Solved Can I fix a bad slide switch?

July 22, 2016 at 21:06:40
Specs: Linux
This isn't a computer question, but I don't know a better place to ask it.

I have an RCA wireless stereo speaker set, about 15 years old (pre Bluetooth).
The transmitter has a 4-position slide switch to select channel 1, 2, or 3, or
power off. It seems to make poor connections on all three channels. When
I jiggle the slider slightly, the signals to both speakers go in and out. Mostly
out. The switch is soldered to a PC board in ten places. I tried to solder a
single wire to a board once and the trace lifted away from the board. I don't
think I can handle that job. Is it possible to clean such a switch? Might I
be able to find a replacement for just the transmitter? Or something??

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis


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✔ Best Answer
July 23, 2016 at 21:13:10
I too would recommend a cleaner as the first step. The 'ghetto' method of repeated moving of the slide does work at times but may require repeating every couple of months or so.
A tip for replacing moderately sizable components is to get a desoldering bulb or wick to help with removing most of the solder so you do not have to use excess heat trying to melt it all at the same time. Make sure you allow it to cool well before fitting new one and soldering. IF you have any trouble with the solder flowing properly on resoldering, you may use a tiny bit of 'Safe Flux' to help the solder properly flow onto the surfaces. Safe or not, you will need to clean the excess flux off first with damp Q-Tips then with rubbing alcohol. AND use a small tip iron made for electronics.

You have to be a little bit crazy to keep you from going insane.



#1
July 22, 2016 at 22:34:58
You may be able to find an exact replacement from an electronic parts supplier like Mouser:

http://www.mouser.com/

but it would require soldering. Otherwise the contacts inside the switch may be worn or gummed up by the slide lubricant. In that case you can try to remove the switch cover and clean it out. Alternatively, you may get some results by just squirting some electronic cleaner inside the switch if you can find an adequate opening--or that may ruin the switch. Try to avoid electronic cleaners that melt plastic.


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#2
July 23, 2016 at 00:04:00
It's even worth just sliding the switch from end-to-end a large number of times. This alone can sometimes be enough to clean dirty contacts.

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#3
July 23, 2016 at 00:31:30
Just sliding the switch is obviously the easiest thing to do, so I'll
try that first. How many times do you think I should slide it?
Twenty? Fifty? A hundred? Two hundred? Until it breaks?

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis


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Related Solutions

#4
July 23, 2016 at 01:19:48
Look for spray style switch cleaner, usually in a container similar to WD40. Just put the flexible tube into the slider opening and "gently" squirt once. Preuming you get an obvious injection of solution, then operate the switch a few times to clean and lbrucate the internals parts. Equally you could spray a small artist's style paint brush (as used for water colour or oul painting) then dab it into the switch opening etc.

You're looking for an electronic switch cleaner...; possibly in Radio Shack etc. and probably online too.

Just don't drown the switch.

Obviously ensure the system is fully isolated from all power.

message edited by trvlr


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#5
July 23, 2016 at 07:42:44
Depending on where you're located, depends what's available of course. Servisol is a long time product in the UK/Europe - came as liquid years back. Likewise Electrolube - once a dark red/brown liquid - now I think it's a spray form too. Electrolube was my pa's preference; and mine too over the years. Electrolube was superior to Servisol for cleaning the contacts of the olde style tv turret tuners.

And there are others. Be sure to get a contact/switch cleaner product, designed for electrical contacts. Both Servisol and Electrolube make such products; and as I say there are others too out there in www-land.


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#6
July 23, 2016 at 21:13:10
✔ Best Answer
I too would recommend a cleaner as the first step. The 'ghetto' method of repeated moving of the slide does work at times but may require repeating every couple of months or so.
A tip for replacing moderately sizable components is to get a desoldering bulb or wick to help with removing most of the solder so you do not have to use excess heat trying to melt it all at the same time. Make sure you allow it to cool well before fitting new one and soldering. IF you have any trouble with the solder flowing properly on resoldering, you may use a tiny bit of 'Safe Flux' to help the solder properly flow onto the surfaces. Safe or not, you will need to clean the excess flux off first with damp Q-Tips then with rubbing alcohol. AND use a small tip iron made for electronics.

You have to be a little bit crazy to keep you from going insane.


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