Chemical damage from contact cleaner

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WireNut

Chemical damage from contact cleaner
« on: 10 Mar 2018, 05:44 pm »
 
 About six months ago I used an electronic contact cleaner from a well known vendor and noticed today that all 6 of the
female RCA’s dielectric insulation is breaking up in pieces and turning into dust. Luckily my RCA males are okay.

I don’t have the can anymore so I can’t say 100% what I used (was not de-oxit) or if it said “Plastic Safe” on the can. I doubt it did.


I’m just putting this out there for everyone that uses contact cleaners as this is the first time in 40 years this has happened to me.
I usually use nothing more then isopropyl alcohol.

Be careful of what you buy. Some of these chemicals are very very strong.


Lessen learned.

gregfisk

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Re: Chemical damage from contact cleaner
« Reply #1 on: 10 Mar 2018, 06:53 pm »

 About six months ago I used an electronic contact cleaner from a well known vendor and noticed today that all 6 of the
female RCA’s dielectric insulation is breaking up in pieces and turning into dust. Luckily my RCA males are okay.

I don’t have the can anymore so I can’t say 100% what I used (was not de-oxit) or if it said “Plastic Safe” on the can. I doubt it did.


I’m just putting this out there for everyone that uses contact cleaners as this is the first time in 40 years this has happened to me.
I usually use nothing more then isopropyl alcohol.

Be careful of what you buy. Some of these chemicals are very very strong.


Lessen learned.

Was this a spray type contact cleaner? I use it all the time but have never had a problem. You would think any type of contact cleaner would be made not to damage the non metal products around the part when applied.

FullRangeMan

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Re: Chemical damage from contact cleaner
« Reply #2 on: 10 Mar 2018, 07:05 pm »
I advise against use WD40 in plastics, it blur a remote control I had.

richidoo

Re: Chemical damage from contact cleaner
« Reply #3 on: 10 Mar 2018, 07:11 pm »
Ouch, that's weird! Junk jacks?  I've used deoxit, CRC and Radio Shack contact cleaner, never seen anything like that.

Contact cleaner is generally safe to spray on electronics, it's mostly alcohol. But maybe polyester or other ancient "plastics" could be affected by it. Maybe it's something like gelatin or bakelite. Penny saved, penny earned, right? There are mfgs that will skimp like that.
But all quality RCA jacks, even the inexpensive ones like Switchcraft, use a modern dielectric that can take the cleaner without damage.

If the plastic dielectric is that bad, I would be concerned about the metal used in the contacts, and the wire used in the hookup, etc. It might be steel instead of brass. PE sells Chinese made speaker posts made out of cast zinc. The gold paint flakes off, and it snaps if you tighten it too hard and compared to real metal they sound awful.  There's a lot of junk out there now.

WD40 leaves a lubricant behind. Contact cleaner leaves no residue.

WireNut

Re: Chemical damage from contact cleaner
« Reply #4 on: 10 Mar 2018, 07:27 pm »

Was this a spray type contact cleaner? I use it all the time but have never had a problem. You would think any type of contact cleaner would be made not to damage the non metal products around the part when applied.


Yes it was. I used it to try something new and didn't have the funds for de-oxit.

I found my receipts and it was either MG Chemicals Electrosolve Contact aerosol, or Super Contact Cleaner aerosol.
Those are the only two I purchased and the last cleaners I've used.

I should have read the datasheets  :duh:


Hi Richidoo.
I think the same, Junk Jacks, used by the component manufacturer. And he is High-end.
Fortunately I have 6 Neutrik RCA's laying around so I can replace them.

All is not lost.






FullRangeMan

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Re: Chemical damage from contact cleaner
« Reply #5 on: 10 Mar 2018, 07:36 pm »
Where they will buy these small parts?
Not in Germany (WBT/Neutrik) 

Elizabeth

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Re: Chemical damage from contact cleaner
« Reply #6 on: 10 Mar 2018, 09:00 pm »
The failure may have had NOTHING to do with spraying stuff on them.
IT may have been a total coincidence.
Plastic is  a strange thing. Wrong manufacturing.. failure to add the right chemical or the right amount and a year later the plastic falls apart.
It happens.
So the internal plastic bits in that IC may have been improperly made is my opinion.

