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Modify vacuum-cleaner for safe dust-cleaning your Pentax (anti-static ESD)
Posted By: photogem, 11-01-2021, 04:11 AM

Modify a standard vacuum-cleaner so it's well grounded to eliminate static charge

(WARNING:
This is only for those who know about earthing/grounding, who know that their mains-wiring in the house is proper and has a good ground an no voltage potential between neutral and ground! (You can test that with a cheap digital volt-meter)
In North America 50+ year old homes often lack a separate ground wire network!
Often they still use a hot-neutral pair. Then you avoid grounding via the ground-prong but:


If there is central heating: A radiator or its water-pipes can be used for ground!

If you don't know about grounding, stay away from it!

This is also not for the faint-hearted, worrier and of course not for those with shaking/insecure hands)

It is not recommended to use a normal vacuum cleaner to suck dust etc. away from the sensor, focusing-screen or AF-sensors!

The reason is the danger of static charge which can kill chips in your Pentax DSLR (or any other digital camera).

There is a reason why this method is not recommended for cleaning PC's, motherboards, processors etc. as well as for the fan on your processor.

Some say the danger with a PC/Laptop is due to the fan speeding up and thus producing higher voltage than it is driven with.
But this is not the case, any fan inside a computer is protected with a resistor, diode or 2 diodes preventing this. I have measured my fans in my PC's with 3Volts/DC, so this is not really the danger

The danger is static charge which can kills chips etc.!*

Antistatic wriststraps won't do much, even if the vacuum-cleaner would be grounded it wouldn't help (most aren't anyway!). The resistance of your body is too high that it would ground the hose/nozzle because it isn't made out of "static-conductive" material (special polypropylen as used in ESD Vac's). The argument "But I did it and it worked" is not very valid. Yes, maybe it's 50:50, maybe even less, but why risk the damage of your DSLR if you can solve this with a few bucks and some DIY?
But if you use an antistatic wriststrap AND the grounding of the hose/nozzle, then you are on the save side.

Many might have noticed how hair can take on static charge when dried with a normal hair-dryer! The same static charge does built up within a vacuum-cleaner.
If you'd suck in magnesium dust particles, they'd ignite just through the static charge (so don't)


THE DIY-ADAPTER:

Parts needed:
- fine stranded insulated wire about 2-3 m long
- cutter to take some insulation off
- mains-plug according to your country you live in (one has to be able to open that plug so you can insert the wire!)


1. Carefully take off ca. 5-6cm of the insulation on one end of the wire



2. Carefully take off ca. 0,5cm of the insulation on the other end (this will be connected to your mains-plug)


3. Connect this shorter end to the ground/earth connection of your mains plug (usually the middle one)

Make really sure you know exactly which one is ground! If you connect it to the wrong one you'd risk your life!


With some plugs it is also possible to remove "neutral" and "hot", so just neutral plugs in into the wall-socket.



If you have central heating and radiators, you can connect the wire also there! For this you need the wires also long enough, 0,5cm won't do.


a) US Nema-5 plug:

I don't have a Nema-plug so I marked the ground/earth pin which takes on the short end of the wire!

b) UK-mains-plug:

make sure you wrap some rupper or plastic around the wire were it is fixed to the exit of the plug so it really sits tight and can't be pulled out!

c) EU-mains-plug:

EU-plugs have the option for the old French main-sockets with the earth-pin sticking out in the socket as well as the German earth connection.


d) Suisse-mains-plug:

as you can see, here I didn't connect/solder the wire yet. This is how I started but now one of my sons is using the original.



This is the hose-adapter I got for my DIY ESD Vac:


It connects to the main hose if any vacuum-cleaner, mine was a Miele.

I prefer this thin nozzle which can take on other heads but I used it like this:





The adapter in use:

Of course you don't touch any part inside your Pentax! But I have successfully cleaned many Pentax bodies this way.

If you are worried that there would arise a static discharge between the camera and the copper strands (which I never experienced ever and I have
used this methods on many bodies as well as on PCs, labtops, motherboards, amplifiers etc:

Ground your Pentax as well (at the hooks for the belt or with care at the K-mount)


I use this method as well for cleaning the focusing screen (and the space behind it inside the camera).

Of course the best is to take the screen out of your Pentax.
I hold it with rubber-cloves on both sides (never touch the front-or backside) and into the airstream (without the thin-diameter hose)

Hold tight!

