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Thread: Heathkit IT-11 smoke damage

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    Heathkit IT-11 smoke damage

    Apologies if there's a more suitable subsection of the forum....

    I had a friend give me an old Heathkit unit that went through a fire (when his old place burned). I know that this is going to be more a "labor of love" than a practical affair lol but, I have a few questions.

    First off would be looking for suggestions on cleaning the unit (hopefully) without damaging the lettering/paint/etc. Primarily curious to see if there's any especially useful solutions, particular types of cloth, etc that might aid in the process.

    Second would probably be the switches themselves. As it's probably impractical to try and burnish each and every contact (while trying not to bend, deform, or even reach certain points of contact I imagine) I was wondering about the possibility of some solution to perhaps submerge them in a Mason jar or the like, and give a shake (to dislodge the foreign matter) every so often.

    Components (resistors, caps, and such) I expect to have to clean by hand, one at a time, and replace as necessary. I realize that smoke can sometimes be acidic, and deposits carbon as well of course... But I'm also wondering about the chances of the transformer having any survivability the whole ordeal, and how that might play into things.

    Any other thoughts, tips, and suggestions are quite welcome and appreciated!

    A pic, and the IT-11 manual (including calibration and schems) should be attached.
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    Master Destroyer nosaj's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Audiotexan View Post
    Apologies if there's a more suitable subsection of the forum....

    I had a friend give me an old Heathkit unit that went through a fire (when his old place burned). I know that this is going to be more a "labor of love" than a practical affair lol but, I have a few questions.

    First off would be looking for suggestions on cleaning the unit (hopefully) without damaging the lettering/paint/etc. Primarily curious to see if there's any especially useful solutions, particular types of cloth, etc that might aid in the process.

    Second would probably be the switches themselves. As it's probably impractical to try and burnish each and every contact (while trying not to bend, deform, or even reach certain points of contact I imagine) I was wondering about the possibility of some solution to perhaps submerge them in a Mason jar or the like, and give a shake (to dislodge the foreign matter) every so often.

    Components (resistors, caps, and such) I expect to have to clean by hand, one at a time, and replace as necessary. I realize that smoke can sometimes be acidic, and deposits carbon as well of course... But I'm also wondering about the chances of the transformer having any survivability the whole ordeal, and how that might play into things.

    Any other thoughts, tips, and suggestions are quite welcome and appreciated!

    A pic, and the IT-11 manual (including calibration and schems) should be attached.
    After a recap and cleaning of switches and bringing it up on a dim bulb tester. I'd bet a wipe down with a damp cloth might do a lot more than you expect.

    nosaj

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    Supporting Member TomCarlos's Avatar
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    Before you put the switches in a Chem Bath, try using DeoxIt or some other contact cleaning spray. I would worry about damage to wafers if they get saturated. It might take a few cleaning cycles to loosen corrosion. For the last past, consider using the F5 (to add some lubrication).

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    Supporting Member The Dude's Avatar
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    I'll add; 409 works well on smoke residue.

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    Old Timer Leo_Gnardo's Avatar
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    I'd use some home made "windex" to wipe down the smoked surfaces. Distilled water with just a dab of mild dish detergent like Joy, plus a generous shot of white vinegar and another not so generous shot of ethyl alcohol - Everclear or Polmos "dehydrated vodka", or any non-flavored regular vodka you might have on hand. Just enough to give your cleaning solution a little solvent power. Follow with a distilled-water wipe & you've done as well as you can for cleanliness. Want it to look polished - maybe a little wipe down with Pledge or something similar.

    For the switches, it's doubtful much smoke got inside. In any case I'd use a non-residue contact cleaner like Caig DCC-V510, followed with a short spritz of D5. Same for the pots. Is there a big tuning capacitor behind that cap value knob? Gently work a pipe cleaner thru the vanes to clear smoke residue, dust, webs, etc whilst holding a vacuum hose nearby to capture any dust & debris that you may loosen. Finish up with a tiny dab of D5 on all the bearings. Might come out better than new.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nosaj View Post
    After a recap and cleaning of switches and bringing it up on a dim bulb tester. I'd bet a wipe down with a damp cloth might do a lot more than you expect.

    nosaj
    I have been holding off on applying power until I could get an overall assessment of things. But yes, that's something still very much on the list!

    Quote Originally Posted by TomCarlos View Post
    Before you put the switches in a Chem Bath, try using DeoxIt or some other contact cleaning spray. I would worry about damage to wafers if they get saturated. It might take a few cleaning cycles to loosen corrosion. For the last past, consider using the F5 (to add some lubrication).
    Not sure where my D5 is ATM, so I went sparingly with some D100. (Thanks for the reminder on F5. I need to get some!)

    Quote Originally Posted by The Dude View Post
    I'll add; 409 works well on smoke residue.
    I did try Fantastic (nor am I sure what differences there may be), but I didn't have any luck.

    I also neglected to mention that this unit has been sitting for several years in storage (before I got it).

    Quote Originally Posted by Leo_Gnardo View Post
    I'd use some home made "windex" to wipe down the smoked surfaces. Distilled water with just a dab of mild dish detergent like Joy, plus a generous shot of white vinegar and another not so generous shot of ethyl alcohol - Everclear or Polmos "dehydrated vodka", or any non-flavored regular vodka you might have on hand. Just enough to give your cleaning solution a little solvent power. Follow with a distilled-water...

    Is there a big tuning capacitor behind that cap value knob?
    I may have to give your mix a shot! A warm damp rag isn't doing any better than Fantastic unfortunately.

