Cleaning Penny and Giles 1000 Series Faders

Here’s how to clean the faders on a Soundcraft 800. This isn’t exactly a tutorial, rather, it’s just a look at how I’m doing it on my mixer. These are Penny and Giles 1000-series conductive plastic type and are long out of production, so it’s best to keep them clean and working well. It’s time consuming, but an easy job once you get the hang of it.

First, unscrew the ground wire on the back

First, unscrew the ground wire on the back

According to P&G, you shouldn’t use contact cleaner on these faders, only distilled water. To do that, you have to take the faders apart, which is time consuming, but when you’re done, they’ll be properly clean and more likely to stay that way for longer. Cooper Sound published a guide for cleaning P&G faders. It refers to more recent models, but the instructions would still apply. You can find it HERE.

Next, remove the fader's mounting screws

Next, remove the fader’s mounting screws

I did find one of the slider brushes with a broken solder joint. It was still electrically connected, but hanging by a a broken bit of solder. These are too delicate to resolder, so I carefully bent the brushes back into position and added a drop of super glue. Hopefully this will reinforce the brushes for a few more years, but I do need to be on the lookout for a donor console in good condition.

Peel off the tape that holds the fader together. If you're careful, this can be reused.

Peel off the tape that holds the fader together. If you’re careful, this can be reused.

On this console, you don’t have to desolder the fader in order to remove and disassemble it, which is a huge advantage.

With everything apart, I cleaned out the dust with a cheap artist’s brush and cotton rags. The plastic strip was wiped with water and a paper towel and dried.

Assembly is just the reverse of the disassembly. Once you’ve cleaned one or two, it becomes a rather simple process, but be careful, especially with the delicate slider brushes. They are easily damaged and not easily repaired. Replacement is only possible by removing parts from an old mixer… I contacted Penny and Giles, and they told me they have no more repair parts and could not even suggest a replacement.

I lubricated the sliding parts on my fader with a tiny drop of light oil. Penny and Giles instructions specify a lightweight silicon oil. I used an oil designed for sewing machines.

After you’ve cleaned the fader, remember to place a small maintenance sticker on the fader that says “cleaned” along with the date. I have to do this, or I risk forgetting which faders I’ve cleaned and which I haven’t, and you  don’t want to do these twice.

This is the kind of crud that you'll find. This is dust buildup around the fader slider.

This is the kind of crud that you’ll find. This is dust buildup around the fader slider. I cleared the worst of this with an inexpensive art brush for acrylics.

With the tape removed, carefully pull off the cap without wires attached

With the tape removed, carefully pull off the cap without wires attached

CAREFULLY pull out the slider
CAREFULLY pull out the slider

Next, gently pull the cap with the wires on the end. The conductive plastic strip should come out of the aluminum shell.
Next, gently pull the cap with the wires on the end. The conductive plastic strip should come out of the aluminum shell.

The entire fader disassembled

The entire fader disassembled

I cleaned the shell by pushing a bit of soft cotton cloth through the shell with a knitting needle.

I cleaned the shell by pushing a bit of soft cotton cloth through the shell with a knitting needle.

Eww, gross! This is what I got out of the shell. Of course, just about anything would be gross after 30 years.

Eww, gross! This is what I got out of the shell. Of course, just about anything would be gross after 30 years.

Not the best photo, but this is a closeup of the nearly-broken wiper brushes. I fixed it with a drop of super glue.

Not the best photo, but this is a closeup of the nearly-broken wiper brushes. I fixed it with a drop of super glue.

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