FAQ – 1st Time cleaning with Sensor Swabs® or ULTRA®

Our most recent YouTube video is currently at : https://www.youtube.com/watch?list=PLUEj1r16F7fSGX4hCLc6i46cyYgujkEA9&v=XigPQteHaZc . 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 (we invented sensor cleaning products back in 1998), should give you the confidence to relax and try this out.

Here’s the step by step process … please do not attempt the cleaning until you have read this all the way through first – it will make your first attempt much more successful.

1) be sure your camera battery is fully charged – or better yet – have the battery charger plugged in and charging.

2) gently blow or brush any loose dust from the sensor. You can use our Brushoff, blower or another 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). You will then put enough pressure on the swab so the handle bends. Yes ! Bend the handle so that the outward curve faces toward the other end of the sensor. You will drag the swab across the surface smoothly in a single motion until you reach the other side. DO NOT YET REMOVE THE SWAB FROM THE SURFACE ! Instead, release and replace the pressure on the handle so the bend now faces the opposite way (toward the end you started at). Again, in a single smooth motion move the swab toward the end of the sensor (which is back where you started). Now you can remove the swab and discard it.

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).

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 in your swiping, you may need to use additional swabs. If so, use the same technique.

As always, if you have any questions, we will endeavor to answer your questions or if possible, talk you through the cleaning. Just email or call us. Thanx for placing your trust in PSI and our products. We work very hard to earn it and keep it !

Why are there differences in recommended Sensor Swab®  for the same sensor size or similar APS sensors?

An  APC sensor size is usually  23.5 x 15.7 mm or 23.6 x15.6). However the D7x sensor are all the same size except that the D500 is .1mm different across the shorter dimension. There are two reasons for a size difference recommendation. One, is that some cameras have sensors mounted with different spacing between the sensor housing and baffle. It may be just enough to prevent a 24mm swab from fitting, requiring the 20mm; or in switching from a 20mm to a 17mm swab. The second reason is person choice. A better swab fit may be achieved by swabbing up/down versus the conventional left/right. Apologies that this is not an exact or perfect answer but there seems to be some variation within the camera construction despite similar cameras utilizing the exact same sensor size.

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, 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.

What’s new and improved?

ssuThere 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 the material may appear a bit stiff, it will not scratch the sensor coating !

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.

Will my technique need to change when using these new ULTRA’s ?

Because of these huge improvements, you may find it necessary to adjust the technique that you use with other swabs.

If you find dust moving around but not being lifted onto the swab, you will need to apply more pressure (due to the increased softness and double layer of material). An easy way to do this is to extend one of your fingers about halfway between the body opening and the sensor. Adjust location to best fit your fingers, opening size and best results.

If you are getting some residue streaks, try using either more Eclipse® or Aeroclipse® Optic Fluid. We recommend at least 6 drops on Type 2 swabs and 8 to 10 on the Type 1 and 3.

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 more than one or two swabs.

Thank you for placing your trust and confidence in our products. Feel free to contact us anytime you have a question or encounter any difficulties. This is why we are here.

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 packaging .

pads2Why will using PEC*PAD void the guarantee for Sensor Cleaning?

Photographic Solutions is not aware of any manufacturer that uses PEC*PAD’s® for cleaning digital sensors. However, most manufacturers purchase our Sensor Swab® and Sensor Swab ULTRA® along with Eclipse to clean sensors at their factory or their Authorize Service Centers.

We do not recommend the use of PEC*PAD’s at any time, for any reason, to clean your digital sensor. We also do not warranty against sensor damage when anything other than Sensor Swab or Sensor Swab ULTRA is used.

The reason we do not warrant the use of the PEC*PAD on sensors is two-fold :

When we introduced these products in 1989, most camera manufacturers tested Eclipse and Sensor Swab materials on their cameras and gave approval on their use. None of our other products were tested in this way and therefore we cannot recommend anything but Sensor Swab, and now, Sensor Swab ULTRA. Sensor Swab and Senor Swab ULTRA have been designed to absorb Eclipse and Aeroclipse optic cleaning fluids.

Secondly, and more critically, we have no control over the purity of the PEC*PAD once the package is open, stored, handled and folded onto a handle of some type and then used. PEC*PAD’s left in an open package, left on an unclean surface, handled with unclean fingers, etc. will not provide a satisfactory cleaning and may well cause physical damage to the sensor. Should damage occur in this instance, our guarantee is void.