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Spray Lubing switches - A guide

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Leslieann:
Someone made a comment we need to make one of these so here it is.
If a mod could sticky this that would be great as we have had a few mentions of it lately.


DO NOT SPRAY LUBE SWITCHES.
Don't try brushing the stem from the outside with grease or oil either.



We do not care that some Youtuber showed it was okay, DO NOT DO IT.
Sprays are for use in places you can flush out contaminants and leave a lubricating coating like exposed hinges on a door or a bicycle chain. There is no way to flush contaminants from a switch. Plus, all that solvent, which is atomized more than the lube, may have just destroyed any lube in places you can't reach and is now breaking down and will further contaminate the switch as it does so. So while it may seem great now, it may be a whole lot worse in a few hours, days or weeks from now or it may be fine (much less likely).

As for brushing the stem from the outside with grease or oil, while this looks like an easy way to do it you have no idea what's on that stem or around the hole it passes through. What's the difference between this and taking it apart if you're lubing the same part? When you disassemble and lube you are brushing on lube and carrying away contaminants (switches are often new and clean as well), you also direct how much and where it goes (IMPORTANT!). By lubing outside in you are purposely pushing things in, you have no idea what else is being carried in (brush bits, dirt from the housing, etc..) and you have no way to direct where it goes once inside or how much, you are literally just shoving everything in and hoping.

Keep in mind I said may, it may be fine, but you're playing with fire. If you can afford to replace it or don't mind the cleanup, do what you want, just don't do this if you aren't prepared for the consequences. In most cases, most switches today are pretty good from the factory, lube doesn't instantly make a switch good or better. While there are some that benefit greatly others are just a waste of time and money to lube, you may want to ask before you bother. Personally, I think lubing stabs is far more universally satisfying than lubed switches but some switches do need lube.



What to do if you did this?
Unfortunately you don't have much in the way of options.
If it works, leave it. There's no guarantee it will work, fail or go bad, only odds. If it's working fine for now, leave it, just be aware it may come back to haunt you at some point.

If it does go bad, what are your options?
You can try an ultra sonic cleaner (if you have Monterey switches this is your only option), but at best you return to what it was when you bought it so it's a gamble, and since odds are you don't have one, especially one large enough, you could just apply that towards a new board.

To really fix this, you will need to open the switches (the very thing you tried to avoid), once open you will need to use contact cleaner on the contact leaf inside, something like Deoxit D5 would probably work (beware this is nasty stuff), be sure to douse every switch's internals good. Then clean the stem, spring and top housing with an ultra sonic cleaner, or a tooth brush and either warm soapy water (as hot as you can handle) or (preferably) some citrus cleaner (Goo Gone works), rinse, then either let it sit for a few days to air dry (one day will not be enough unless it's VERY hot and dry) or dunk them in isopropyl alcohol to displace the water then let them sit for a few hours. Now you can start lubing them the right way before reassembling. Then you get to hope nothing was damaged or else you did all this for nothing.

In other words, just replace it.
Seriously, even with hot swap this is easily 5+ hours of rather tedious work to do right plus drying time and you still need lube, contact cleaner and preferably something like Goo Gone. If you have to desolder this is an entire weekend worth of work plus some supplies for that. Call it an expensive lesson, but don't throw this out just yet, you can use this to learn to solder/desolder so you can get something even nicer or just install different switches.

_PixelNinja:
#NoSpray

jamster:
I'm sure this will save people pain, time and money.

Though I do wonder... how many people are going to read this, then say to themselves "nah, I am sure those experts on YouTube must know what they are talking about" and go ahead anyway.

ddrfraser1:
Glad I asked  ;D

Plus, I think I figured out a way to open my Montereys anyway.

Rob27shred:

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