Dielectric grease on connection ends


I was changing a coil on one of my bikes earlier, and as always, applied a light film of dielectric grease on the coil outputs, and on the spark plug boots. A thought occurred to me that this may be a valid application in audio connections as well. A small amount applied with a cotton swab to bananas/spades/rca's etc. may help, and I'm thinking about giving it a go. Was wondering if this has been tried by any other members, and thoughts on the pro/con aspects.
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I would avoid it!

The grease is used in high voltage connections to prevent arcing, especially in the case of exposure to water, gas and oil.
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@atmasphere 

Yes, that is absolutely correct, which is why it is a procedure I follow diligently, but I can only think there would be no negative aspects in our low voltage audio gear. I have noticed that periodic removal/replacing audio connections has a positive effect. Oxidization/micro arcing/ whatever, I don't know why, I'm not an EE. So, why not apply a light film. Aside from over application and leaving a mess, what could it harm. Just asking.

So why would you avoid it? I'm not being argumentative atmosphere, but would like to know what your thoughts are on any negatives.

It's a dielectric. That's the opposite of what I'd want on my audio connections.
^^ This
Why Dave? I would like to know of the negative aspects that you encountered
Cleeds is right. Why put a dielectric on contact points? If you're worried about your connectors, clean them. There's several products on the market designed to do just that.
also used  to prevent corrosion - very common on cars

a good product for audio connections is ProGold in a small bottle - mine says G100L on it and it is made by an industry leader, Caig

my bottle has lasted many years so may not have the current labelling on it; it is a conductive polymeric liquid
no affiliation

they also have corrosion removal products


oh yeh - cables should have gold plated terminals

other than that, buy the cheapest with quality copper in them
Hi eddy,

I deleted my earlier post and unintentionally left your’s hanging because I called Ralph (atmasphere) Al (almarg) and couldn’t fix it by the time I noticed. They both hold the highest level of respect with me so I hope neither took umbrage at my error.

At the recommendation of a friend, I tried the Silclear silver-impregnated grease (similar to the Walker Audio product) on the male metal terminations of my power cords, ICs, and speaker cables. Messiest darn stuff I ever fooled with.

After about six months, I started having intermittent shutdowns of my preamp’s power supply and found that jiggling the IEC of the power cord "fixed" it momentarily, but then it would happen again every week or so until finally no amount of jiggling would restore AC. I removed the power cord and found a nasty sticky grungy paste all over the male plug prongs of the power supply as well as the recesses in the female IEC. Removed it with DeOxit (no easy task, that crap spread everywhere) and not only did the problem immediately disappear, but the sound of my system improved audibly. I then cleaned all of the connections thoroughly with DeOxit and then a light coat of Deoxit Gold to prevent oxidation of the exposed copper/gold/etc. My system sounded so much better immediately upon powering it back up.

Trust me, just clean those connectors good with DeOxit and then a very light application of DeOxit Gold and leave the grease in the garage.

Best to you eddy,
Dave
Thanks for the nice words, Dave. There’s certainly no reason for me to take umbrage, as I would consider it to be a great compliment to be mistaken for a designer of highly regarded audio electronics such as Ralph. And perhaps the mixup was contributed to by the fact that he and I usually agree about things in threads here, and often provide thoughts here that are similar.

BTW, for many years I too have used DeoxIT Gold (formerly known as Caig ProGold which Randy referred to above), and have been very pleased with it.

Best regards,
-- Al


A basic definition of dielectric is insulator. That in itself tells you that the type of electrical connection where it is used would not be anything related to audio gear.


If you really want to try grease on your connections, you're probably better off using conductive grease instead. 
You mean like Silclear silver-impregnated grease?

Dave

Thanks guys. Some valid points. Dave, I sure don't want to go through the problems that you had.

