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Old 23rd Sep 2023, 10:37 am   #1
John10b
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Default Switch cleaner.

I have been using the same switch cleaner I bought, probably about twenty or so years ago, trying to clean the contacts on a German radio, so far with little success.
Do any of the current switch cleaners perform any better than the old ones ? Thanks.
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Old 23rd Sep 2023, 11:00 am   #2
Doghouse Riley
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Default Re: Switch cleaner.

I've only ever used Servisol, mostly on my two vinyl jukeboxes.

Here in the Manchester now, there's few places that sell it, because most have closed down. So I buy it on-line.
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Old 23rd Sep 2023, 11:20 am   #3
G6Tanuki
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Default Re: Switch cleaner.

Screwfix sell WD40-branded contact cleaner at a relatively sane price, it seems to work OK.
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Old 23rd Sep 2023, 11:26 am   #4
Dave Moll
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Default Re: Switch cleaner.

Likewise, I have only used Servisol 10, but DeoxIT D5 (as sold through the BVWS spares department) is claimed to be superior. According to the advertisement in the Bulletin, at £19.50 it's "not cheap - just the BEST".
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Old 23rd Sep 2023, 11:53 am   #5
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Default Re: Switch cleaner.

Servisol is all you should ever need but, be aware that it has now been re-branded as Kontakt Chemie Super 10.
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Old 23rd Sep 2023, 12:06 pm   #6
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Default Re: Switch cleaner.

Deoxit make a bewildering array of switch cleaning and lubricant products. Some you have to use purely as a cleaner and then use a second type as a lubricant. I looked into it once and came away more confused than before I looked. Nonetheless there are people who swear by 'it', notwithstanding its frankly ridiculously high price. I've always used Servisol and never been disappointed, unlike Deoxit where I have heard of it making matters worse, actually doing damage. My advice, if you want to use Deoxit then research the range of products that they offer (don't give up like I did) and choose which one meets your needs with care. Otherwise Servisol, it's a tried and tested product used by many on this forum. NB Servisol products have been rebranded but I can't recall the new name until I Google it, someone will know though.

Ah, just noticed, post 5 has the new name, Kontakt Super 10.
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Old 23rd Sep 2023, 12:11 pm   #7
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Default Re: Switch cleaner.

I do quite a bit of servicing on equipment that has been in service in hot / humid environments and although my opinion isn't exactly scientific, I have experienced better results with Deoxit D5 than any other brand. One big advantage to D5 is that it won't kill carbon tracks in pots / faders (many others will cause more harm than good in this scenario).

It's tricky (very expensive) to get the dropper in the UK, so I have resorted to emptying the aerosol into a container and filling syringes with the fluid. It's best used sparingly, right on the contact in question and nowhere else.

edit - a point I should make is that people often strip the grease out of bearings by using too much D5, and then try and get the feel back using Caig's various fader greases and products. This is not what it's designed for and won't work. The best policy is to use it sparingly. Very few faders will let you strip and regrease the bearing. Once it's been removed, the feel will be gone and you can't replace it. Sorry if this is slightly OT, but I see so many pots / faders that have been dowsed in cleaner and the owner wonders why they feel scratchy...
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Old 23rd Sep 2023, 12:37 pm   #8
John10b
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Default Re: Switch cleaner.

Thank you all, I should have said the two tins I have left is Maplins and Servisol 10.
So far I have only used the Maplins switch cleaner, I will now try the Servisol 10.
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Old 23rd Sep 2023, 2:14 pm   #9
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Default Re: Switch cleaner.

Quote:
Originally Posted by knobtwiddler View Post
I do quite a bit of servicing on equipment that has been in service in hot / humid environments and although my opinion isn't exactly scientific, I have experienced better results with Deoxit D5 than any other brand.
Would you say that after using D5, you need to apply something with some lube properties? I think Deoxit make such a product, but it's expensive. D5 is "interesting" and quite different to most other cleaners. Never apply a soldering iron to anything with traces of D5 still present; the fumes that come off are extremely unpleasant! I once did this to a valve holder which turned out at have D5 still present (but invisible) in the pin sockets .

I bought some D5 a long time ago, but use it rarely, finding that most situations can be handled with a basic solvent (IPA) cleaner. The contact cleaner included under the WD40 specialist range seems to work quite well.

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Old 23rd Sep 2023, 5:44 pm   #10
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Default Re: Switch cleaner.

WD-40 was specifically banned from BT telephone exchanges. There was probably a good reason......
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Old 23rd Sep 2023, 5:49 pm   #11
Dave Moll
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Default Re: Switch cleaner.

