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Cleaning Transmitters

Electric Fliers, this does not apply to you.

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David Davis13/06/2017 05:52:12
3860 forum posts
741 photos

To my eternal shame, some years ago, when I handed in my transmitter to the scrutineer at Greenacres, I was told-off for not cleaning it. It was covered in a patina of oil, the result of many years of flying glow-powered models and he had difficulty fitting the self adhesive orange sticker to my transmitter.

I now use a Spektrum DX9 which I'm very pleased with and I bought a very powerful soap from the local agricultural co-operative which was advertised as a particularly effective de-greasant.

Suitably diluted, it has cleaned the transmitter very effectively. So effectively in fact that it has attacked the decorative grey finish on the front of the transmitter. I now have the only DX9 in the world with a "distressed finish!"

I realise that glow engines are thoroughly demode these days which is why you can get some real bargains, but what do other glow afficianados use to clean their transmitters?

cymaz13/06/2017 06:01:41
9596 forum posts
1267 photos

Interesting question David,

TBH, I've never had a Tx covered with oil at the end of a flying day. Our club uses tables in the pits quite a lot. The Tx usually sits under the table on engine run up.

However I've never been one to use soap and water on a Tx for fear of getting some debris and water into the stick pots. I've used baby wipes if it does need a clean. They don't seem to have damaged the plastic.

Do you keep the Tx in a carry case?

Edited By cymaz on 13/06/2017 06:09:57

David Davis13/06/2017 06:09:56
3860 forum posts
741 photos

I think the oil is transferred to the transmitter from my hands. I've always used fuel containing 15% oil and bought a considerable quantity about two years ago when I was well-wedged! Once I've used all of that, I'll start using 10% oil in my fuel. Our club trainers, powered by OS 46 AXs seem to run well on 10% oil.

cymaz13/06/2017 06:13:09
9596 forum posts
1267 photos

We do have a club mate that gives the plane a quick wipe down after every flight to get the worst of the oil off....could the exhaust pipe be repositioned or angled to throw the oil away from the plane in flight.

I'm sure there was a thread here about oil on the fuselage and prop wash.

Futaba recommendations

Edited By cymaz on 13/06/2017 06:14:49

Trevor Crook13/06/2017 07:31:34
1036 forum posts
71 photos

It may be worth trying methylated spirit, as this seems effective on glow residue, and doesn't seem to attack most finishes. You shouldn't need to use it on a regular basis though. A wipe over with a cloth dampened with mild detergent solution after each flying session should do the trick.

It may be worth keeping a pack of moist wipes (baby wipes) in the field box to keep your hands clean. Methanol is, after all, a cumulative poison absorbed through the skin, although I doubt there is much left in the oil residue.

Cuban813/06/2017 07:40:13
3163 forum posts
1 photos

Wipe the 'plane down after every flight and keep a clean cloth to wipe your hands on after that. It's not difficult and my radio gear and field equipment over the years has never had anything but the lightest of soiling that could be easily removed with a slightly moistened cloth using very dilute detergent once every few weeks.

I find that general purpose cleaning spray for kitchens tops is good - from Wilkinsons, under a quid for a big bottle and is as good as anything for cleaning the model and the rest of my gear.  Synthetic oil residue is nowhere near as messy as the old castor sludge and doesn't require anything too strong to clear it away - better for paint finishes as well! Still running castor?.............give it upwink

Keep your fueling arrangements tidy so that you don't spill fuel all over the place and get it on your hands, Methanol and nitro are toxic and although I've never known anyone to suffer a reaction to them given the relatively limited exposure we get, it's a good idea anyway to keep the stuff off your skin.

Edited By Cuban8 on 13/06/2017 07:47:46

LUKE GRICE13/06/2017 07:44:24
12 forum posts

I use pledge furniture polish. works perfect , and does not effect the plastic

Peter Christy13/06/2017 07:49:52
1948 forum posts



Available from Halfords, Amazon and quite a lot of other places. Prices vary, so shop around! It hasn't attacked plastic or vinyl on any transmitter I've used it on yet, but try it on a small inconspicuous area first, just in case!

