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Use Yer Contact Cleaner!

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Michael Vee, Mar 10, 2008.

  1. Michael Vee

    Michael Vee Supporting Member

    Feb 3, 2004
    Knoxville, TN
    I have read for years about the joys of contact cleaner. (No, not contact lens cleaner.. I wear contacts, I know about that). I mean electronic contact cleaner.

    Earlier this morning, I was playing through my 1996 Carvin F150 power amp, when the fuse blew. Not sure what happened. I knew this amp had scratchy pots, so I headed off to Radio Shack and bought replacement 2.5A slow blow fuses.. AND contact cleaner!

    I have a Carvin DCM600 power amp also, which I bought used from eBay last year after selling my old standby DCM1500. The 600 was okay for a while, but then the bridged mode Speakon starting getting fuzzy and weak. The left and rights were okay, then they started getting fuzzy sounding also. Because this was a used amp, I started thinking the amp was going bad and I'd need to get it serviced.

    Meantime, my trusty old 1993 Alembic F-1X was getting very noisy and scratchy sounding.. a parallel development.

    I got back in today with the RS contact cleaner. I opened up both the DCM 600 and the F-1X, and shot the heck out of all the contacts and jacks with the cleaner. I also checked all the internal connector jacks for proper seating, and put the cases back together, racked it up, and played.

    WOW. It's amazing, kids. I heard the F-1X and DCM600 rack combo in full glory. No more crackling- at ALL. Just pure performance. I played a LONG time. I'm not sure I had ever heard the real sound of that preamp/amp. Excellent.

    Oxidation and corrosion are ongoing problems with electronics in real world environments. Exposed to humidity, oxidizing, and playing conditions, all our bass electronics will develop problems relating to the contacts. So.. don't do like I did and wait a long time after you buy gear to open it up and clean it with a contact / oxidation cleaning product. It literally can bring malfunctioning gear back to life.

    I'll do the F150 tomorrow..
  2. Rob Mancini

    Rob Mancini Guest

    Feb 26, 2008
    Speaking of contact cleaner, is there a real difference between Deoxit and any other contact cleaner you can buy at Wal Mart?
  3. A good question! I've heard many recommend "Caig's Deoxit". It seems to be the preference for tech guys around here, but I've always used Radio Shack brand, which sure smells like WD-40.
    What's the story?
  4. amos


    Oct 23, 2003
    SE Portland Oregon
    Ah, a seven paragraph post about contact cleaner, this is why I love talkbass :)

    In all seriousness, I wish I had known to clean the effects loop and other open contacts from time to time. Would have saved me $60 at the repair shop :rolleyes:
  5. GeneralElectric


    Dec 26, 2007
    NY, NY
    How do you use contact cleaner? I'm thinking of stopping by Radio shack when I get a chance next week.
  6. amos


    Oct 23, 2003
    SE Portland Oregon
    I'm sure there's directions on the bottle. Never used it myself, always just used a lint-free rag and alcohol.
  7. georgestrings

    georgestrings Banned

    Nov 5, 2005

    There is a difference between contact cleaner, and a cleaner/lubricant - which is what you want to use in these circumstances... Caigs is good stuff, so is Peavey's Funk Out - I've had outstanding results with both...

    - georgestrings
  8. Usually you don't need much of anything other than simply spraying it inside and letting the remaining drip-out/turning the unit over. Wd-40 leaves a residual, which is not really recommended for most electrical stuff since it will attract dust/cling to the oil residual.

  9. Blues Bass 2

    Blues Bass 2 Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2001
    Davenport Iowa
    I had a Carvin R1000 that had some noise when I used the active/passive push button.I got some of the Radio Shack cleaner/lube and sprayed the switch,jacks and all the pots.When using these cleaners with pots be sure to get the lubricating kind.There is a part of most pots that has an opening in it and you spray a small amount of cleaner in the opening and turn the pot to work it in.Be carefull though,the Radio Shack cleaner comes out in a hurry,it's a good idea to have a paper towel or a rag behind the pot,switch or jack you are spraying to keep the exess cleaner away from other components.It kept me from having to send my head back to Carvin because the noise went away and I've used it on scratchy pots in some of my basses and the stuff really works.
  10. notenslaved

    notenslaved I survived the 80's only to see it return.

    Feb 13, 2008
    Connecticut, USA
    Stuff I learned the hard way:
    The cleaner/lubricant you can spray in the pots, but don't try that with just the cleaner or you can make the pots even scratchier :( Spraying it anywhere else makes a mess and attracts dust.

    The cleaner (no lube) is good on jacks, contacts, tube sockets, etc.
  11. jrfrond


    Jul 11, 2006
    Tech Director, dBm Pro Audio Services, New York
    I will say this only once: there is only ONE contact cleaner that REALLY works, and that is DeOxIt. Others "kinda work". DeOxIt REALLY works. I've been using this product and it's predecessor, Cramolin R5, for 25 years. Don't waste your money on anything else.

    I've become such an advocate of this product, as well as many other Caig Labs products (e.g. ProGold) that I've become almost-famous :) in their brochure. Check it out:

    DeOxIt Flyer

    No, I don't get a dime for it, just the satisfaction that it works.
  12. spiritbass

    spiritbass Supporting Member

    Jun 9, 2004
    Ashland, MO

    Another advantage to using DeOxit is that there is control over how much is delivered when you depress the nozzle. The can I have has three different settings. Don't forget to clean the output jacks on your instruments occaisionally!

  13. MODNY

    MODNY Guest

    Nov 9, 2004
    so basically this stuff can be sprayed on all electricl connections to clean them without worrying about damage??
  14. Never use alcohol to clean pots. It dissolves the lubricant that is there and does not replace it. Up here we don't seem to have Radio Shacks anymore. I am not sure if that is a good thing or bad. Canadian versions were never even close to their American cousins. Most of the stuff they sold was prepackaged garbage!

  15. 62bass


    Apr 3, 2005
    I think they call themselves The Source now in Canada.

    Yes, they always were pretty lame and overpriced. Last time I went in The Source I found some radio shack brand cleaner but nothing with a lubricant.

    The best bet in Canada would be an electronics parts store. There are a few around but only in the bigger cities. There was one in Toronto on Queen St. W. that had everything including some hard to find tools and even sets of dental tools. :eyebrow:

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