I think what was discussed here was specifically switch cleaner from the WD40 people rather than the standard water-repellant stuff.
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Old 23rd Sep 2023, 6:07 pm   #12
Bazz4CQJ
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Default Re: Switch cleaner.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Moll View Post
I think what was discussed here was specifically switch cleaner from the WD40 people rather than the standard water-repellant stuff.
Yes, that right. The original WD40 product dates back to ~1976 and was a general purpose "lubricant" and that's still around.

But much more recently, the company that owns the WD40 brand name (now including "3 in 1") brought out about six "specialist products" which includes a "Fast Drying Contact Cleaner", which I quite like.

Usually, when some fluid gets a total ban around electrical systems it's because it's got silicones in it, which I don't think the basic WD40 product ever had.

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Old 23rd Sep 2023, 6:18 pm   #13
knobtwiddler
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Default Re: Switch cleaner.

For resistive tracks, I would apply a very small amount of the Caig 'Fader Lube' after using D5, but I wouldn't worry about using a secondary agent on switches or connectors.

I had a very bad experience with one contact cleaner (supposedly designed for resistive tracks) a few years back and dare not use anything other than D5 now. I'm sure other brands are excellent, but as the saying goes, once bitten.
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Old 23rd Sep 2023, 7:51 pm   #14
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Default Re: Switch cleaner.

I got some deoxit via CPC as they were discontinuing. Not specifically for switches, but specifically for gold contacts. Tiny bottle with a tiny brush. Has permanently resolved problems with gold contact switches and connectors for me. Did take a short time to be effective though.

Last edited by duncanlowe; 23rd Sep 2023 at 7:52 pm. Reason: autocorrect thought dioxin might be a better description
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Old 24th Sep 2023, 1:00 pm   #15
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Default Re: Switch cleaner.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bazz4CQJ View Post
Usually, when some fluid gets a total ban around electrical systems it's because it's got silicones in it, which I don't think the basic WD40 product ever had.

B
Yes, though I don't have a can here to check, I recall the original WD40 boasts on the can that it has been "Silicone free since nineteen-sixty-mumble".

Silicones are of course bad news in switching environments since minute electrical discharges through the film on contacts break the silicones down to Silica, whose insulating properties are so good that it is used to make the envelopes for high-power transmitting valves.... and suddenly your switches stop switching.
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Old 24th Sep 2023, 1:10 pm   #16
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Default Re: Switch cleaner.

A friend of mine worked in a company making fire alarms. They had run in to a problem with silicones. Subsequently, such materials were banned from the site to the extent that silicone furniture polish was banned for the admin building where no technical work of any kind was done.

The other issue with silicones is their ability to creep.

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Old 24th Sep 2023, 1:16 pm   #17
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Default Re: Switch cleaner.

I always clean contacts with 'pure' propan-2-ol (isopropyl alcohol, isopropanol, 'IPA'. CH_3 CHOH CH_3, call it what you will). I get it from RS or Cricklewood elecrronics, other companies sell it too.

I've tried the WD40 'specialist contact cleaner' and found it to be nowhere near as good.
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Old 24th Sep 2023, 1:42 pm   #18
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Default Re: Switch cleaner.

Quote:
Originally Posted by G6Tanuki View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bazz4CQJ View Post
Usually, when some fluid gets a total ban around electrical systems it's because it's got silicones in it, which I don't think the basic WD40 product ever had.

B
Yes, though I don't have a can here to check, I recall the original WD40 boasts on the can that it has been "Silicone free since nineteen-sixty-mumble".

Silicones are of course bad news in switching environments since minute electrical discharges through the film on contacts break the silicones down to Silica, whose insulating properties are so good that it is used to make the envelopes for high-power transmitting valves.... and suddenly your switches stop switching.
In the jukebox world enthusiasts are advised to steer clear of WD40, for anything, due to the number of exposed leaf switches and bare contact tracks on the wobble plates.
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Old 24th Sep 2023, 2:12 pm   #19
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Default Re: Switch cleaner.

Talking of Servisol. I have a (very old) tim with screw top which has a plastic pickup/dropper attached to the bottom of the lid. I don't see that same style available nowadays.
I'm getting noise on my phone line and so far it looks like the faceplate to baseplate connection is creating the noise so I was thinking about getting the tin down and trying that.
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Old 24th Sep 2023, 8:06 pm   #20
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Default Re: Switch cleaner.

I use CRC CO. Great stuff. I don't know how if it's available in the UK though.
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