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How to clean Skipping Control Wheels... My way.

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Photosopher View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Photosopher Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: How to clean Skipping Control Wheels... My way.
    Posted: 07 May 2012 at 23:12
!!!ATTENTION!!!
Disclaimer:
Proceed at your own risk! I am not liable for any damage to your camera. This method works for me on Sony a900/a700/a200. The risk is yours to take on your own camera. This procedure involves the use of liquid spray electronics cleaner. I've detailed the brand that I use below. I know others use differently, but I cannot speak for other cleaners beyond what is shown here. I highly recommend to test whatever cleaner you use on black plastic surface before using on your camera. Test your product before using it.

Introduction:

Every few months the subject of "Skipping Control Wheels" on Sony Alpha cameras comes up. This term describes when one click on the control wheel may cause camera to "skip" on camera settings or image review. Rest assured that any camera with a control wheel is susceptible to this bothersome anomaly. It's not just a Sony problem.


My cameras get extremely heavy usage. I shoot outdoors with them nearly every day. Look at all the dust! Surely if dust like this accumulates in the nooks and cranny's, then some of it must be falling into the seams between the control wheels and camera body. Over time, the dust becomes shmoots (gunk), and it compromises the performance of the control wheels.

Here I share my method for fixing this issue, of which I've performed numerous times without problems. This method is based upon past input from other Dyxum members combined with my personal experience.   This procedure works for me every time. But you should proceed with caution, AT YOUR OWN RISK, as I assume absolutely no liability for how it works with your system.


What you'll need:
1 - Camera with Skipping Control Wheel problem.
2 - A can of dust off air.
3 - An electronics cleaner. I use RadioShack Precision Electronics Cleaner.
4 - A regular drinking straw.
5 - A protective towel/cover for camera.

Procedure:

Remove battery and card from camera and set far away from workspace.


Pinch one end of drinking straw. This allows for precise insertion into control wheel gap. The depth will be different depending upon insertion into top or bottom seam of control wheel. I do both sides. The top insertion on both control wheels is uncomfortably long at about 1/2" or 12mm. No need to go all the way in. Pull back about half that distance.


The cleaner should come with a provided micro straw, just like canned air does. But that little straw can't fit into the crevasse of the control wheel. Insert the micro straw into the drinking straw to prevent mess and achieve more accurate delivery. The drinking straw acts as a funnel to get the cleaner inside where it belongs. It also helps prevent overspray onto the camera body itself.


The cleaner shoots like a jet! Don't try this without the micro straw inserted into the drinking straw. Might get real messy real fast. I don't risk getting the cleaner anywhere near the acrylic AF illuminator, nor the eyepiece or lcd. It might not affect them at all. But why take the risk? Use the micro straw inserted into the drinking straw and achieve accurate delivery.


Spray one quick short light burst, wiggle the straw a little and pull it out slowly. Begin to turn control wheel immediately. Turn the wheel full 360 a few times in one direction, then turn in the opposite direction. Really work it in there and spin that dial in both directions. Try to spray the very minimal amount of cleaner possible. Even with the lightest spray, expect to see liquid squirting out and bubbling up from the seams. It may even come up from the shutter button seam. Don't panic. It's fine. It will evaporate nearly immediately. I could hardly get a photo of it wet before it disappeared.

!!!ATTENTION!!!
The reason for wiggling the straw and pulling out slowly is because it may still have excess liquid cleaner in it. If it gets yanked out quickly, it can splash and pour all over the grip. Just give it a second with a little wiggle to ensure the cleaner goes where it's supposed to before pulling it out.


While spinning control wheel, turn camera upside down, and over. Try not to let the cleaner solution settle in any one spot. You may actually feel some pour out when turning camera over. The cleaner inside doesn't evaporate as quickly because it's not exposed to open air. Flip and agitate camera while spinning control wheel. Do this over table to reduce risk of accidentally dropping camera. It's a tricky maneuver.


Repeat step on lower control dial seam. This one may actually be more important than the top seam. The drinking straw does not go in nearly as much, perhaps 1/8th" 4mm. Remember the lightest spray possible will still cause weeping and dripping. It will evaporate in a second. Spin that wheel! Flip it too!


Now to the rear wheel. Surprisingly, the top rear insertion is very deep into camera body. Again, I see no reason to go all the way in. Pull back a little and let the cleaner stay on top of the wheel and drip down. The spray velocity will send it further than expected. Just barely stick it in there.


The lower wheel seam is much more shallow. Again, I believe this one is more important than the top. Insert all the way in until straw stops. Light squirt, spin wheel both directions with multiple 360's, flip and agitate. Spin again... spin your little heart out! Work it in there. Expect dripping for a second.

WAIT for at least 15 minutes or more before powering up with batteries and card. Check battery and card doors to see if any liquid cleaner seeped through. I always check this but have never seen it happen. Just paranoid I guess.

WHILE WE WAIT... Why not detail the rest of the camera...


My favorite tool is the little paint brush. It gets into the cracks better than the blower. Then follow it up with an air can blast after agitating the dust.

