Long-term Storage of Audio Equipment

KEW

KEW

Audioholic Warlord
Ratings
4,916 22 9
#1
@PhilCohen 's post on pre-buying equipment and preserving it reminded me of a concern I have. This thread will also be useful to him for storing his gear.

I have some old vintage/legacy type gear that I am not currently using, but am not willing to get rid of (largely for sentimental reasons plus I fancy I might set some of it back up ...with modern speakers).

I will list concerns that (I think) I know about and hope you will flesh it out with better detail.

So, for gear that is in long term storage:

Phono - manually rotate the platter on occassion...I'd say quarterly. This will spread and grease of lubricants in the gearing and prevent the motor from taking a "set" in the stored position. Any belt (which is likely to need replacement anyway) will stay more flexible. I inferred this from how we stored mechanical equipment at the nuclear plant (much equipment is installed years before they push the "on button" and it is important everything work when you do).

Optical disc players - Cycle the disc drawer and let the disc spin up quarterly (same philosophy as for phono)

Preamp - No maintenance concerns (?) Do they have smaller capacitors that need to be recharged?

Amp - The capacitors should not be allowed to completely empty, so unit should be plugged in and turned on periodically (no need for signal). However, I have no idea how often this should be done or how long!

Thanks!
 
2

2channel lover

Audioholic General
Ratings
579
#2
@PhilCohen 's post on pre-buying equipment and preserving it reminded me of a concern I have. This thread will also be useful to him for storing his gear.

I have some old vintage/legacy type gear that I am not currently using, but am not willing to get rid of (largely for sentimental reasons plus I fancy I might set some of it back up ...with modern speakers).

I will list concerns that (I think) I know about and hope you will flesh it out with better detail.

So, for gear that is in long term storage:

Phono - manually rotate the platter on occassion...I'd say quarterly. This will spread and grease of lubricants in the gearing and prevent the motor from taking a "set" in the stored position. Any belt (which is likely to need replacement anyway) will stay more flexible. I inferred this from how we stored mechanical equipment at the nuclear plant (much equipment is installed years before they push the "on button" and it is important everything work when you do).

Optical disc players - Cycle the disc drawer and let the disc spin up quarterly (same philosophy as for phono)

Preamp - No maintenance concerns (?) Do they have smaller capacitors that need to be recharged?

Amp - The capacitors should not be allowed to completely empty, so unit should be plugged in and turned on periodically (no need for signal). However, I have no idea how often this should be done or how long!

Thanks!
Interesting topic.

When we downsized...we rented a townhome for 18 months...took a yr to figure out our next move and 6 mos for the new home to be built...I rented an indoor (semi-temp controlled) storage unit and put all my audio equipment in there aside from the B&Ws...I heard the rubber seals around the drivers could dryrot so they had to be with me even though they weren't hooked up.

Roughly 2 yrs later I pulled everything out and put the system back together...everything (worked fine BUT the CD player. (well the transport - the Rotel had a DAC in a separate box)...the drawer started sticking and could only be opened and closed manually. Oddly it still spun like it always did.
 
highfigh

highfigh

Audioholic Overlord
Ratings
3,038 9 12
#3
@PhilCohen 's post on pre-buying equipment and preserving it reminded me of a concern I have. This thread will also be useful to him for storing his gear.

I have some old vintage/legacy type gear that I am not currently using, but am not willing to get rid of (largely for sentimental reasons plus I fancy I might set some of it back up ...with modern speakers).

I will list concerns that (I think) I know about and hope you will flesh it out with better detail.

So, for gear that is in long term storage:

Phono - manually rotate the platter on occassion...I'd say quarterly. This will spread and grease of lubricants in the gearing and prevent the motor from taking a "set" in the stored position. Any belt (which is likely to need replacement anyway) will stay more flexible. I inferred this from how we stored mechanical equipment at the nuclear plant (much equipment is installed years before they push the "on button" and it is important everything work when you do).

