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Best way to clean Pots.

Discussion in 'Electronic Repair' started by trm54321, Dec 18, 2006.

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  1. trm54321

    trm54321 Guest

    I'm assuming spraying down the shaft with a cleaner/ lub and work it
    is the best way to do this?
    Some pots have openings in the body also and is this a better option?

  2. Spraying "Down the shaft" will wash away the lubricant that allows the
    pot to turn smoothly, and into the actual pot, along with any metal
    shavings and metallic dust. Either use the opening, remove the cover
    and replace it after cleaning, or replace the pot, unless it is a
    temporary fix.

    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
  3. Eeyore

    Eeyore Guest

    Ask Scott Dorsey in He seems to know this stuff well.

  4. Meat Plow

    Meat Plow Guest

    Better to shoot cleaner in the opening when possible. Sealed pots
    shouldn't be sprayed.
  5. Sealed pots are only sealed to prevent contamination from external sources.
    They still go bad, and still benefit from cleaning, if one can gain access
    to do so. This applies to deposited carbon potentiometers. Many modern
    volume controls are actually rotary encoders, and cleaning them is a
    crap-shoot. Those must be taken apart and tarnish cleaned from the internal
    workings, and since the controls are cheap, better just to replace them when

    Mark Z.
  6. Jim Yanik

    Jim Yanik Guest

    No,you just move the axle grease into the pot.
    Yes,you want the cleaner/lube to get on the resistance element and
    wiper,nowhere else.
  7. Jim Yanik

    Jim Yanik Guest

    I used to successfully drill a small hole in Bourns Mod Pots and used a
    syringe needle on the spray tube to get the cleaner/lube into the pot thru
    the small hole. It worked well. Not a TEK-sanctioned method,tho.

    It did keep repair costs down for the customer.
  8. trm54321

    trm54321 Guest

    Thanks all!
  9. GregS

    GregS Guest

    Sometimes the control is badly in need of lubing. Anything tends to help

    I had a heck of a time cleaning switches in a Nicolet scope. I drilled,
    pryed, well I think the prying worked, but I had to do it over several days.
    Alcohol is good for cleaning, and seeps easily into small cracks.
    Sometimes drilling is the easy thing to do. For the Nicolet I used
    everything, from Contaclean, to Bull Frog cleaners, along with the

  10. Bob Urz

    Bob Urz Guest

    The only way to help when you have wiper problems is get the
    cleaner/lube inside the unit. Spraying down the shaft usually does not
    accomplish this.

    I recommend Caig labs products such as D5 or pro gold. If the pot has
    holes in the back, spray into the holes and turn the pot for a minute or
    so to clean off the resistance contact area.

    Sealed pots (or switches) are another issue. On the plastic cased units,
    i have developed a method of last resort. Take a fine tipped pencil
    soldering tip and slowly burn a hole through the back while working the
    control back and forth so the internal melted plastic won't jam the
    control. Then spray the cleaner in the pot. Sometimes i reseal with
    a dab of RTV or such,. Not a 100% fix, but it will bring some back to

  11. ChrisCoaster

    ChrisCoaster Guest

    Compressed air from Staples. Won't wash anything away - just stirs it
    up. Spray sparingly. Then power up device and turn knob back n' forth
    until crackling - noise disappears and/or volume or effect gets

  12. IMHO, its easier to replace the pot. with a new one, I know this involves
    de-soldering/soldering but there are so many reasons why a pot. can fail and
    that the maintenance will eventually fail that you might as well bite the
    bullet and replace it. I might not advise this if you were commercially
    servicing but if you are repairing your own kit I really think this is the
    long-term solution that can be relied on.
  13. Meat Plow

    Meat Plow Guest

    I work exclusively on guitar amps, guitars, PA gear and I would never
    clean a pot and send it back to the customer without telling them I just
    put a BandAid on it and to get it back for a replacement ASAP. Nor do I
    ever charge just to clean a pot.

  14. The Mod Pots are plastic bodies, so you don't have to worry about
    metal shavings getting into the element and slideing contacts. I see
    nothing wrong with your method, as long as a drop of glue or something
    is used to seal the hole after you're done. :)

    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
  15. BOB URZ

    BOB URZ Guest

    You give away your services? It takes time to open up a unit to get to
    the pot to clean it. Sometimes, parts are not available. And using
    the Good caig stuff is not cheap either. A Band-Aid is better than

  16. Jim Yanik

    Jim Yanik Guest

    It's not a very big hole,about a #56 drill size.
    I never resealed them,it was hard enough getting the bit in position to
    make the hole.IMO,there was less chance of getting contaminants in there
    than for a regular unsealed pot.
    (the ModPots were not really "sealed",anyways. enclosed,yes.)

    I didn't try to drill or lube sealed metalcased pots.
  17. Jim Yanik

    Jim Yanik Guest

    a neat trick is to wrap a couple of turns of insulated wire around the
    control's knob,then pull alternately on the wire ends to rapidly spin the
    pot shaft from limit to limit;that can "clean up" a noisy pot fairly
    quickly,and it's not hard on the fingers.
  18. Meat Plow

    Meat Plow Guest

    Takes me all of what, 5 minutes to spray a pot on a guitar amp. It's good
    for customer relations and business when the customer thinks they are
    getting something for nothing. I'm not a robot stuck back in the far end
    of the building churning out amp repairs on an assembly line. Customers
    are welcome to visit my service area and ask questions pertaining to their
    equipment. Word of mouth has brought me many customers, some travel from
    out of town where they could have had repairs done locally so I must be
    doing something right. I'm also a gigging musician so I understand the
    customer's needs. As far as Band-Aids go, a pot spray is about it. Nothing
    will lose you a customer faster than sending out an amp only to have it
    fail while it's being used at a gig. I always recommend replacement and in
    emergencies when a part isn't available, I will make a suitable loaner
    available with a deposit. I just treat customers how I want to be treated
    when I take something in for service like my Harley or other vehicle.
  19. GregS

    GregS Guest

    If it takes any amount of time, I would ask the owner what he wants.

  20. Meat Plow

    Meat Plow Guest

    Read the part of my post were I mention customers are welcome to ask
    questions. Some do, some don't. Many different personalities needs etc..
    making it hard to generalize in policy.
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