Cleaning brush for four-pin connectors? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 04-11-2012, 12:43 PM   #1
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Cleaning brush for four-pin connectors?

My sister was complaining that her trailer's taillights were dim. She has the usual super cheapo taillights, which I've upgraded by grafting in new, nicer sockets, and I'll check the trailer's ground path, but I wonder if the problem isn't maybe dirty or corroded pins (or sockets) in her four-pin trailer-to-car electrical connector.

Does anyone make a tool for cleaning connector pins? I can imagine one that would look like a miniature battery terminal brush, with a teeny little bristle-lined socket at one end for cleaning pins and a teeny little conical brush at the other for cleaning sockets. Maybe brass bristles, to avoid chewing up the pins too much.

Does anybody make anything like that?
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Old 04-11-2012, 02:15 PM   #2
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Try a cleaning brush for a 22 caliber rifle. I have used one for the plugs on tractor trailers, even made a T handle for the brush, but they didn't last too long in that commercial environment . Should work for occasional use.
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Old 04-12-2012, 06:58 AM   #3
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CrapShack sells contact cleaner. Try that.
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Old 04-12-2012, 08:17 PM   #4
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I wonder if it would be better/easier to cut it off and replace with new. At least the trailer side.
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Old 04-12-2012, 08:44 PM   #5
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When I was driving a semi truck we would dip the pigtail in the fuel tank, worked every time.
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Old 04-13-2012, 07:12 AM   #6
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Contact cleaner or WD-40 works as a cleaner also.
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Old 04-13-2012, 12:33 PM   #7
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Go to the auto parts store and ask for a sparkplug cleaning brush. They are round with metal 'wiskers' and just fit into the holes on the female connector. Then spray some electrical contact cleaner in(this works on older taillight sockets too!). Then buy a cover for the connector ends to keep them clean when not in use. I have seen them completely filled with dirt/grit after someone drives in the rain.
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Old 04-18-2012, 11:59 AM   #8
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copper cleaning brush fpr a .17hmr should be just about right. also use electrical contact cleaner. when all clean and shiny squirt some dilectric grease in there to keep the gunk out
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Old 04-24-2012, 05:37 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by john warren View Post
copper cleaning brush fpr a .17hmr should be just about right. also use electrical contact cleaner. when all clean and shiny squirt some dilectric grease in there to keep the gunk out
I have seen the recommendation to use dielectric grease before and I don't understand why you would want to cover a conductor with an insulator. It is my understanding that dielectric grease is intended for dressing spark plug wires and water proofing connections. It's an insulator. While applied to electrical contacts it will keep them from oxidizing but it could very well stop them from functioning. I would sure hate to have my lights fail in traffic. Don't mean to put you on the spot John, I just don't get it. Raz
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Old 04-25-2012, 08:28 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by P. Raz View Post
I have seen the recommendation to use dielectric grease before and I don't understand why you would want to cover a conductor with an insulator. It is my understanding that dielectric grease is intended for dressing spark plug wires and water proofing connections. It's an insulator. While applied to electrical contacts it will keep them from oxidizing but it could very well stop them from functioning. I would sure hate to have my lights fail in traffic. Don't mean to put you on the spot John, I just don't get it. Raz
Dielectric grease is used on connectors that will be exposed to the elements. Connectors are designed so action of plugging them in wipes the grease at the point of contact creating a "gas tight" connection.

During my working days we did some tests. The connectors we were using were small. We applied dielectric grease to some and not to others. Put them into salt water. The ones with the grease were still working a year later, those without didn't last a month.

I have never known dielectric grease stop a connector from working.
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Old 04-25-2012, 09:19 AM   #11
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Wikipedia seems to imply there are better choices?? Contact pressure appears to be the key. Unfortunately high and low contact pressure is not defined.