Optical disc players - Cycle the disc drawer and let the disc spin up quarterly (same philosophy as for phono)

Preamp - No maintenance concerns (?) Do they have smaller capacitors that need to be recharged?

Amp - The capacitors should not be allowed to completely empty, so unit should be plugged in and turned on periodically (no need for signal). However, I have no idea how often this should be done or how long!

Thanks!
If a turntable has a belt, it should be taken off of the capstan, to let it relax. For that matter, if the storage period will be longer than a couple of months, I would take it off of the platter and put it in a plastic bag. If it becomes gummy during storage, bu another and chalk it up to age.

Everything should be placed in a sealable plastic bag with a packet of dessicant. If it doesn't have its own seal, tape it closed.
 
highfigh

highfigh

Audioholic Overlord
Ratings
3,038 9 12
#4
Interesting topic.

When we downsized...we rented a townhome for 18 months...took a yr to figure out our next move and 6 mos for the new home to be built...I rented an indoor (semi-temp controlled) storage unit and put all my audio equipment in there aside from the B&Ws...I heard the rubber seals around the drivers could dryrot so they had to be with me even though they weren't hooked up.
Rubber speaker surrounds don't rot, especially if they're Neoprene or Butyl rubber- they last far longer than foam. I have a pair of speakers that I bought new in 1979 and they're fine. I have NEVER seen foam last that long.
 
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2

2channel lover

Audioholic General
Ratings
579
#5
Rubber speaker surrounds don't rot, especially if they're Neoprene- they last far longer than foam. I have a pair of speakers that I bought new in 1979 and they're fine. I have NEVER seen foam last that long.
Noted...my B&W dealer told me he wouldn't store them that long in non conditioned space so I wasn't going to take any chances.
 
highfigh

highfigh

Audioholic Overlord
Ratings
3,038 9 12
#6
Noted...my B&W dealer told me he wouldn't store them that long in non conditioned space so I wasn't going to take any chances.
I guess the definition of 'conditioned' needs to be known, too- sometimes, things dry out just because the humidity is too low.

FWIW, I have a pair of speakers hanging in my garage that have been there for over 20 years- butyl rubber surrounds, Peerless tweeters, oiled Walnut particle board cabinets (sealed). Never a problem. For that matter, my receiver has been out there for a long time and when we get those warm days in Winter, condensation is on EVERYTHING. I haven't had to clean the controls and switches on it and it was new in 1978.

As much as I like to take care of electronics, it's sometimes amazing that this stuff survives well even when it's abused be weather.
 
2

2channel lover

Audioholic General
Ratings
579
#7
I guess the definition of 'conditioned' needs to be known, too- sometimes, things dry out just because the humidity is too low.

FWIW, I have a pair of speakers hanging in my garage that have been there for over 20 years- butyl rubber surrounds, Peerless tweeters, oiled Walnut particle board cabinets (sealed). Never a problem. For that matter, my receiver has been out there for a long time and when we get those warm days in Winter, condensation is on EVERYTHING. I haven't had to clean the controls and switches on it and it was new in 1978.

As much as I like to take care of electronics, it's sometimes amazing that this stuff survives well even when it's abused be weather.
Not pushing back on your point...but in his mind conditioned space essentially means HVAC controlled. Considering the speakers were in great shape even at 18-19 yrs old, I didn't want to take any chances, so took his advice.
 
KEW

KEW

Audioholic Warlord
Ratings
4,916 22 9
#8
FWIW, I have a pair of speakers hanging in my garage that have been there for over 20 years- butyl rubber surrounds, Peerless tweeters, oiled Walnut particle board cabinets (sealed). Never a problem. For that matter, my receiver has been out there for a long time and when we get those warm days in Winter, condensation is on EVERYTHING. I haven't had to clean the controls and switches on it and it was new in 1978.

