Desk Maintenance..

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I have been asked to clean up a particularly sorry looking Mackie Desk.. I expect to open it up and blast some air around, check all cabling/connections as there are a few channels with intermitent signal, if the fader tracks are accessible I'll clean with some kind of solvent...
Just wondering if anyone has any advice (or links to) on the better solvents to use for cleaning faders etc, or any other tips on things particularly worth checking once I get her open.
Joined 2002
Okay here we go.

Put on the kettle.

Put on some nice sounds in the background.

Take a photo of the desk.

Steal your significant other's toothbrush.

Find an old teeshirt.

The kettle should have boiled by now, so make a nice cup of tea, (or coffee if you prefer), and pour about half a pint of boiling water into a bowl or bucket, and top up with an equal amount of cold, and add a tablespoon of sugar soap, or laundry detergent. Mix well.

Carry the bowl and your beverage of choice back to your workbench.

Pull off all the knobs and fader caps and put them in the detergent. If you get confused, and put them in the hot beverage, go back two steps and try again.

Fetch a bottle of your chosen brand of window cleaner, spray on toothbrush, and proceed to scrub accumulated dirt off the desk, wiping soiled cleaner off with old teeshirt as you go, so no liquid builds up. Take occasional sips of beverage to break up the routine.

For sticky marks such as old tape or labels, use isopropyl alcohol spray, (I like the RS stuff), on a dry corner of the teeshirt. Don't use acetone based solvents or you risk taking off the screenprint, and never spray anything directly on the desk.

Once grime is removed to your satisfaction, take the bowl of caps and knobs back to the kitchen. Put in the sink plug, (to catch any losses), and drain knobs in colander. Rinse under cold tap, shake off excess moisture and dry with teatowel

Return to desk, and with reference to earlier photo, replace all knobs in correct positions.

Rinse toothbrush, and place back in bathroom.

You should now have a nice sparkly clean desk that is much more pleasant to work on.

Part two continues tomorrow. ;)
I have to say I'd be a little insecure about attacking it with a bucket of hot water..and am more concerned about internal cleaning of the faders etc..
As for the screenprinting..there isn't any left on it..well, maybe there is under all the scum..

Looking forward to the next installment anyway..Thanks.
Joined 2002
Jethdub, I have cleaned lots of desks, some worth tens of thousands, and I haven't broken one yet. ;)

The reason I start with a good scrub on the outside is that it is much nicer to work on a clean desk. If you follow the instructions above, the hot water never touches the desk and the window cleaning spray is very benign stuff. It isn't in contact with the desk very long anyway if you wipe up as you go.

Nordic, a vacuum is a good approach for hifi, but because of the sweat and oils on fingers and the continual handling, a little more aggressive approach is required for desks.

Have to pop out now, but I'll post part two later.
I generally use a product from my local 'pound' shop, sold as foaming wheel cleaner (for cars). It's very similar to the foam cleansers sold by electronics suppliers - may well be the same stuff: it even smells the same - but much cheaper. No harm has come to anything to date, and it's very effective at removing the typical dusty, greasy mess on vintage (or otherwise well-used) gear.
Joined 2002
Part 2a, ( I'm in a bit of a rush!) - Testing

Make another cup of your favorite beverage. Whilst it is brewing, get together a line level signal source, a mic and a powered monitor/poweramp + speaker combination.

The aim now is to check every single control on the desk. For each channel, start with the line level input and go through checking every single knob and switch, along with all the routing options to auxes and subgroups, as well as the main left and right. Make notes as you go on any faulty or noisy parts. This does involve a lot of plugging and unplugging on the output side, but is required to to throughly check the desk.

When you have finished each channel, go round the back and wiggle the input connector to check for loose connections, then check the channel with the mic, (you can do this the other way around, but using line level for most of the testing saves the voice, and the sanity of others in the room with you). Finally, pick up the desk from the bench and drop it back down from an inch or so high This is a great indicator of any dry joints or loose connections.

You should now have a list of issues, and we'll look at those in part 2b.
Many thanks for all input so far.. the hot water is boiling now, so I think it's a tea for me and then the pile of knobs on the table is going in a bucket to soak off the same grime I have all over my fingers after removing them all.

Thing I'm most worried about is that due to the ridiculous humidity here the powder coat/paint finish is actually peeling away in places...I don't really want to be removing it any further...

Looking forward to any further installments..
Joined 2002
Well, you can always use a cotton bud for the fragile bits, but they are going to fall off sooner or later anyway, and the grease and sweat trapped underneath will continue to lift more and more of the paint unless removed.

Do you see why it's nice to start servicing with a clean desk now? ;)
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