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Old 25th December 2007, 06:08 PM   #1
John L is offline John L  United States
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Default Cleaning Inside Equipment: How To?

I have a question that has been on my mind for some time now. How do you clean up all the accumulation of dust, grease, etc, that has accumulated on the inside of the receiver/amp/tuner, under the top grill?

Over the years this can amount to quite a bit of junk and really should be removed if the unit is going to look nice. The only problem is that I don't know how the professionals do this.

Is there some sort of spray that is sprayed on the surface, where it bubbles up and then dries, where it can be blown away with air? or is there some other method that is easier than painstakenly using Q-Tips and some sort of solvent.
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Old 25th December 2007, 06:13 PM   #2
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Normally I just use compressed air and a vacuum cleaner with a homemade mouthpiece of hard paper
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Old 25th December 2007, 06:23 PM   #3
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But how does that bring out the shine in the equipment?
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Old 25th December 2007, 06:45 PM   #4
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My best cleaning tool is a brush I got at the auto parts store. It has a wood handle, bristles that are about 0.7" diameter by 1.6" long. I think they're for cleaning around knobs and such on your cars dashboard. That works good for dust and gets between the pins on circuit boards. Compressed air is good too. Be careful with compressed air and vacuum cleaners, as they can generate enough static to damage components. I use 'em and have never had a problem, but it's documented in ESD literature. Back in "the day" is was not unheard of to clean out filthy Tektronix scopes (the big tube jobs) with soap, a spray of water, toothbrushes, compressed air and low temperature baking to dry. I don't know if I'd recommend that full treatment, but remember that many circuit boards today are built with water washable soldering flux, and given a full wash afterwards. That's how I build mine. If the boards aren't caked with old rosin, you can probably get away with a localized water cleaning and compressed air dry. You have to decide risk vs. reward for yourself. If you get water in a meter, an unsealed adjustment pot, a relay, or whatever, the cure could be a disaster. On a side note, if you use chlorinated tuner cleaner for any cleaning tasks, be aware that if it infiltrates electrolytic capacitors, it will shorten their life dramatically. This reminds me, I really need to blow the dust out of my computer before it cooks. The operation usually results in a giant dust cloud that drifts slowly across the road.
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Old 25th December 2007, 08:38 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally posted by Conrad Hoffman
I really need to blow the dust out of my computer before it cooks. The operation usually results in a giant dust cloud that drifts slowly across the road.

Mine, before cleaning with my compressor.

On old electronics I've used automotive brake cleaner. It leaves no residue.
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Old 25th December 2007, 08:42 PM   #6
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And after. The compressor really does a a great job.
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Old 25th December 2007, 08:49 PM   #7
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I agree, that works great for a computer. I use my compressor on it about every six months, and it really gets the dust out of it. the fans pull it in quite easily.

However, a different kind of material gets into audio equipment, and it is not just dust. It is smaller particulates, such as airborne grease and cigarette smoke. That stuff forms a film on the electronics that a compressor will not blow out.

I am beginning to think that a fairly stiff, short hair, brush, with solvent saturating it's tip can break up the film and actually pick up most of it as well. Then one can blow out the remaining material.

I'll just have to give it a go in the best way I can think of.

BTY, what is automotive brake cleaner that makes it so good? Is it a super solvent?
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Old 25th December 2007, 08:59 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by John L

BTY, what is automotive brake cleaner that makes it so good? Is it a super solvent?


Try the brake cleaner with the compressor. Forget brushes, that's stone-age. Give a good going over with the brake cleaner and before it evaporates, blow it out of there.
Works very well.
Make sure it's completely gone before powering up, to avoid an inferno.
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Old 25th December 2007, 09:07 PM   #9
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Ok, the break cleaner comes in a spray can? And do you use a small tube attachment like with WD-40? I've never used the stuff, so I don't know which product to look for.
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Old 25th December 2007, 09:30 PM   #10
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Any place that sells auto parts has it. I think it's alcohol based, in an aerosol can and it has a small straw, like WD-40.
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