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Simple Switch Cleaner Tip

Hints and tips for vintage technology repair and restoration
 
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Simple Switch Cleaner Tip

Post by Terrykc » Tue Aug 06, 2013 7:20 pm

A drop of 3-in-1 oil can make an effective job of cleaning switches and potentiometers.

Unlike solvents and solvent based cleaners it doesn't dissolve potentiometer tracks or damage plastic switch components found in some receivers and it won't melt a plastic cabinet if you are a bit heavy handed with it!

Try it. You'll be surprised just what it will deal with and, if you have something that is so bad that it doesn't work, you can always follow it up with one of the expensive commercial cleaners afterwards.

 
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Re: Simple Switch Cleaner Tip

Post by Alistair D » Tue Aug 06, 2013 9:59 pm

A couple of years ago I was given a pair of Roband power supplies. The main problem with them was the controls causing jumping and their shafts being very stiff to turn. I tried Servisol super 10 and even a bath in IPA. None of it worked for more than a few hours before the problems returned. At this point I completely dismantled then to do a manual clean. After doing this it was obvious that the cause was congealed grease. IPA would still hardly look at removing the goo. On a whim I tried household oil. The results were instant. The grease liquefied and could be cleaned off with a quick wipe. Another bath in IPA and some proper contact oil solved all of the problems.

Many household oils contain waxes 3 in 1 among them(I seem to remember) Using these oils as a long term fix, I suspect, will cause the problem to return eventually. WD40 will also dry out after a while and leave a similar residue.

Harry Leeming discussed a similar problem with Yeasu push button switches in his Practical Wireless column last year. Intermittent connection returned very soon after cleaning. His solution was to use WD40 first then no lube switch cleaner and finally cleaner with lube. He reported excellent results using this method.

Al

 
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Re: Simple Switch Cleaner Tip

Post by Terrykc » Mon Aug 12, 2013 7:53 pm

I didn't realise when I posted this tip that you can now get 3-in-1 oil in a spray can.

If it comes with one of those little tubes (or a nozzle that can be fitted with one) it would be ideal for getting the oil inside those pots that have only a tiny gap in the casing and, of course, switches in other hard to reach places.

 
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Re: Simple Switch Cleaner Tip

Post by Michael Watterson » Mon Aug 12, 2013 8:02 pm

I guess because the company that owns WD40 bought the company that made 3 in 1

 
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Re: Simple Switch Cleaner Tip

Post by Red to black » Mon Aug 12, 2013 8:08 pm

One of the old (almost retiring age then) engineers at my first job swore by using a drop of dirty/used engine oil from the dipstick of his car to clean/alleviate noisy volume pots etc. :ccf , but I honestly could not say how effective it was, nor recommend it.

 
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Re: Simple Switch Cleaner Tip

Post by GlowingAnode » Mon Aug 12, 2013 10:46 pm

Red to black wrote:One of the old (almost retiring age then) engineers at my first job swore by using a drop of dirty/used engine oil from the dipstick of his car to clean/alleviate noisy volume pots etc. :ccf , but I honestly could not say how effective it was, nor recommend it.


Like it! :aad

I often get problems on control systems with switch contacts that only carry small amounts of current.
Indeed I faced this problem out on site, on an ancient generator changeover system that had failed. The auxialiary contacts on one of the circuit breakers had gone high resistance preventing the control system from operating.
The customer was faced with a non-operational system and having to source a long obsolete part when I had a bright idea. I racked out the breaker, rigged up a mains supply and a 100W lead lamp, and connected these in series with the contacts in question.
After operating the breaker by hand a few times, the oxidation on the contacts had burnt through and no longer presented a high resistance. The changeover system then worked perfectly, and lasted until the system was upgraded. :bbeard
I've used this technique on wirewound pots too, although on a smaller scale with a bench power supply and suitable limiting resistor.
Rob.


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