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tech question: cleaning pots

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Ewo, May 18, 2017.


  1. Ewo

    Ewo a/k/a Steve Cooper Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2008
    Huntington WV
    I've seen conflicting advice on how to address scratchy pots on amps and basses.

    Seems like some folks blast away with Deoxit 5, some use other products, some just use a drop of one cleaner or the other. Some say pull the knob and drip it around the shaft, some say find an opening on the back. And some advise against using any kind of cleaner at all because it will strip the lubricant off the internals of the pot.

    Mostly I've gotten by with just exercising the pot from limit to limit--but I know the time is gonna come when that doesn't clean up the skkkkkrrrrrrgggghh noise.

    So I could use some expert advice here, from folks who do this kind of maintenance professionally.
     
    johnny_bolt likes this.
  2. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    central NY state
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    Ductapeman likes this.
  3. Killed_by_Death

    Killed_by_Death Snaggletooth Banned

    Jan 2, 2015
    heart of darkness
    those gizmos are a big no-no & I can't believe how Stew-Mac has bamboozled so many folks into some of the strange stuff they sell :(
    oh wait, by getting Dan Erlewine to tell you that you need it
     
  4. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    central NY state
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    some of their gizmos are great, some not so much, all are priced quite steeply any more. And LMI raised their prices to match. :(
     
    Killed_by_Death likes this.
  5. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    central NY state
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    I have to say, though, if the gizmo works, it'd be a heckuva lot easier than fishing out the guts on an archtop and stuffing them back in just to clean a scratchy pot - one of the more finicky and aggravating tasks I've ever attempted.
     
  6. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Supporting Member

    I try and work the dirt loose first. If I have to, I will spray DeOxit but that causes the pot to eventually require more DeOxit. I was told by Dingwall's electronics guy to refrain from using DeOxit whenever possible for the aforementioned reason. I consider that to be expert advice.
     
  7. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    central NY state
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    Like whiteboard washing fluid spray - if you never use it, plain water and a paper towel work fine. But once you start using the cleaner, you basically have to keep using it. Hmmmpf.
     
  8. agedhorse

    agedhorse Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 12, 2006
    Davis, CA (USA)
    Development Engineer-Mesa, Product Support-Genz Benz
  9. agedhorse

    agedhorse Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 12, 2006
    Davis, CA (USA)
    Development Engineer-Mesa, Product Support-Genz Benz
    A tiny amount through the slot where the terminals exit is generally safe, DeOxit D5 is the only material I can recommend.

    I see plenty of pots and other stuff ruined by "internet cure-all remedies".
     
  10. beans-on-toast

    beans-on-toast Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2008
    It's also important to not overuse DeOxit. Be conservative in application, only use it when you have to, and clean up any residue. Some pot openings are hard to get at, a flexible extension tube can help.


    IMG_1702.JPG
     
  11. Ewo

    Ewo a/k/a Steve Cooper Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2008
    Huntington WV
    Thanks for the expert advice, all!

    So, what I understand is this:

    1. Exercise the pot first, to see if that cleans up the scratchiness.
    2. If not, Deoxit 5 is the cleaner to use.
    3. Don't squirt it down the shaft.
    4. Only use a little, squirted in the opening by the terminals on the back of the pot.
     
    johnny_bolt, Pbassmanca and Rattman like this.
  12. beans-on-toast

    beans-on-toast Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2008
    Give it a quick shot of D5, exorcise the scratchiness by turning the pot shaft back and forth several times from one end of travel to the other. Test. Apply more only if required.

    Clean all metal to metal contacts such as jacks: input, output, fx send and return, preamp output, power amp input, EQ mute foot switch jacks. Also tube pins and sockets. Don't forget the pots on your bass and the instrument jack. Cable plugs. Speaker cabinet jacks.
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2017
    Coolhandjjl and Ewo like this.
  13. agedhorse

    agedhorse Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 12, 2006
    Davis, CA (USA)
    Development Engineer-Mesa, Product Support-Genz Benz
    Less is more, dont spray on the sockets, put some on a q-tip and wipe the pins.
     
  14. Rattman

    Rattman Supporting Member

    Guys... Some bad info floating around here in this thread. Like anything else technical, DeoxIt comes in various 'flavors' for very specific, recommended usages. A pricey cleaner/lubricant that is definitely not "one size fits all". Watching this informative video should dispel a lot erroneous 'facts' about this wonderful product line. Please ignore the 'music' intro.. it doesn't last very long..



    . .
     
  15. Killed_by_Death

    Killed_by_Death Snaggletooth Banned

    Jan 2, 2015
    heart of darkness
    images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRsS4pxRdXfuE8zXdK-4jf1RxmYAienNIfqtkSgbj9tbwCzg-6J.

    yes, exorcise those scratchy demons

    :smug:
     
  16. beans-on-toast

    beans-on-toast Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2008
    I use interdental brushes on tube sockets. Available at a pharmacy. Apply deoxit to the brush, scrub the contact.



    IMG_1705.JPG
     
  17. MrMyopia

    MrMyopia Supporting Member

    Dec 1, 2016
    Little Rock AR
    This does NOT work and is a complete waste of money. I bought an 80's Gibson ES 175 archtop and the pots are concealed in "cans". I bought one of those gizmos from Stewmac and it was a complete joke. I ended up having to fish out the pots through the f-holes, unsoldering the cans to get to the pots. I went ahead and just replaced them after all that trouble. You're better off pointing the spray nozzle at the shaft than their gizmo. Less mess and risk of deoxit on your finish.
     
    bholder and Killed_by_Death like this.
  18. beans-on-toast

    beans-on-toast Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2008
    The problem with the stewmac product is that the deoxit can dissolve the shaft libricant and leech it into places where it can harm the pot. You want the shaft lubricant to stay where it's intended to be.
     
    bholder and Killed_by_Death like this.
  19. Pbassmanca

    Pbassmanca Never spit through an open doorway... Supporting Member

    I've had success using some electrical contact cleaner you know with that long straw little thing that sticks into it, and finding the opening into the pot and giving it a shot or two. You turn the pot back and forth and after that..... goodbye scratchiness.
     
    Ewo likes this.
  20. Spidey2112

    Spidey2112

    Aug 3, 2016
    IMAG1597.

    ... follow directions.
     
    Ductapeman, Ewo and shodan like this.