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Ultra Encoder Issue

Nolan

New here
This topic is probably already around here already, but....
This new (to me) Ultra definitely had an encoder issue. It jumps all over the place with the slightest touch, and is not accurate at all. I mostly use Axe edit, so not the biggest deal. But I'm kind of OC, I would like to replace it. I have sourced out the part, "it's actually pretty cheap at like 20 bucks or something".
My soldering/de soldering are decent.
Has anyone had any luck with this part swap????
 

oscarecroe

Regular
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nccarg

Inspired
Here's another possible solution that I've never run across before. I mostly use my Axe Fx II but I still have my Ultra from 2010 which I use every once in a while. The encoder finally became unusable about 2 weeks ago. Spinning the knob a few times did help at first but eventually the program numbers increased no matter which way I turned the knob. Since I was looking at replacing the encoder anyway I decided I would try an experiment. I open the unit and disassembled it as if I was going to replace the part except I didn't desolder it. Instead, I carefully sprayed the encoder with DeoxIT. I wasn't sure if it would help because there weren't any obvious places to squirt the stuff. When I put everything back together the encoder worked as well as it has since it was new. It'll be interesting to see how long this will last.
 

addedc

Veteran
On a different thread, someone suggested taking the encoder off and spraying Deoxit on it. It sounded like it was possible to do this without disassembling the unit. Does anyone know how to do that? There's no set screw or anything that I see on the encoder. There does seem to be a ring or cap on the face of it that might pop off.
 

nccarg

Inspired
On a different thread, someone suggested taking the encoder off and spraying Deoxit on it. It sounded like it was possible to do this without disassembling the unit. Does anyone know how to do that? There's no set screw or anything that I see on the encoder. There does seem to be a ring or cap on the face of it that might pop off.
You can just pull the encoder knob off without opening the unit. You won't have full access to the entire encoder but that may not be needed. I took mine apart to get better access to it, and also to see what I would be facing if I wanted to replace it. So far it's still working as well as it did after the deoxit treatment.
 

addedc

Veteran
You can just pull the encoder knob off without opening the unit. You won't have full access to the entire encoder but that may not be needed. I took mine apart to get better access to it, and also to see what I would be facing if I wanted to replace it. So far it's still working as well as it did after the deoxit treatment.
THanks much Nccarg. No tool required then? Just a steady pull to remove it?
 

nccarg

Inspired
THanks much Nccarg. No tool required then? Just a steady pull to remove it?
Yes, but mine was on there pretty good so I was cautious. I think I did a little bit of gentle prying with a screwdriver until I could get my fingers behind it.
 

oscarecroe

Regular
There are many posts (not just in this thread) suggesting "prying" the encoder knob off.
After a recurrence of the "slipping" values, I discovered the following:

There is indeed a thin cap on the front of that encoder knob that you pop off. ( I used jewelers screw driver)
Behind that cap there is a nut and washer that seats on the back of the inside of the hollow knob.
You have to stop the post from spinning while undoing that nut. (I just held it with needle nosed pliers)
You need to take care when putting it back on that it actually threads properly. (use same procedure as when taking it off)
I wonder, after seeing this, how anyone "pried" it off without wrecking it!

I had intended to spray de-oxit on it but when I saw the nut,decided to tighten the nut and test instead. Works like new!
Whether this has been the issue all along is up for grabs, but I'd suggest it's one likely possibility.
That spare encoder I bought years ago still sits on the shelf!

Hope this helps others here avoid tricky/costly repairs!
 

nccarg

Inspired
Oscarecroe, that's good to know for those that would prefer using that method.

I saw the same thing you did on the front of the knob but I wasn't absolutely sure that it was designed to come off. Since I don't have any screwdrivers that small I would've had to take a knife to it to find out. The gentle prying that I was referring to is not destructive. All I was doing is loosening it up just a bit so that it would slide the rest of way off. It's the way knobs that don't have locking screws are removed from a lot of electronic components and even some guitar volume/tone controls.

In either case, it's great to know that this issue is fairly easy to fix.
 

oscarecroe

Regular
Just to re-emphasize:

Knobs that don't have locking screws usually have a split post, that holds by tension/ friction.
Not the case here! ... and the post is made of plastic and is threaded.

Pry off the cap, not the the knob!!

