Pot crackle - replace or clean

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Snowmonkey
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Pot crackle - replace or clean

Post by Snowmonkey » Tue Sep 22, 2020 6:47 am

Question about my push/pull tone pot on the HH Jazzmaster. It crackles a lot, and is really intermittant when turning. If i spray contact cleaner into it, it solves the problem and works fine...for a couple of days. Then it is back to playing up.

Does it need a new pot, or more contact cleaner? I am not the first owner but not think the guitar has been played that much as it is like new. Problem is, it is a real faff to access the pots to clean them (new strings etc)...

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Re: Pot crackle - replace or clean

Post by øøøøøøø » Tue Sep 22, 2020 6:55 am

Cleaner, then lubricant. EML or caig F5.

If not lubricated, the wiper will scrape conductive material off the substrate (creating conductive dust) and the crackling will soon return, as you’ve observed.

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Re: Pot crackle - replace or clean

Post by Snowmonkey » Tue Sep 22, 2020 7:13 am

Ah, maybe that is it. I am using a WD40 contact cleaner product but no lubricant. Thanks, will give it a go...

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Re: Pot crackle - replace or clean

Post by ChrisDesign » Sat Sep 26, 2020 10:43 am

I've never heard of lubricating pots before...
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Re: Pot crackle - replace or clean

Post by andy_tchp » Sat Sep 26, 2020 7:58 pm

They're lubricated during manufacturing.

Spraying 'contact cleaner' via a pressurised nozzle washes this lubricant away. Then the wiper wears away the resistive element creating a bunch of carbon dust as Brad mentioned in the first reply.

Caig's Faderlube ("F5") is an excellent product, but it's expensive - $50 for my last can locally. I'd probably replace the pot at this point unless you're a keen repairer that's likely to get full use out of a can.
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Re: Pot crackle - replace or clean

Post by Snowmonkey » Sun Sep 27, 2020 6:31 am

This was also news to me. I managed to order some Caig F5 Lube for 29 € including shipping - probably worth getting as I have used contact cleaner on quite a bit of my equipment (mixers etc) without lubing afterwards...

Also, I am not too confident with a soldering iron so doubtful I could change the pot myself.

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Re: Pot crackle - replace or clean

Post by timtam » Sun Sep 27, 2020 8:05 am

The resistive element in pots can be carbon, conductive plastic, or other materials. Some cleaning products are directed more at one than the other (eg Deoxit D and F series), targeting the specific chemistry of how they malfunction. But most claim a lubricating function along with cleaning.
http://store.caig.com/s.nl/it.I/id.5/.f
The extent to which a specific product can also work for other resistive elements is uncertain; I guess there is always the chance that they could make things worse if used for the wrong resistive chemistry, or not work at all. If I had a $100,000 mixing desk I'd probably find out exactly what type of resistive elements I had in all my pots, and which particular product to use. But generally I use whatever Deoxit series is easiest to get my hands on. If a scratchy pot fails to respond to cleaning anymore after a few shots, I figure it's time for a new pot.

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Re: Pot crackle - replace or clean

Post by MrJagsquire » Sun Sep 27, 2020 12:36 pm

Snowmonkey wrote:
Tue Sep 22, 2020 7:13 am
Ah, maybe that is it. I am using a WD40 contact cleaner product but no lubricant. Thanks, will give it a go...
Are you using standard WD40 or is this some other WD40 product that is specifically labelled as 'contact cleaner'? If you are using standard WD40 then I would recommend that you stop and use something specifically designed for cleaning contacts with. Standard WD40 will cause more issues than it solves spraying it into a pot/switch.

A proper contact cleaner/lubricant is not that expensive and will leave a lubricant on the track/switches you use it on if you buy the right one. I happen to use 'DeoxIT' D5 contact cleaner, but others also contain the lubricant as well, so are an 'all in one' product.

It comes in handy on jack sockets and pickup selector switches too.

EDIT: It looks like there is a WD40 contact cleaner available, but I'll leave my post above un-editted incase someone else reads it who is using normal WD40.

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Re: Pot crackle - replace or clean

Post by Snowmonkey » Mon Sep 28, 2020 3:17 am

I am using WD40 contact cleaner.

https://www.wd40.com/products/contact-cleaner/

But I hadn't realised there was a difference between contact cleaner and contact lube. Thought one did the other. So it seems that while cleaning my pots and faders, I have been blasting out the lube as well and probably making them worse.

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Re: Pot crackle - replace or clean

Post by beninma » Mon Sep 28, 2020 7:13 am

The Caig Deoxit is totally worth having around. You shouldn't have to pay $50 for it.

I've got a can of it.. I've used it on multiple amps successfully, multiple guitars.

