $24.95 at lowes.
TDS tester, $19.99 on EBAY

So total is less than $300. I still want to add a laser thermometer to the mix.

I'm looking into a paint thickness guage like your ETG-1. Very pricey but worth it. maybe If I ever get the Chance to do more side work for people, I'll get one. Unless I find a real good deal before that. The only thing I wonder is you'll never know how much clear you have on the panel. What if a panel was repaint and the paint was laid on thick. But the clear, wasn't? You wouldn't want to remove all the clear even though the base paint is thick. Am I looking at this the wrong way?

Superior Shine
Aug 16th, 2008, 08:24 AM
I'm looking into a paint thickness guage like your ETG-1. Very pricey but worth it. maybe If I ever get the Chance to do more side work for people, I'll get one. Unless I find a real good deal before that. The only thing I wonder is you'll never know how much clear you have on the panel. What if a panel was repaint and the paint was laid on thick. But the clear, wasn't? You wouldn't want to remove all the clear even though the base paint is thick. Am I looking at this the wrong way?

The paint thickness gauge is used to help you make an educated guess.

If find yourself polishing a refinished panel use cation and give it a light touch.

BlueZero
Aug 16th, 2008, 08:36 AM
oldie but a goodie ........:chuckle1

Thanks for the bump! I never saw this tread. I guess I should dig in the old threads every now and again, lots of great information.

Deaner5
Feb 5th, 2009, 09:34 PM
This is a great thread. I was searching for information on a Xenon light and this was one of the first that came up and it has great information for everyone.

I did have a question that goes with the TDS tester and deionized/pure water. Where exactly do you get pure water from? I mean is something like a Britta filter close? And what exactly do you need to get it. I'm just curious and hope everyone enjoys this thread.

Poki
Feb 6th, 2009, 08:07 AM
Joe the Pro sure takes the BS out of the "my polish is better than your polish" flaps.

Superior Shine
Apr 24th, 2009, 09:11 PM
This is a great thread. I was searching for information on a Xenon light and this was one of the first that came up and it has great information for everyone.

I did have a question that goes with the TDS tester and deionized/pure water. Where exactly do you get pure water from? I mean is something like a Britta filter close? And what exactly do you need to get it. I'm just curious and hope everyone enjoys this thread.

Deionization (DI)

Deionized water which is also known as demineralized water is water that has had its mineral ions removed, such as cations from sodium, calcium, iron, copper and anions such as chloride and bromide. Deionization is a physical process which uses specially-manufactured ion exchange resins which bind to and filter out the mineral salts from water. Because the majority of water impurities are dissolved salts, deionization produces a high purity water that is generally similar to distilled water, and this process is quick and without scale buildup.

DI tanks are keep on site and filter my tap water before use. A number of companys provide DI tank rental. I happen to use Siemens DI service.

10degreesbtdc
Apr 28th, 2009, 10:55 AM
Speaking of paint thickness gauges. I have a chance to buy a barely used PaintGage brand thickness gauge for $200. Are these any good? The website indicates it works on ferrous and non-ferrous metals. List $395, Ebay $295. Didn't meet the reserve of $250 in the auction.

Thanks in advance for the help.

specs: <table style="border-collapse: collapse;" bgcolor="#f3ebfe" border="1" bordercolor="#cccccc" cellpadding="2" cellspacing="0" width="680"><tbody><tr><td class="tabledatabold" bgcolor="#cccccc" width="28%">Fe-Probe:</td> <td class="tabledata" colspan="2" bgcolor="#cccccc"> Measurement on Steel</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="tabledatabold" bgcolor="#ffffff"> NFe-Probe:</td> <td class="tabledata" colspan="2" bgcolor="#ffffff"> Measurements on Aluminum (or Any Other Metal)</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="tabledatabold" bgcolor="#cccccc"> Range:</td> <td class="tabledata" colspan="2" bgcolor="#cccccc"> 0.0 to 40 mils (0 to 1000 µm)</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="tabledatabold" bgcolor="#ffffff"> Resolution:</td> <td class="tabledata" colspan="2" bgcolor="#ffffff"> 0.1 mils (2 µm ) High Resolution</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="tabledatabold" bgcolor="#cccccc"> Accuracy:</td> <td class="tabledata" colspan="2" bgcolor="#cccccc"> ± 0.1 mils + 3% (± 2 µm + 3%) of readings</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="tabledatabold" bgcolor="#ffffff"> Temperature range:</td> <td class="tabledata" bgcolor="#ffffff" width="14%"> Storage:</td> <td class="tabledata" bgcolor="#ffffff" width="58%"> -10°C to 60°C (14°F to 140° F)</td> </tr> <tr bgcolor="#ffffff"> <td>
</td> <td class="tabledata"> Operation:</td> <td class="tabledata"> 0° C to 60° C (32° F to 140° F)</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="tabledatabold" bgcolor="#cccccc"> Power Supply:</td> <td colspan="2" bgcolor="#cccccc"> Battery: 1 x 1.5V AAA Alkaline
</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="tabledatabold" bgcolor="#ffffff"> Dimensions: </td> <td class="tabledata" colspan="2" bgcolor="#ffffff"> 4.2" x 1.7" x 0.9" in. (110 mm x 45 mm x 23 mm)</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="tabledatabold" bgcolor="#cccccc"> Weight:</td> <td class="tabledata" colspan="2" bgcolor="#cccccc"> 2.7 oz. (70 g) Including batteries</td></tr></tbody></table>

10degreesbtdc
May 2nd, 2009, 04:54 PM
Guess I'll find out. Just bought it!

10degreesbtdc
May 6th, 2009, 09:20 AM
Another new tool! Seems accurate so far. :xyxthumbs

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v127/digitaljunkie/Detailing%20-%20Paint%20Correction/Tools/paintGage_thickness_meter1.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v127/digitaljunkie/Detailing%20-%20Paint%20Correction/Tools/paintGage_thickness_meter2.jpg