Author Topic: Clean your POT's or replace them??  (Read 273 times)

Offline S Clark

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Clean your POT's or replace them??
« on: May 09, 2021, 04:53:20 PM »
My pre has begun to have some noise issues (beyond it usual when changing volume). I thought surely I'm not the only one that has had a noisy potentiometer.  So disassemble and clean, or replace?



In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies but the silence of our friends. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Offline Nick B

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Re: Clean your POT's or replace them??
« Reply #1 on: May 09, 2021, 09:45:59 PM »
What noise beyond vol up/down do you have? Ive had a noisy pot for ages and Ive just learned to live with it.  The repair worked so so. If I had the skill set, Id replace it with another inexpensive motorized Alps. But the darned thing does sound good! My usual routine every night is to manually turn the pot minimum to maximum 10 times and often I will have a noise free evening. Depending on the price, I would just replace yours. less grief
« Last Edit: May 09, 2021, 09:48:20 PM by Nick B »
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Offline steve

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Re: Clean your POT's or replace them??
« Reply #2 on: May 09, 2021, 09:54:05 PM »
If you happen to have spray, sometimes it can help to spray the shaft where it enters the pot. It will tend to soak in.
On cheapy pots, there is usually an opening at the terminals that one can spray into as one rotates the shaft.

As Nick mentioned, it may be much less grief just to replace it.

Cheers

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« Last Edit: May 09, 2021, 09:56:53 PM by steve »
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Offline P.I.

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Re: Clean your POT's or replace them??
« Reply #3 on: May 09, 2021, 10:21:12 PM »
To clean pots you will need:

1.   A no-residue pot electronics cleaner like CRC - https://www.autobarn.net/elcl45wtoz.html?site=www.bing_shopping.com&msclkid=218f910a92aa12cc8f1af1922f3032db&utm_source=bing&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=Shopping-All&utm_term=1100102264025&utm_content=Shop-Brand

Don't get anything that doesn't say "no residue"

2.   Craig DeOxit, in the spray can

3.   Most important - a can of compressed air keyboard cleaner.  I use this stuff all of the time : https://www.officedepot.com/a/products/911245/Office-Depot-Brand-Cleaning-Dusters-10/?cm_mmc=PLA-_-Bing-_-Computer_Accessories-_-911245&mediacampaignid=71700000067620342_370312878&msclkid=3d320c03664f1d5283966c9bd9536c1a&utm_source=bing&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=pla_cor_core_tech_p1_custom_prch&utm_term=4577610506413610&utm_content=Now%20On%20Sale&gclid=3d320c03664f1d5283966c9bd9536c1a&gclsrc=3p.ds

Remove the knob and take the compressed air and liberally blow around the shaft collar into the pot in short bursts moving around the shaft.  Idea here is to loosen up the crud.

Spray a few short burst of Craig around the collar and let everything sit for 30 minutes.

Take the CRC (or equivalent) and using short burst around the collar like step one for about 15-20 seconds.

Repeat the Craig treatment

Lastly, use the compressed air to purge everything left in the pot.  A little DeOxit goes a very long way.  When people say it doesn't work, generally speaking, they used way too much.

This works well on most pots including ALPS, but it does NOT work on TKD.  Their composition and shaft fit tolerances (very close) prevent the goo from getting in and working.

I've used this method for years on guitar pots, stereo controls, etc with good results.  Patience is a virtue, but as with all things audio (depending upon an individual's abilities and the phase of the moon), YMMV.

