Tutorial Sensor Cleaning - My Copperhill Style cleaning

RobertP

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#1
RobertP submitted a new resource:

Sensor Cleaning - My Copperhill Style cleaning - Sensor Cleaning - My Copperhill Style cleaning

Or Copperhill method for cheapskates and scaredy cats

OK I mentioned some time ago that I'd document my cleaning process in the hope it will help those too scared to have a go themselves.

Usual caveats of course - don't blame me if you manage to screw up after reading this lot :) I'm an ordinary guy with a 20D and have cleaned the sensor a few times - not an expert laying down how it should be done...just telling how I do it. All based on my Canon experience but it would not be much...
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RobertP

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#2
Making up the swabs.

All you are trying to do is wrap the working edge of the plastic tool with the middle of a pec pad and not have bulging pec pad everywhere when you have finished. The other small complication is not touching the middle with your hands. Pec Pads are not lint free at the edges - thats why you use the middle. Don't even think about cutting them.

You need a clean worksurface with no dust. I get a new plastic bin bag (just unfolded not opened up) and just lay it on the table to work on. There now follows a series of pictures as I folded the pec pad and taped it. Keep it streched tightly over the spatula all the time but not so tight you make the blade of the spatula bend. Aim to wrap the tape tightly so the tension remains when you finish.

I made 4 to start with. 1 may do the job or it could take 7 or more.













 
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RobertP

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#3
Practice.

I don't do this anymore but I did before the first time and it helped build confidence without being scared :)

The sensor cover is glass so cleaning a glass filter will give you a feel for what you are doing.

Put the filter flat on the table and drip one drop of eclipse fluid in the middle of it. Watch the eclipse spread out then start to evaporate. In theory eclipse is so pure there will be no residue. In practice there is a visible tide mark at the edges where it dried.
With that in mind although we need the eclipse to dissolve any stickyness in the dust we don't want too much that could leave residue.

Now to clean the filter. Put 2 drops** of eclipse on the swab near the front edge but not right on the edge. I aim for the thicker bits where it is folded. Pic below I'm pointing with the tweezers as i can't get a pic of the drop with my p&s camera.



Now put 2 drops** on a second swab and put it down. The first swab should now be ready to use and the second can be used immediately afterwards.

Using the first swab which has had a few moments to soak press it into the egde of the filter at an angle with pressure like you would on a biro. Draw it back towards the middle and once central lean your hand to reverse the angle of the swab to the glass and then push the swab to the other side and lift off. You should have a clean stripe across the glass. Notice as you work there may be a slight hint of evaporating fluid on the glass following the swab. Any more than a hint and you are using too much fluid - or using the swab too soon after applying the eclipse drops.










Once you have used the swab once on the sensor you don't want to use it again. pull the tape off and re-wrap it if you need more....don't be lazy and try to re-use it. Practicing on a filter though I wouldn't worry to just get the feel of it. A well used swab won't clean so well though.


Camera setup.

You are going to be making test shots at f22 so you need a lens that can do this and is not too big. The kit lens is ideal.

You don't want to be messing about with RAW conversions so set it to large jpeg.

Test shots will be of nothing so set the lens to manual focus.

Make sure the battery is freshly charged - you don't want the mirror dropping down on you because the power ran out.

Longer exposures are not a problem so use 100 iso. Aperture priority set at f22.

Point the camera at the sky so that nothing but sky is in the shot. Wave the camera about a bit as you take the shot so nothing could possibly be in focus (like a passing bird).

View the image on a computer screen. You should see marks as it is if your sensor badly needs cleaning. If you want to feel worse try auto levels on it. So now you see the problem :)

If you don't have any sky then a plain white wall will work too - the more out of focus the better.


Cleaning.

The actual process you have already practiced above. The only real difference doing the actual sensor is that you are working semi blind down a deep recess and it is smaller. So this is really just a few pointers to help solve problems.

Select the sensor clean on the camera menu and highlight OK but don't do it yet. Put drops on 2 swabs. Ok the camera to cleaning position and remove the lens. Lay the camera on its back in front of you and swipe it with the first swab.If the swab is too narrow then swipe one side from end to end, lift off and repeat in the same direction but along the other side. Repeat with the second swab but in the opposite direction. Refit the lens and turn the camera off to end cleaning mode.

