Milty Zerostat - Questions

I recently purchased a new Milty Zerostat gun, but I don't think it's working properly. I need help answering the following:
- Am I using the Zerostat correctly?
- Do I have a defective unit?
- Is this yet more audiophile BS?

I hold the gun about 5" above the spinning record, slowly pulling the trigger (no click). I then point the gun elsewhere when releasing the trigger, and repeat this about 2 or 3 times per side. I can hear a very, very faint burst of air emitted from the gun, but it doesn't sound like very much.

I have a box of recently inherited albums, all of which are in good condition, but have a substantial amount of static cling (and dust). After using the Zerostat in the method described above, I have failed to notice any audible difference. There is still a noticeable amount of pops/crackles when I play the records. Additionally, I have found that the dust particles (or paper particles from the inserts) have not loosened either. The record brush just spreads the crap around, so to speak. These records probably need a good cleaning, but shouldn't the Zerostat help... at least a bit?

Testing the Unit:
Included in the packaging is a small 'plastic bit' that you affix to the nozzle. When you pull the trigger, the light bulb inside the plastic bit should glow slightly, if the gun is in proper working order. When I attempt this test, the light bulb glows very, very faintly, if at all, and only for a short period of time (.5 seconds). The light bulb definitely glows when I pull the trigger quickly and hear a click. So, do I have a defective unit? The instructions on the box made it sound as if the test is hit or miss.

Should I be kicking myself for spending $100 on a plastic gun? Any/all help would be greatly appreciated (sorry for the book).
Check the archives, you will find more than enough information and opinions on how to use your Zerostat.

According to mine, you need to place the gun with the "light bulb" up against a grounded piece of metal. Like a piece of iron plumbing, when pulling the trigger the "bulb" should illuminate indicating the release of ions.

I have already searched the archives and found a wealth of conflicting information/advice. I'd like to settle the matter once and for all in this thread.

I also tried pressing the 'plastic bit' (AKA light bulb) against the faucet, but didn't notice any difference. The bulb only glows faintly, for a brief split second.

If you have a Milty Zerostat gun, is your experience the same?
I use the Zerostat the following way. LP NOT spinning. About 4-5" above LP, Slowly squeeze & release trigger on 2-3 different spots on LP. Then used anti-static brush. Seemed to work pretty well.
Can you please define "pretty well"? I've repeated those exact steps and noticed absolutely no difference.

Just this minute, I played a record with pops/crackles on the first song. I stopped the record, used the Zerostat, brushed with an anti-static brush, used the Zerostat again... still no difference. The record was purchased new and is in mint condition.

I'm starting to think that the Zerostat is a colossal waste of money...
Have you cleaned your LP's? I find that the vast majority of crakles/pops go away after a good cleaning. This goes for new LP's too.
After Zerostat treatment, I find that dust does not adhere to LP and anti-static brush will lift dust off easy.
The way i use mine is as follows...from about 3" away from LP or disc i slowly pull the trigger as i move the gun back from the object to about 12". At that point i have timed it so that i have completed pulling the trigger as i reach the 12 inches away "mark", all that time keeping the gun pointed at the LP or disc. I then slowly release the trigger releasing the negative ions on the the LP or disc. When i used it on dusty LPs it took a few full cycles of trigger pulls to get the brush to finally pick up the dust rather than just sweep it around like you are experiencing, cleaning the brush after each revolution of the LP. It is my understanding that one needs to pull and release the trigger at the object too effectively discharge static, otherwise you only are positively charging the object. I have had good experience with it, i don't think it should cost 100 bucks but i don't believe it is a waste of money.

I tried testing mine with the bulb on it against a faucet too, i didn't get great results either. I then tried it against the gas pipe that feeds my furnace and got great results.
A good test is:

1. Find an LP in the jacket sleeve that is full of static electricity (use one in a plastic sleeve).
You can tell it is charged because it won't want to come out of the sleeve.

2. Spread the jacket and blast the LP with the Zerostat.

3. If it is working properly, the sleeve should totally relax and the record should come out easily.
You're not using the gun correctly. To remove the static cling, you should release a positive charge ONLY. Remember, the record already has a negative charge (which is why it attracts dust). If you release the trigger over the record, you're simply neutralizing the positive charge (thus defeating the purpose). Here, read the description:

You see, this only reinforces my skepticism. If various people have used the gun incorrectly for years, claiming positive results, maybe it's because the results aren't there at all...
It sounds like you need to clean the records first. If they have a lot of dust and static on them, you must remove that first, then use the Zerosat.
found a wealth of conflicting information/advice
That's human nature my friend.

I'd like to settle the matter once and for all in this thread.
That ain't gonna happen!!!
It sounds like you need to clean the records first. If they have a lot of dust and static on them, you must remove that first, then use the Zerosat.

Hmm, so let me get this straight - I have to remove the static charge before I use the Milty Zerostat anti-static gun? Does this strike anyone else as completely self-defeating?

