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Old Cables Oozing Oil


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Hi everyone.

You all might have experienced that (at least those working with their gear for more than 20 years) SOME cables start to ooze some oily stuff after a long time stored. I have read that it can come from some type of plasticizer included in the composition of the outer PVC shell.

What is weird for me is that some cables from the same origin are doing it and some don't.

For example I have a Sanken COS11 that I have had for quite some time now maybe 15 years. It is still in good shape and perfectly working but the cable is oozing oil ! No matter how I wipe it, it keeps on coming back. Strangely, I have a second one that I bought together with the other and this one does not have the problem!

Same with the coiled cable of a Sony MDR7506, oozing oil badly, rendering it unusable. Ok I have had this one also for a while and I hardly ever use it (only to clients on request for IFB monitoring), so it is stored most of the year. But I have never heard of an MDR7506 cable having this issue!

 

Ok now that my ranting is done, has anyone any idea of how to prevent that? And what to do to stop it?

 

Keep well

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I was under the impression that it happens when the cable comes in contact with certain solvents (which may be aerosolized).  I vaguely recall epoxy fumes could cause it?  I'm not knowledgeable on this at all though, so I could just be spreading rumours.  And I don't know how to stop it.  But I'm eagerly watching to see if anyone here knows.

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I'm not sure what exactly causes this, but I have noticed this on some COS11's that were used on talent wearing a lot of cologne. Usually they're ok after wiping down thoroughly with isopropyl alcohol 99% but that tends to dry out the jacket more than it should be dried so it's not a perfect solution but it does get rid of the oil.

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21 hours ago, DanieldH said:

Hey Daniel Thank you for that! I did not find it despite my use of the search engine.

Will try to track down this "Remove" wipes. Not that easy I guess in France.

That seems like a solution for cleaning the oily stuff.

 

Still no one really knows how to prevent that. Spooky !

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18 hours ago, Fred Salles said:

Hey Daniel Thank you for that! I did not find it despite my use of the search engine.

Will try to track down this "Remove" wipes. Not that easy I guess in France.

That seems like a solution for cleaning the oily stuff.

 

Still no one really knows how to prevent that. Spooky !

Hey Fred,

when I search for "smith nephew remove" I'll get multiple results from medical supply dealers in .de, incl amazon and ebay. 

 

Maybe the phenomenon is not preventable? You could ask Sanken. 

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On 6/29/2024 at 10:29 AM, Fred Salles said:

Hey Daniel Thank you for that! I did not find it despite my use of the search engine.

Will try to track down this "Remove" wipes. Not that easy I guess in France.

That seems like a solution for cleaning the oily stuff.

 

Still no one really knows how to prevent that. Spooky !

I tried Remove on more than one of these old lavs and it did not work.  Remove works well to remove everything else, but you have to wipe off the residue.  It did not change anything on those old degraded ones.

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4 hours ago, Philip Perkins said:

I was wondering if the mystery of why some lav mics deteriorate this way and others (same make/model/age) don't could be partly down to how the plastic on the cables is acted on by some people's sweat and skin oil (and not others)? 

I don't think so Philip because it happens to cables that are not worn (like one of my MDR7506) and above all it is all along the cable in an almost regular way: if it was a reaction to something emanating from a human body it will be only on the part of the cable actually touching it.

I am even wondering if it could be from something applied for the same reason, unless it was used to clean the whole cable like a wipe.

Although the cable of the mdr7506 is coiled and there is no way I used something to clean in inside the coil!

 

I tend to think that it happens when the cables are stored in a locked case or with very little access to air, and there was moisture still in the shell or around it. So maybe your suggestion could be a lead if the cable that was in contact with sweat is stored in a locked case for too long without proper cleaning and drying. It could create a chemical reaction to the whole cable (?).

Nowadays I store all my lav always along with a small silica-gel bag each, but the one that has the problem did not get that...

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For sure exposure to solvents can cause plastic breakdown, but how many soundies here are using solvents that way?   Years ago Dan Dugan used to speak of the breakdown that would happen to the rubber gasket that surrounds the deck of reel to reel Nagra IVs onward as "gasket cancer".  He thought it was caused by getting both the head cleaner and the rubber cleaner we used on the pinch roller on the gasket, as well as sweat.   I know the deterioration of mine started on the right side near the pinch roller.  So maybe I got something on the cables w/o realizing it, and over time....

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I had it happen to a Canare XLR cable.  It happened to the one on my mixer bag, which had *more* air circulation than my other cables.  I noticed it right after someone had been using epoxy in the next room, so my conclusion was that the epoxy fumes had something to do with it.  Total speculation though...

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Have it happen to thick XLR microphone cables (don't know the brand). They have been stored over years in a plastic bag in the basement where it is humid occasionally. Not professional storage at all - shame on me - but no important cables I don't need on a regular basis.

I also asked myself how that happens, but as you say: lack of ventilation and humidity seem the cause.

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I have a blue  25' Canare L-4E6S star-quad cable I originally bought back in 1990 that has seen all kinds of ENG abuse in all kinds of harsh weather conditions. Aside from the color being a bit faded, the cable shows no other signs of degradation.  The Neutrik XLR connectors were replaced once or twice though due to damage.

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5 hours ago, Rick Reineke said:

I have a blue  25' Canare L-4E6S star-quad cable I originally bought back in 1990 that has seen all kinds of ENG abuse in all kinds of harsh weather conditions. Aside from the color being a bit faded, the cable shows no other signs of degradation.  The Neutrik XLR connectors were replaced once or twice though due to damage.

I also have very old cables like a GOTHAM GAC3 (great Swiss made cables) that was given to me by my mentor in the 90s. Still going good!

Canare and Mogami cables I do not recall having this oozing stuff problem neither.

 

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