Crackling pots: can they be opened?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by abarson, Feb 14, 2010.

  1. abarson


    Nov 6, 2003
    Santa Cruz
    My old Tubeworks RT-3300 really needs new pots, as they all crackle when turned. The thing is that these pots have micro indents, meaning they click with every small turn. I've not found a source for a direct replacement.
    Has anyone ever opened up such pots to clean them, or will this ruin them?
  2. Greetings- while I don't have experience with that particular detent-pot... it's fairly safe to say the detents are intact; the contacts probably just need cleaning & lubrication. If you need a good product recommendation try:

    We use their products on all of our electronics-lab test equipment and haven't had any problems. One word of caution... you should first determine the technology used for the resistive strip (e.g. carbon or conductive-plastic) as this will dictate the appropriate cleaning & lubrication product. And... when using the product(s) be careful to only spray the wiper & element (i.e. avoid the shaft bearing) or you could end-up with a loose "pot".

    Hope that helps!
  3. Meddle


    Jul 27, 2009
    Sorry to bump an old thread, but I had an issue with my old HH amp that suffered the same problem.

    HH used weird inverse-log pots with odd valued (27k iirc) that would be tricky to fix. The common consensus is to use contact cleaner. The problem is that contact cleaner makes a 'dirt soup' for a while, then dries leaving the same crud in new locations.

    To solve the issue I carefully took the pots apart starting with the little tags that hold the metal back over the front part of the pot with the lugs on it. Once in bits, I cleaned up the carbon tracks with a pencil eraser. They changed colour! It was amazing how much rubbish came off. Contact cleaner would be no use in that scenario. I reassembled the pots and the amp works perfectly!
  4. rust_preacher


    Dec 17, 2009
    Wow! New trick for this old dawg. :bassist:

    I have repaired pushed-in pot cans by taking them apart, but never cleaned the tracks this way.
  5. Sponsored by:

  6. That is an interesting method when replacement is not an option.
    On many boards, removing the pot from the board requires de-soldering, cleanup, etc.
    If one is going to all this work, replacement is a much better solution, when possible.

Play guitar too? Become a founding member of