"A man with an experience is never at the mercy of a man with an argument." - Hilmar von Campe

Offline Nick B

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Re: Clean your POT's or replace them??
« Reply #4 on: May 10, 2021, 12:31:23 AM »
To clean pots you will need:

1.   A no-residue pot electronics cleaner like CRC - https://www.autobarn.net/elcl45wtoz.html?site=www.bing_shopping.com&msclkid=218f910a92aa12cc8f1af1922f3032db&utm_source=bing&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=Shopping-All&utm_term=1100102264025&utm_content=Shop-Brand

Don't get anything that doesn't say "no residue"

2.   Craig DeOxit, in the spray can

3.   Most important - a can of compressed air keyboard cleaner.  I use this stuff all of the time : https://www.officedepot.com/a/products/911245/Office-Depot-Brand-Cleaning-Dusters-10/?cm_mmc=PLA-_-Bing-_-Computer_Accessories-_-911245&mediacampaignid=71700000067620342_370312878&msclkid=3d320c03664f1d5283966c9bd9536c1a&utm_source=bing&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=pla_cor_core_tech_p1_custom_prch&utm_term=4577610506413610&utm_content=Now%20On%20Sale&gclid=3d320c03664f1d5283966c9bd9536c1a&gclsrc=3p.ds

Remove the knob and take the compressed air and liberally blow around the shaft collar into the pot in short bursts moving around the shaft.  Idea here is to loosen up the crud.

Spray a few short burst of Craig around the collar and let everything sit for 30 minutes.

Take the CRC (or equivalent) and using short burst around the collar like step one for about 15-20 seconds.

Repeat the Craig treatment

Lastly, use the compressed air to purge everything left in the pot.  A little DeOxit goes a very long way.  When people say it doesn't work, generally speaking, they used way too much.

This works well on most pots including ALPS, but it does NOT work on TKD.  Their composition and shaft fit tolerances (very close) prevent the goo from getting in and working.

I've used this method for years on guitar pots, stereo controls, etc with good results.  Patience is a virtue, but as with all things audio (depending upon an individual's abilities and the phase of the moon), YMMV.

Hmmm.quite interesting. IIRC, I was told the noise in the Alps was caused by the graphite and there was nothing I could do about it.and basically leave it alone. The repair, I believe, was to install one or two caps. That helped a little. Tonight there is zero noise on volume up/down. But there would be noise if I didnt manually wipe the pot. Ten times seems to be the magic number. I use the motorized volume a lot because of my Roon surfing. Cant find my emails, but Im virtually certain its the RK 168. Oh, I did want to mention how much I appreciate the receptacles on my BUSS being polished. Cap Payne at Audio Envy has polished/smooth power cords. What a nice combo  :thumb:

https://www.potentiometers.com/alps_motorized_rotary.cfm
Van Alstine SET 120 Control Amp
Audio Hungary APR 204 preamp
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PI Audio UberBUSS

Offline rollo

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Re: Clean your POT's or replace them??
« Reply #5 on: May 10, 2021, 10:41:56 AM »
   I usually take the seeds and twigs out on my pots. Beez good Ya'all.


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Offline S Clark

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Re: Clean your POT's or replace them??
« Reply #6 on: May 11, 2021, 06:34:28 PM »
And I owe Dave another big Thanks.  An exact replacement for the pot on my newer Dodd pre turned out to hard to find.  I had already tried to get some cleaner in the pot, but this time I tried, rotated, tried again, rotated, waited, waited, rotated, De Oxit spray, rotate, spray, rotate, rotate, rotate, spray... and just kept at it. 
It's playing fine now.  For how long??? but once again Dave's advice about staying with it proved to be correct. 
In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies but the silence of our friends. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Offline S Clark

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Re: Clean your POT's or replace them??
« Reply #7 on: May 18, 2021, 06:44:46 PM »
Well, it stayed noiseless for almost a week. Now it's back to sounding like someone clearing their throat into a microphone.  I'm disappointed, but I've had pots dry out and become intermittent before, so I'm not surprised.   :(
In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies but the silence of our friends. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Offline P.I.

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Re: Clean your POT's or replace them??
« Reply #8 on: May 18, 2021, 08:44:30 PM »
Well, it stayed noiseless for almost a week. Now it's back to sounding like someone clearing their throat into a microphone.  I'm disappointed, but I've had pots dry out and become intermittent before, so I'm not surprised.   :(
Time to blow Taps on that one. If the process I described and you did is a last resort method.
"A man with an experience is never at the mercy of a man with an argument." - Hilmar von Campe