"[edit]As a sealant around electrical contacts

[edit]Dielectric grease
Dielectric grease is a nonconductive grease. As such, it does not enhance the flow of electrical current. Dielectric grease is, however, often applied to electrical connectors, particularly those containing rubber gaskets, as a means of lubricating and sealing rubber portions of the connector.
A common use of dielectric grease is in high-voltage connections associated with gasoline engine spark plugs. The grease is applied to the rubber boot of the plug wire. This helps the rubber boot slide onto the ceramic insulator of the plug. The grease also acts to seal the rubber boot, while at the same time preventing the rubber from becoming stuck to the ceramic. Generally spark plugs are located in areas of high temperature, and the grease is formulated to withstand the temperature range expected. It can be applied to the actual contact as well, because the contact pressure is sufficient to penetrate the grease. Doing so on such high pressure contact surfaces has the advantage of sealing the contact area against corrosion.
Another common use of dielectric grease is on the rubber mating surfaces or gaskets of multi-pin electrical connectors used in automotive and marine engines. The grease again acts as a lubricant and a sealant on the nonconductive mating surfaces of the connector. It is not recommended to be applied to the actual electrical conductive contacts of the connector because it could interfere with the electrical signals passing through the connector in cases where the contact pressure is very low. Products designed as electronic connector lubricants, on the other hand, should be applied to such connector contacts and can dramatically extend their useful life. Polyphenyl Ether, rather than silicone grease, is the active ingredient in some such connector lubricants.
Silicone grease should should not be applied to (or next to) any switch contact that might experience arcing, as silicone can convert to silicon-carbide user arcing conditions, and accumulation of the silicon-carbide can cause the contacts to prematurely fail."

Apparently Dielectric Grease is a form of silicon grease. Here's the whole page.

Silicone grease - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 04-25-2012, 10:30 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by P. Raz View Post
Wikipedia seems to imply there are better choices?? Contact pressure appears to be the key. Unfortunately high and low contact pressure is not defined.

"[edit]As a sealant around electrical contacts

[edit]Dielectric grease
Dielectric grease is a nonconductive grease. As such, it does not enhance the flow of electrical current. Dielectric grease is, however, often applied to electrical connectors, particularly those containing rubber gaskets, as a means of lubricating and sealing rubber portions of the connector.
A common use of dielectric grease is in high-voltage connections associated with gasoline engine spark plugs. The grease is applied to the rubber boot of the plug wire. This helps the rubber boot slide onto the ceramic insulator of the plug. The grease also acts to seal the rubber boot, while at the same time preventing the rubber from becoming stuck to the ceramic. Generally spark plugs are located in areas of high temperature, and the grease is formulated to withstand the temperature range expected. It can be applied to the actual contact as well, because the contact pressure is sufficient to penetrate the grease. Doing so on such high pressure contact surfaces has the advantage of sealing the contact area against corrosion.
Another common use of dielectric grease is on the rubber mating surfaces or gaskets of multi-pin electrical connectors used in automotive and marine engines. The grease again acts as a lubricant and a sealant on the nonconductive mating surfaces of the connector. It is not recommended to be applied to the actual electrical conductive contacts of the connector because it could interfere with the electrical signals passing through the connector in cases where the contact pressure is very low. Products designed as electronic connector lubricants, on the other hand, should be applied to such connector contacts and can dramatically extend their useful life. Polyphenyl Ether, rather than silicone grease, is the active ingredient in some such connector lubricants.
Silicone grease should should not be applied to (or next to) any switch contact that might experience arcing, as silicone can convert to silicon-carbide user arcing conditions, and accumulation of the silicon-carbide can cause the contacts to prematurely fail."

Apparently Dielectric Grease is a form of silicon grease. Here's the whole page.

Silicone grease - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Looks like this Wikipedia article needs to edited.
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Old 04-25-2012, 10:41 AM   #13
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If you are going to clean it with a wire brush, make sure your battery/converter is disconnected/off/unplugged. You may create a short while cleaning.
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Old 04-25-2012, 10:41 AM   #14
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I don't manufacture dielectric grease but have used it. Years ago, I had a foreign manufactured car. The tail lights wouldn't seal and the lightbulb sockets constantly corroded. Finally, after replacing the sockets a bunch of times the mechanice lubed the bulb with dialectric grease and stuck it in the socket. No more problems during the time I owned the car. Had I known about butyl putty tape then... I would have made a gasket out of it instead of the horrible, ill-fitting cork gasket for the tail light lens. That's my 2 cents.
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