Take another test shot and view it as before. Don't panic if it is worse than it started out. Assuming it is better than it was,it is now a judgement call how many times you remake your swabs with new pec pads and repeat the process. Again going back to my first clean it took 7 goes with the first being worse before it got better.

The first time I cleaned my sensor I also had a bit of stubborn dirt stuck to the sensor (sensor cover glass to be more accurate). In that situation it OK to scrub the offending point with a swab to free it. Then use a new swab for a full swipe afterwards.

If you can see eclipse evaporating behind the swab as it passes over the sensor you have too much fluid on it. Just means doing it again with less as the micro droplets will leave drying marks. They look like dust on test pictures but are translucent. Just like dust they don't show at normal aperture settings usually.

I would expect to do it twice - which is why I start out with 4 swabs.

If you do have a stubborn spot say top left in the picture remember it will be bottom right on the sensor (as seen from behind the camera - bottom left once you turn it over to look at the sensor face).

********

If you read this far I'm amazed. If there are not a few mistakes above I'll be even more amazed. Feel free to post corrections, questions and downright disagreements :)

** 30.08.07 Just wanted to add a comment with regard to E2 - the sensor cleaning fluid. I've just bought some and done a clean on the 5D. E2 fluid dries much more slowly than eclipse. One drop is all that is required or you will be into drying problems and watermarks. I found it best to allow a longer standing time after applying the fluid to the swab or it is still too wet.
 
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RobertP

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#4
Now I need another :beer:
 
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#5
very good Robert, thanks for posting it!
 

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#6
I found the easiest way to achieve the same result...pop two doors down the road and get Robert to do it in person!!!!

Which, very kindly, he has just done for me.

I've seen it live and it works a treat - next time I'll try myself (y)

Thanks Robert I owe you that :beer:

John
 

dod

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#8
That's the best explanation I've seen Robert, thanks :)
 
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#9
Fantastic post!! Might have to get myself some glue spatulas. I have 1 sensor swipe, but didn't even think of using those. Thanks a lot :)
 

Marcel

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#10
is the sensor swipe reusable? If not, then take the wrapper bit off, and you have one glue spatula :D
Stick a pecpad round it, et voila!
 

Marcel

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#11
How did I miss this post when it was posted?

Fantastic post Robert, thanks for sharing it. I've read a number of how-to's with this, but seeing it written like this has instilled me with a more confidence to do it myself.

My 30D doesnt need cleaning yet, but when it does, I'll be sure to read this guide (y)
 
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#13
Nice one. Must admit that at 2 quid a time, using the "pre-loaded" swipe thingy is a bit galling when you need 3 or 4 goes at the crud.
 
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#14
Superb guide - just given the 30D its first clean ever (and believe me having been in incredibly regular use since last May, it damn well needed it!) and actually felt far more confident thanks to reading this that I could have dreamed. Didn't even feel I needed the practise with the filter first.

One thing I did find which made tensioning the pec-pads over the spatula easier - if you , having folded the diagonal across so you have the intial triangle shape, then do the right hand first fold in, followed by the left hand first fold in, then repeat first right, then left on the second fold to get the tight, neat shape, it makes keeping the tension, and getting a tidy finish, that much easier. worked for me anyhow!

Robert - I owe you a beer as and when we get to meet! (y)
 
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#15
I wholeheartedly agree with Witch's sentiments too Robert ... but I'll leave her to sort the beer m8 ... ;)

A really well put together and easy to follow guide that actually makes doing the deed simplicity itself ... :clap:

Just wish I had read it again before I gave mine a go ... :LOL:

Still I didn't do too bad ... not touched mine since I got it last December (2005) and actually attempted it on or about the anniversary of the purchase. It was seriously in need of it so I gave it a couple of passes to be sure ... :thinking:

Anyway ... LSS ... afterwards I checked and had just two tiny specks still showing ... one of which was right on the horizontal edge ... so not too bad for a first attempt and so very easy I should not really have put it off in hesitation for so long ... :D

So ... if in doubt peeps ... read Robert's excellent guide and get it done ... if I can anyone can ... :cautious:

:ty: once again Robert ... ;)




:p
 
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#17
Right, just bought all the bits and pieces. Found the glue spatula thingy from Ebay for £2.85 delivered. The Eclipse fluid and Pec-Pads I ordered from Devon Camera Centre for £16.93 delivered.

