[sdiy] Cleaning scratchy pots

Michael E Caloroso mec.forumreader at gmail.com
Mon Mar 30 05:12:34 CEST 2020

Isopropyl alcohol leaves behind a film so they did not give you the
best answer.  Denatured alcohol is better.

You also want a cleaning solvent that evaporates so its remnants do
not attract dirt and debris.

Even then, the cleaning process isn't the same for all pots.

Cermet?  Wirewound?  Carbon?


On 3/29/20, Neil Johnson <neil.johnson71 at gmail.com> wrote:
> Hi Antti,
> Thanks. If you don't mind can you say which company replied?
> Cheers,
> Neil
> On Sun, 29 Mar 2020, 14:32 Antti Pitkämäki, <anpitkam at hotmail.com> wrote:
>> 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
>> #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,
>> Antti
>> ------------------------------
>> *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
>> Hi,
>> 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,
>> Antti
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