As much as I like to take care of electronics, it's sometimes amazing that this stuff survives well even when it's abused be weather.
That is pretty amazing.
Wisconsin, right?
What type of temperature range would you guess your garage sees?
How high does the humidity get there?
(I assume not the 95% we see in Ga)
What brand is the receiver? (not that it has much relevance 40 years later - not much expectation of same materials)
 
highfigh

highfigh

Audioholic Overlord
Ratings
3,038 9 12
#9
That is pretty amazing.
Wisconsin, right?
What type of temperature range would you guess your garage sees?
How high does the humidity get there?
(I assume not the 95% we see in Ga)
What brand is the receiver? (not that it has much relevance 40 years later - not much expectation of same materials)
We just had a couple of days with -20F, two weeks ago, then it warmed up to about 40F, which means it was also really damp in there. In Summer, we can reach over 100F and the humidity can be close to what you have, although it's usually higher at somewhat lower temperatures. Being 2 miles from Lake Michigan, a mile from the Milwaukee River and other wetlands, it can be pretty steamy here. The roof of my garage is insulated, but the walls aren't, so it's not as brutal as it had been but it can be hot.

I have been in Arizona during Summer more than any other time of year and I prefer 110F+ with low humidity to 70F and humid. I have been on three rafting trips in the Grand Canyon, where the Sun beats on the rock all day and radiates heat all night- I would estimate the daytime temps are in the 120 range, at times. Brutal, but we always had the option of going into the river, which is consistently around 48 degrees F.

The MKE Brewers had a player by the name of Marquise Grissom and during one of our heat waves, he told a sportscaster "This isn't just hot, it's Africa hot".

The speaker boxes came from a local company, owned by someone I went to high school with and who was a friend of my boss at the stereo store; the receiver is a Sony STR-5800 that had been left near the alley by my parents' next door neighbor because it was "lights on, nobody's home". I let the service tech at the stereo store check it out and he found a bad regulator, but never fixed the tuning indicator. It's on a shelf about 7' from the floor with a Denon 5 disc CD player that sometimes works, but it was iffy when I got it- I think it needs belts, but I usually connect my phone to the AUX and let it rip. With the speakers in the corners where the hip roof meets two walls, it sounds pretty good.

One thing I wouldn't do is set things on a concrete floor for any length of time- it attracts and releases moisture. I keep my electronics on shelves.
 
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highfigh

highfigh

Audioholic Overlord
Ratings
3,038 9 12
#10
Not pushing back on your point...but in his mind conditioned space essentially means HVAC controlled. Considering the speakers were in great shape even at 18-19 yrs old, I didn't want to take any chances, so took his advice.
I know it means HVAC controlled, but again, was it cool AND dry, was it refrigerated air (cooler, but damp),was it heated to 50F or 70F, with frequent cycling of the HVAC unit?

I have a little guitar amp that's about 80 years old and the speaker was assembled with hide glue, which becomes very brittle over time. I also have speakers for musical instruments that are over 50 years old and that pair I mentioned- none of the drivers are falling apart. This stuff is a lot more durable than people think but, having seen the effects of bad storage, I definitely wouldn't recommend leaving them in a damp place. I couldn't begin to estimate the number of times I have cleaned some kind of funk from speakers and other equipment.

I would be more concerned about humidity if the cones are paper- that's the reason for my recommendation of using a good plastic bag with desiccant (and that's how speakers are shipped).
 
KEW

KEW

Audioholic Warlord
Ratings
4,916 22 9
#11
We just had a couple of days with -20F, two weeks ago, then it warmed up to about 40F, which means it was also really damp in there. In Summer, we can reach over 100F and the humidity can be close to what you have, although it's usually higher at somewhat lower temperatures. Being 2 miles from Lake Michigan, a mile from the Milwaukee River and other wetlands, it can be pretty steamy here. The roof of my garage is insulated, but the walls aren't, so it's not as brutal as it had been but it can be hot.