*Scotty*

Re: Chemical damage from contact cleaner
« Reply #7 on: 10 Mar 2018, 09:16 pm »
Whether you build them yourself or not, always look for pure teflon dielectric, as it wil be impervious to almost any contact cleaner you are likely to use as well as being the best sonically. Polystyrene can sound quite good but it is fragile and has a low melting point, polypropylene is also good sounding but has a similar problem with heat making soldering difficult.
 Scotty

WireNut

Re: Chemical damage from contact cleaner
« Reply #8 on: 10 Mar 2018, 09:52 pm »

Whether you build them yourself or not, always look for pure teflon dielectric, as it wil be impervious to almost any contact cleaner you are likely to use as well as being the best sonically. Polystyrene can sound quite good but it is fragile and has a low melting point, polypropylene is also good sounding but has a similar problem with heat making soldering difficult.

 Scotty

Agreed.

The only problem is when you purchase a component you don't always know what was used in the construction.
I know Teflon is great, If I installed the RCA's myself that's what I would have used.

Have a look.

Notice the white particles on the left. That's the dielectric.
The center pins where so loose, they had nothing to hold them in place anymore.

I've never seen this before in my 40 years as an audiophile but It has taught me a lesson.

I'm lucky I found them, as it may have taken years before I came across it.

Again, I'm just putting this out there to be careful about what you purchase for your equipment.


It's all good because an hour of time and some solder will fix it right up.
I have nothing but good thoughts about the component I purchased and the company.
I would purchase from them again anytime. But would likely replace the RCA's.













 

*Scotty*

Re: Chemical damage from contact cleaner
« Reply #9 on: 10 Mar 2018, 10:28 pm »
That's a damn interesting failure mode. I've never seen anything just like it before either. It looks like you literally depolymerized the plastic. Definitely weird. Now you have a project replacing all of the jacks with something better. I'm sure that is just what you wanted to do with your time in lieu of listening to music.
Scotty

WireNut

Re: Chemical damage from contact cleaner
« Reply #10 on: 10 Mar 2018, 11:54 pm »

That's a damn interesting failure mode. I've never seen anything just like it before either. It looks like you literally depolymerized the plastic. Definitely weird. Now you have a project replacing all of the jacks with something better. I'm sure that is just what you wanted to do with your time in lieu of listening to music.

Scotty

I know Scotty. I've never seen anything like it before. From now on my cleaner of choice will likely be simple isopropyl alcohol at the most.

I'm just glad to get the word out, strange as it is.


Speedskater

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Re: Chemical damage from contact cleaner
« Reply #11 on: 11 Mar 2018, 01:07 am »
Over the decades, I have seen it happen more than once! But it was with switches, not connectors.

Johnny2Bad

Re: Chemical damage from contact cleaner
« Reply #12 on: 20 May 2018, 03:20 am »
Contact Cleaner is prohibited for use on Tektronix 'Scopes (for sure) and I'm sure many other test equipment. Eats the PCB material they use(d) within switch and pot assemblies. Use it (or buy it from someone who did) and you will be searching for expensive NOS replacement parts soon.

The two candidates you suggest were used couldn't be further from each other ingredient-wise. One is a light, benign contact cleaner safe for foodservice, the other an aggressive solvent, with a lubricating residue and containing mineral oil to boot. I think I can guess which one caused the damage.

About the only thing you could have used that would be worse would be something containing silicones. Goodbye HiFi hello midFi in just one spray! And since silicones migrate quickly in a wicking fashion to every single contact within a half mile of the original application, it can't be removed. Lucky you!

WireNut

Re: Chemical damage from contact cleaner
« Reply #13 on: 20 May 2018, 11:46 pm »

About the only thing you could have used that would be worse would be something containing silicones.


 Thanks for the tip. From now on I'll only be using Isopropyl Alcohol.