Then turn it and hold it into the airstream as well.

If really dirty I have cleaned focusing screens with very clean (destilled) water, sometimes even with some washing up liquid and then a rinse with water.
Then I dried them the same way with the air suction. It works very well.


*In the past I have worked a lot with electrostatic speakers and electrostatic headphones, their power supplies and particular with direct-coupled amplifiers driving those directly and I have designed active MOS-FET-amplifiers driving subwoofers with the PS for the ELS-Speaker inside that amplifier. We used special connectors but at the beginning had problems that the high-voltage (power was just milli-amperes) arced and damaged the power-MOS-FET's! Of course here we deal with higher voltage but as well with very robust transistors which produced some healthy 160Watts power-output for the subwoofers which were not ESL! The best idea would have been to have the PS separate but the manufacturer of the speakers wanted it otherwise. Hard lesson to learn then.

Last edited by photogem; 11-23-2021 at 09:37 PM.
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11-01-2021, 05:05 AM   #2
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Don't kill yourself with this crazy setup. Usually there is a 500K to 1MegOhm resistor in anti-static wrist straps and other anti-ESD protection devices, to prevent accidental death if you come in contact with mains voltage coming in contact with your body.
11-01-2021, 05:37 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by photogem Quote
The danger is static charge which can kills chips etc.!*
Well, direct electrostatic discharge via ground wire can be worse than nothing is the camera body is charged. If you're afraid of charging up on the vacuum nozzle or camera body, just use both nozzle and camera bare hands, body resistance with dry skin is > 1K ~4K Ohm, it's better than 0 Ohm direct wire to ground.
Wht's the reason why you used a ground wire at the tip of the pipe? Were you afraid that charges would accumulate on the pipe due to air flow of the vacuum?
11-01-2021, 05:48 AM   #4
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This is too much effort for something that:
  1. can kill you if done wrong
  2. can scratch the sensor cover, due to an exposed metal wire at the front of the contraption
  3. risks static discharge between the camera and that wire
  4. seems worse than a simple bulb rocket blower. Hold the camera with the lens mount facing downwards, blow up with the rocket blower, let dust fall out of the camera. You'll get more concentrated air pressure and zero risk of electrocution.


11-01-2021, 05:49 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by ProfessorBuzz Quote
Don't kill yourself with this crazy setup. Usually there is a 500K to 1MegOhm resistor in anti-static wrist straps and other anti-ESD protection devices, to prevent accidental death if you come in contact with mains voltage coming in contact with your body.
And how the heck would you come into contact with any mains voltage if you follow the instructions correctly?

There is zero danger involved if.

One would have to be super-stupid to do it wrong!
11-01-2021, 05:55 AM   #6
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Ideal would be two pipes, one pipe blowing air and a secondary pipe sucking air. Make it small, patent it, produce it in China, advertise it on DPReview, and sell it on amazon B&H, Adorama, SRS.
11-01-2021, 06:08 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by biz-engineer Quote
Ideal would be two pipes, one pipe blowing air and a secondary pipe sucking air. Make it small, patent it, produce it in China, advertise it on DPReview, and sell it on amazon B&H, Adorama, SRS.
Ideal would be to develop some kind of a laser beam which will burn just dust particles

11-01-2021, 06:10 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lev Quote
Ideal would be to develop some kind of a laser beam which will burn just dust particles
I was always under the idea that one should use a pressure washer to ensure they have a nice clean sensor...
11-01-2021, 06:18 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by DeadJohn Quote
This is too much effort for something that:
  1. can kill you if done wrong
  2. can scratch the sensor cover, due to an exposed metal wire at the front of the contraption
  3. risks static discharge between the camera and that wire
  4. seems worse than a simple bulb rocket blower. Hold the camera with the lens mount facing downwards, blow up with the rocket blower, let dust fall out of the camera. You'll get more concentrated air pressure and zero risk of electrocution.
Only an absolute idiot will risk electrocution!

Only an absolute idiot will scratch the sensor cover, if he'd do that, he has already done worse and won't own a Pentax

This tutorial could be called "built an antistatic device for dummies"

What experience do you have with such a device?

