Cleaning sensors - an anti-static solution?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Alan F Cross, Jul 23, 2003.

  1. Alan F Cross

    Alan F Cross Guest

    I'm old enough to remember the anti-static 'wands' we used to use for
    cleaning our vinyl LPs (albums!). They used the piezo effect to create a
    high voltage to draw the dust off.

    Is there anything similar these days for dealing with sensor dust? Or is
    it unwise to put any such high voltage stuff anywhere near a box of
    sensitive chips like a dSLR?

    Are there any products made specifically for interchangeable lens
    cameras? Are they safe?
    Alan F Cross, Jul 23, 2003
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  2. Alan F Cross

    Dreamer Guest

    Gods above, no! We've come a long way from the days when you had to ground
    yourself to so much as upgrade a card or a chip, but deliberately putting a
    highly-charged object near a CCD or other fancy electronic equipment is
    begging for disaster. Unless a Nikon/Canon/Fuji engineer was standing in
    front of me saying, "Not only is it safe, but if it breaks your camera I'll
    buy you a new one and here's the cash IN MY HAND," I wouldn't get anywhere
    near a digicam with a statically charged object.

    Dreamer, Jul 23, 2003
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  3. Alan F Cross

    Jim Townsend Guest

    No.. (I recall those piezo anti-static devices.. I even had one), those things
    won't help.

    A brushless bulb blower is one good cleaning method. A few short puffs can
    blow off light dust. Canned air is a no-no because you can get small amounts
    of propellant spitting out and splattering the sensor. For tougher jobs you
    might have to wet clean.

    There are swabs and solutions that do a good job of cleaning stubborn dust off
    sensors. They are needed from time to time. Canon and Nikon won't officially
    condone the use of such things. I guess they're worried about ham-handed
    users poking away at the very expensive sensor. If Canon or Nikon suggested
    home wet cleaning, they'd probably be getting lots of cameras back with
    customers saying.. "Hey.. You said it was OK. Currently they suggest sending
    the cameras in to be professionly cleaned at their service centers.

    On my 10D I've used Eclipse fluid and sensor swabs from

    The swabs are medical grade dust and lint free cloth that's custom cut to the
    camera's sensor size and mounted on a plastic stick (like a big Q-tip). The
    fluid is ultra purified methyl hydrate guaranteed to leave no residue.

    Used properly they work great and won't harm the sensor.
    Jim Townsend, Jul 23, 2003
  4. Alan F Cross

    Alan F Cross Guest

    Yes, I'm aware of 'blower' and 'wet' cleaning (thanks), but that wasn't
    my question!

    It seems to me that if you can just draw the dust off the sensor with
    static charge from a short distance you have (in mechanical terms) a
    safe method of dealing with things - there's no danger of putting
    anything back on the sensor, and no danger of scratching it.
    Alan F Cross, Jul 23, 2003
  5. Yeah, but how do you make absolutely sure that the high voltage from the
    ionizer doesn't jump to one pin of the CCD? If so, you may well have a
    fried data or address line in the CCD.

    Dave Martindale, Jul 24, 2003
  6. Yes that will work, but the CCD never will again. They, and CMOS units
    are extrordinarly easy to destroy with static discharges of stray

    Paul Repacholi 1 Crescent Rd.,
    +61 (08) 9257-1001 Kalamunda.
    West Australia 6076
    comp.os.vms,- The Older, Grumpier Slashdot
    Raw, Cooked or Well-done, it's all half baked.
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    Paul Repacholi, Jul 26, 2003
  7. How do I order this? I have many globs on my D100 sensor and really
    need to clean the sensor...
    Andrew McDonald, Sep 28, 2003
  8. Alan F Cross

    dperez Guest

    Depending on where you are you can get the stuff directly from Photosolutions
    ( or, I ordered my stuff from Pakor in MN. They were a bit
    cheaper and got the stuff here very quickly since I'm nearby.
    dperez, Sep 29, 2003
  9. Alan F Cross

    Crownfield Guest
    Crownfield, Sep 29, 2003
  10. Alan F Cross

    Alan F Cross Guest[/QUOTE]

    Do I understand correctly that the swabs (that come with the solution)
    are for use only on lenses, and the sensor swabs (sold separately) are
    just for sensor cleaning, used with the solution?
    Alan F Cross, Sep 29, 2003
  11. Alan F Cross

    Crownfield Guest

    Do I understand correctly that the swabs (that come with the solution)
    are for use only on lenses, and the sensor swabs (sold separately) are
    just for sensor cleaning, used with the solution?[/QUOTE]

    that is my understanding.

    Crownfield, Sep 29, 2003
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