More on Cleaning the Optics/Lenses
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Tip from Mr Bob:
This is a reprint from an answer to a question about a certain type of optics cleaner -
one of the dry type, I believe - and whether it should be used on RPTVs:
My optics cleaning technique is to suspend ALL the
gritty particulates that have built up over the years in liquid before attempting to do
ANYTHING with them.
Lenses are usually made of plastic, and are extremely susceptible to being scratched.
Even glass lenses can be scratched.
High voltage attracts the smallest of particulates to your optics, including smoke, and
it is VERY IMPORTANT not to scratch your optics.
It is also important not to allow any of the liquid to go down into the space between
the edge of the lens and the lens barrel. If it does, it will cause the inner lenses to
fog up. There are usually 4 lenses in a stack, in each lens pack. 3 guesses as to why I
So when you send your spray to the optics, you DIVE, DIVE, DIVE with your aborbent
material to the lowest part of the lens surface, to make sure that doesn't happen - that
the liquid doesn't penetrate to the lower levels of the stack, to the inner lenses.
The best stuff I've found for wetting the surface is an aerosol, because it foams up
and doesn't run. Don't know what the name of it is, I've only used it a couple of times,
when the customer already had it lying around. I usually use non-ammoniated Windex, or
Glass Plus, and very very carefully. Non-ammoniated because of the first surface mirrors
used in HDreadys. Don't want to be mixing aluminum with ammonia.
Once the mist has penetrated the contaminants and lifted the grit off the surface, a
careful swipe in one direction only will get the critical mass of grit off the surface, to
one side of the lens. A rolling motion as you do so, like a streetsweeper, is best and
will very cleanly remove the bad stuff.
Usually takes several very careful swipes, all in the same direction, to gather and
remove all the particulates - and you're done. Then one more very light cleaning swipe -
It is better to leave trace streaks than to rub till the surface is clean. Rubbing is
VERBOTEN! Doing so will "scuff" the plastic with thousands of permanent streaks,
which you will then rub harder and harder only to find out they don't come out, and you've
just exacerbated the situation gravely. 3 guesses as to how I found out about THAT one...
As such, no I don't think these things are the thing to use, unless and until the
surface is 99% clean already. I use pure wood fiber paper towels - not shop towels, which
contain lanolin and will NEVER get your mirror clean - and the wetting materials mentioned
above. On the outer lenses, the mirror, and the inner CRT coolant covers, where you remove
the lenses to get to them.
This method has been doing it for me - and very pristinely - for years and years and
years. It's all in the wrist.
Some further notes -
When you check ANY of the optics for contaminants, shoot your flashlight at the lens
surface FROM THE SIDE. It never looks that bad when you hit it head-on - but Lordy, when
you shoot it from the side, MAN, that's dirty...
I usually do just a quick bump from the back of one of my fingers - no more than
3/8" long - to the surface, just to see if that bump turns clear black, in the middle
of the gray dust. If it is dirty, it does. If not - if that surface was black and remains
black after bumping it with the back of my finger - I may just leave that surface alone.
On the lenses facing up, often to make my point in front of the client, I wet one
finger - don't want to DRYRUB any gritty particulates - and draw a happy face in the
middle. Viewed from the front at an oblique angle, with the flashlight hitting it from the
side, that usually does the trick, when that happy face jumps off the surface at you,
revealing how clear your optics are SUPPOSED to be...
If you are removing and going under the lenses, be sure and check the rear surface of
the lens pack - the one the becomes exposed when you remove the lenspack, whose surface
faces the CRT. It is usually full of smoke, and responds the same way to the
"touch" test mentioned above.
When you shoot the Windex in there, be sure and clean the outer surfaces of overspray,
before cleaning the lens itself. If you don't - if you just leave it - its moisture is
trapped and will eventually fog everything up in there, after you have put things back
3 guesses as to how I found out about THAT one...
If you do it after cleaning the surfaces in question, more lint - and other new
contaminants - fall onto the surface you just cleaned, than if it is the other way around.
I have found that the actual coolant covers themselves are usually plastic, tho I have
seen glass ones - very expensive to do it that way - on Runcos and Pioneer Elites. You can
tell by looking at the edge. If it is plastic, you won't really see that edge, it will be
inside where the coolant is and not available to your view.
If it is glass, you will see the curvature end, and straight flat glass will go to the
edge of the circular chamber, usually just over 1/4" in all directions.
I just completed this protocol on a 6 year old Runco 770 at Harbin Hot Springs last
week, and a 9 year old Pioneer PRO-119 last night in Redwood City. The Runco had VERY
thick dust on the entire lower half of its glass coolant cover, and its keeper couldn't
get over how distinct and impressive the colors had become, later.
The response from the Elite owners was that they had NEVER seen it look that good, even
when new. At 9 years old...
Naturally, the rest of my calibration protocol was also applied in each case, after
hours of fine precision work.
But the importance of the light path remaining clear as glass in a projection system
cannot be stated strongly enough. There are MANY surfaces to deal with in a projection
environment, NONE of which exist in a directview environment.
EACH of those surfaces needs its own individual attention.
Especially in the face of the high voltage of the CRTs, which always wants to cause
floating airborne contaminants to cling to nearby surfaces over time, hour after hour -
multiplied by hundreds of hours of use over time - PER YEAR!
This is definitely an op that cannot be left to chance.
I just learned the name of the foam, which I think has been the same in
all cases, just from the look of it.
It is SprayWay Glass Cleaner. Locally, it is available at Restoration Hardware,
somewhere here on the Peninsula in the Bay Area.
Elsewhere, I do not know where to get it.