For the moment, let's put the old records aside. I have a bunch of new records that are in excellent shape, very clean, but with the odd pop/crackle due to static charge. Why does the Zerostat fail to remove these pops/crackles, even after repeated attempts? What am I missing here?
The pops/crackles are probably not from Static discharge, but are actually particles/mold release/crap, etc. in the grooves. These need to be cleaned with a good wet cleaning.
OK, then allow me to rephrase...

What is the Zerostat actually good for, if everything is attributable to the need for a wet clean?
Face it,you're not happy and feel that you wasted your money.I've wasted plenty of money on crap.It happens to everybody.Cut your losses and move on.
Nope, it's an honest question. I want to understand what all the fuss is about, because it really makes no sense to me. In the end, I will only lose $10 if I sell the Zerostat.
I have had 2 Zero Stats through the past 20 or so years and recently bought the Furotech DeStat and even though it works better, it is not a 100% cure. I think some new vinyl just is not clean(pressing not referring to home cleaning) and that is what you are hearing in the pops. If you can hear the static discharge as you pick up the record off the TT or out of the jacket, I have come to believe it is me contributing to the static build up. I haven't as of yet, but would like to try a ground strap at my TT that I touch to discharge my stored energy. Has any one tried that?
Once you clean on a RCM like a VPI 16.5 the final vaccum cycle is known to possibly generate some static charge. I use my Zero Stat after the RCM before playing or storing to reduce the charge and decrease future dust attraction. Static's main issue, in my opinion, is the attraction of dust. Most the sounds i.e. clicks and pops on my records after cleaning are from either damaged grooves or grooves with impurities in them that I have not or will not ever be able to remove and not static charge. If I can prevent the future attraction of dust particles I believe I can prevent some future issues. I have LPs I bought new in 1974 that do not have a single click or pop but, I also have ones pressed in 2008 that had surface noise day one on my table. A good Record Cleaning Machine will probably do what you expect the Zero Stat to accomplish or...maybe not.
Interesting comments. Is the Milty Zerostat the same as the original as sold by discwasher? I read the comment above about pointing the gun away upon release, and the musicdirect site ad which says to hold the gun about 2 inches from the disc. Didn't jive with what I remembered, so I pulled out my old original discwasher Zerostat, and the instructions state, "The Zerostat must be within 12 inches of the 'target area.' Pointed at this range at the target area, the large trigger of the Zerostat should be pulled very slowly. And then released very slowly." ...

then, "WHAT IT IS
Zerostat is a small pistol using a piezo electric module which emits literally millions of positive ions upon trigger squeeze - and then millions of negative ions upon trigger release. Thus both positive and negative static charges are neutralized - a distinct advantage over radioactive strip emitters [anybody see these for sale today?] which give off only positive ions."

I've always had good results using as described. I agree with Smholl and others - probably need a good cleaning. And then there is the question of the quality of new vinyl releases in general. Many of my old vinyl discs sound much better than recent (expensive) purchases - but that's another topic....
The DeStat makes more sense to me. It has a built in fan which ensures an equal dispersion of ions, in addition to blowing away the dust. The Zerostat, on the other hand, doesn't seem to loosen anything up.

I think I'll do the sensible thing and sell the Zerostat, replacing it with a humidifier with a built in air filter. It'll probably outperform the Zerostat and help with the allergies to boot.

That said, I still want to understand the buzz surrounding the Zerostat. Is everyone operating with different expectations? It seems that everyone is using the gun differently, too.
I don't feel I'm using the gun imporoperly by pointing it at the object when pulling and releasing the trigger. If the gun was designed to only release positive ions then why does it release negative ions when the trigger is relaxed? I agree with Tpreaves, if you don't feel it's worth the money get rid of it and move on. When I was dabbling with vinyl years ago I too bought new vinyl, wet cleaned it, used the zerostat and still had surface noise issues. I use it on CDs now as I have left vinyl alone for the time being, my discs sound better after using the zerostat.
I was simply pointing out that the method you described runs counter to the printed instructions for the Milty Zerostat. Perhaps it's different for the older model, I do not know.

As I've already said, I'm not here to complain about the purchase. I'm here to understand why this product is so popular. Believe me, I'm not losing any sleep over this. I'm just genuinely curious why so many people are adamant about its effectiveness, when it is unclear how it should be operated in the first place. Since I didn't notice any improvement, I would like to know how others measure the result. From what others have written, it appears that the Zerostat is most effective when used in conjunction with a RCM, but pretty impotent otherwise.
I am using the Zerostat by Dishwasher to rid my record of static. Period. To check for static hold your record tilted on the edge and drop a styrofoam packing peanut or bits of a crumpled styrofoam cup. If the bits cling, you have static which attracts dust while sitting on your platter. If your Zerostat is working properly, the styrofoam should just glide right off. No more static. That's all this unit does and nothing more. All the noise you complain about sounds like dirty records and should be cleaned as other people have suggested. Regretably, even brand new records are not guarateed to be noise free. This is why I don't bother going out of my way to buy them and prefer the original pressings (and clean them before I play them). Also, the Zerostat, it's claimed, helps CD's. I zap my CD's before I play them when I can. I've been too lazy to A-B the sounds of Zerostated CD versus un-Zerostated but I'm not losing too much sleep over it. In short, I use my Zerostat to rid static on cleaned records to repel dust that might fall on the surface while they are merrily spinning away. Good luck.
I am using the Zerostat by Dishwasher to rid my record of static. Period.... That's all this unit does and nothing more.
I agree. What it does is to eliminate static which in turn would attract dust while the record is exposed.