How on earth would one risk static discharge between the Pentax body and the wire?
Were does that static charge all the sudden come from?
And even if so, why would it discharge.
11-01-2021, 06:26 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by bertwert Quote
I was always under the idea that one should use a pressure washer to ensure they have a nice clean sensor...
I noticed, there are two kind of particles that create spots in images: dust particles and oily particles. Dust particles usually go away with the built-in ultrasound cleaning or air blower with mirror-up. But oily particles (from the mirror/shutter mechanics) remain stuck on the sensor not matter how much air blows inside, they require wet cleaning. I had to wet clean my sensor with diluted dish-washer soap and a cotton pad because the spots wouldn't go away any other way.
11-01-2021, 06:39 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by biz-engineer Quote
I noticed, there are two kind of particles that create spots in images: dust particles and oily particles. Dust particles usually go away with the built-in ultrasound cleaning or air blower with mirror-up. But oily particles (from the mirror/shutter mechanics) remain stuck on the sensor not matter how much air blows inside, they require wet cleaning. I had to wet clean my sensor with diluted dish-washer soap and a cotton pad because the spots wouldn't go away any other way.

What makes me mad all about this is that if entire photography industry is making improvements and day to day adding new features, why the hell they don't create something to be safely used by a user? Nikons latest "innovation" is to protect the sensor with something which is look like a regular shutter mechanism! absolute nonsense, because it won't protect it from dust from regular use by user who isn't careful enough and does not clean his bayonet or lens mount frequently! Anything on top of that protective shutter will find its way to the other side and of course will end up on the sensor.
11-01-2021, 07:00 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by biz-engineer Quote
I noticed, there are two kind of particles that create spots in images: dust particles and oily particles. Dust particles usually go away with the built-in ultrasound cleaning or air blower with mirror-up. But oily particles (from the mirror/shutter mechanics) remain stuck on the sensor not matter how much air blows inside, they require wet cleaning.
That's how it is. Wet cleaning is one method but the Pentax Lolly (sensor cleaning kit) often helps.

I never came across oily particles but I had particles from pollen.
They stick but with the LOLLY
it works.

This one is identical:
Cmos/ccd sensor reiniger cleaning kit für canon nikon sony dslr slr digitalkamera|cleaning kit|sensor cleaner cleaningsensor cleaner - AliExpress

There are other sensible methods of dry-cleaning, wet-cleaning I hardly need to apply.
But if, then with very clean Isopropanol.
11-01-2021, 07:58 AM - 1 Like   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by photogem Quote
Only an absolute idiot will risk electrocution!

Only an absolute idiot will scratch the sensor cover, if he'd do that, he has already done worse and won't own a Pentax

This tutorial could be called "built an antistatic device for dummies"

What experience do you have with such a device?

How on earth would one risk static discharge between the Pentax body and the wire?
Were does that static charge all the sudden come from?
And even if so, why would it discharge.
People, even smart people, can make clumsy mistakes. Your responses are similar to saying "only an idiot would get into a car crash" yet that happens frequently to non-idiots. Jabbing a metal wire near your camera sensor is risky. One slip and you can scratch the cover glass. Rocket blowers and sensor swabs are made from softer materials.

"How on earth would one risk static discharge between the Pentax body and the wire? Were does that static charge all the sudden come from? And even if so, why would it discharge." In dry weather, you and the camera can easily accumulate a static charge from your clothing, carpeting, or other sources. When the ground wire comes close to the camera innards, the spark jumps.

Yes, you can work at an anti-static bench, ground yourself before touching the camera, etc. Or you can just avoid the vacuum, eliminate any need for your device, and use a proven $10 rocket blower that will be more effective for cleaning the sensor.
11-01-2021, 09:23 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by DeadJohn Quote
People, even smart people, can make clumsy mistakes.
Well, if one is very faint-hearted, then just refrain from doing it.
It is that simple!

C'mon, the advice is very clear.
It is for those who understand and not for those who worry.

It is almost 0.00001% of the demand compared to learn to drive a car

I made it very clear:
QuoteOriginally posted by photogem Quote
Make really sure you know exactly which one is ground!
If you connect it to the wrong one you'd risk your life!
.
but your worry to touch the sensor with the wire:

then just put a tiny bit of cello-tape (Tesa) over it and that risk is gone)


Live has risks! Breathing these days is more risky than what I suggested.
I think those who worry so terribly about reading something like what I recommended should become nuns and monks and retreat from this all-to-dangerous life into caves.
11-01-2021, 09:26 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lev Quote
What makes me mad all about this....
Only you can stop this. You cannot change the world but you can change "your attitude"!

This could be your task.
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