Sunday 21 June 2020

How to Dust a Synthesizer

Dusting. Definitely not one of my favourite activities!

Synthesizers and mixers seem to attract dust. You can't get those expensive covers for everything, and I always forget to put them back at the end of the day... (Also - They get dusty!) With all of those small knobs packed closely together, modern equipment makes dusting awkward and inconvenient, and:

I've been looking for a solution for years...

The lightbulb moment came when I was looking for something else, and Amazon said that I might be interested in... a Muslady Vinyl Record Cleaning Brush. Just before I clicked away, I took a closer look, and a bright light came on!

Imagine a shaving brush, only softer and bigger (from the tips of the bristles to the end of the handle is 150mm). Then imagine spending just a few seconds brushing away the dust from the deepest and darkest nooks and crannies of your equipment front panels. Easy. Very effective. Painless. I honestly can't think why I didn't buy one earlier!

Before and After

Here's my RM1x before a quick dusting with the brush:

And close-up:

Then after:

and in close-up:

It makes a huge difference!

The best bit is that:

Equipment looks SO much better, newer, more hi-tech -  without dust!

There are a few things to consider when you are dusting electronics gear:

Static Electricity - The bristles are conductive, but I would recommend wearing cotton clothes, socks, and not synthetics like nylon whilst dusting. Also grounding yourself before you start is a good idea, and taking your shoes off helps to keep you grounded. 

Action - Big, fast sweeping movement are going to miss the finer detail, plus it might generate static, so short, dabbing movements are what I use, and I shake the brush over a bin frequently, or near a vacuum cleaner... 

Vacuum cleaners - these can generate static, and whilst using them to clean the inside of electronics gear is not a good idea, they are useful for removing dust from the air. So when you are quickly dabbing away at your front panels, there's a lot of dust being put into the atmosphere, and having a vacuum running close by is going to remove that dust and let you dump it into a bin later. So as you dust with the brush with one hand, the other hand should be waving the vacuum nozzle around nearby (1 metre away would be fine) to suck the dust away. There's no point just using the brush to do the dusting if the dust then resettles back on the gear!

And before you have the bright idea of using the soft brush that comes with the vacuum cleaner so that you do the brushing and sucking in one action, remember that static electricity! The friction of the air moving into the nozzle causes static charges to build up, and this isn't what you want anywhere near your electronics gear. The same concern about static applies to 'air dusters' and 'air in a can' type sprays - these can create static electricity...

What you can also do is do the dusting first with the brush, then vacuum the floor. This way any dust that has been disturbed will be picked up as it settles on the floor, or will be captured as the air in the room passes through the vacuum. 

There are also air purifiers, which filter the air through a HEPA (High Efficiency Partriculate Air) filter, removing dust, pollen, etc. You can spend a small fortune on these, so choose carefully. Air conditioners with filters are another option - and again: do your research and get informed before buying.

Getting a Muslady Vinyl Record Cleaning Brush

You can get one from Amazon, although I'm sure there are other places and brushes available!


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