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WD40 ok as switch cleaner

Discussion in 'Troubleshooting and Repair' started by Cyclops, Jul 2, 2012.

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  1. Cyclops

    Cyclops

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    Jul 2, 2012
    Hi guys, newbie here with a query. I posted this on facebook and got sent here so here goes.
    I recently got an electric guitar and amp and the volume pot is dodgy. I have no switch cleaner but I do have a can of WD40 in the shed and can make a nozzle for it, but is it safe to use?

    Cheers

    Larry
     
  2. Lee Chyi Huei

    Lee Chyi Huei

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    Jul 3, 2012
    yes , it would be better to put some alcohol after spray.
     
  3. (*steve*)

    (*steve*) ¡sǝpodᴉʇuɐ ǝɥʇ ɹɐǝɥd Moderator

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    From an old post:

    I would not use WD40.
     
  4. Cyclops

    Cyclops

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    Jul 2, 2012
    Cheers for that, not even ok on a volume pot on my amp?
     
  5. CocaCola

    CocaCola

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    Apr 7, 2012
    No, not good... It 'might' help short term but it will have negative effects down the line, and/or could have very bad immediate effects if Mr. Sparky ignites it when you turn the dial...

    Go get some contact cleaner, Radio Shack sells it as do many automotive and hardware stores... If you are in a real bind and need it done ASAP get a can of that computer air, turn it upside down so it lets the liquid squirts out and give it a spray, and then let it warm back up ;)
     
  6. Cyclops

    Cyclops

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    Jul 2, 2012
    Thanks guys, gonna look next time Im in the town (no Radio Shacks here)
     
  7. shrtrnd

    shrtrnd

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    Jan 15, 2010
    They make two types of spray contact cleaner.
    One that just cleans, and one with a lube in it (read the cans).
    I use the clean-only on pots, and the stuff with the lube in it for switch contacts.
    Just letting you know to read the cans to get whichever type of cleaner you prefer.
     
  8. Cyclops

    Cyclops

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    Jul 2, 2012
    Hmmm, didn't know there were two kinds! We just used switch cleaner as we called it. Long time ago!
     
  9. shrtrnd

    shrtrnd

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    Jan 15, 2010
    They call the type you want 'residue free'.
    I don't know what else you have in close proximity to the pot.
    Some cleaners actually melt plastic, I'd look for one marked 'safe for most plastics'.
    I sprayed a can in a clock radio volume control knob one time, and melted the housing
    of the alarm clock. I read the cans now.
    Everybody else is right, don't use WD-40 for this. It'll really gum-up your contacts.
     
  10. john monks

    john monks

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    Mar 9, 2012
    I disagree with most of the posts here.
    I have been using WD-40 for many, many years on electronic parts and this is what I discovered. I used it in a flaky light switch in my living room and the switch spit out so much smoke and sparks I thought my house might burn down. I used it on motor bearings and the motor froze. I used it on volume controls in small transistor radios and the controls started working like brand new. I tried it on toggle switched in small test equipment and got great improvement. So my thinking is that on low voltage, low current circuits with volume controls and switches you should be find. But anything over 50 volts and a few milliamps I would not because of the danger of fire. WD-40 is a water displacement and can help prevent contacts from corroding over and corrosion is a far bigger problem than dust in switches and potentiometers. I work on lots of old equipment and I use it regularly without problems. A volume control typically works with very low voltage and if the WD-40 can be contained within the control there should not be any problem. But if this is part of an ON/OFF switch I would not use it because of fire.
     
  11. CDRIVE

    CDRIVE Hauling 10' pipe on a Trek Shift3

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    May 8, 2012
    Since there seems to be disagreement among the troops I thought I'd put in my 2 cents. WD40 will certainly work on low voltage/current switch contacts and Pots in the short run but in the long term it's very, very bad. WD40 contains silcone. Over time, especially if not used, a pot could freeze to the point of breaking it before it will turn. I've also experienced it morph into a tacky goo! From a field expedience point of view, I would certainly use it in an emergency though.

    As a side note and just to give some perspective of what WD40 morphs into over time.. I have a wood/machine shop. One of my lathes is a 1952 Logan 920. When Hurricane Wilma blew through here my shop had roof leaks popping up every where. While running around in a panic, with no lighting from power outages, I sprayed her down with WD40. After that, life and work got in the way, so she sat for over 5 years unused. There is no rust on her but the tailstock is absolutely fused to the ways. I'll be using some Krell on her or whatever to free it but that's not the point. Over time WD40 will turn into a hard varnish.
     
  12. john monks

    john monks

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    Mar 9, 2012
    I agree with cdrive that WD-40 was a very bad thing to use on a lathe. He will be lucky if he will ever be able to use it again. I strongly recommend not using WD-40 on any fast moving equipment and I base that on my personal experience. I sprayed WD-40 into motor bearings in an oscilloscope about 17 years ago and the motor simply froze up. I spent hours day after day trying to clean up the bearings and from time to time the motor still froze up for years Now 17 years later the motor still runs slow and I will never use WD-40 on a motor again. I used it on phonograph motors and ended up throwing them away because they all froze up. Now that same old scope I sprayed WD-40 into the potentiometers 17 years ago because they became so bad that the scope was almost unusable. The improvement was massive. Today the pots still work like knew. WD-40 is a fantastic product that I keep on my work bench all the time. I use it on potentiometers and switches. But anything with lots of voltage or current, or fast moving parts it's a pure disaster. And that's from my experience.
     
  13. davenn

    davenn Moderator

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    Sep 5, 2009
    I have used it on pots and switches for over 20 years and it has never failed me

    Dave
     
  14. debe

    debe

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    Oct 15, 2011
    CRC-26 is what i use for electronic stuff, been using it for longer than i can remember. It is good for noisy pots. For degreasing i use CRC Contact cleaner as it doesnt leave any residue. Be aware the Contact cleaner is flamable, so dont turn on gear untill its well evaporated. (Contact cleaner used to be safer as it was R11 refrigerant, untill it was banned)
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2012
  15. CDRIVE

    CDRIVE Hauling 10' pipe on a Trek Shift3

    4,960
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    May 8, 2012
    Not really. There are no bearings on the ways of a lathe.
     
  16. CocaCola

    CocaCola

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    Apr 7, 2012
    It's very common to use it as a rust preventative on bare metal surfaces of machinery, and it works very well in this application... It's not for lubricating the motor or bearings or whatever on the lathe, WD40 is a very poor lubricant, and is only suitable for very light lubrication... As a surface protector it works quite well...
     
  17. CDRIVE

    CDRIVE Hauling 10' pipe on a Trek Shift3

    4,960
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    May 8, 2012
    Not surprising. It's one of those little known facts that WD40 derives its name from "Water Displacement 40". I once knew what the 40 meant but have since forgotten. ;)
     
  18. CocaCola

    CocaCola

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    Apr 7, 2012
    Formula attempt #40, it's on their website...
     
  19. davenn

    davenn Moderator

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    Sep 5, 2009
    seriously ?! haha that really takes the .. "if at first you dont succeed, try, try anmd try again ...." to the extreme

    Dave
     
  20. (*steve*)

    (*steve*) ¡sǝpodᴉʇuɐ ǝɥʇ ɹɐǝɥd Moderator

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    Jan 21, 2010
    I think it has to do with the fact that 1 through 39 were not good enough.
     
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