I have been in Arizona during Summer more than any other time of year and I prefer 110F+ with low humidity to 70F and humid. I have been on three rafting trips in the Grand Canyon, where the Sun beats on the rock all day and radiates heat all night- I would estimate the daytime temps are in the 120 range, at times. Brutal, but we always had the option of going into the river, which is consistently around 48 degrees F.

The MKE Brewers had a player by the name of Marquise Grissom and during one of our heat waves, he told a sportscaster "This isn't just hot, it's Africa hot".

The speaker boxes came from a local company, owned by someone I went to high school with and who was a friend of my boss at the stereo store; the receiver is a Sony STR-5800 that had been left near the alley by my parents' next door neighbor because it was "lights on, nobody's home". I let the service tech at the stereo store check it out and he found a bad regulator, but never fixed the tuning indicator. It's on a shelf about 7' from the floor with a Denon 5 disc CD player that sometimes works, but it was iffy when I got it- I think it needs belts, but I usually connect my phone to the AUX and let it rip. With the speakers in the corners where the hip roof meets two walls, it sounds pretty good.

One thing I wouldn't do is set things on a concrete floor for any length of time- it attracts and releases moisture. I keep my electronics on shelves.
Wow! That surely does sound brutal!
Thanks, I wanted to "quantify" the conditions the electronics were subject to because some areas are more/less harsh than others!

On paper drivers most have a moisture resistant coating (also for stiffening the paper like the dope used on the old airplane models that used paper over ribbed frames); but once you have mildew/mold starting to grow on it you can be SOL depending on how long it has been in charge of the paper!
 
highfigh

highfigh

Audioholic Overlord
Ratings
3,038 9 12
#12
Wow! That surely does sound brutal!
Thanks, I wanted to "quantify" the conditions the electronics were subject to because some areas are more/less harsh than others!

On paper drivers most have a moisture resistant coating (also for stiffening the paper like the dope used on the old airplane models that used paper over ribbed frames); but once you have mildew/mold starting to grow on it you can be SOL depending on how long it has been in charge of the paper!
Some paper becomes ridiculously brittle and it's almost like an old newspaper. I have a pair of Jensen C12R speakers that were in rough shape when I got them in the '70s, so I reinforced the cracks a while back with blue paper Shop Towel scraps and PVA glue that was leftover from reconing some JBL woofers. I sprayed the front and back of the cones with low sheen Krylon afterward- they sound better and look great but they weren't rare/collectible, so it's not forbidden. Some living funk actually consumes the cellulose, as food..
 
O

Out-Of-Phase

Senior Audioholic
Ratings
330 1 19
#13
@PhilCohenAmp - The capacitors should not be allowed to completely empty, so unit should be plugged in and turned on periodically (no need for signal). However, I have no idea how often this should be done or how long!

Thanks!
This is an excellent question. I usually try to power on my electronic devices with electrolytic capacitors every once a month or so if they sit for long periods.

Another suggestion is using a Variac when powering on an amplifier that has been in storage for an extended period of time.

https://www.circuitspecialists.com/blog/using-a-variac-to-power-up-an-old-radio-or-amplifier/
 
2

2channel lover

Audioholic General
Ratings
579
#14
I know it means HVAC controlled, but again, was it cool AND dry, was it refrigerated air (cooler, but damp),was it heated to 50F or 70F, with frequent cycling of the HVAC unit?

I have a little guitar amp that's about 80 years old and the speaker was assembled with hide glue, which becomes very brittle over time. I also have speakers for musical instruments that are over 50 years old and that pair I mentioned- none of the drivers are falling apart. This stuff is a lot more durable than people think but, having seen the effects of bad storage, I definitely wouldn't recommend leaving them in a damp place. I couldn't begin to estimate the number of times I have cleaned some kind of funk from speakers and other equipment.

I would be more concerned about humidity if the cones are paper- that's the reason for my recommendation of using a good plastic bag with desiccant (and that's how speakers are shipped).
Good info here, but I didn't drill down into the details of conditioned space...without having much experience, I was just following his advice.
 

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