I suggest powering down the system immediately and then follow up by googling what you have done, as well as how to remedy/clean it up.
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Mr C: NO- If applied AS DIRECTED(VERY SPARINGLY), these products are COMPLETELY SAFE on tubes and sockets(OR- anywhere else). The problems stem from those that are too inept, or with too little attention to detail, to apply the substance without causing shorts between tube pins or socket connections(it's good for a person to know their own limitations). I've personally been using this sort of product, even on connectors smaller and closer together than miniature tube pins, for years, without incident. After application to tube pins, I make certain there is no excess between pins by wiping the base(between them) with Q-Tip. It's unnecessary(with ANY of these products) to ACTUALLY get connections WET, but some can't seem to help themselves. The rule=ATTENTION TO DETAIL!
How sparingly is sparingly? If this error is made by so many well meaning and I expect fairly cautious dedicated audiophiles then there may be a problem with the product itself. It is marketed to to audiophile audience with explicit instructions, yet there are a significant number of failures. I think it is appropriate to ask whether this product is safe or needs some modification. I assure you if any widely distributed medication had this many reports of problems we would not assume the patients were the problem.
Smaller and closer maybe, but smaller and closer with say 400-500 volts? What happens to the gunk driven into those little connectors?
As Mechans sain, how do you clean it out? Pipe cleaners just just spread it about. Solvent sprays the same. It is a conductive substance. Even if it doesn't cause a hard short, it can increase leakage across the sockets effecting sonics. It is specifically not intended for this use. My tube dealer shakes his head at the thought. He has been around for 25 years and has undoubtedly seen more than you could ever have in this regard.
If it were a one time thing, maybe. But it needs to be reapplied every 6mths or so and seems too risky or difficult. One would be better of polishing the pins for starters. Take a look at miniature 9 pin tube. They are usually blueish from the heat in manufacture. That is scale, and less conductive than a clean pin. One of the most common issues with tube gear is worn tube sockets. People attempt to cram a tube with bent pins into the sockets, subsequently enlarging them. That leads intermittent opens and noisy gear.
If you must, you would be better off with Stabilant 22, it is a better contact enhancer in the first place. Even that stuff may have issues high voltage though. It doesn't dry out and is used in the communications, IT and military industries.
4est- Regardless of how long your tube dealer has been around(I've been in the electronics business,in one capacity or another, since 1975- SORRY about your erroneous assumption), the product in question hasn't been around NEARLY that long. NO, NOT 4-500 Volts. The connectors I was referring to are IC pins/sockets and data type ribbon connections. ie: My TacT RCS 2.2aaa is FULL of them, and they've all been treated(5.10v, btw). These types of connections also occur in electronic musical instruments, and automotive/motorcyle components, the function of which I have also found to benefit from these products. REMOVAL? There are NUMEROUS sprays that can be used to completely remove these conductive, silver bearing pastes and which leave NO RESIDUE, AT ALL(ie: http://www.aerochemisb-cheongfy.com/2010/06/loctite-contact-parts-cleaner-25791.html)! I've been cleaning/flushing crap(including the conductive varieties) out of electronic gear(of ALL types) for almost four decades, without incident. AGAIN, the rule: ATTENTION TO DETAIL! If you are afraid- DON'T use the stuff(simple)! I was answering the thread originator's question, based on experience with my own, and numerous others', equipment. What's the ratio of those that have used these products and botched it, to those that have used them successfully? You tell me! But- I'm certain those that have failed, have made the MOST NOISE!
As I suggested, try Stabilant 22. It IS the stuff to use for ICs, you do not even need to remove them. It is the active ingredient in what used to be called "Tweak". I am sure you remember that stuff. FWIW, I realize that it can be done and is of benefit in all connections, just problematic...
My assumption was not erroneous, I have an EE background myself. I was talking about shear experience. He has been selling tubes to people for 25 years and has heard it all over that period of time is all I meant. It was not intended as a put down.
4est- I personally prefer the Caig products for cleaning accessable contact points of all kinds, after having tried a plethora over the years. As far as experience; I was building and experimenting with electronics as a hobby, from the age of 13(1961), degreed at Case Institute, and finally got into the vocation in 1975(TV/audio/pro reinforcment/instrument/speaker system- repair & modding). Opened my High End Audio shoppe in Florida, in 1978. Lots of experience with, and exposure to, tubes(etc). I've heard a few stories myself, but am a firm believer in verifying things, before writing them off(knowing how much abilities vary among our species). Happy listening!