I guess I know the answer to my question now, and I'm glad I brought it up before giving it a go. I'll look into the DeoxIT products on line and see what I can find

Thanks once again everybody, and have a great New Year

The best contact enhancer of all time was Quicksilver Gold. Unfortunately it’s no longer available as Brian Kyle of Xtreme AV passed a couple years ago. It’s not for amateurs or folks with shakey hands. 😁 I would be remiss if I didn't add that ALL CONTACTS in the house should be cleaned and enhanced including all non audio wall outlets and power cord plug prongs. 

I’m having some difficulty finding DeOxit here in Canada. I did manage to find DeOxit Gold at Amazon.CA but it was over $50 for 1/4 ounce bottle. Yikes!! Is this in line?

Any suggestions. I have tried ordering other products from the US before (liquids) and always have been denied, due to cross-border restrictions on shipping liquids

As a word of warning, the DeOxit in the red spray can is about as much as you want to use when dealing with connectors!

This is especially true of tube sockets!!

What can happen is the material can creep and contaminate connections, with the result of loss of performance (especially at higher frequencies). So its best just to clean the connections and then **leave nothing on them**! If a contact enhancer gets on insulators (like are found in audio connections) its usually not good.

So while a dielectric grease can inhibit connections, contact enhancers can short them out. I've seen people ruin equipment by indiscriminate use; be careful!!
Hey Eddy - Try Parts Express.  See link here for a range of Deoxit products including Gold in bottle with brush and spray can.  A bit cheaper than $200 per ounce, it would seem.

http://www.parts-express.com/Search.aspx?keyword=deoxit&sitesearch=true 





Thanks Dave and Ralph. I think, after what I've been hearing, is that I will do without, and occasional use a little contact cleaner, and go without any coating whatsoever.

Thanks for all the comments folks.

By the way, unlike a lot of oxides, copper oxide is just as conductive as copper. :)

Of course, I still use crimp bands and nice speaker connectors anyway.

Best,

Erik
" Any suggestions. I have tried ordering other products from the US before (liquids) and always have been denied, due to cross-border restrictions on shipping liquids"

Freeze it before shipment. 

Thanks for checking GH, but after Dave's hell story with the Silclear, and Ralphs comments on the creeping aspect, I am going to stay clear of any coatings.

@erik_squires - Copper Oxide(Cu2O) is a semiconductor(Energy Band Gap of 2.147): http://www.skb.se/publikation/2303589/TR-11-08.pdf and has a dielectric constant of 18.1, which makes it even worse for audio signal connections: http://www.azom.com/article.aspx?ArticleID=8423 and http://www.azom.com/article.aspx?ArticleID=8423 Perhaps you’re thinking about oxides of silver?
geoffkait

"I would be remiss if I didn't add that ALL CONTACTS in the house should be cleaned and enhanced including all non audio wall outlets and power cord plug prongs."

I have to call you on this one.  Have you ever cleaned any wall outlet or power cord prong?
I stand corrected! Must have! 
I must have been thinking of silver instead of copper, my bad! 


Erik 
Jitter

geoffkait
I would be remiss if I didn't add that ALL CONTACTS in the house should be cleaned and enhanced including all non audio wall outlets and power cord plug prongs."

I have to call you on this one. Have you ever cleaned any wall outlet or power cord prong?

what the heck you talkin about?

I was assuming (please don't give the overused definition of assume) that if a component has power that it would be full power, all or nothing if you will.  I never thought that cleaning the outlets and pc prongs could make a sonic difference.

Does somone use a cleaner on them, or just unplug and then re-plug in the power cord a couple of times and the abrasion cleans the prongs?
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@erik_squires - Easy to do!   Here's a correction for my post: That last link was SUPPOSED to be this one(brain-fart): (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Band_gap)   Happy listening(and New year)
 
jetter
I was assuming (please don't give the overused definition of assume) that if a component has power that it would be full power, all or nothing if you will. I never thought that cleaning the outlets and pc prongs could make a sonic difference.

dirty contacts produce micro-arcing. What is is form of noise. Since noise on any circuits in the house can migrate to the audio circuits, best to clean all contacts IMHO.

jetter
Does somone use a cleaner on them, or just unplug and then re-plug in the power cord a couple of times and the abrasion cleans the prongs?

clean prongs of all plugs including fridge, tv, computer, etc.
Clean connections thoroughly with deoxit then apply stabilant 22-good stuff!
Crazyeddy

Just go to Partsconnexions website in Ontario, Canada. They have a large range of DeOxit and a ton of other goodies.

