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Author Topic: Cleaning Dirty Mixer  (Read 5379 times)

(BJ) Benjamin Fisher

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Cleaning Dirty Mixer
« on: February 22, 2010, 06:41:08 pm »

A buddy of mine has asked me to take a look and try to clean his old 16ch Fender powered mixer. Waiting to find out the model. Anyhow, I've read a few things regarding cleaning, but nothing seemed to help answer my questions. Once I get into the insides, how should I clean the board, connections, etc off. What about lubing pots and faders? The mixer has been stored in a garage for quite some time and has alot of dust build up from what he was telling me over the phone.

Obviously taking this into a shop pro would be better than DIY Mr.Fisher, but this thing may not be worth the cost of a professional cleaning. So this is the next best thing to possibly salvaging this old piece for a practice PA.

Any suggestions as to proper cleaning methods and products would be great. Thanks
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BJ Fisher
Stealthy Sound
Columbus,OH

Tim McCulloch

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Re: Cleaning Dirty Mixer
« Reply #1 on: February 22, 2010, 06:46:13 pm »

SEARCH.  Both the Classic LAB
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Tim Weaver

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Re: Cleaning Dirty Mixer
« Reply #2 on: February 23, 2010, 10:56:59 am »

Dishwasher and Caig products.
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Jay Barracato

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Re: Cleaning Dirty Mixer
« Reply #3 on: February 23, 2010, 11:02:34 am »

Tim Weaver wrote on Tue, 23 February 2010 09:56

Dishwasher and Caig products.



Top shelf or bottom?
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Jay Barracato
Solomons MD

Tim Weaver

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Re: Cleaning Dirty Mixer
« Reply #4 on: February 23, 2010, 01:05:42 pm »

Put the PCB on the top and chassis stuff on the bottom.


Not kidding here, BTW.
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Moby (Mike Diack)

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Re: Cleaning Dirty Mixer
« Reply #5 on: February 23, 2010, 01:57:09 pm »

Tim Weaver wrote on Wed, 24 February 2010 07:05

Put the PCB on the top and chassis stuff on the bottom.


Not kidding here, BTW.


And knobs and buttons go in two sieves wired face to face on the TOP shelf. It's amazing how good old scungy knobs look post dishwasher.
M
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Brandon Arora

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Re: Cleaning Dirty Mixer
« Reply #6 on: February 24, 2010, 01:40:49 am »

Here's some tips for cleaning any console:

1. CLEANING KNOBS, CAPS, FASCIAS, pretty much any of the cosmetic stuff - Use a cleaner called Greased Lightning.  You can get it at Home Depot.  Soak the items in the cleaner (undiluted)for about 2 minutes.  Then rinse with hot/warm water.  This will take off most built up dirt, grease and grime without any scrubbing.  Then put them in a towel and shake vigorously to get them nice and dry. NO NEED FOR A DISHWASHER.

If you put this in a spray bottle, then you can use it to clean the metal work of the console.  But you will want to go back over the metal with something like Cinch by Spic n' Span to get it nice and residue free.

2. HOW TO CLEAN SWITCHES, POTS and FADERS (High Pressure Air is your friend) - Switches are pretty easy.  most of the time it's just dust build up on the contacts that cause them to be scratchy and make your audio intermittent.  First, use High Pressure Air (around 90psi is what I use) to blow away any standing dirt and debris.  The best lubricant/cleaner is not Caig or Deoxit.  It's Tefrawn by Frawn.  Only there is one catch here.  They don't sell it anymore unless you buy it in very large quantities.  So if you can't get your hands on it, then I guess your stuck with the other stuff.  Most switches have a small hole in the housing that makes getting the lubricant on the contacts very easy. Blow the switch with air one more time to get that lubricant all in there and then work the switch a few times.  

Pots are a little more troublesome - First blow away excess dirt and debris with air. To clean, use a good contact cleaner, such as "Contact Cleaner II" by Techspray.  But be aware that this will not only dissolve the grime causing that scratchy sound but also the grease that give the pot its "feel".  If you work a pot right after spraying it, then you will work out all that grease and make that pot feel very floppy.  I suggest that you spray with contact cleaner --> clean pot with toothbrush --> blow with high pressure air --> then work it out if it still has any scratchy.  Pots do vary from decade to decade and some are more resilient than others.  So these instructions are very general.

Faders - To clean slide faders, use contact cleaner and air to clean them up and use a small amount of your lubricant to get them riding smooth again.  (Again these are very general instructions because there are many types of faders and the approach to cleaning them will also be different)

It's also wise to touch up all suspect solder joints - XLR, 1/4", Switches, Pots, Ribbon Cable Headers, etc

If you pay attention to detail, take your time and be willing to put in a little elbow grease, you can really make an old board look like new!
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Brandon Arora
Creation Audio Labs

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(BJ) Benjamin Fisher

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Re: Cleaning Dirty Mixer
« Reply #7 on: February 24, 2010, 02:28:19 am »

creationaudiolabs wrote on Wed, 24 February 2010 00:40

Here's some tips for cleaning any console:

1. CLEANING KNOBS, CAPS, FASCIAS, pretty much any of the cosmetic stuff - Use a cleaner called Greased Lightning.  You can get it at Home Depot.  Soak the items in the cleaner (undiluted)for about 2 minutes.  Then rinse with hot/warm water.  This will take off most built up dirt, grease and grime without any scrubbing.  Then put them in a towel and shake vigorously to get them nice and dry. NO NEED FOR A DISHWASHER.

If you put this in a spray bottle, then you can use it to clean the metal work of the console.  But you will want to go back over the metal with something like Cinch by Spic n' Span to get it nice and residue free.

2. HOW TO CLEAN SWITCHES, POTS and FADERS (High Pressure Air is your friend) - Switches are pretty easy.  most of the time it's just dust build up on the contacts that cause them to be scratchy and make your audio intermittent.  First, use High Pressure Air (around 90psi is what I use) to blow away any standing dirt and debris.  The best lubricant/cleaner is not Caig or Deoxit.  It's Tefrawn by Frawn.  Only there is one catch here.  They don't sell it anymore unless you buy it in very large quantities.  So if you can't get your hands on it, then I guess your stuck with the other stuff.  Most switches have a small hole in the housing that makes getting the lubricant on the contacts very easy. Blow the switch with air one more time to get that lubricant all in there and then work the switch a few times.  

Pots are a little more troublesome - First blow away excess dirt and debris with air. To clean, use a good contact cleaner, such as "Contact Cleaner II" by Techspray.  But be aware that this will not only dissolve the grime causing that scratchy sound but also the grease that give the pot its "feel".  If you work a pot right after spraying it, then you will work out all that grease and make that pot feel very floppy.  I suggest that you spray with contact cleaner --> clean pot with toothbrush --> blow with high pressure air --> then work it out if it still has any scratchy.  Pots do vary from decade to decade and some are more resilient than others.  So these instructions are very general.

Faders - To clean slide faders, use contact cleaner and air to clean them up and use a small amount of your lubricant to get them riding smooth again.  (Again these are very general instructions because there are many types of faders and the approach to cleaning them will also be different)

It's also wise to touch up all suspect solder joints - XLR, 1/4", Switches, Pots, Ribbon Cable Headers, etc

If you pay attention to detail, take your time and be willing to put in a little elbow grease, you can really make an old board look like new!

Great post, but I'm sure mods will be requiring you to change your user name to your real, full name. But thanks for the great info!
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BJ Fisher
Stealthy Sound
Columbus,OH
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