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How to Clean Your Gear
So, someone has spilled beer on your gear, or it's gotten so gummed up with tar and gunk that it's not working anymore. What do you do?
First, if the offender is a liquid, cut the power immediately. If the unit has batteries, pop them out. If it's plugged into the mains, pull the plug. The sooner you do this, the more likely you are to save the unit. Once this is done, you can proceed on a non-emergency basis.
Second, get yourself some deionized water. It's important that you use completely fresh water that's been filtered by deionization, rather than by any other process. This removes all of the electrical potentiality from the water (as well as the electrolytes), so it's safe to use to clean your gear.
Third, disassemble the equipment and bathe all of the affected parts in the water. Scrub (with a clean, static-free cloth) any tars, residues, sugars or anything else off the gear.
Fourth, seal each piece in a ziplock bag or airtight container with either uncooked rice or (preferably) silica gel to dry. Leave it there for several days.
Finally, reassemble the gear, taking care not to subject it to static discharge.
At this point, so long as you've put everything together properly, your gear should once again be in perfect working order, unless something fried during those first few seconds. This procedure works equally well for mixing boards, amplifiers, laptop computers, hard drives and rack gear.
Dan Sawyer is the founder of ArtisticWhispers Productions (www.artisticwhispers.com), a small audio/video studio in the San Francisco Bay Area. He has been an enthusiastic advocate for free and open-source software since the late 1990s. He currently is podcasting his science-fiction thriller Antithesis and his short story anthology Sculpting God. He also hosts “The Polyschizmatic Reprobates Hour”, a cultural commentary podcast. Author contact information is available at www.jdsawyer.net.
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