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Thread: What potting wax mix?

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    What potting wax mix?

    I'm having issues with potting my latest batch of pickups. I usually use a 10% mix of beeswax and paraffin, but for some reason they are still microphonic? My method is using a brake bleeder at 20 in Hg. Vacuum Till no bubbles. Takes about 10 mins. This is the 2nd attempt with this pickup. Any ideas?

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    ToneOholic! big_teee's Avatar
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    Maybe it's not the pickup that is microphonic.
    Check the rest of the guitar.

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    “When you find yourself in a hole, quit digging.” WILL ROGERS

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    Well I guess? But I can holler in the pickup. So it's gotta be

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    Bent Member Chuck H's Avatar
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    Well it seems by the description that the either there's a pocket with loose winds that the wax can't get into (I know, DUH). It's probably possible (though risky, but I've done it) to remove the magnets and reinsert them after potting. That would allow the wax better access to the inner winds. Are you using a new magnet wire that may have an unusual coating? Something siliconized or PTFE, uh, ized? might actually be shedding the wax. Just thinking out loud. I don't buy magnet wire so I really don't know if this is possible.

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    ToneOholic! big_teee's Avatar
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    what kind of pickup are you having trouble with?
    Strat, tele, HB, P90, etc. ?
    Some Pictures maybe?
    T

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    That is a very good question I'll see what I use to wind it with

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    It's a humbucker. I've never had this problem before, I guess I musta wound it too loose?

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    Bent Member Chuck H's Avatar
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    Is it covered? Are you potting it assembled? If not covered, are the coils already taped? Are the screws in? etc...

    10% beeswax seems fine. I think most guys go a little higher in beeswax, but there are also guys that just skip it and use straight paraffin. I'm not the potting expert, but pretty much anything that has a reasonably high melting point and can soften/sticky the paraffin a little should work fine. I've even used Vasoline! My point is that I don't think your wax mix is the problem.

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    "A shot gun delivers a force that exceeds the operational range of most systems, such as pumpkins." Antigua

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    Quote Originally Posted by 888guitars View Post
    It's a humbucker. I've never had this problem before, I guess I musta wound it too loose?
    Is it a covered humbucker? The cover could easily trap an air bubble (that gets larger and exposes more coils under vacuum).

    .

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    Senior Member ken's Avatar
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    You might have to 'triple wax pot' your humbucker like Epi does.

    1) Pot your coils individually before assembly

    2) After assembly, heat up the coils with a hot air gun to loosen up the wax and repot the pickup again. Clean off all the extraneous wax.

    3) When you put the cover on, heat up the cover and the pickup, assemble both, fill up the cover with molten wax, and and then vacuum repot again.

    This should make your pickup impervious to all possible microphonics.

    No lie

    Ken

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    Bent Member Chuck H's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ken View Post
    You might have to 'triple wax pot' your humbucker like Epi does.

    1) Pot your coils individually before assembly

    2) After assembly, heat up the coils with a hot air gun to loosen up the wax and repot the pickup again. Clean off all the extraneous wax.

    3) When you put the cover on, heat up the cover and the pickup, assemble both, fill up the cover with molten wax, and and then vacuum repot again.

    This should make your pickup impervious to all possible microphonics.

    No lie

    Ken
    Is THAT how they do that. I re-potted some Epi pickups once (because they were microphonic!). I got the cover off without too much trouble and found a block of wax underneath. Nothing holding the pickup together except the wax. I can't even remember now if there was a proper base plate. I must have figured it out then though because the guitar is working and I didn't have to buy pickups .

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    "...less ear-friendly but handy for jazz." Leo_Gnardo

    "A pedal, any kind, will not make a Guitar player more dangerous than he already is." J M Fahey

    "Now get off my lawn with your silicooties and boom-chucka speakers and computers masquerading as amplifiers" Justin Thomas

    "A shot gun delivers a force that exceeds the operational range of most systems, such as pumpkins." Antigua

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    Senior Member TimmyP1955's Avatar
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    Has anyone ever tried thin (not normal hardware store stuff - the stuff that is less viscous than water) superglue for potting?

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    Senior Member jack briggs's Avatar
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    humbuckers are supposed to be microphonic!

