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Clarostat conductive plastic pots (380 & 485 series)

Discussion in 'Electronic Repair' started by Igor The Terrible, Mar 24, 2007.

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  1. Hi:

    I'm trying to find out if anyone has used the conductive plastic
    potentiometers for guitars and/or for volume pedals for pedal steels
    and had positive results with them. Living on the coast with
    excessive salt air and sand is not exactly the ideal environment for
    carbon pots in terms of getting much useful life out of them.

    I got some info of Honeywell's website and they claim a 1 million
    cycle life (rotational) for the 485 series and 100,000 cycle life for
    the 380 series with both having 1% dynamic noise and conform to MIL-
    R-94 specifications. Although they are a bit pricey--especially the
    485 series, however, if they work as well as Honeywell's propaganda
    claims, they may well be worth the investment.

    Any insights or thoughts would be sincerely appreciated.
  2. Keith Adams

    Keith Adams Guest

    Unless you live in a palm frond hut right on the sand then regular pots are
    fine. If you get enough sand and salt into a carbon type to wreck it then
    nothings going to last long.
    The whole guitar should come unglued in about ..oh 6 months so why worry
    about getting 1,000,000 turns outta your pots?
  3. Jim

    Jim Guest

    Conductive plastic is quieter than carbon, right?
  4. I haven't used them in a while, but when I did, I loved them.

    I really need to get some again. They last like crazy. At
    least they used to, and I assume they still do, or nobody would
    buy them. Especially at that price./
  5. No not THAT extreme but, the CTS 500s I'm using in my strats are good
    for about 10 - 13 months and start getting scratchy. For a pedal
    steel where pots really get a workout...forget it. Even the ABs I'm
    using last a year or less. ...and you are right, nothing really lasts
    on the beach. Cleaning them is a very short lived fix and
    subsequently become worse than what they were. It's not just the
    salty's the prevailing winds that blow it everywhere and into
  6. How much are they ? Sounds like something I have to have but don't need
  7. Their carbon comp pots were selling for around $20.00; which were
    replaced by the conductive plastic units. The 485 series you have to
    go directly through Honeywell because they are special order items.
    will put in your guitar for a l o n g time--if ever. I have no
    idea how much they are, but,I will find out sometime next week.
  8. PMG

    PMG Guest

    I don't like CTS pots in guitars. I've tried the ones from Hoffman
    Amps, Specialty Guitar, and Acme. The kinds with the smooth back,
    *and* that kind with the dimple in the middle. They were all
    scratchy, and hard to turn.

    I use CGE pots, which are easy to turn, and they're not scratchy. On
    top of being better than the CTS garbage, CGE pots cost less

    Neither one is as good as Stackpole pots were, but they haven't made
    those for a while. Buying used, or NOS Stackpole pots is too
    expensive for me.

    Haven't tried Honeywell pots.

    For me, the CGE pots last a couple years in a Tele, and then need
    cleaning. But you need to use Caigs DeOxit to clean them.
    RadioShack's "Contact/Control Cleaner Lubricant" stuff really isn't
    good for pots.

  9. DaveM

    DaveM Guest

    I'm not a musician, but I have experience with a wide range of electronic
    components and their characteristics. I don't know the specifics on the pots
    that you've been discussing, but I would recommend that you take a look at
    sealed pots. It seems, from the discussion, that the pot elements are being
    contaminated and destroyed by airborne moisture and sand/grit. A sealed pot
    should eliminate those hazards and make the pot last a long time. Don't know
    I don't know the physical sizes of the pots that you need for the guitars.
    Mouser carries several lines of pots, among them the Bourns Series 51 panel
    mount pots. They are available on both Cermet and Conductive Plastic. THey are
    listed on catalog page 542. If you don't have a copy of their catalog, you can
    search for their part number 652-PCW1J-C24-BAB103 and then download a copy of
    the catalog page for pictures and resistance values. Is $9.00 each cheap enough
    for you?

    Mouser (and other distributors) usually carry a pretty good line of controls
    such as this... Just have to search for them.


    Dave M
    MasonDG44 at comcast dot net (Just substitute the appropriate characters in the

    Life is like a roll of toilet paper; the closer to the end, the faster it goes.
  10. Spray DeOxit into pots, then nothing else, and see
    how long they last.
  11. ....
    But there's no place to spray the *magic goo*...
  12. Eeyore

    Eeyore Guest

    I have no experience of Clarostat myself but Vishay-Sfernice's conductive plastic
    track pots are lovely for audio.

  13. Eeyore

    Eeyore Guest

    Actually any modern *sealed* pot with a carbon track is going to be a huge
    improvement there. The Alps 9,11 and 12 mm types for example.

  14. I wasn't aware of anyone else making conductive plastic units, but
    it's worth looking into. AB was the grail so far as pots go for steel
    players. It would be a miracle for a cheapy to last more than a few

    There are pros and cons so far as sealed vs unsealed units go. In the
    past, carbon would eventually deteriorate and if it is a sealed pot,
    you basically tossed it. What has me wondering how would plastic hold
    up under the same set of circumstances. If a pot would hold up under
    a pedal steel player's volume pedal for a few years, they would, for
    all intents and purposes, be immortal in guitars.

    Thanks for the heads up on the alternates.


    A company rep sent me a .pdf doc on the pots I mentioned above; and if
    anyone is interested wants a copy just send me an email and I will
    send it to you. I have no idea where it is located on their website--
    if at all.
  15. Eeyore

    Eeyore Guest

    A sealed pot needs no magic goo. That's the joy of them.

  16. Sjouke Burry

    Sjouke Burry Guest

    If you need long live for your pots, go for the
    conductive plastic (servo quality) potmeters.
    I have used different kinds in demanding tasks,
    (Servo, steering wheel, gas pedals etc), where the
    wiper vibrates a lot, causing ordinary pots
    to fail within weeks.
    The conductive plastic ones have never failed me,
    also because the servo quality ones are better sealed
    and have better bearings.
    Livetime as steering wheel pot has run into several
    years.(but they cost a lot of money.)
  17. Ah... I see!
    but what do I do with my $15 bottle of goo?
  18. shaq

    shaq Guest

  19. Did some more digging and I came up with Bourns conductive plastic
    pots. They are not cheap but they too are a great product. Moreover
    they have roughly the same specs as the Clarostat 380 series and their
    price is about the same. I believe somebody might have mentioned them
    somewhere on this thread--whoever it was...good call!! They are
    available at Mouser Electronics. Best of all, they were designed
    specifically for guitar.

    Anyway, if any of you are interested here are the numbers for both
    250k and 500k 0.25W CP Pots.

    250k: 652-95A1DZ28EA0300L

    500K 652-95A1DZ28EA0302L

    Thanks everyone for your insights and help.


    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
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