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Old 27th Nov 2022, 3:18 pm   #1
ben
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Default Cleaning faders - TASCAM multitrack

Just fishing for any tips. I recently came across a Portastudio whose faders had been exposed to dust (from plaster, during a house renovation). I managed to get most if not all the crud out by turning it upside down and using small vacuum cleaner, but the faders do not have a smooth action, there is some friction there.

Presumably there is a part where the mechanical 'runners' go, as well as the carbon track....and it is the former section that might benefit form a dab of light grease. I have not yet taken it apart to get a closer look.

I don't want to go injecting grease randomly, has anyone ever tried reconditioning these fader pots? Or should I not waste time and try and track down some new ones?
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Old 27th Nov 2022, 3:58 pm   #2
agardiner
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Default Re: Cleaning faders - TASCAM multitrack

I have refurbished plenty of desk faders in my time, mainly Calrec and Yamaha ones. Always found it worth the time as replacements can be expensive. However, I always remove them and dismantle so I can clean and lubricate properly.

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Old 27th Nov 2022, 4:13 pm   #3
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Default Re: Cleaning faders - TASCAM multitrack

If you don't want to dismantle, then this may be one of the rare occasions when the dreaded WD40 may be worth trying.
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Old 27th Nov 2022, 4:56 pm   #4
Bazz4CQJ
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Default Re: Cleaning faders - TASCAM multitrack

Isn't there a cleaner/lubricator product in the DeoxIT range? I have a can of the standard DeoxIT D5; that cleans well but so well that you feel there needs to be some lubricant added after using it. I see that D5 is labelled as for "metal-to metal" applications. Seems to be a "Marmite" type of product and an expensive one at that!

B
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Old 27th Nov 2022, 8:21 pm   #5
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Default Re: Cleaning faders - TASCAM multitrack

I have not used it myself but have heard good things about WD-40 Specialist Silicone spray.

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Old 27th Nov 2022, 8:37 pm   #6
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Default Re: Cleaning faders - TASCAM multitrack

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I have not used it myself but have heard good things about WD-40 Specialist Silicone spray.

David
I've been under the impression for a very long time that silicones and electronics do not go together at all. I know of one British company where silicone furniture polishes were banned in the admin building where no technical work was done.

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Old 27th Nov 2022, 9:26 pm   #7
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Default Re: Cleaning faders - TASCAM multitrack

I agree with Bazz. Add silicon and you add problems. its sticky as h##l and attracts dust like mad.
Stripping and cleaning is the way to go. I even use WD40 but its completely removed on reassembly.
For mechanical lubrication I use Singer sewing machine oil applied with a toothpick.
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Old 27th Nov 2022, 10:12 pm   #8
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Default Re: Cleaning faders - TASCAM multitrack

I agree dismantling is probably the only way to do it properly even though that was probably never intended or expected back then. The old dirt, grease etc needs to be removed with the aid of a solvent then new lubricant applied. In one way the replacing of rotary pots with linear pots was shall we say, an unfortunate move. The "law of unintended consequences" strikes again.

Last edited by TIMTAPE; 27th Nov 2022 at 10:20 pm.
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Old 27th Nov 2022, 10:25 pm   #9
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Default Re: Cleaning faders - TASCAM multitrack

" Real faders " were actually sealed rotary pots driven by a shaft and a wire wound around the pot shaft.
Today they are about $200 each!!!.
The open faders used in "cheap " modern mixers and tape decks usually relied on a little wiping bit of some very weak and thin material.
With equipment made like this its a VERY good idea to keep the unit, or at least the sliders covered. Even in a studio. Vinyl, like that used for guitar amps is cheap and very readily sewn on an ordinary home sewing machine.

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Old 27th Nov 2022, 11:51 pm   #10
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Default Re: Cleaning faders - TASCAM multitrack

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I have a can of the standard DeoxIT D5; that cleans well but so well that you feel there needs to be some lubricant added after using it.
That's why they sell Faderlube - you are supposed to use it after you've used D5.
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Old 28th Nov 2022, 12:59 am   #11
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Default Re: Cleaning faders - TASCAM multitrack

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I have a can of the standard DeoxIT D5; that cleans well but so well that you feel there needs to be some lubricant added after using it.
That's why they sell Faderlube - you are supposed to use it after you've used D5.
I had a recollection that Deoxit did a lube, but I only use Deoxit when everything else has failed, which is rare and so I've not spent any more money with them. I don't own anything with faders, and I think other components are less of a challenge.

