1st Time cleaning with Sensor Swabs® or ULTRA®
Our most recent YouTube video is currently here. Please watch – it describes the text below.
Cleaning your sensor for the first time can be a bit un-nerving, especially with all of the talk about how delicate they are. But the truth is, the sensors are not as fragile as you might think. What you are actually cleaning is a thin sheet of glass mounted on top of the glass sensor. Using our Swabs and fluids is not only very easy, but our guarantee against sensor damage, manufacturer recommendations and our long standing reputation, should give you the confidence to relax and try this out. reputation (We were the first to invent sensor cleaning products back in 1998 – at “the Dawn of Digital”® in co-operation with Eastman Kodak.)
Here’s the step by step process … please do not attempt the cleaning until you have read this all the way through – it will make your first attempt much more successful.
1) be sure your camera battery is fully charged – or better yet – have the camera plugged in and charging.
2) gently blow or brush any loose dust from the sensor. You can use our any soft brush, blower or similar product. Avoid canned air as it can expel the propellant and can make the cleaning extremely difficult!
3) to get the sensor clean, the swab needs to make firm contact with the glass cover sheet. Think of a car squeegee cleaning your windshield. If you let only the weight of the squeegee (with no added pressure) go across the windshield, you will leave streaks and it will merely glide over the “bugs” (dust). The same holds true for sensor cleaning – if you do not use enough pressure, you will leave streaks and dust spots. While this is not going to ruin your sensor, it just won’t leave it very clean.
4) Once you are ready to clean (not yet – read ALL the way through !) you will want to insert the swab onto the sensor at one end or the other (depending on whether you are left- or right-handed).
IMPORTANT NOTE : When using the new ULTRA’s you will need to use slightly more pressure and almost double the liquid used with the original Sensor Swabs (or at least 6-8 drops) to compensate for the thicker and more absorbent new material. Failure to do this will result in streaking at the edges (not enough pressure) or horizontal streaks across the sensor (not enough fluid). I recommend using your thumb and middle finger to firmly grasp the swab handle, and then extend your index finger to rest on the handle closer to the swab. The index finger then guides the swab and controls your pressure.
Drag the swab across the surface smoothly in a single motion until you reach the other side. Release your index finger pressure and slowly flip the handle with a snap of the other fingers and replace your index finger. You now have the clean side of the swab to run back across the sensor to where you started. Remove the swab and discard it.
Everyone’s sensor cleaning technique is different. You may need to experiment a little to find the perfect combination of pressure and fluid that works best for your sensor. It is not uncommon for a very dirty sensor to require several swabs.
That’s all there is to it. This technique should work for you but a few things to keep in mind : If your sensor is very dirty, or you are a bit timid with the pressure or not smooth and steady in your motion, you may need to use additional swabs.
As always, if you have any questions, we will endeavor to answer them or if possible, talk you through the cleaning. Just email or call us.
What is difference between SENSOR SWAB® and SENSOR SWAB ULTRA®?
There are several major improvements to the new design. The most noticeable is the material utilizes a honeycomb pattern, which like in nature, to provide more surface area allowing the swab to collect more debris and residue. It is double wrapped, making this swab more absorbent and softer than ever before.
Sensor Swab ULTRA will not shred or lose fibers when coming in contact with the edges of the sensor housing.
To maximize cleaning in corners, rather than design separate a “corner swab” , new ULTRA Swabs have a slight “horn” at each end – a tiny raised bit of material – to reach into the space between the sensor and surrounding baffle. While these horns may appear stiff, they will not scratch the sensor’s surface.
Sensor Swab ULTRA has the swab material fused to the wand making the swab more mechanically stable.
The handle has an injection molded grove down the middle of the shaft making your grip more secure.
Why are there differences in recommended Sensor Swab® for the same sensor size or similar APS sensors?
An APC sensor size can be 23.5 x 15.7 mm, 23.6 x15.6, 23.5 x 14.9mm or ???) But the baffle surrounding the sensor (used to mount to camera body) varies in its dimensions. So while you may have one body with enough room surrounding the sensor to accommodate at 24mm swab, a baffle with less surrounding space may only accommodate a 20mm swab, etc.
