Call Search

New to Ham Radio?
My Profile

Friends Remembered
Survey Question

DX Cluster Spots

Ham Exams
Ham Links
List Archives
News Articles
Product Reviews
QSL Managers

Site Info
eHam Help (FAQ)
Support the site
The eHam Team
Advertising Info
Vision Statement

donate to eham
   Home   Help Search  
Pages: Prev 1 [2]   Go Down
Author Topic: Cleaning dirty radios  (Read 15521 times)

Posts: 4546

« Reply #15 on: January 25, 2014, 05:38:56 PM »

Depending on the size and type of switch it's possible to lubricate the sliding parts in a number of ways. On my workbench I have a re-purposed plastic bottle from an ink cartridge refill kit. Good size for tight areas and complete with a thin nozzle on the business end. It carries Valvoline 5-30W full synthetic motor oil which is applied directly to rotating shafts and motor bearings. On sliding surfaces I've been known to dampen a Q-Tip then rub (or roll) the oil where it's needed. Other favorites include Tri-Flon which is a Teflon impregnated light spray lube and CRC 2-26. The 2-26 is both a cleaner and lubricant that (IMHO) can substitute for DeOxit at a fraction of the cost. Which is why I tend to use it on the contact fingers of rotary switch wafers. Synthetic motor oil is also an excellent cleaner but should be used sparingly for two reasons: It takes very little to do the job and it doesn't dry off quickly... Which means the excess can attract dust until it does.

Regardless of the lubricant, good practice is to apply only where needed and as needed. A resistor wire makes a handy droplet applicator and I go through a fair number of Q-Tips when I'm tinkering. You can find them ultra-cheap at a dollar store along with cotton cosmetic pads so there's no excuse to do without or scrimp on the cotton.


Posts: 7038

« Reply #16 on: January 26, 2014, 06:26:37 AM »

5UP:  Copy that.  Many thanks for the info.  I found many years ago that the wheel has already been invented.  It's only necessary to go to someone who has used one to learn how to use it best!   Grin

A Pessimist is Never Disappointed!

Posts: 4546

« Reply #17 on: January 26, 2014, 07:19:40 AM »

One more... Years ago American Airlines had a surplus store in Tulsa that I enjoyed visiting due to the variety of goods offered. I picked up several squeeze tubes of Magnalube

that I've been hoarding ever since. If you ever see it in a store jump on it like a flea on a poodle. Excellent thin grease that's slow to dry, does not attract dust and will work its way into nooks & crannies just like you want it to. I like it for the ball detent of rotary switches or anywhere you'd use Lubriplate.

Another aerospace specialty grease is Krytox

not as useful as Magnalube but the Krytox claim to fame is in high temperature applications. Works OK at room temperature but gets extra slippery when hot without becoming runny.

Aerospace lubricants are generally of exceptionally high quality as they're used on high-dollar goods where second best is a bad idea. Both are PTFE fortified. A grease like Magnalube will work well at 110 degrees on the runway in Phoenix or at 40 below above the polar circle somewhere between Boston and Paris, which means greasing the Heathshkit ain't no thing. A two ounce tube lasts a long time on a repair bench.


Posts: 364

« Reply #18 on: January 27, 2014, 07:25:17 AM »


Deoxit lubricates well as mentioned sbove. There are others but I can't remember.  Try,  I have viisted this site numerous times when I restore antique radios.  They have an answwer for just about anyting relating to electrical and cabinet restoration.  Excellent site and user friendly.


Posts: 904

« Reply #19 on: January 27, 2014, 04:13:11 PM »

I'm rebuilding a TS830 that's very dirty. I wouldn't go the dish washing water route, use isopropyl alcohol in a flat plastic storage container (just large enough to contain a PCB). Gentle washing with a very soft bristle brush (like a 2" soft, paint brush) You will need a compressed air blow gun to dry it off, you must have that part, if anything. I was happy with the result.

I have restored hundreds of pieces of test equipment and radios through the years.
My most recent favorite is Simple Green EXTREME. This is NOT the smelly regular SG. This stuff will not hurt aluminum and has a Boeing certification.
Only one problem: It's hard to find. Fastenall sells it but you have to buy 4 gal (case) and it's about $40/gal. Worth every penny. We use it on my boss's 1/2 Mil $ motorhome. We buy it by the case.


If you're not the lead sled dog, the view never changes......

Posts: 273

« Reply #20 on: February 03, 2014, 06:17:00 PM »

...Then I took the rig to the local you-spray-it car wash and sprayed it with Purple Power then CAREFULLY used the high pressure wand to clean and rinse top and bottom.

All I did before starting was to remove all the tubes.  Everything else went through the entire cleaning process described above.  When I finished the chassis looked shiney and brand new. 
Dick  AD4U

Holy Crow!

I have NEVER heard of running electronics through Purple Power!
I'm amazed....