    I'd try winding with a little more tension. could be bobbins are too loose. YMMV

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    ToneOholic! big_teee's Avatar
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    Good pick harmonics, with controlled feedback.
    Try medium tight coils, well paper taped.
    Then pot once with cover on fully assembled.
    Drain excess wax out the corners.
    GL,
    T

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    I must have just wound this one weird? Never had this problem before

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    Paraffin
    carnauba wax
    beeswax.

    sometimes microcrystalline wax

    M.Argueso Co. bought by Paramelt co. (www.paramelt.com)

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    Last edited by DoctorX; 01-12-2017 at 11:10 PM. Reason: typo

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    Bent Member Chuck H's Avatar
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    That's the Vaseline. Microcrystalline wax. Soft with a high melting point. Very useful for potting. I add a little bees wax and Vaseline to paraffin. I don't measure, but I could guess the ratio at 1:bees, 1:Vaseline, 9 paraffin. It's not at all critical. You just don't want the wax to be brittle or delaminate. The melting point is an important part. Some guys add lamp oil to their paraffin and I think that may be a mistake. One sitting in a hot car and your pickups bleed all over and then squeal later.

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    "...less ear-friendly but handy for jazz." Leo_Gnardo

    "A pedal, any kind, will not make a Guitar player more dangerous than he already is." J M Fahey

    "Now get off my lawn with your silicooties and boom-chucka speakers and computers masquerading as amplifiers" Justin Thomas

    "A shot gun delivers a force that exceeds the operational range of most systems, such as pumpkins." Antigua

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    .

    I used about 20% beeswax to paraffin the last time I potted pickups. One thing I noticed was after the wax pot cooled down, it had a much larger shrinkage cavity in the center after the mix than I did with straight paraffin. I did the beeswax addition hoping everyone else mixed the two to reduce how much the wax shrunk and might pull away or create voids.

    I'll have to remember to try Vaseline in the mix next time and see what that does.

    .

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    ToneOholic! big_teee's Avatar
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    If you want to do some additional reading, there are bunches of threads on wax potting.
    Here's a couple.
    T
    http://music-electronics-forum.com/t31683/
    http://music-electronics-forum.com/t36769/

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    Supporting Member Steve A.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by big_teee View Post
    If you want to do some additional reading, there are bunches of threads on wax potting.
    Here's a couple.
    T
    http://music-electronics-forum.com/t31683/
    http://music-electronics-forum.com/t36769/
    Thanks! Post #4 from your first link sounds very interesting!

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Johnson View Post
    Chuck,

    Another alternative is to do your potting with epoxy. I use a special epoxy called CPES, made by Smith & Co. (Clear Penetrating Epoxy Sealer)

    The CPES epoxy has a viscosity like water. It's made for sealing up rotted wood, but it works beautifully for potting pickup coils. No cooking or vacuum tanks required. I hang a group of coils on a wire rod over a drip pan, and dab the CPES on with wool dauber. Or, you can dunk the coils in it if you want. The CPES immediately soaks completely through the coil, gluing all of the turns together. It dries in about 4 hours. It doesn't dry brittle-hard like superglue; it stays slightly rubbery. It's permanent, though. There's no way you're going to un-pot it.

    I've been potting all of my pickups with CPES for about seven years, and I've never had any failures or microphonics issues. Test coils that I cut apart were completely bonded solid, all through. That's what you want with potting.

    The only downside to the CPES is the fumes. It has a nasty solvent. You need some good ventilation while applying it, and while the coils are drying. Once they are dry, they don't smell.

    I've been buying the Smith's CPES online from Star Distributing (http://star-distributing.com/shopsit...tml/page9.html)
    CPES is also sold under the name of MultiWoodPrime; it's the same stuff. I bought a 2 quart kit and it's lasted me at least 5 years so far.
    Here's a link to a current source of the product with many details about it:

    http://www.vintagetrailersupply.com/...-p/vts-592.htm

    Steve A.

    P.S. If you are going use CPES on a covered humbucker I think that you might want to do the two coils individually, use a heat gun to wax pot the magnet to the base plate and put Scotch 33+ electrical tape over the slug coil before putting the cover on.

    P.P.S. A reminder to any n00bies reading this: the fumes from liquid paraffin are flammable so don't heat it up on a gas range in your kitchen!

    Note to self: it is probably not a bad idea to get a single electric burner so that I can wax pot on my work bench in the garage.

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    Last edited by Steve A.; 01-14-2017 at 08:54 AM.

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    CPES stinks. You'll want to use it in a garage or outdoors.

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