Ultrasonically cleaning an SSL 4000


Oscillate it like a Polaroid picture

For this job we employed the expertise of Dan Zellman from Zeltec and his epic ultrasonic tank.

We moved all 48 channels and large faders  of our SSL 4000 E series board in to the city, removed all the cards off the each channel, and proceeded to dip ’em in an Ultransonic Cleaner at Zeltec (Dan Zellman’s workshop). See above fo the removal of all the channels.


First we used Fantastic spray to clean all the pots and buttons – E series buttons are easily cleaned as there is an opening in the bottom – G series buttons are closed.


Spraying fantastik and working through every button to clean out the grit – toothbrushes come in handy here too.



They call it “THE DIP”


::A solution call Valtron:: We used Valtron from Valtech only available out of Texas and heated it to above 100F and dialed in the ultrasonic transducer to about 20khz and increased the freq till just before we could hear a chirping. The temperature plus the high frequency and the solution makes your hands quite soft and sensitive.


Off to the dippin’

Using Dan’s 40 gallon ultrasonic cleaner we fit two channels at most – but generally we did one channel at a time. While the channel was in the solution one of us worked on the buttons again exercising them to get the solution deep in to the buttons, switchs, and knobs – as well as moving the small fader. Took a couple minutes to do this.

One thing we had to pay attention to is not removing the lines or writing from the switches or knob caps. What you see is a relatively clear solution turn slowly dark with the dust and dirt accumulated over the 33 years.

hOse it dOwn

Following the dippin’ – we hosed ‘er down. Simply using pure and clean New York City water, we hosed off the solution from the channel, again exercising every button, switch, etc. Shake shake shake. Then take an air compressor to that baby – getting as much of the water out of those crazy crevices. Place in front of a fan and a heater and let it dry.



All the removed cards were also shaken off and placed on a heater to evaporate the rest of the liquid. Reassembly go!



Alert: Make sure the board is off – To clean the motherboard on the console we used the Ultra Steam Shark (got it from ebay $15). Put some towels down and proceeded to steam clean the inside of the board taking time to brush the rails with fantastic, wiping down the ribbons.  Also cleaning the Fader Bus Cards and the VCA Group Card.




Makin’ it purty

When preparing to reassemble all the channels – the main and small faders will need some love at this point. A little bit of lubricating oil is good to make the faders smooth. But only a little – that stuff can get into the card and screw up the positional accuracy.

While you’re doing all this take a vacuum to the patchbay – clean that thing out – oh and clean your TT cables dude.

After this cleaning it was so quiet – no scratchy sound when depressing a switch, really smooth faders, no more dirty pots, sounds amazing. Feels like a brand new vintage board 🙂



Now it just a matter of keeping it clean so no donuts on the board.


Is this…

Posted on July 28, 2013 in hackin'

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