Respect, Otis
 

zenaxe

Fractal Fanatic
There are many posts (not just in this thread) suggesting "prying" the encoder knob off.
After a recurrence of the "slipping" values, I discovered the following:

There is indeed a thin cap on the front of that encoder knob that you pop off. ( I used jewelers screw driver)
Behind that cap there is a nut and washer that seats on the back of the inside of the hollow knob.
You have to stop the post from spinning while undoing that nut. (I just held it with needle nosed pliers)
You need to take care when putting it back on that it actually threads properly. (use same procedure as when taking it off)
I wonder, after seeing this, how anyone "pried" it off without wrecking it!

I had intended to spray de-oxit on it but when I saw the nut,decided to tighten the nut and test instead. Works like new!
Whether this has been the issue all along is up for grabs, but I'd suggest it's one likely possibility.
That spare encoder I bought years ago still sits on the shelf!

Hope this helps others here avoid tricky/costly repairs!
Youtube video, plz.
 

oscarecroe

Regular
Yo y'all,

Sorry,have no video gear and no cell phone. Can't help you wit that. ( no cell phone? holy shit!!)

But really, just look at the knob and you'll see the gap where the cap is . Slip something thin in that gap and pop it off.
Tighten the nut and if that corrects the slipping, doo-dah!
If not, you are most of the way to exposing the encoder for deoxit spraying.
Probably best to spray with face plate facing up, and a little at a time.

If someone else wants to post a video of removing the knob cap,nut tightening , etc., please do!

Respect, Otis
 

nccarg

Inspired
Just to re-emphasize:

Knobs that don't have locking screws usually have a split post, that holds by tension/ friction.
Not the case here! ... and the post is made of plastic and is threaded.

Pry off the cap, not the the knob!!

Respect, Otis
The cap on my Ultra does not have a gap or any indication of where a screwdriver would be used to remove the cap, so I guess there was a slight design change from the manufacturer. The cap does seem to come off easily if you have something small enough to lift it with. I used a sharp pin knife blade and it was very easy. So if I were doing this again I would try your suggestion to see if a loose nut is the problem. It wasn't in my case, but it's good to know that it might be a potential solution.

If you hadn't discovered a loose nut, were you going to remove the knob and just spray deoxit around the post without opening the unit?
 

oscarecroe

Regular
Yeah,

My intent was to spray first with Deoxit Fader Cleaner ( less gunk left behind) and if that didn't work Regular Deoxit.
I would apply this around the post and let it slowly work it's way into the decoder. ( hence have that knob upright)
I would remove the entire knob for this process.

The trouble with spray is it can tend to capture dust particles after it's aged, requiring more solvent in another spraying.
You can only do this so many times before it gunks up. At least that's what I understand, and how I've used it for years.

I will also say that the positive result of tightening up on that nut, may be a temporary fix resulting from the extra tork within the encoder mechanism itself. For now it's working fine. If that changes, I have the part on hand, and will post here again if it comes to that.
 

Balrog

New here
I know, old thread but I'm going to add to it anyway ;). Here is some more detail (too much maybe) regarding the encoder knob design and its removal/installation. On my Ultra, circa 2011, the knob is a five piece assembly (YOURS MAY BE DIFFERENT): The black knob, the cap on the knob, two brass inserts, and a silver nut. The two brass inserts (one of which is threaded for the silver nut) are internally tapered and fit together such that when the nut is tightened, the internal diameter is reduced causing a clamping force on the encoder shaft. This clamping force is what holds the knob on. The encoder shaft is NOT threaded, it is smooth with a slot on the end. This slot is visible when the cap is first removed, as is the nut and part of the threaded brass insert.

The knob cap was removed with my thumb nail, there is a slightly raised edge, no notch. To remove the knob itself (cap removed), hold the knob with two fingers (you choose) and loosen the nut with a 10mm wrench or socket, just enough for the knob to slip off easily. At this point you can carry out whatever service you intend to do to the unit. When it's time to re-install the knob, and before putting on, snug the silver nut just enough that the brass inserts stop spinning but are still loose enough that the knob slides onto the encoder shaft with minimal effort. At this point you can hold the knob with two fingers and snug the nut with your 10mm wrench. Snug, no need to go muscles nuclear on it. Re-install the cap.

The whole point to this is the fact that, do to its design, this knob could be pried off or pulled off without damage to the encoder depending on how tight the nut was installed initially. I would not recommend doing this. Besides, this is not some cheap little knob, if you do it as stated above you'll be able to see all the neat little design details inside the knob. Fractal owners love the little details, Right?:). Now I'm off to buy some Deoxit.
 
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