Old hifitrackworld: cleaning crackly pots

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  • Old hifitrackworld: cleaning crackly pots
  • Premier Icon sirromj
    Subscriber

    My 20 year old Cambridge Audio A1 amp has had a crackly volume control for probably at least half it’s age. It doesn’t get a lot of use these days but now is the time I want to do something about it. Now I’m older I don’t want to blast it much and the crackling prevents listening at low volume levels. The crackles seem to affect left/right channels independently disrupting balance.

    I’ve read some people use WD40 (very sparingly) squirted on the potentiometer so it works its way inside and cleans gunk out. Others say other more appropriate cleaners are available, someone mentioned Isopropyl alcohol (which I already have). A quick search it looks like other more appropriate cleaners are pretty expensive for something I’ll (hopefully) do only very rarely.

    Any experts in who know about this stuff and can advise please?

    Some people do use wd40 and claim no ill effects. Zero residue contact cleaner will do a better job of cleaning, although if your pots are carbon you probably want to avoid. The problem is most things you clean with will remove that slightly damoed feeling the pots have deoxit faderlube will restore that and usually is the only thing needed. It is a bit pricey but you can get a little container and lend some to your friends.

    Premier Icon sirromj
    Subscriber

    No idea what they’re made of. I guess if I take the back off and look for some identifier on them I’ll be able to find out. I know little about electronics… Do faders & potentiometers basically work exactly the same way just laid out differently? The Deoxit faderlube doesn’t include cleaning of potentiometers in description. Don’t want to make it worse but may be over-worrying as usual!

    Rockhopper
    Member

    Get some electrical contact cleaner, spray it into the pot and work it through it’s full range of travel for several minutes and see if it improves the situation. If not repeat till it does.

    https://rover.ebay.com/rover/0/0/0?mpre=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.ebay.co.uk%2Fulk%2Fitm%2F292894371016

    A fader is just a linear potentiometer rather than a circular one.

    Do faders & potentiometers basically work exactly the same way just laid out differently?

    Yes. Metal ‘wioer’ conductive track. Straight or circular. Old tracks were soft carbon which was easily damaged, So easily damaged they usually had a metal disc which tilted and it was that which the metal wiper touched, pushing it into contact with the track. Yours are probably carbon about newer and tougher but still possible to damage.

    Faderlube deoxidises and lubricates and will only clean in the sense that it occupies the microsooic space between wiper and track and is ‘clean’ and bridges gaps between and around the dust but doesn’t actually clean. A little shot of compressed air then contact cleaner first if necessary.

    Premier Icon sirromj
    Subscriber

    Cheers for the replies. Went with the Servisol stuff as it’s a substantially friendlier price. Can get an A1 amp on ebay for less than the price of two tins of Deoxit Faderlube.

    Yeah, you don’t get much change out of £20 for a little aerosol. Does go a long way though. If you find the knob turns too easily, without any resistance (I found mine always did) you’ll need a bit if oil/grease. Faderlube is just one, their are others that aren’t as expensive.

    aphex_2k
    Member

    Deoxit. It’s what all the vintage hifi geeks use. I did the volume control on an old Yamaha amp. Like new.

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