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Help with contact cleaning spray?


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I have some crackly pots on an amp.   I was just going to buy some off eBay, but it turns out there’s like a billion different brands/formulas and I found myself overwhelmed by the bewildering array of choices.

I've never needed to use any before so thought I’d challenge the bass hive mind for recommendations.

Are they all like super thin oil based like a WD40?   Is there anything to avoid?    Would love to hear your thoughts.   Even though it’s a cheap purchase, I’ll be using it on a decent amp, so I don’t want to get it wrong.

 

cheers mah dudes.

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Lol, yeah probably!    
I have a Halfords near me, so I’ll nip and get some in the morning.   If you’ve used it and it worked for you, that’s kind of all the recommendation I’m looking for really.    
cheers!

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Just now, Waddo Soqable said:

I really wouldn't use WD40!

Good point- WD40 isn't switch cleaner. The residue left by WD40 can be conductive, whereas switch cleaner either evaporates or leaves a non-conductive residue.

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As a long time analogue synth user I can say with some certainty that you should never use switch cleaner in a pot. it will remove the conductive lubricant and the conductor will start to get scraped away.

 

Use Deoxit - they do a cleaner and a lubricator - I forget the details but a web search will turn it up.

 

To re-iterate (and at the risk of coming on all prescriptive!) If you use contact cleaner it will work initally as it will clear the dirt but also the pot lubricant and soon cause lasting damage to the pot.

 

Often the best cure is just to turn the pot 10 or 20 times - that sometimes moves the dirt around in a way that sometimes resolves the problem ambiently!

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 @Bloke_Zero. Cheers dude.   That’s the kind of thing I wanted to hear.   
as people had warned, I already knew to not use WD40. But I did order their electrical contact cleaner.   However, based on your experience I’ll not use it.   I’ll get the Deoxit for sure.

cheers again.

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22 hours ago, Waddo Soqable said:

Servisol switch cleaner is good stuff with a good reputation, I've used that whenever I've needed to sort pots etc out.. Worked well on an old Lucas indicator switch in the motor too !

 

That's what I use. I bought a can several years ago - still have it.

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I went ahead and ordered the deoxit already.   It’s pretty expensive but I’m 61 so it’ll probably outlast me!  
61, first scratchy pot.  Heck… It’ll last 2 lifetimes!

 

😂

 

Thanks to everyone for your input!

AndyR

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The DeoxIT has a strange "side" effect : it acts better after a few hours or on the next day with very recalcitrant pots... That's also the reason I'm using it : I prefer a slow and long acting cleaner to something that evaporates instantly without working at all.

Edited by Hellzero
Unnecessary plural
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just ordered, thanks. I have normal switch cleaner, which I've used a couple of times but if this deoxit is better long term, that's all good for me

Desk will get a spray before its next gig, hopefully, which is outside on bank holiday Monday

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 25/08/2021 at 02:09, bloke_zero said:

As a long time analogue synth user I can say with some certainty that you should never use switch cleaner in a pot. it will remove the conductive lubricant and the conductor will start to get scraped away.

 

Use Deoxit - they do a cleaner and a lubricator - I forget the details but a web search will turn it up.

 

To re-iterate (and at the risk of coming on all prescriptive!) If you use contact cleaner it will work initally as it will clear the dirt but also the pot lubricant and soon cause lasting damage to the pot.

 

Often the best cure is just to turn the pot 10 or 20 times - that sometimes moves the dirt around in a way that sometimes resolves the problem ambiently!

This is the best and most accurate answer posted. 
 

Note that the tiniest spray possible is best, less is more.

 

I see a fair number of repairs that come through the shop that need a new set of pots and thorough PCB cleaning because somebody used “miracle cure-all spray”, turning a simple inexpensive repair into a much more expensive repair.

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  • 2 weeks later...
5 hours ago, jaybass 70 said:

Just ordered this for a good price Simply SP-028 Electrical Contact Cleaner Maintenance Spray 400m https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00OCKZT1E/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apan_glt_fabc_QHR2E97XMWMN87H1SM05 good stuff , does the job and I'm impressed , just ordered another 2

That's exactly what you don't want to use (actually one of the two worst kinds, especially for pots). Contact cleaner is like brake cleaner, it dissolves "stuff" and washes it away. It's fine for electrical switch contacts, connectors and contactors/power relays and such, but it's not intended for electronics. That's why they call it "electrical" rather than "electronic". It's intended for automotive use (they distribute brake cleaner, car polish and such), where pots are not used (or fully sealed for things like servo feedback or sensor applications).

 

1. The solvent is formulated for dissolving grease... the grease needs to stay exactly where it's been placed inside the pot, because it's an essential component to how the pot is supposed to operate. 

 

2. There's no lubricant... that leaves the carbon track and wiper assembly vulnerable to rapid wear. The lubricants used for the pot's conductive element surface is specially formulated for the application, and when properly applied is microscopically thin (in the angstrom range). 

 

3. Only use the tiniest amount possible, this application is an instance of "less is more". A can of DeOxit D-5 lasts a couple of years in a busy commercial service shop.  

Edited by agedhorse
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I wish this thread had run a year or so ago.  While I knew not to use WD40, I used the electrical contact cleaner I had in the garage (I’m into kit cars) on the scratchy pots on my practice amp.  They are all now noisy again, but one in particular is worse than ever, and which I think I’ll have to replace.

 

So some good advice been given in earlier posts.

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On 25/08/2021 at 10:09, bloke_zero said:

Use Deoxit - they do a cleaner and a lubricator - I forget the details but a web search will turn it up.

 

I think D5 is the cleaner and the first choice.  F5 the lubricant.

Edited by franzbassist
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