Maybe the admin can add this to their list of forum items for sale. :)
 
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RobertP

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#20
Robert - I owe you a beer as and when we get to meet! (y)
I might hold you to that :)

Quite fancy going to one of the speedway meetings you photograph so well ;)
 
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#21
How very helpful. I've not come across such useful advice on other forums. Now to pluck up the courage and give it a go. Cheers.
 
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#22
Wish i had seen this the other day:crying:

Just paid £36 for 12 sensor swabs and then another £7.99 when i found there was no fluid in the pack


Well i guess i have the swabs to reuse now with your method

Never done it before but feel a little better now reading your write up.

So thanks for that (y)
 

Jimmy_Lemon

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#23
Finally plucked up the courage to clean my sensor (well I kinda sprayed a load of wet air over it, so had to clean it!) excellent tutorial Robert :D I don't have a pre-cleaning shot, but this is my sensor now:


P.S I will chase (with a big stick) anyone from IRC who reveals my run-in with the marks on my ceiling! :(
 

Marcel

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#24
He took some shots of his ceiling and re-cleaned his sensor a couple of times, before realising that they were spots on the ceiling.

Gowan Lemon.......chase me chase me :D
 
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#27
Order Details
Pec-pads 10x10cm 100 sheets 1 £5.99 £5.99
Eclipse Cleaner 1 £7.99 £7.99
Next Day Delivery (Mon-Fri) £3.99
Total: £17.97
Item Number Item Title Quantity Price Subtotal
270104051409 10 GLUE SPREADERS / SPATULARS- Craft,Cards,Children NEW 2 1.49 GBP 2.98 GBP

Copperhill method here I come :)

Is there an IRC server used by these forums ?
 
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RobertP

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#28
Post 1 edited after hearing that 5D and some others have a coating on the surface that could (could not will) be damaged. A new formula eclipse fluid is safer for those cameras.

This link can be traced through the thread referenced in my edit above -

http://www.photosol.com/cameras_bymfg.html and is a list of camera models and reccomended fluid type.

All new to me today so as originally stated read up before diving in....
 

Marcel

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#29
We do have an IRC channel, yep :)

It's on Quakenet, and we're in #talkphotography

See you in there :)

(BTW Thats the exact same order I made at WHE, :D *still* need to clean my sensor though :p)
 
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#30
tried to find you all, but just got timed out :(
I followed a link made in another thread about IRC just timed me out whilst waiting to connect :(
 

Marcel

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#31
Hmm strange. Timed out while waiting to connect to the Quakenet server? Did you try a different Quakenet server? (There are loads to try). I Just choose "Random UK Quakenet server", and its never hung on me before.

There's always a few of us in there, so you shouldn't find the room empty at all, once you get in. You'll see this URL in the topic, so you know you're in the right room :)
 

Marcel

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#34
I've just been resetting my machine, trying to tweak my memory, get it a little bit faster (get my Windows Vista performance score a bit better).

I'm back in now, but I dont see you there?
 
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#36
[18:32] * Connecting to irc.quakenet.org (6667)
-
[18:33] * Unable to connect to server (Connection timed out)

shame, I got in fine earlier :(
 
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#37
I need to give my 400d a bit of a clean.
I'd rather try the suucking/blowing method rather than going for actually touching the sensor as there is only a few bits and this is my first time :)
I have heard of a 'rocket blower' how much are they and where would i get one? Is that the best blower, what about the ones that suck rather than blow?
 
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#38
When you want to get it off touching is the only option as some dust will stick to the sensor so will be unmoved by air pressure alone. But a quick blow every now and again is better than nothing, it will remove the lose dust and is something you can do anywhere. Just hold the body upside down when you do it so the dust falls out, otherwise you just move it around inside the camera. Never tried sucking so cannot comment on that, but I would be surprised if it would be as good as blowing as there would presumably be less force trying to pull it off than there would be pushing it off with a blower.

I have a large rocket blower and it was about £7, you should be able to get air blowers from any camera store, online or real. The brand should not make any different as it is a pretty basic thing. To be honest though I have not been brave enough to go beyond using my rocket blower yet. If your camera is still under warranty you could send it off for recalibrating and that way get a free clean in the process. Which is what I did though it did genuinely need recalibrating.

Michael.
 
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