Also excellent for cleaning models after a day's flying!

For telescopic aerials (which should be cleaned regularly!), either methylated spirits or WD-40.



Frank Skilbeck13/06/2017 07:52:26
4929 forum posts
114 photos

I cleaned my Tx using some DIY wipes and they wore off the logos on the buttons surprise, just as well I know what they all do.

For cleaning my models I use Muc Off which is my bike cleaner, works really well.

Peter Miller13/06/2017 07:55:55
11771 forum posts
1416 photos
10 articles

My transmitters never seem to get oily and as most willl know I fly glow powered models almost exclusively.

I find that a 1" paintbrush with an elastic band tightly wound round the bristles cleans the dust etc. out of all the nooks and crannies and that is all it needs.

Paul Jefferies13/06/2017 07:58:41
254 forum posts
39 photos

There is a solvent cleaner used by installers of UPVC windows and doors. It cleans as well as Acetone but it does not attack the surface underneath the grime. I you put "UPVC solvent cleaner" into the bay you will find many brands at around £6 - £8/ Ltr. ........ 'Great stuff and I wouldn't be without it!


The Wright Stuff13/06/2017 08:08:12
1402 forum posts
227 photos

+1 for baby wipes.

I minimise the transfer of oil from hands to Tx by wearing tight rubber gloves when fiddling with the fuel/engine, and while starting, then whipping them off immediately before flying...

edgar13/06/2017 08:51:40
95 forum posts
28 photos

I use Halfords screen wash to clean my model, hands and transmitter. The mix of water, alcohol (proponol I think) seems ideal for removing oily residue. It hasn't washed anything off that it shouldn't, yet.

Graham R13/06/2017 09:25:04
415 forum posts
32 photos

I seem to remember using a mixture of meths, water and washing up liquid to clean down models..haven't used it for a good number of years having gone electric

Engine Doctor13/06/2017 09:59:47
2719 forum posts
44 photos
Posted by edgar on 13/06/2017 08:51:40:

I use Halfords screen wash to clean my model, hands and transmitter. The mix of water, alcohol (proponol I think) seems ideal for removing oily residue. It hasn't washed anything off that it shouldn't, yet.

Plus one for this . I buy the de-icer trigger spray bottles as its convenient and possibly a bit more concentrated .It cleans models and unlike baby wipes that some club mates use it doesn't leave a geasy residue. 

Be careful of some chemical cleaners as they can denature the plastic and make either the plastic soft or brittle. Not had this problem with the above and have used it for years.

Another good degreaser that I have tried recently is panel wipe as used to clean grease etc from car panels before painting. Good but far more expensive than the screen wash/de-icer

Edited By Engine Doctor on 13/06/2017 10:01:40

Essjay13/06/2017 11:09:17
578 forum posts
1 photos

+1 for baby wipes to clean transmitters, although I'm almost all electric nowadays so it doesn't get quite as dirty as it used to.

Baby wipes will also help to clean models as well, although not quite as effective as meths on glow fuel, but they do help to shift the splattered bugs from my electric models.

As a bonus try wiping down your dirty car leather seats with baby wipes, you'll be surprised how clean they come up!.


Edited By Essjay on 13/06/2017 11:12:00

The Wright Stuff13/06/2017 14:00:47
1402 forum posts
227 photos
Posted by Tom Sharp 2 on 13/06/2017 13:52:13:

There is a product called Auto SX dash cleaner which is excellent for cleaning the snot and other debris off car steering wheels and associated areas.

Glad to know I'm not the only one who explosively sneezes while driving!!!

Phil 913/06/2017 14:31:26
4287 forum posts
257 photos

KFC lemon wipe

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