The instructions with my Milty, btw, say to hold it 12 inches above the record, not the smaller distances which have been mentioned.

Those instructions do not address the question of whether or not the gun should be pointed at the record as the trigger is released. However, I recall that the instructions for the Diskwasher Zerostat that I used to have recommended three successive squeezes and releases, with the gun pointed away from the record only during the last of the three releases.

That procedure seems to make sense, as it would reduce the likelihood of either a positive or negative charge being left on the record, compared to a single squeeze or a single squeeze/release.

I choose to repeat those three cycles at each of three different points around the record, from a little closer than the 12 inches that is recommended in the version of the instructions that I have.

-- Al

Jferreir, your assertion of how the gun should be used is very accurate in my book. However, what you describe with the trigger and the faint bulb light indicates a broken gun. Mine broke the same way last week after a year's light use and have ordered a new one. It has been well known to me that the zerostat's build quality isn't what it was - see also

"Because of quality problems in the manufacture of the Zerostat 3, SPI Supplies has suspended sales of this product until further notice."
I tried two Zerostats (one replacing the other) and neither one worked as described. There seemed to be some confusion as to how to operate the Zerostat (multiple threads here and at Vinyl Asylum) so I was able to get directions sent to me directly from a Zerostat representative. He said to hold the Zerostat over the LP, slowly and carefully squeeze the trigger to develop a sustained charge, raise the Zerostat away from the LP and then slowly release the trigger. I never could get a sustained charge. Both of the Zerostats I tried would start clicking as soon as you began pulling the trigger, no matter how slowly and carefully you tried. The best way to energize the tip was to just pull the trigger quickly and release the trigger quickly. But that's not how they're supposed to work so I consider both of them defective.

It wasn't worth the cost of sending them back so I gave one away (why sell something that doesn't work correctly?) and kept the other one around to use after RCM vacuuming records in the winter when static buildup is worse. I haven't done a 'scientific' test to see how well it really does work but it seems to reduce the static somewhat. Though it isn't much of a difference.

Based on my own experience and the comments from many dissatisfied users, my opinion is that the Zerostat is an overpriced product given their very poor quality control. It would be worth the money if it worked as described.

Forgot to mention that the instructions said you may have to use the Zerostat several times and at different locations for a heavily charged LP and that the final discharge should be away from the LP. Al (Almarg) mentions this.

Because the two units I tried did not work properly I don't know how effective a single charge and discharge would be in eliminating static.

The Zerostat doesn't take dirt off, that's for cleaning. It does help change the charge on the record so that when you use a brush right before playing it will remove dust. That works fine.

As said above, pops and cracks in general are not just static, that means the record is dirty, or if new has some bonding agent on it that needs to be removed from the grooves.

That said, there are better static removers but they are usually much more expensive.
In my experience, the Zerostat did not help to loosen dust prior to brushing. Rather, the dust just spread around the record, but remained firmly attached to it. Perhaps I have a defective unit, I do not know.

In case anyone is interested, I think I have found a much more suitable alternative. I just picked up a raincheck for a Sharp PlasmaCluster FPP40CX Ion Air Purifier. From the description, in addition to releasing positive and negative ions into the air, it also has a three part air filtration system, which includes a hepa filter. This has the added bonus of catching/trapping airborne dust/allergens/viruses, removing them from the room altogether. Best part? $150 on sale.

I purchased this unit specifically for my allergies, but I wouldn't be surprised if it has a positive affect on reducing dust/static charge. I guess we'll see, but it's something to think about anyway.
I've been using a Zerostat that I bought at Tower Records about 25 yrs ago to use in my darkroom. I have been using it on my CD's for about 2 yrs now and it works! Following the instructions found at it works for me. I just visited the Zerostat site and there is an announcement:

Quality Hold:
Because of quality problems in the manufacture of the Zerostat 3, SPI Supplies has suspended sales of this product until further notice. We are reluctant to do this, because we know that this product is important to many of our customers, but the number of product failures has reached an unacceptable level. At this time, there is no firm schedule for us to resume selling this product. Please watch this space for additional information as it becomes available.

So some of you who think your Zerostat is not functioning properly just might be right.