Amp tech just told me De-Oxit is a bad idea as a contact cleaner

100LL

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So years ago a vacuum tube reseller in Denver that I was visiting told me he likes to spray some deoxIT on the pins of tubes. Ever since that's what I always do, in addition to other contacts that can see some oxidation.

Well I was just chatting with a local amp tech who really dislikes the stuff. Very much discourages its use saying that it leaves a film that is unwanted and difficult to remove. Instead he recommended a different thing (that I will find and post soon).

What do you all think?

 

ErictheRed

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I'm an electrical engineer and I wholeheartedly agree. I'm also a former USAF avionics technician, and you would never use this on aircraft electrical mating surfaces.

All "electrical contact cleaners" are are some kind of alcohol with other stuff mixed in. The other stuff is put there because pure alcohol is actually a little dangerous, especially under pressure. However, that other stuff isn't as volatile so it doesn't evaporate away cleanly.

Those pressurized spray cans are really just for the average consumer to easily spray onto mating surfaces, probably only one time when they go to make the one-time repair or replacement needed to get something working again. They aren't for tube sockets and pins that are going to be cleaned and changed multiple times in their lifetime. They're also for situations where you can't quite reach a mating surface inside a device, so you just blast it with this fire hose pressurized spray can, basically.

All you really need is isopropyl alcohol. You can buy industrial strength stuff that is higher percentage alcohol, but the 70% alcohol (and 30% water) solution that you find anywhere is perfectly fine and what I use. Just don't spill it everywhere and let it evaporate completely before mating the contacts. You can blow some dry air over it to speed up the evaporation (with a heat gun on room temp or hair dryer).
 

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Can I just squirt 93% isopropyl into pots to get rid of scratchiness?
 

ErictheRed

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Can I just squirt 93% isopropyl into pots to get rid of scratchiness?
Yes, again you may just want to blow some dry air on them to make sure the 7% amount that is water has evaporated completely.
 
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Freddy G

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I'm an electrical engineer and I wholeheartedly agree. I'm also a former USAF avionics technician, and you would never use this on aircraft electrical mating surfaces.

All "electrical contact cleaners" are are some kind of alcohol with other stuff mixed in. The other stuff is put there because pure alcohol is actually a little dangerous, especially under pressure. However, that other stuff isn't as volatile so it doesn't evaporate away cleanly.

Those pressurized spray cans are really just for the average consumer to easily spray onto mating surfaces, probably only one time when they go to make the one-time repair or replacement needed to get something working again. They aren't for tube sockets and pins that are going to be cleaned and changed multiple times in their lifetime. They're also for situations where you can't quite reach a mating surface inside a device, so you just blast it with this fire hose pressurized spray can, basically.

All you really need is isopropyl alcohol. You can buy industrial strength stuff that is higher percentage alcohol, but the 70% alcohol (and 30% water) solution that you find anywhere is perfectly fine and what I use. Just don't spill it everywhere and let it evaporate completely before mating the contacts. You can blow some dry air over it to speed up the evaporation (with a heat gun on room temp or hair dryer).
What are your thoughts on Stabilant 22 Eric?
 

NotScott

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Be careful about "contact cleaners" particularly when cleaning moving contacts like pots. The pure alcohol and/or pure solvent cleaners will also remove any lubrication required for moving parts to operate correctly and will eventually cause it to seize.
 

ErictheRed

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Be careful about "contact cleaners" particularly when cleaning moving contacts like pots. The pure alcohol and/or pure solvent cleaners will also remove any lubrication required for moving parts to operate correctly and will eventually cause it to seize.
True, you may need to re-lubricate something like a pot. I would still recommend alcohol over Detoxit for cleaning potentiometers, though.
 

ErictheRed

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What are your thoughts on Stabilant 22 Eric?
I've never used it or seen it used in any manufacturing or test facility where I've worked, so I don't have an opinion. What would be the application, what would you be using it for?
 

Freddy G

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I've never used it or seen it used in any manufacturing or test facility where I've worked, so I don't have an opinion. What would be the application, what would you be using it for?
I have some at work....I have not actually used it on every day pedestrian stuff because it's like liquid gold. So I don't have an opinion of it either.
 

Jymbopalyse

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I have some at work....I have not actually used it on every day pedestrian stuff because it's like liquid gold. So I don't have an opinion of it either.
From reading the description, I would expect this would be used with things like processors in PC's.

Not tubes.
 

dimeified

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For my mixer, I use deoxit fader cleaner, and follow it up with fader lube. You can really feel the resistance before spraying the lube. I never used the lube for pots, though maybe i should.

