For years I've been fixing and trying to fix lots of everything. I'm that guy that people bring their broken stuff to.
However, there's one thing I never could get quite right. Volume controls, and other pot (potentiometer) based controls. I'd manage to get the crackle out, but if always came back within a short while. I'd even take the entire pot apart, clean each piece manually, and put it all back together. But even then, it was never quite right.
I tried WW-40 but that's stinky and yucky and generally not the best idea. I'd try 99% Isopropyl alcohol and that would work for a while, but generally not long. I even went to Radio Shack and got their "Tuner Cleaner" or whatever it's called (they also have a "Contact Cleaner") but that never seemed to do the trick either. In fact, it left a greezy film on the board, which was almost unavoidable since the spray can would go off like a rocket and hose down just about everything in the immediate area of the room (walls, floors, your face, whatever).
I even tried a few electronics cleaners from Canadian Tire, but without any better results. Everything barely worked.
For a while, before playing a game of Super Breakout on the Atari VCS, I'd take the big knob off and drop a few dips of alcohol into it, which would last only as long as the game. Plus, since my cleaning process removed the original lubrication of the pot, it would turn as smoothly. You can see the effect of all this while playing the game, the player paddle at the bottom of the screen would wiggle and wobble and generally react jerky and poorly during gameplay.
I've been reading a lot of online forums and blogs and whatnot, when I finally started reading about the DeoxIT line of products. They seemed great, and I finally managed to get my hands on some.
It's truly and wonderfully great. It's exactly right. It cleans and lubricates and lasts. You can see the difference in the video game controllers onscreen, and you can hear the difference in the volume controls. It's amazing. When compared to all the other crap I used, it simply kicks everything else in the butt. It's as great as everyone on the internet says it is. It lives up to the hype. I wish I had this stuff years ago. I want to treat everything in the house I have with it. It's really that great.
Here's a picture of the stuff I've used it on so far with great results.
I fixed a flaky Atari joystick, Atari paddles, and guitar plugs, pots and switches so far.
Plus, the spray nozzle at the top has a selector for how hard you want the spray to come out.
This is a great feature, since I figure I waste about %50 of and entire bottle of the old junk I used just because it hosed down everything in sight with one burst.
If you really want to make it last without wasting it, you can try what I like. I get an old bottle of eye drops, nasal spray (remove the hose inside to keep it from spraying up), or whatever small bottle that will let you drip it out, clean it and carefully fill it from the spray can. Now you can use a few drops when you need to, and wash out a pot in a hard to reach spot with the can if needed, and minimize waste. What's good for the environment is usually good for your wallet.
I wasn't paid to promote this. I believe it's a great product and it helps restore and repair electronics so you can lengthen their life and stretch your dollar.
Having said that, it's not cheap. You can order a diluted solution F5 can like mine from their website.
DeoxIT FaderLube at Caig.com
They also have 100% pure stuff in a tiny tube and squeeze bottle. It's actual pure lubricant and drips out thick and slow like honey.
It's great. Gets the crackle out. Honestly wonderful stuff.