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How to clean pots on distortion pedals

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(@beeryswine)
New Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 2
Topic starter  

I have a used Dime Distortion I recently got and the treble knob doesn't affect the sound at all when turned. I popped off the knobs on the pots and most of them are REALLY dirty, so I'm hoping all that needs to be done is clean them but I don't want to damage the electronics and computer chips and stuff in the pedal. Also there are tiny holes next to each pot. My father says tuner cleaner will work but I'm hesitant to try. Any suggestions?


   
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(@scrybe)
Famed Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 2241
 

Dexoit or similar if you're in the US. Head to Maplin's website and search 'electronic cleaner' if you're in the UK. If elsewhere, look for a local electrical store. Most should have a cleaning product specifically designed for electrical gear (as Deoxit is).

hth

Ra Er Ga.

Ninjazz have SuperChops.

http://www.blipfoto.com/Scrybe


   
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(@gnease)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 5038
 

I popped off the knobs on the pots and most of them are REALLY dirty, so I'm hoping all that needs to be done is clean them but I don't want to damage the electronics and computer chips and stuff in the pedal. Also there are tiny holes next to each pot. My father says tuner cleaner will work but I'm hesitant to try. Any suggestions?

Popped off the knobs? As in the knobs you rotate? If so, that dirt is not inside the pot, but on the outside. You are probably looking at the dirt that has stuck to the lubricant on the center shaft -- again: on the outside. This is not likely affecting the operation of the pots. If the little holes are under the knobs and in the body of your Dime Distortion, these are NOT pot lubrication or cleaning holes, but probably for the anti-rotation tab that is part of the pot mounting system (Is there a little, flat tab in the hole? That confirms it.) Don't squirt anything into those holes, as it will end up inside your pedal, not the pot.

Anything on the outside can be wiped away with a clean cloth -- don't use anything that is a grease dissolving solvent for this -- just a cloth. There should always be some lubricant left on the the pot shaft. If you remove all the lube, a little teflon grease will replace it.

If your Treble pot is not working - completely dead, then it could be a bad pot or a broken component around the pot. It is not likely a dirt problem. Pots that are actually dirty inside and need cleaning are usually "scratchy" sounding and feeling (when rotated). To fix those, you would remove the rear cover on the pot and clean it with tuner cleaner (Dad is correct) or contact cleaner and finish off with a touch of teflon lubricant. To do all this, you need to get inside your pedal. Pulling the knobs does not get you there. If I had to go to the trouble of opening a pot and cleaning it, I would not. I would just replace the pot.

(BTW, somewhere along the way, someone will tell you to use WD-40 to clean switches and pots. NEVER use this. It is a mechanical solvent, and has no place in electronics -- and few mechanicals either! WD-40 should be kept away from guitars.)

-=tension & release=-


   
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(@beeryswine)
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Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 2
Topic starter  

Thanks gnease and scrybe. Could you give some pointers on replacing the pot, should it come to that?


   
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