!!!NEVER SPRAY THE ELECTRONICS CLEANER DIRECTLY AT CAMERA!!!
Smart monkeys spray it on the brush first...


For the tougher spots, I spray the electronics cleaner directly onto the small paint brush. It really helps loosen the dust buildup. And it evaporates so quickly that hardly any liquid is applied by the time the brush hits the camera. Sometimes I'll have to hit the same area multiple times. Cover every button with a little brush swash then quickly blow it off with the compressed air. Don't shake that air can! Short straight bursts is all you need.

!!!NEVER SPRAY THE ELECTRONICS CLEANER DIRECTLY AT CAMERA!!!
Smart monkeys spray it on the brush first...


Last steps are to detail the eyepiece and control wheel. If possible, close the gate on the eyepiece and apply lens cleaner on a cue-tip. Lightly swab in a circular motion from center outward to corners. Flip the tip and mop it up with the dry side. May need a few dry tips to get into the corners good. For the control wheel, expect some oxidation on the control wheels. I like to run through it with a black ink pen. Or just let it be and the oil from your fingers will condition the rubber in time.


Surely at least 15 minutes have passed during the detailing. Insert battery and card and get back to work! She's clean and happy... ready for more abuse! Go give her what she wants. She's made for it!

Thanks Clyde! This is such a useful article. I've moved it over to the knowledge base. I use this method on my A700 and it works. Frank



Edited by Frankman - 08 May 2012 at 12:24
 



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homeranger View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote homeranger Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 May 2012 at 00:02
Very helpful. Thanks for sharing.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Maxxuman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 May 2012 at 00:50
Good man! I've been meaning to get around to sorting my front control wheel and now I've got an excellent guide for how to do so.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote PAF3Photography Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 May 2012 at 01:04
very detailed tutorial, Thank you very much.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote trainerKEN Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 May 2012 at 02:20
thanks for the advice (continuation from the thread I started, that perhaps led to this)...

just to follow up, today I went for a long walk to take some random photos, and decided to also look for that product "Electronic Cleaner" stuff... I'm in Canada, and we don't have RadioShacks here.... I guess "The Source" is the closest place. I stopped by a Staples and the closet product was just a compressed air type blower (in a can), and decided to just give it a shot.   

for what it's worth, I followed pretty much the same direction that you gave with just the compressed air and it worked! But it took 3 times to completely fix the problem.

thanks again for the advice! I was really hoping I didn't have to send my a900 into Sony... and now I don't have to
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Post Options Post Options   Quote waleskeg Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 May 2012 at 02:37
Got to be one of the BEST non-video step by steps I've seen in quite awhile. Really well done to perfectionist detail!
 



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Post Options Post Options   Quote Photosopher Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 May 2012 at 02:55
hey trainerKEN... I'm glad your issue is solved. Great job!

I've tried the air but have a problem with it... The issue comes back much sooner than if cleaner is used. The cleaner doesn't blow dust around to another place, but instead actually cleans and dissolves the gunk.

It can also spray residue if not primed first, or if it's shaken too much. I'd rather have the cleaner residue inside. It's made for it.

But my biggest issue with the compressed air going down the straw... well, it's the raspberry sound it makes

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Post Options Post Options   Quote trainerKEN Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 May 2012 at 03:01
Originally posted by Photosopher Photosopher wrote:

hey trainerKEN... I'm glad your issue is solved. Great job!

I've tried the air but have a problem with it... The issue comes back much sooner than if cleaner is used. The cleaner doesn't blow dust around to another place, but instead actually cleans and dissolves the gunk.

It can also spray residue if not primed first, or if it's shaken too much. I'd rather have the cleaner residue inside. It's made for it.

But my biggest issue with the compressed air going down the straw... well, it's the raspberry sound it makes



yeah, next time I go by "The Source", I'll see if they carry something like this... They look exactly like Radio Shacks, but with a different name in Canada. Worst case, I'll pick up a can when I go visit California next month.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote waleskeg Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 May 2012 at 03:53
Originally posted by Photosopher Photosopher wrote:

hey trainerKEN...
But my biggest issue with the compressed air going down the straw... well, it's the raspberry sound it makes



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Post Options Post Options   Quote napo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 May 2012 at 06:45
Very helpful! Thank you for sharing this with us, thank you for all the effort and time to do this. Thank you Clyde!

Edited by napo - 16 December 2012 at 14:59
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Post Options Post Options   Quote luckyduckie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 May 2012 at 07:13
Originally posted by waleskeg waleskeg wrote:

Got to be one of the BEST non-video step by steps I've seen in quite awhile. Really well done to perfectionist detail!


+1

Thanks.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote zfcentral Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 May 2012 at 07:21
Excellent writeup, Bravo!!
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Paul07 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 May 2012 at 08:25

Can someone please put a sticky on this one ?

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Post Options Post Options   Quote bharnois Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 December 2012 at 20:55
I like using ROR, Residual Oil Remover, as a cleaner for any non lens surface. It does an awesome job removing general dirt but is especially good at things like finger grime and other residue. A good micro-fibre cloth is very handy and I always keep at least one in the cleaning pocket of my bag.
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