Just to be sure -- you weren't doing that to just the case with the rest of the radio guts removed , right?
You mentioned tube sockets, which means that the rest of the electronics, trimmer caps, variable caps, slug tuners, dials, strings etc were all still inside the radio and got PurplePowered in a carwash Huh



Posts: 5

« Reply #21 on: February 05, 2014, 02:21:26 PM »

Despite having over 50 years' experience a ham, as a non-smoker my own gear (and I never get rid of anything) has not had to bear the horrors of nicotine & tar contamination.  I *have* used the ideas in this and similar threads for repairing vintage (like 60s) guitar & bass amplifiers.
I've seen product names bandied about with which I have zero experience, but a couple with whom I'm pretty familiar as to desirable and undesirable effects on components and cases, plastics, etc.

Buying isopropyl alcohol can be a matter of shopping several pharmacies.  Nearly everyone sells ~71% isopropanol, but the thing to remember is that the percentage that *isn't" alcohol is water.  I generally shudder at using low percentage alcohol on components or areas of chassis/panel/etc to which I will not later have access to apply something which will remove the water content.

Finding 99% isopropyl alcohol usually entails a conversation with a pharmacist.  I think it's partly to assure the guy/gal in the white coat that it's not going to be going into a beverage.  Not that it would be germane to the topic at hand, but watch their eyebrows if you ask for potassium chlorate or potassium permanganate......   Smiley

"Absolute ethyl alcohol" is another good choice for simply cleaning, but it's only 100% with the bottle closed.  As soon as the bottle is opened in normal atmosphere, the hygroscopic character of the alcohol will, if left open, absorb (adsorb?  I can't remember the right term) atmospheric water until the solution is 95% ethanol and 5% water.  That's usually fine for cleaning, as a little heat from a hair dryer will eventually drive out the water, and make the component ready for some DeOxit.   FWIW, if you live in a state where 190 proof Everclear beverage is available, there's your 95% ethanol/5% water mixture in a convenient (if somewhat expensive) container.  If it stays away from gullets and open flame, it should last awhile as a cleaner.

Caig's DeOxit comes in several versions, and there's a big difference in their delivery vehicle(s).  If the label says "D100", than the contents is 100% DeOxit, which both cleans contacts AND leaves a lubricant & contact "enhancer".  I flunked Physical Chemistry in college, so I don't know just what it is that can enhance conductivity without itself being a conductor of electricity.  After, I are not an en-gunn-ear; mayhap others can weigh in on this.  I've got two 15ml bottles with nail polish-like brushes.  Along with a nearly inexhaustible supply of Q-Tips, and very sparing application of the DeOxit, these two bottles should last until my progeny takes over the shack/bench.

They also have a spray version of DeOxit, which is 5% DeOxit and 95% vaporizing diluting agent and propellant.  I have a 2 ml vial of D100 in my bass gig bag for treating guitar cable plugs and, upon insertion, their jacks.  For getting DeOxit into pots that have very small openings into "the guts", the 5% spray with its teensy straw can usually get a short blast inside, to be followed by sometimes-heroic rotation of said pot from stop to stop to de-gunk as much of the wiper and substrate as possible.  I use that method as a quick diagnosis of a part (pot, slide switch, jack, etc.) that needs to be replaced after the next gig, as usually they're already on their way out and are relatively inexpensive.  

For tube pins and sockets that are likely to be exposed to temperatures nearing (or exceeding) 240 deg C, Caig's Gold product is a product that doesn't turn to varnish.  I've had a 15 ml bottle of 100% solution on the bench that's lasted over 4 years.  They also have a couple products, GxL and Gx2, both of which are good to over 500 deg C, but are only available as samples to the aerospace industry.  I haven't yet figured out how to ask for a sample to rebuild my current Viking I mxtr, and my "point & click" IR detector says the tubes in the Viking and my Amplidyne 621 run well under 190 deg C, so I'm probably good with the "regular" Gold product.  Note that the Gold products yield only about 0.5% cleaning action; the rest is intended to function as a noble metal to noble metal (ideally gold) contacts.

Caig also has a specific lube product for conductive plastic components, like mixer faders, and is available as either a syringe loaded with light green grease, or as a much thinner spray product.  I've tried it on conventional silver wiper/deposited carbon layer on a phenolic substrate pots with only limited success.  It's hard to find a product (at least for me) that's good as a pot lube that also helps keep the contacts shiny and low resisitance.

YMMV may vary, of course.  It's only been the past ten years that I've been reacquiring boatanchors made back when I got my first Novice ticket back in 1961 when I was 9 years old.

Oh -- almost forgot.  My smarter half, a/k/a She Who Must Be Obeyed, repairs sewing machines.  A class she attended espoused the Tri-Flow liquid with the straw for bearings, and their grease for gears.  A single application on the two-position rotary switch switch that chooses the antenna output or the internal dummy load on my Amplidyne 621 turned the switch to being too locked in one position to turn with a Vise-GripĀ® to being able to turn it with the stock 1-1/4" diameter knob.  Caig D100 on the terminals fixed the varying output through the switch.

This forum has taught me so much, and I'm hard pressed to express my thanks to all who have given their methods of getting this gear that's as old as I am back to working form.  My only way to say thanks is to submit my own meager experience in the topic at hand.

73 es tnx
-- Stuart --  originally wn4ant (in 1961)
diddly dahdidah
dit     dit

« Last Edit: February 05, 2014, 03:00:51 PM by KL7HNY » Logged
Pages: Prev 1 [2]   Go Up
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.11 | SMF © 2006-2009, Simple Machines LLC Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!