I do wonder what to do with tube sockets, what about a brass pipe cleaner in a drill chuck, then follow up with compressed air? Will the brass brush score the inside of the tube socket creating resistance or is brass wire soft enough to not do any damage?

I've heard it's best to just keep reinserting an old tube into the sockets to clean them. I would probably still blow them out with compressed air after to remove any loose particles.
 

jvin248

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.

.... well, I guess those guys at the bar gig are doing ok spilling their whiskey in their tube amps.

^Don't wire brush the parts, you'll grind away materials placed there to reduce corrosion. Most tube socket problems are from loose sockets.

De-oxit has it's fans because there is silicone in the spray meant to 'lubricate' the device.
You can buy silicone die-electric grease to prevent water from getting into automotive connectors -- because those get blasted with 75 mph water jets for hours at a time.
The silicone in De-oxit and other similar products makes it impossible for paint to stick, so smear that on a guitar and try to get a good paint finish is a challenge.

Most of these types of product threads, like guitar polish, get feverish opinions thrown out where half are from marketing department branding efforts ingrained in customers (oh they love that), half are from technicians who have always used a product and argue 'it's worked for decades', and another half who have some real engineering understanding of chemistry and materials. Add up enough halves and therein lies the practical truth of the solution.

Crud suspended in a pot's lubricant is the cause for scratchy performance. Perhaps actually cleaning it with a blast of alcohol will fix the problem...

.
 

Jymbopalyse

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I've never thought of using Deoxit on tubes but I have successfully used it on pots and faders about three or four times in my life.

It's not something that comes up a lot.
But it has served me well when I needed it.
And I haven't had to re-apply it.
 

ehb

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I’ve used D5 on guitars including mine for years with no ill effects or need for revisiting. As I’ve used it on mine, if it was an issue, I’d probably know by now. Zero issues.
 

cooljuk

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I've used ethanol for cleaning electrical contacts with good results. I'm not a chemist, so maybe someone will point out that all my connections will fail early for some reason, but it definitely works extremely well in the interim and evaporates quickly. Sometimes too quickly. I use high-percentage isopropyl for cleaning flux off circuit boards because it sits around a little longer to penetrate and get mopped around the connections.

Those old Centralabs we love, need some lubricant. More on the crappy oxidized cast zinc bushings and shafts than the actual traces. What type of lube do the more molecularly-minded individuals here find best for that application?
 

cooljuk

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I do wonder what to do with tube sockets, what about a brass pipe cleaner in a drill chuck, then follow up with compressed air? Will the brass brush score the inside of the tube socket creating resistance or is brass wire soft enough to not do any damage?
You don't want to do that. The problem is not so much the abrasion of the contacts, as spring steel is just fine to clean with much softer bass, but that you're using something with conductive bristles. One stray bristle could be enough to allow an arc, taking out a nice set of output tubes, along with the OT and a few coupling caps and other nice parts.

I have some small nylon brushes I use for cleaning particularly nasty sockets. I get them from my dentist (I get lots of awesome guitar/amp tools from my dentist!). They are referred to as "Christmas trees" in that industry, but there may be another name. Imagine a bore brush, with a slight cone-shape taper, and a little plastic/rubber handle at the end that would normally be threaded.
 

ehb

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You don't want to do that. The problem is not so much the abrasion of the contacts, as spring steel is just fine to clean with much softer bass, but that you're using something with conductive bristles. One stray bristle could be enough to allow an arc, taking out a nice set of output tubes, along with the OT and a few coupling caps and other nice parts.
Conductive/metal anything is not a good idea. I even use the white 3M synthetic steel wool pads to do a quick degrunge on frets... They work great... Not uncommon for a guitar to come in with steel wool cast off from something prior to be stuck to pickups. Then I have to sticky tape so I can remove the metal fur...
 

cooljuk

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Conductive/metal anything is not a good idea. I even use the white 3M synthetic steel wool pads to do a quick degrunge on frets... They work great... Not uncommon for a guitar to come in with steel wool cast off from something prior to be stuck to pickups. Then I have to sticky tape so I can remove the metal fur...
Trust me. You never want to clean a Blanchard grinder or belt grinder that has been used heavily on AlNiCo!

Imagine that fuzz on the pickups, but in the form of a bucket full of magnetic, toxic, razor sharp sludge dumped inside a steel machine.

I replaced a wet saw, rather than cleaning it, for that reason. Even a degaussing coil only helped moderately.
 


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