[sdiy] Cleaning scratchy pots

Antti Pitkämäki anpitkam at hotmail.com
Sun Mar 29 15:29:27 CEST 2020

Hi all,

I'm replying to this thread I started a while ago. I got some great tips, thanks! However, to find the definitive answer to my question below, I decided to ask three major potentiometer manufacturers on how to clean a scratchy pot properly and whether lube is needed. One of them replied. I'm posting this here because it might be interesting to some of you. Below is my original question to the manufacturers and below that is the one reply I got. I find it to be very useful information!

The question:

"I’m trying to find information on how to properly fix a scratchy potentiometer that is used in audio equipment (e.g. synthesizer). All I’ve found are contradictory opinions on how to do it, but I can’t seem to find a definitive answer. Thus, I got the idea of asking a reputable potentiometer manufacturer for some tips. Although my question concerns potentiometers generally and not just your products, I would appreciate any insight on this.

So if I was to fix a scratchy audio potentiometer, I suppose I should dismantle it for proper cleaning? I was thinking of using isoprophyl alcohol to clean the carbon tracks, is this a good idea? Should I add lubrification to the carbon tracks after cleaning or leave them dry? If lubrification is a good idea, could you tell me which type to use and which type to avoid?"

The answer:

"In regards to our potentiometer cleaning process, my application engineer stated the following:

We would only recommend using isopropyl alcohol to clean the POTS. Most of our pots come with a small amount of grease applied, we tend to use a NLGI #2 grease. The customer might be able to find something similar. Be sure to avoid any type of lubricant that can be conductive."

Hope you find this information useful!

Best regards and take care in these uncertain times,

From: Synth-diy <synth-diy-bounces at synth-diy.org> on behalf of Antti Pitkämäki <anpitkam at hotmail.com>
Sent: Sunday, January 5, 2020 2:10 PM
To: synth-diy at synth-diy.org <synth-diy at synth-diy.org>
Subject: [sdiy] Cleaning scratchy pots


I'm about to clean a scratchy volume pot of my Korg Polysix. I was thinking of dismantling the pot and using isoprophyl alcohol to clean the wiper contacts. However, am I also supposed to add some very small amount of lubricant (such as PRF Kontakt 7-78) to the contacts after cleaning or would it be better to leave it dry?

Also, in general do new factory fresh pots have lubricant on the contacts or are they dry?

I'm asking these questions because no amount of googling seems to give a definite answer, but if there is an answer somewhere, it's in this group 🙂

Thanks in advance,
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