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The CyberPoet
04-26-2006, 04:21 PM
Talking with Tzorten about dielectric grease (and realizing that I need more -- I'm out!) led me to some additional research on the topic. Now, I had never paid much attention to dielectric grease except to insure that I took the time to slather it into all the connectors well...

Tzorten is going with a John Deer Heavy Duty Synthetic Multi-purpose Grease, which claims high dielectric properties, and is dirt cheap ($6 for a 14 ounce grease-gun style tube).

Here's what I found:
:arrow: Most purpose-specific dielectric grease formulations have a low-solidity silicone grease basis. The silicone obviously helps keep out the moisture (which is what we want).
:arrow: There are a couple companies out there that manufacture specialty versions of dielectric grease that contains zinc particles suspended in the formulation. This is particularly good for connectors that have aluminum pins or spades (or receivers), because the zinc particles will cut away surface oxidation on the aluminum when the pieces mate together (and the grease then protects the freshly exposed aluminum from oxygen exposure, keeping more oxidation from forming), resulting in a very good connection. Since zinc also acts as an anti-galling material (keeps stuff from electro-welding or rust-welding itself together), this should be the best possible solution. I think I'm going to track down some of this stuff.
:arrow: Some of these same firms also offer a copper-particle-suspension version, which according to their documentation is ideal for grounding paths involving copper-on-copper or copper-on-iron/steel interaction. I'm skeptical about where that would be suitable on the Kat except maybe the grounding wire from the battery to the frame (?). I think I'll stick to the zinc-laden one instead.

Anybody know where to find this zinc-dielectric grease in the USA? All the manufacturers seem to be based out of the UK for this -- you can even find it at your local Tessco there (think Target meets your local supermarket).

NoaLox at ideal industries.com (http://www.idealindustries.com/IDEAL-EZ/prodcat.nsf/Tables/Noalox?OpenDocument)
And
Burndy Penetrox A-13 (PDF document) (http://images.i2content.net/MRO_images/Attachments/2003.2/BURNDY/BURNDYC00004_M4_M3.pdf) (note: do not substitute Penetrox "A" for "A-13" -- only A-13 is compatible with plastic/rubber used in motorcycle electrical connectors).


Cheers,
=-= The CyberPoet

suzukisportrider2004
04-26-2006, 04:26 PM
try a supply store for a machine shop or something along those lines

The CyberPoet
04-26-2006, 04:43 PM
Found some Noalox on eBay and ordered it... simple. done.

Cheers,
=-= The CyberPoet

trinc
04-26-2006, 05:15 PM
a note about dielectric grease. if you do not COMPLETELY fill the void with grease you are better off not using any. the ability to keep water out will also help keep water in if not completely filled. a dry connector will evaporate the water.

you should also refill every time you disconnect the union.

i would HIGHLY suggest the use in any salty environment.


tim

The CyberPoet
04-26-2006, 05:23 PM
if you do not COMPLETELY fill the void with grease you are better off not using any. the ability to keep water out will also help keep water in if not completely filled. a dry connector will evaporate the water.

I think that statement may depend highly on where you are -- with the humidity rates in Florida reaching and exceeding 100% in the summer, water doesn't evaporate much of the day. Thus, even a light coating of grease on the spades beats no coating on the spades in terms of shielding the connector from the humidity (and subsequent condensation when the temp drops by even 1 degree)... but in general, yes, I agree, you want to slather the connector as full as physically possible.

OF SPECIAL NOTE TO THOSE NOT IN THE KNOW:
Dielectric grease will not correct a faulty connection. All it does is help prevent future problems by keeping water and air out of the connection. Thus, if you have connectors that are already corroded or otherwise suspect, you need to clean them properly before using dielectric grease.

Cheers,
=-= The CyberPoet

FloridaKat
04-26-2006, 05:53 PM
Some of these same firms also offer a copper-particle-suspension version, which according to their documentation is ideal for grounding paths involving copper-on-copper or copper-on-iron/steel interaction.

2 dissimilar metals interacting is typically not desirable due to degradation from the different material/atomic structures. I thought this introduced galvanic action?

The CyberPoet
04-26-2006, 06:01 PM
Some of these same firms also offer a copper-particle-suspension version, which according to their documentation is ideal for grounding paths involving copper-on-copper or copper-on-iron/steel interaction.

2 dissimilar metals interacting is typically not desirable due to degradation from the different material/atomic structures. I thought this introduced galvanic action?

