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  • Electronics Cleaner

    Not being an electronics wiz, I'm looking for the best/proper type of electrical contact cleaner to use on a car radio volume control. The volume control (the type that goes round and round with no end stops.) is getting jumpy and hard to control along with static when you turn it. I just don't want to spray anything in there that would make it worse.

    Any opinions on brands / formulations? Thanks gents.

  • #2
    IIRC there are two types. One that will destroy plastic and the other that wont. I think Neutrol is what you want. It should say safe on plastics.
    Dave

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    • #3
      Caig DeOxit D5, which works wonders on noisy rotary controls. You can find it at Mouser.com, Partsexpress.com, etc.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Video Man
        Caig DeOxit D5, which works wonders on noisy rotary controls. You can find it at Mouser.com, Partsexpress.com, etc.

        This is what I've been using for years and works like magic. Be aware you just may have a potentiometer that is indeed beyond its rated life expectancy and will need to be changed.
        "To invent you need a good imagination and a pile of junk" Thomas Edison

        Better to have tools you don't need than to need tools you don't have

        73's KB3BFR

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        • #5
          pot/rotary switch cleaner

          There are 2 points of contact in a pot, first the wiper on the resistive element, second the slip ring. It is the slip ring that causes noise when the control is adjusted. Cleaning the pot or rotary switch with a fast evaporating "contact" cleaner is just what you don't want to do. The slip ring needs lubrication, same goes with rotary switches. Not to brag, but I have cleaned thousands of pots & rotary switches with a product from Craig Labs, and or, good ole WD 40 with equal results. For diffficult to reach controls you can heat the "straw" with a lighter and bend it so you can spray into the pot with the can upright. However if there is a bad (leaking) coupling capacitor no amount of cleaning will help. HTH, John.

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          • #6
            OK, another dummy question. Since this control is never ending (you can keep turning it round and round forever) would this actually be a pot, or something else? Doesn't a potentiometer have a starting and ending point on the resistive element? Or is there some type of "slip clutch" perhaps on this control that allows it to just keep turning?

            Just trying to understand exactly what I've got here.

            Also I've tried using WD-40 on the selector switch on my automotive battery charger before, and it locked up tight. I don't want to repeat that experience.

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            • #7
              No, it's not a pot but a rotary switch.
              Contact cleaner could still fix it if it's not mechanically worn out.

              Igor

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              • #8
                I think you may have a rotary encoder.
                The are two kinds - optical and mechanical/electrical.
                If it crackles upon small movements within one detent, you probably have the latter.
                Radio Shack has contact cleaner.
                What do you use to clean up your wiring harness connectors?
                Last edited by beanbag; 10-05-2010, 03:49 PM.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by beanbag
                  I think you may have a rotary encoder.
                  The are two kinds - optical and mechanical/electrical.
                  If it crackles upon small movements within one detent, you probably have the latter.
                  Ahhhh! Suddenly that makes sense to me now. I didn't even think about the little clicky detents. Sometimes the volume will come up slowly with each click, but other times it takes several clicks at a fast twist to get it to bump up the volume. But you are right -- small movements do produce the crackling.

                  Radio Shack has contact cleaner.
                  What do you use to clean up your wiring harness connectors?
                  In all honesty, I will clean harness connectors with brake cleaner usually because it is what I normally have on hand. I can't see that as being good in an audio unit though. And I have read that the "TV" cleaner that radio shack sells contains mineral oil?

                  As I said originally, I don't know much about these things, and I just don't won't to spray the wrong chemical in there and eat something up or leave a film that will cause more problems.

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                  • #10
                    It is a rotary encoder of one form or another, if photoelectric, blow out with DRY compressed air or a can of "air". If that doesn't work a can of contact cleaner. If it is a photo type the contact cleaner may leave enough residue to keep it from working after. (most contact cleaners have a lubricant that is often kinda like a foam) a freon type cleaner can work with either, tho lubricant would be better on the contact type to help prevent oxidation

                    fred

                    Originally posted by Highpower
                    Not being an electronics wiz, I'm looking for the best/proper type of electrical contact cleaner to use on a car radio volume control. The volume control (the type that goes round and round with no end stops.) is getting jumpy and hard to control along with static when you turn it. I just don't want to spray anything in there that would make it worse.

                    Any opinions on brands / formulations? Thanks gents.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Well I guess I'll have to wait until the weekend so I can pull the radio out and get it apart to look inside. (Wife's car) I'm really curious now about what type of encoder this thing has. I'm hoping it's optical. Dry compressed air I have plenty of. Special electronics chemicals, not so much....

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                      • #12
                        Thanks!

                        Just wanted to say thank you all for your replies and info. It turns out I was dealing with a mechanical type rotary controller. I got some of the DeOxit D5 spray as was suggested and tried cleaning it by spraying it down the shaft, since there weren't any openings in the body of the controller. That just made things worse, and the volume control quit working all together.

                        After disassembling the radio I very carefully bent the locking tabs back on the cover of the controller, and removed the cover, shaft and controller "wheel" from the assembly. When I sprayed the separate parts, quite a bit of gunk was washed out. Reassembled everything and the radio works perfectly now!

                        You save me a BUNCH of money here.....
                        I greatly appreciate it!

                        HP

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