My Offset got a weird thing going with the pickup selector switch where it'd occasionally not actually switch and go to a dead position.. one shot of DeOxit and it's never done it again.

One odd thing.. if you hit pots with it they can feel different.. they might feel smoother and have less resistance. If you want a firm feel maybe be aware of that. On my amp the volume knob developed crackling, DeOxit fixed it but the knob feels like a PRS knob now instead of a Fender knob if you know what I mean.

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Re: Pot crackle - replace or clean

Post by andy_tchp » Mon Sep 28, 2020 4:25 pm

beninma wrote:
Mon Sep 28, 2020 7:13 am
The Caig Deoxit is totally worth having around. You shouldn't have to pay $50 for it.
You will when you live outside the US, like the OP, myself and numerous other forum members.
"I don't know why we asked him to join the band 'cause the rest of us don't like country music all that much; we just like Graham Lee."
David McComb, 1987.

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Re: Pot crackle - replace or clean

Post by beninma » Tue Sep 29, 2020 6:12 am

andy_tchp wrote:
Mon Sep 28, 2020 4:25 pm
beninma wrote:
Mon Sep 28, 2020 7:13 am
The Caig Deoxit is totally worth having around. You shouldn't have to pay $50 for it.
You will when you live outside the US, like the OP, myself and numerous other forum members.
Yah but you're in Australia. It's like a law of the internet that someone will always say "It's too expensive in Australia."

Stuff is too expensive in Australia because Australia, it's not the rest of the world's fault.

It's $13 in the US. $18 if you convert to Australian Currency, $20 if you add the 10% Aussie VAT tax. That's for a 5oz bottle that should last a guitar player a really long time.

I'd love to know where the other $30 goes... is it that you can't order from overseas due to some regulation and you have to get it through some Australian importer that then marks it up like crazy?

You can't just order from Amazon or Reverb or something and do stuff under the table?

What about a Chinese equivalent? China is the world's electronics powerhouse.. they must go through tons of contact cleaner/lubricant.

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Re: Pot crackle - replace or clean

Post by Beltone » Tue Sep 29, 2020 8:23 am

I use Nu-Trol control cleaner for electronics from MG chemicals. Used it once with pots on my amp and one guitar switch. No issues since and it was easier on the pocketbook compared to Deoxit. Didn't realize I might need a lubricant too until reading this thread though. OSG forum comes through again.

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Re: Pot crackle - replace or clean

Post by andy_tchp » Tue Sep 29, 2020 3:38 pm

beninma wrote:
Tue Sep 29, 2020 6:12 am
andy_tchp wrote:
Mon Sep 28, 2020 4:25 pm
beninma wrote:
Mon Sep 28, 2020 7:13 am
The Caig Deoxit is totally worth having around. You shouldn't have to pay $50 for it.
You will when you live outside the US, like the OP, myself and numerous other forum members.
Yah but you're in Australia. It's like a law of the internet that someone will always say "It's too expensive in Australia."

Stuff is too expensive in Australia because Australia, it's not the rest of the world's fault.

It's $13 in the US. $18 if you convert to Australian Currency, $20 if you add the 10% Aussie VAT tax. That's for a 5oz bottle that should last a guitar player a really long time.

I'd love to know where the other $30 goes... is it that you can't order from overseas due to some regulation and you have to get it through some Australian importer that then marks it up like crazy?

You can't just order from Amazon or Reverb or something and do stuff under the table?
:fp:

I never stated the product was 'too expensive'. I suggested that it was an expensive option if the OP only wished to get a single pot sorted.

The OP is in Europe - and paid as much as I did.

Most online sellers (rightly) won't ship due to Dangerous Goods regulations and the hassle (extra cost) involved. And I do prefer to support local businesses wherever possible.

Guessing you haven't paid to ship anything overseas for a while (or ever). USPS (the 'economy' mail option) would be $20-$30.

But yes, do continue on, your knowledge of the subject and appreciation of other people's circumstances seems boundless - almost on par with your comprehension skills.
"I don't know why we asked him to join the band 'cause the rest of us don't like country music all that much; we just like Graham Lee."
David McComb, 1987.

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Re: Pot crackle - replace or clean

Post by beninma » Wed Sep 30, 2020 7:41 am

Yawn.. pick your country.. go to whatever Amazon type shop.

Search for contact cleaner. Pick one of the choices and order it.

I just tried it for delivery to the UK and France and found stuff for 5 pounds with free delivery in the UK and stuff < 10 Euros with free delivery in France. Not WD-40, similar professional products to the CAIG products but EU brands. These products are not explosives or particularly hazardous.

This isn't hard. You don't need the CAIG product even if it might be a good product.

Your profile says Brisbane.. but wherever you are this kind of stuff is usually easy to walk into the hardware store and it'll be on the shelf there as well.

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