In an ideal world, all electrical connectors, wiring and carriers of electricity would be gold (in a pure vacuum environment to boot). But if you are going to have dissimilar metals contact (copper grounding strap from the battery to the steel of the frame, for example), introducing a sacrificial anode in the form of a paste-suspended compound that can be washed away and replaced makes some sense, especially if the compound is anti-galling by it's nature (copper, zinc both qualify on that aspect, being soft metals that can easily be sheared by human strength in the types of thinness we're talking about, even if dielectrically welded).

Cheers,
=-= The CyberPoet

FloridaKat
04-26-2006, 09:26 PM
Some of these same firms also offer a copper-particle-suspension version, which according to their documentation is ideal for grounding paths involving copper-on-copper or copper-on-iron/steel interaction.

2 dissimilar metals interacting is typically not desirable due to degradation from the different material/atomic structures. I thought this introduced galvanic action?

In an ideal world, all electrical connectors, wiring and carriers of electricity would be gold (in a pure vacuum environment to boot). But if you are going to have dissimilar metals contact (copper grounding strap from the battery to the steel of the frame, for example), introducing a sacrificial anode in the form of a paste-suspended compound that can be washed away and replaced makes some sense, especially if the compound is anti-galling by it's nature (copper, zinc both qualify on that aspect, being soft metals that can easily be sheared by human strength in the types of thinness we're talking about, even if dielectrically welded).

Cheers,
=-= The CyberPoet

Interesting. So then the suspended dissimilar metal(s) in the dielectric compound are to be removed, periodically, to prevent galvanic action from the sacrificial anode that may propogate degradation? Sounds a little counterintuitive to me.

Why gold? I can think that the use of a nano-scale carbon fiber tubes (say 20nm with an aspect ratio of 100) mated to a silica aerogel substrate would probably be a better solution than gold in terms of conductivity in connectors.

The CyberPoet
04-26-2006, 10:32 PM
Interesting. So then the suspended dissimilar metal(s) in the dielectric compound are to be removed, periodically, to prevent galvanic action from the sacrificial anode that may propogate degradation? Sounds a little counterintuitive to me.

You would, in critical applications (E.G. - a piece of electronic telephoto equipment used to track rocket launches) flush away the grease with the metal particles embedded using a spray contact cleaner or other detergent spray every so many hours of use or whatever service interval, and then reapply fresh grease with fresh suspension metals. Additionally, in some critical systems, there may be system tests that looks specifically for an increase in resistance or a decrease in expected voltage values and flags the subsystem for maintenance (certain power grid monitoring equipment comes to mind).

Similarly, even with non-particle laden dielectric grease, it's wise to flush it out every five to ten years and replace it (even on a car or motorcycle) so that any dust & debris that has become trapped in the grease gets flushed out and doesn't become a cause of moisture retention (or other subsequent problems).

The question I can't answer (but maybe someone else can) is whether the connectors used in the pin connections on the Kat are tin, aluminum, silvered aluminum, steel, etc?

Why gold? I can think that the use of a nano-scale carbon fiber tubes (say 20nm with an aspect ratio of 100) mated to a silica aerogel substrate would probably be a better solution than gold in terms of conductivity in connectors.

:lmao

I have a problem getting the tubes to align in the right direction on demand at time of creation and embedding... :dunno:

Cheers,
=-= The CyberPoet

trinc
04-27-2006, 09:06 AM
carbon nanotubes may be the future but for now tin,silver,gold work just fine. the use of sealed connectors will extend there lifespan.

the corrosive properties are only one problem. the others are vibration & assembly failures.


tim

tzortn
04-27-2006, 10:27 AM
Back to reality. So when packing an electrical connection how do you recommend doing it? Do you fill the female end until grease oozes through both sides then insert the male end? Do you clean the contacts then connect the plugs then coat the entire assembly. Do you fill both ends then connect everything?

The CyberPoet
04-27-2006, 10:48 AM
On an used bike, I spray electrical contact cleaner down the plug opening, let it evaporate, then pack both sides as full as possible. Reassemble, and if I've done it right, some excess will come out.

Cheers,
=-= The CyberPoet

trinc
04-27-2006, 12:27 PM
On an used bike, I spray electrical contact cleaner down the plug opening, let it evaporate, then pack both sides as full as possible. Reassemble, and if I've done it right, some excess will come out.

Cheers,
=-= The CyberPoet

contact cleaner will clean the oxidation but NOT corrosion. inspect before appling grease.

tim

The CyberPoet
04-27-2006, 09:47 PM
contact cleaner will clean the oxidation but NOT corrosion. inspect before appling grease.

+1

I've just never bought a bike that had corrosion in the connectors (luckily perhaps).

Cheers,
=-= The CyberPoet