    As for a tuning cap... Not that I saw (or could find).

    Appreciate the responses!

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    Start simple...then go deep!

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    "How could they know back in 1980-whatever that there'd come a time when it was easier to find the wreck of the Titanic than find another SAD1024?" -Mark Hammer

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    Supporting Member The Dude's Avatar
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    I like the vodka idea............ maybe with some Kahlua and Half and Half?

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    Lifetime Member Enzo's Avatar
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    I am enjoying some vodka as I write. I think I'd prefer to save if for my consumption, and use the dirt cheap isopropyl for cleaning.


    Today, we pour a hefty shot in a tumbler, fill with grapefruit soda, then a couple ounces of orange juice. Yum.

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    Old Timer Leo_Gnardo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Audiotexan View Post
    I also neglected to mention that this unit has been sitting for several years in storage (before I got it).
    That several years in storage may have helped the smoke stains set more permanently. The question now is, what solvent/cleaner will remove the crud and not also remove the paint & markings on the cabinet. Maybe try a qtip and dab of whatever solvent varieties you can find, apply in an area of the box that won't easily be seen if the experiment turns out badly.

    The Dude - I agree with your idea - around last Christmas / New Years I had a batch of those. Also tried varieties made with brandy and Irish. Tried Rhode Island's national drink - Dave's Coffee Syrup - as a (cheap) sub for Kahlua. All experiments turned out delicious results. But none of these combinations would make much of a wash for afflicted Heathkit. I predict a sticky mess. Looking forward to another Dude Christmas.

    Enzo - sure try the isopropyl. On the Heathkit that is. Me, I'm not s'posed to have grapefruit anything because I'm taking some fancy medicine that mysteriously doesn't get along with grapefruit. Go figure. Enjoy yours though! Sounds terrific. Greetings also to Wenzo!

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    Well... I decided to go with the conservative approach first (70% iso. alc.) I feel like I got really lucky.

    Initial Q-tip tests proved promising:





    Several hours of elbow grease later yielded the following:





    Glad that's done.

    I did power things up, and I was thrilled to find a working Eye!
    Ran through initial tests (including voltages) and it seems like most aspects are in fairly good order.

    The Bridge/Discharge/Leakage selector has some issues that need to be addressed still. As the eye didn't want to respond to initial tests (eye wasn't open when it should be, or closed when it should be). That is, until I bumped the selector, and then tests started to react as per the manual (for a time).

    Voltages were 'close' to 'dead on' in a couple of positions. 3v read a bit low (2.48vdc), and the 600v setting was putting out 660vdc. 25v was perfect though. Didn't bother to measure the line voltage, as I know that's playing some part in the increased output (since I'm normally in the 115-120vac range).

    Haven't done any further testing or alignment yet, but things look promising!

    I'm really shocked that just the Isopropyl got it looking as well as it has!

    5 Not allowed! Not allowed!
    Start simple...then go deep!

    "EL84's are the bitches of guitar amp design." Chuck H

    "How could they know back in 1980-whatever that there'd come a time when it was easier to find the wreck of the Titanic than find another SAD1024?" -Mark Hammer

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    Master Destroyer nosaj's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Audiotexan View Post
    Well... I decided to go with the conservative approach first (70% iso. alc.) I feel like I got really lucky.

    Initial Q-tip tests proved promising:





    Several hours of elbow grease later yielded the following:





    Glad that's done.

    I did power things up, and I was thrilled to find a working Eye!
    Ran through initial tests (including voltages) and it seems like most aspects are in fairly good order.

    The Bridge/Discharge/Leakage selector has some issues that need to be addressed still. As the eye didn't want to respond to initial tests (eye wasn't open when it should be, or closed when it should be). That is, until I bumped the selector, and then tests started to react as per the manual (for a time).

    Voltages were 'close' to 'dead on' in a couple of positions. 3v read a bit low (2.48vdc), and the 600v setting was putting out 660vdc. 25v was perfect though. Didn't bother to measure the line voltage, as I know that's playing some part in the increased output (since I'm normally in the 115-120vac range).

    Haven't done any further testing or alignment yet, but things look promising!

    I'm really shocked that just the Isopropyl got it looking as well as it has!
    Some of the guys on the radio site will use GOJO and they swear by it.

    nosaj

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    Quote Originally Posted by nosaj View Post
    Some of the guys on the radio site will use GOJO and they swear by it.

    nosaj
    Are you by chance referring to Antique Radio Museum? I'm a member there, but it's been ages since I was active.

    Will try and keep the Gojo tip in mind though!

    I'm a huge fan of Dawn (dish liquid) for all things greasy, and Goo Gone for most things sticky.

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    Start simple...then go deep!

    "EL84's are the bitches of guitar amp design." Chuck H

    "How could they know back in 1980-whatever that there'd come a time when it was easier to find the wreck of the Titanic than find another SAD1024?" -Mark Hammer

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    Master Destroyer nosaj's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Audiotexan View Post
    Are you by chance referring to Antique Radio Museum? I'm a member there, but it's been ages since I was active.

    Will try and keep the Gojo tip in mind though!

    I'm a huge fan of Dawn (dish liquid) for all things greasy, and Goo Gone for most things sticky.
    No, Antiqueradios.com https://antiqueradios.com/forums/sea...ch_id=newposts

    Another fine site on par with this one on technical knowledge and little phoolery, but with an active classified section.

    nosa

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    Supporting Member The Dude's Avatar
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    The only thing about GOJO is that it has an abrasive. It may take off the silk screening if you use too much elbow grease.

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