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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: http://www.caig.com/

    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. 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.