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Old 28th Nov 2022, 1:31 am   #12
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Default Re: Cleaning faders - TASCAM multitrack

CRC CO then CRC 2.26 (looks like it's now 5.56 Electrical)?

Not sure if they're available in the UK though. Some of their products show up on element14's website, so checking Farnell might be worth it.
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Old 28th Nov 2022, 10:58 am   #13
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Default Re: Cleaning faders - TASCAM multitrack

You essentially need 3 different agents to do this (WD40 is the worst thing you can use BTW, as it dries up and leaves all manner of residue):

Deoxit D5 will dissolve the build up of oxide / detritus on the tracks / contacts themselves. I find it works wonders. Use either a dropper, or the shortest blip possible with aerosol (spray into a can lid and drop that way).

FaderLube - used very sparingly, this will reduce friction on contacts once they've been cleaned

Fader Bearing Grease. This is specifically for bushes in pots and runners in slider tracks, to ensure a 'viscous' feel. I was told by a pot maker that the longest lasting grease was discontinued a few years back.

I find that the best course of action is NOT to flush away the old grease. Just use enough Deoxit to break down debris, and a touch of fader lube afterwards. None of the Caig products I've tried have been vicscous enough for bearings. I find it best to clean contacts, but not flush away the old stuff where possible (unless old grease has broken down, which typically happens with AB pots, but not so much with Alps).

NB - when I get new Alps pots delivered, the bearing grease residue on the shafts sticks to my fingers. I find it hard to get off (IPA and soap does nothing). It's like a resin that sticks to your skin and is impossible to get off. I'd love to know what the product is.

I see more damage than good resulting from pots being cleaned on the whole. Some pots for vintage gear fetch over 100 a go now (!!), and people invariably ruin their old pots trying to clean them incorrectly.

edit - some contact cleaners dissolve certain carbon tracks. I only ever use Deoxit now. I once damaged a bunch of studio faders because of an Electrolube product. Only use products that are known to work. Be warned!

Last edited by knobtwiddler; 28th Nov 2022 at 11:04 am.
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Old 28th Nov 2022, 11:04 am   #14
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Default Re: Cleaning faders - TASCAM multitrack

We should bear in mind that this is just a Portastudio though, not some massive studio desk costing a fortune.
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Old 29th Nov 2022, 10:15 pm   #15
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Default Re: Cleaning faders - TASCAM multitrack

Thanks for all the pointers. I won't do anything until I've opened the unit and got as close look at the exact type of fader in use (you can't see anything of them when assembled, just a long slot!). Watch this space.
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Old 30th Nov 2022, 10:03 am   #16
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Default Re: Cleaning faders - TASCAM multitrack

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Originally Posted by knobtwiddler View Post

NB - when I get new Alps pots delivered, the bearing grease residue on the shafts sticks to my fingers. I find it hard to get off (IPA and soap does nothing). It's like a resin that sticks to your skin and is impossible to get off. I'd love to know what the product is.
This will be Kilopoise, I've used it on the rack and pinion's of hundreds of telescope focusing mounts and binoculars. It gives a slight resistance to the touch and eliminates backlash.
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Old 30th Nov 2022, 1:14 pm   #17
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Default Re: Cleaning faders - TASCAM multitrack

Thanks, Ken. I had a look for it a while back and had forgotten the name. Considering it's discontinued, then Alps must be using some kind of alternative. I wonder what? Their current grease does loosen up over time and the bearings can grate. The grease on the 70s / 80s Alps pots goes on and on - and I have their black range in many units and they still feel like new after 40 years. Mind you, the older ranges had brass collars, whereas newer pots are pot metal on both faces.

Here is the RS listing for the discontinued one (please correct me if I'm wrong): https://uk.rs-online.com/web/p/lubricants/0822349

Nothing seems to get the Alps grease off the fingers! I have tried a mix of IPA and washing up liquid. Nope! Gloves required.
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Old 30th Nov 2022, 1:25 pm   #18
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Default Re: Cleaning faders - TASCAM multitrack

It seems that Rocol replaced 0868 with PG-44A. But the replacement seems even more elusive to find than the original!

You can get 6g of PG-44A on Ebay for $15 USD, but add $18 for postage. Bargain!

(not)
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Old 30th Nov 2022, 1:57 pm   #19
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Default Re: Cleaning faders - TASCAM multitrack

DeOxit Faderlube. Expensive but worth it.
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