I have spent way too much money on bearings and am continuously amazed by their performance right when I get them or after maybe one cleaning, but many of them severely degrade in spin time after relatively short periods, something like 1 - 15 hours of continuous play, depending.
The longest spinning bearings I’ve had are the YYF Gold Centertrac and the NSK Platinum bearings. Both arrive dead quiet and dry spin on a yoyo hub for 20+ seconds. Now I’m lucky to get 10 seconds after cleaning. My Difeyo KK Ceramic bearing initially worked pretty well (dry spin around 12 seconds) but now I get 2 seconds. I have numerous other ceramics (Terrapin X Wing, Buddha Whipple, Crucial Grooved, etc.) that suffer similar problems.
I’ve been cleaning all these “exotic” bearings the same way. I purchased a large quantity of acetone and compressed air dusters online. I also bought a specialized bearing cleaning container. I place the bearing and acetone in the container, close the lid, let it sit a couple minutes, twirl it around at a moderate speed for another 5 - 10 minutes, then open the container, remove the bearing with stainless steel tweezers (holding the bearing by inserting the tweezers between the inner race and exerting some outward pressure), then spin dry it by applying the compressed air first to the outer race, then to the ball bearings until a high RPM is achieved and the bearing is dry.
This seemed to work for at least some of my bearings, but lately I’m getting dry spin times of <10 seconds after cleaning, which quickly drops to ~2-3 seconds after less than an hour of play.
Any idea what I’m doing wrong? I haven’t been lubricating the bearings on advice from the purchase sites not to, though I did try it on one bearing and it didn’t help. It simply made the yoyo a bit quieter, but not spin any longer.
I’m really confused because I’m cleaning these exactly like the Terrapin X guy said. I’m starting to think acetone sucks for cleaning exotic materials for some reason, but this doesn’t make sense. Is it possible some brands of acetone are better than others? I figured acetone is acetone and as long as it says 100% pure then it wouldn’t make any difference.
Thanks in advance for any advice. This has become a very frustrating problem, where I can get 8-9 minute sleepers when the bearings are working properly, down to a third of that after minimal play time. I’ve spent way too much money on high end bearings and other than bulk ordering a bunch of NSKs and then switching them out I don’t know what to do to keep them spinning like they were when I got them.
I also have a lot of stainless steel bearings and most of them perform just as well as the ceramics, though I can rarely get more than 10-12 seconds dry spin time from them (YYR DS and the one that came with my YYM Agonist being the best). I’ve been cleaning these the same way, not using any lube, which I know is ill-advised for stainless steel, but I’ve actually had less problems with these than the exotic material bearings!
tldr: Can an expert on exotic bearings tell me the proper cleaning procedure for ceramics, gold-plated and platinum-plated?
Thanks! Also I’d be more than willing to review all of these but the review wouldn’t be very accurate until I can sort out why some of them aren’t performing as well as they should.
Oh, one more thing: I play mostly 5A–is this style particularly abusive to bearings or something? I’ve considered this possibility but I have trouble imagining a few drops of the yoyo onto carpet are going to permanently ruin $20 ball bearings.