Cheers DM
FWIW:

I tried the Sil-Clear in the past. Like others reported, it's messy at the very least.

I bought a very nice amplifier used on-line years ago. When I listened to it, it was unimpressive. I took the cover off and went in to clean connections. The upgraded fuses had a slight coating of this crap. I cleaned everything and the sound opened up. I called the previous owner to remark about it, he said, "I liked the sound that way".
....he had also screwed around with the bias as well...

slaw
FWIW:
I tried the Sil-Clear in the past. Like others reported, it’s messy at the very least.

I bought a very nice amplifier used on-line years ago. When I listened to it, it was unimpressive. I took the cover off and went in to clean connections. The upgraded fuses had a slight coating of this crap. I cleaned everything and the sound opened up. I called the previous owner to remark about it, he said, "I liked the sound that way".

My guess is the fuses were in the WRONG direction when you received the amplifier. After you cleaned the fuses you inadvertently reinserted them in the CORRECT direction. The previous owner was probably not into the whole fuse directionality thing.

"He had also screwed around with the bias as well."

bingo!
jetter,

I clean my receptacles contacts as well as all other connections at least once a year. Always have.

My story regarding automotive,, I have a Ford F-150 that I purchased new in 1990, I've always tried to perform as much mechanical work as possible by myself.

I had changed the alternator. I was driving down the road one day and noticed smoke coming from under the hood. After I found a local gas station and after the electrical fire was put out, I realized that I did not change the pigtail that comes with a dielectric grease installed to keep this sort of thing from happening.

This moved me up the ladder from a shade-tree-mechanic to a road-side-mechanic.
BTW, if you put that Silver coating goop on you tube pins, it will sound much better fora little while. Then it hardens, is hell to get off, bakes into the tube sockets and may require socket replacements. Bill

@darkmatters

Thanks, I'll look into that. As I am in Southern Ontario anyway, it should be easy.

"BTW, if you put that Silver coating goop on you tube pins, it will sound much better fora little while. Then it hardens, is hell to get off, bakes into the tube sockets and may require socket replacements. Bill"

Yep, that's the stuff.  Glad I didn't have tubes at the time I mad the mistake of using it.

Best to you bill,
Dave

@darkmatter

I just checked there web site, and they are just down the road from me (about 1 hour) Thanks for the tip. Looks like they have lots of interesting products. I'll give the site a more thorough look tomorrow.

Have a great New years

As a long-time audiophile and a general building contractor, I have fixed lots of electrical problems and installed lots of electrical circuits.
I thought I would share a few observations:

1. 110 volts seems to cut right through oxidation, except in extreme cases.

2. The alloys used in outlets and switches, which appear to be variations of brass, generally oxidize little. Light bulb sockets often use aluminum which does not work as well as brass. It is softer and it oxidizes.

3. Loose outlet connections do cause problems. One actor was having trouble with noise in his home studio equipment (I think it was hum, I don't remember). The outlets were old and worn out - so loose plugs. I replaced the outlets and the problem went away.

4. Arcing and/or overheating can be caused by loose power connections anywhere. Besides outlets, can be inside a wire nut that was not real tight on every wire in it, a bulb loose in a socket, etc.
I pull firmly on every wire after tightening a wire nut.

4. Protective coatings like from Caig / Deoxit:
You have to evaluate whether to use a protective coating against your local climate, as well as the voltages involved and metals used in the plugs, jacks, etc. In Los Angeles County, within about 5 miles of the West shore, there is frequent fog, low clouds or just humidity, that is salt-laced to some degree. So building materials take a beating, especially aluminum and other metals. So a long-lasting non-harmful, non-hardening coating may help a lot, especially on lower voltage connections. Further inland the oxidation is much slower, but does occur. Plugging and unplugging 5 - 10 times often fixes the oxidation.

