| br>Rex Coil 7
| br>(unsubbed - if you've anything you'd like to discuss, feel free to PM me, I'll be happy to hear from you).
In some situations reducing resistance is a very good thing. In other situations it's required. In any situation requiring attention to reducing the electrical resistance in terminations ("connections") there is actually something you can do to help with the end intention.
Most electrical connectors we use in our synths and effects are made of aluminum, some are made of copper. Aluminum actually does oxidize ("rust"), contrary to many people's beliefs. In fact, a one molecule thick layer of oxidation forms on the surface of freshly machined/sanded aluminum within milliseconds. Believe it or not, that hyper-thin layer of oxidation is very dielectric ("non conductive"). That layer will increase the resistance of the termination .... think of how many terminations there are in certain situations ... now think of Ohm's Law, in both parallel and series situations regarding a resistor. Long made short, it adds up ... a lot.
If you live in a region where there is high humidity/high dew point the likelihood of aluminum oxide becoming a problem in your synth/amp/mixer/everwhat rises, sometimes exponentially.
What to do?
There are products out there which are commonly known as "gas tight pastes". There are two types, one is dielectric, one is conductive.
The dielectric type are NON-CONDUCTIVE. This type of paste would be well used inside of multi connectors where the pins are very close to one another (perhaps dozens of pins in one connector). The dielectric paste will help to prevent oxides forming between the pins/sockets and creating unintentional electrical shorts between the pins. Bad news.
CONDUCTIVE gas tight pastes are the exact opposite, they promote and often times even improve electrical conductivity, which in turn is done by reducing the resistance between electrical contact surfaces. Your better conductive gas tight pastes also include some type of metallic particulates (very small pieces of metal) which help to cut through the thin layer of oxides that form on the surface of aluminum and copper connectors or conductive surfaces such as where module power cable eyelets connect to bus bars.
If you put a small dab of this type of paste on two fingertips, then rub them together you will feel a "grit" suspended within the paste. It feels like very fine sand mixed in with the paste itself.
When you tighten down an eyelet to some bus or other connection point, the metal particles cut through the thin layer of oxides, promoting a better, less resistant connection. The "gas tight" properties of such pastes prevents oxygen from corrupting the connection, because it prevents oxygen from gaining access to the conductive surfaces.
Dielectric pastes will not have metal particles suspended within the substrate, conductive pastes will. "Metal" means zinc or even nickel particles, no larger than fine sand. They are sharp, pointed, and rough .. this is to purposely make them able to cut into and through any existing oxidation that may have formed on a conductive surface of (let's say) an eyelet, or a push-on connector.
So you got it? I think so!
Moving on, here's a few brands I've located. Personally, I've been using "Ox Gard", but I'd be willing to use these other brands.
NO-OX-ID: This one has an interesting claim .... (quoting)
"Falicy of adding metals to increase conductivity:
Many electrical contact greases have copper, zinc or other metals blended into a grease to increase conductivity. In a study for an aerospace company in 1985 it was concluded that putting metal into grease does not help conductivity. In many cases it reduces conductivity. The United States Department of the Interior Bureau of Reclamation states in their Facilities instruction Journal Volume 3-3 Electrical Connections for Power Circuits in section 6.3.2 that, "Use of grease with embedded zinc particles will cause a poorer connection due to the lower conductivity of zinc ....
.... Aluminum Oxide is one of the hardest substances known to man, just softer than diamonds. Zinc is not able to cut or dissolve aluminum oxide either. The aluminum oxide that typically forms on an aluminum connection is only 50-120 angstroms thick. Sanchem's NO-OX-ID penetrates the oxide film by the chemical action of our corrosion inhibitor system."
I'm not sure what to make of this claim. Always keep in mind, there are lies, damned lies, and manufacturer's claims. So until I learn more in support of this manufacturer's claims of how bitchin their goop is, I'm remaining skeptical, but open minded.
Link to page = https://www.sanchem.com/electrical-contact-lubricant.html
Alnox: Here's another .... as far as I can tell this one uses Nickel particulates rather than Zinc particulates:
Link to PDF = https://www.aflglobal.com/productlist/Product-Lines/Conductor-Accessor ies/Alnox-Electrical-Joint-Compound/doc/Alnox-Electrical-Joint-Compoun d.aspx
Link to web page = https://www.aflglobal.com/Products/Conductor-Accessories/Compression-A ccessories/Compounds/Alnox-Multi-Purpose/Alnox-Electrical-Joint-Compou nd.aspx
Noalox: Yet one more (zinc particulates in this one):
Link = http://www.idealindustries.ca/products/wire_installation/accessories/n oalox.php
Ox Gard: This is what I've been using up to now. I began using this because I had not learned of these other brands at that time: (quoting)
"OX-GARD is impregnated with fine abrasive metallic particles that bite into both surfaces improving the connection between the contacts, and promoting current flow through what would normally be small voids between the two surfaces, effectively increasing the total surface area of the contacts, reducing resistance, and allowing more current to flow through the connection."
Link = https://www.olypen.com/craigh/oxgard.htm
Link PDF of MSDS (note the zinc particulate content) = https://file.powerprodllc.com/-/media/inriver/OX-800_TCHDAT_SDS.pdf?is dartitem=true
Here's what Ox Gard looks like (I squished an entire 4oz tube of it into a container that made it easier to dip an applicator into ... I typically use a toothpick or a modelling paint brush that I've trimmed the bristles on for more control). If you look closely you can actually see the zinc crystals suspended in the paste, they look like sparkles.
Here's one place where I've used it so far ... I apply it where the lock washers of jacks will make contact with the module panel, then when I torque down the jack's nut the lock washer makes fresh cuts into the panel, right through the anodized surface, and the gas tight conductive paste prevents the freshly cut aluminum from oxidizing under the lock washer.
** Does it need to be done on jacks?
I'll answer that with ~Why not?~. It helps to provide a better path for the sleeve/grounds.
** Why did you do it?
I'll answer that with ~because I can, because I wanted to, and because it can't hurt (that's certain).~
There are twenty eight jacks on those panels, each lock washer makes ten cuts ... ten times twenty eight is two hundred eighty. So there are 280 cuts that are making contact between the panel and the sleeve connections ... to me that warrants doing the best I can to promote better conductivity ... conductive gas tight paste applied!
Is one brand/type better than the others? I have no idea. However I am willing to say that I am skeptical of the claims made by the makers of NO-OX-ID regarding the lack of metallic particulates in their gas tight conductive paste formula. Beyond that, I havn't formed an opinion one way or the other regarding use of the other brands.
So there we go.