We recommend using the swab size closest to the actual sensor size to get the maximum sensor coverage possible. In many cases, depending on camera maker, the best choice may be using a swab which is just a fraction of a millimeter too large to fit perfectly straight along a sensor edge. In this case, you’ll have a choice of using a smaller swab ( and not covering the entire sensor) or using the larger one (and having to “tilt” the swab such that it does not fit perfectly up/ down or left / right. Usually, the tiny area left uncleaned is outside the image forming area. You will leave a small triangle untouched, so on the way back, you have the other side of the swab angled and both ends get covered, leaving a very tiny triangle with its point in the center of the very edge on either side.)
What is the difference between E2® and Eclipse® and Aeroclipse® ?
E2, our IPA formulation originally designed for Sony Alpha DSLR’s evaporated too slowly and often left streaks. Several years later, we decided to discontinue it. While E2 has mostly disappeared from the shelves, on the internet, it will never go away.
Although E2 is perfectly safe and effective for use on your camera, we believe that the performance of Eclipse and Aeroclipse to be superior. If you have E2 and were satisfied with its performance, you can continue to use it, and we can direct you to a source should you prefer to continue.
Aeroclipse is a reformulation of Eclipse to make it non-flammable and therefore safe for travel.
Eclipse, Aeroclipse or E2 – our guarantee will still apply. They are all safe for all sensors.
SONY® cameras – Which fluid to use ?
In March of 2016, we received two reports that our Eclipse fluid had caused damage to the coating of the Sony Alpha – α R ii . Because these reports came in within a few days of each other, we were understandably very concerned – despite the fact that at no time during our testing process was any such damage evident.
We realized that we would need to revisit our findings – which would include physical testing , contacting our test sites, repair centers and Sony, and examining the sources of the initial claims. And this would take considerable time. Rather than say nothing publicly while we undertook this lengthy process, we chose what we felt was the only reasonable and decent option. We immediately notified all of our dealers via an urgent bulletin, and all of our customers via our website urging them to immediately switch to our AEROCLIPSE cleaner when cleaning all Sony cameras.
It was no surprise that the news was of great concern to our customers. Some felt we should have waited until our tests were completed before raising any red flags. In hindsight, we believe there was no other choice but to act as we did and protect what could have been a scenario with grave consequences.
Now that we have sufficient data in hand – including more tests, reports from Sony and other independent repair centers – we can safely conclude that Eclipse is 100% safe on these cameras. The initial reports of damage caused by Eclipse cannot be explained, except that we have heard nothing further from these individuals in pursuing our No Damage Guarantee (NDG), nor were we ever sent any evidence of the claimed damage.
As such, we are changing our recommended cleaner back to Eclipse, or AEROCLIPSE, as either one is safe and will be covered under our NDG. While we apologize for the confusion created ,we are delighted at this final outcome, and that no cameras were damaged. Given the circumstances, we would make the same decision again without hesitation or regret. We do caution that the floating sensor mechanism, when present, is fragile, and sufficient care must be exercised to avoid damage.
To repeat, our current recommendation is that either Eclipse or Aeroclipse may be used safely on all sensors and we will continue to provide updates as circumstances warrant.
SHELF LIFE; What is the expected shelf life of our products?
E-wipe has an indefinite shelf life when kept in original package. upon opening, towelette should be moist. If not, discard.
PEC-12® ; Eclipse; AEROclipse; E2 : if the fluid inside is clear, product is safe to use. If milky white – even slightly – do not use. (If you would like a source for E-2, we know of a supplier who still has some in inventory.)
Sensor Swab Plus : discard
PEC*PAD & ULTRA SWAB : indefinite when kept in original , sealed packaging .
What is the difference between your products in red & blue and red & black packaging?
With the introduction of our new Sensor Swab ULTRA® , we re-designed all of our packaging. The new colors indicate the new ULTRA swabs are inside. All of the other products are unchanged, other than the new packaging colors and design.
Thanks for placing your trust in PSI and our products. We work very hard to earn it and keep it !