5. WD-40 is a decent anti-oxidant coating and I use it often. It also is good in volume pots. It is thin enough that I have never had a conductivity problem. Get the connection working well before you use the WD-40, unless it is crud or grease, which WD-40 will dissolve, that is the problem. It evaporates away outdoors, works better long-term indoors.

WD-40 is also good in light sockets that have too-tight bulbs, especially if ceramic bases. (Apply lightly to socket with power off and bulb out.)

5. Conductive Anti-Oxidant Compound:
A couple customers had 12VAC hanging lights that kept chewing through bulbs or the bulbs were good but wouldn't power up. The bulbs were bi-pin halogen about like this: http://www.homedepot.com/p/Philips-20-Watt-Halogen-T3-12-Volt-G4-Capsule-Dimmable-Light-Bulb-2-Pack-...

I figured it out this far: it was inferior bulb pin material or bad socket material and oxidized readily. So I coated the pins with Deoxit and I think I squirted it into the socket as well, then plugged and unplugged the bulb several times.

When dry (not long) I coated the pins with Ox-Gard Anti-Oxidant Compound Part # OX-800 and worked that into the socket. Results: no more trouble.
It is grease plus zinc and it is designed for high power applications, per the manufacturer. It is widely available. It needs pressure.
http://www.gardnerbender.com/en/ox-800

This guy makes a good summary of it: http://www.olypen.com/craigh/oxgard.htm

So I would not try Ox-Gard on line-level stuff except as an experiment, and it might cross-conduct in multi-conductor jacks or plugs. It might work well on speaker connections - IF you are having a problem - but again that would be an experiment.
It would probably clean off of wires and connectors well, but you may have to try different cleaners, such as a strong detergent, a spray cleaner, ammonia, WD-40, alcohol, whatever works best.

Would I put it in all my outlets? Not unless I had a proven problem that was not worn-out outlets (which I'd replace). I have never needed to.

6. To clean oxidation on RCA jacks I send it out for sand blasting.
No, not really.
I made a tool by soldering a cheap metal RCA plug onto a bright (not chromed) 3/16" steel rod that fit into the end. The rod is about 6" long and bent in the middle at 90 degrees. If needed you can tighten the plug by squeezing the tabs - gently - and seeing how it plugs in. You want it to have just a little resistance so it will polish the jack. You just plug it in and carefully spin it around several times. You don't want it to remove plating, just polish the jack. Don't lubricate it. You can spray the jack after it's clean.

This is a summary of a LOT of experience, find which part applies to your situation.  Good luck.

Brandon
Update: Ox-gard and low voltage.

I have a situation with a furnace where I need to prevent oxidation in contacts that see only a few tenths of a volt.


I tested GB Ox-gard to see how much pressure it needed to conduct. Without pressure it will not conduct. I put a dab on the OUTSIDE of alligator clips that are shiny, and attached to leads. Then I touched the outsides together, to complete the circuit to the ohm setting on my testing meter. It did not take much pressure. I measured it on a postal scale.


The results are much better than I expected. It took only 2-3 ounces of pressure to conduct (reading 0.0 ohms), most of the time.


The pressure inside of 1/4" push-on terminals (spade plus female connectors that crimp onto the wires) is greater than 2-3 ounces at the contact points.


I tested my voltage out of the ohmeter with a another voltmeter, and got about 0.4 volts,  in the ballpark of the furnace. So this was an ideal test.


Next question: What is the high temperature limit? I found a 2015 Material Safety Data Sheet for Ox-Gard OX-100B that said the melting point is over 138 C / 280 F. I would prefer higher but time will tell if it is good enough. The location (the overheat switch) is not near the furnace flame but does get hot.


I am going to try it. I won't know if it is an improvement for months, as the furnace ran for a month before the pilot went out again. If it is worse I will find out much sooner.