Deoxit cleans dirty pots like new!

Dirty Kitchen IV
Creative Commons License photo credit: kbcanon

I aint talkin’ about doin’ the dishes. Caig’s Deoxit is a miracle worker for old electronics that start to glitch out. Older audio equipment like electric guitars, amplifiers, receivers and the like will inevitably start to exhibit some problems sooner or later. If you hear scratchy noises, channel imbalance or other distortions when you adjust the switches and knobs (potentiometers, AKA “pots”) it’s often just because the contact points have gotten dirty and/or oxidized. This may even cause the sound to cut out completely which is what happened to the tweeter an old Acoustic Research speaker I picked up off eBay.

Creative Commons License photo credit: conskeptical

Amazingly, there’s a quick fix for that. Just pop the top off, toggle the knob or switch in order to identify the metal contact point. Spray some deoxit in there making sure to target the contact point. Pots are often enclosed with small vents that you can spray in to get at the metal contact surface. Apply a short burst of Deoxit, then work it in for 30 seconds by operating the control across its full range of motion. This helps to break up oxides and contamination. Apply another short burst of Deoxit. Finally wait at least 2 minutes before turning the equipment back on and you’re good to go!  I fixed a vintage amplifier and a pair of AR-4x speakers from the late 60’s / early 70’s just like that.  At ~$25 a can, deoxit isn’t cheap but it will last most people a lifetime.

Radioshack brand Tuner Cleaner used to work but they recently changed the formula. Steer clear, big tuna. There, I fixed it.


Tinkertoys still alive after 95 years!

Midway Mania 4

(cc) photo credit: daryl_mitchell

Anyone remember Tinker-Toys?  This was was one of the great toys of past generations which allowed kids to be creative. I use the past tense here because I assumed Tinkertoy was extinct, replaced by newer, “better”, plastic-er, modern products.  Well to my surprise, it’s still available!  And what’s even more shocking is that it’s still made of real wood, at least for certain parts.  If you have a young child, I wholeheartedly recommend Tinkertoy.  Don’t worry about the splinters… it’s all part of the fun.

The Tinkertoy Construction Set was created in 1914—one year after the A. C. Gilbert Company’s Erector Set—by Charles H. Pajeau and Robert Pettit in Evanston, Illinois. Pajeau, a stonemason, designed the toy after seeing children play with pencils and empty spools of thread. He and Pettit set out to market a toy that would allow and inspire children to use their imaginations.


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