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Basics of electronics hygiene and PM needed.

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  • Basics of electronics hygiene and PM needed.

    Maybe like many others here, a lot of what I think I "know" is self-taught from trial-and-error, half-educated guesses, reading things here and there. A few days ago somebody asked about cleaning the dust, et al, from an older welder. Cruizer suggested uncoupling the "molex connectors" (I had to google the term, found I have been using them for years without knowing they had a name) and applying some dielectric grease. Now, my uninformed practice has always been to unplug and plug any electrical connectors a few times to hopefully scrape off any oxides, and maybe squirt a little acetone in the plugs (it evaporates fast). The dielectric grease was something I had only used with the plugs on automotive ignition modules per manufacturers' directives, and on some connectors in boats per my own guesses. So I learned something (thanks, Cruizer).

    But I run into other tidbits. A smart guy who seems to know stated to me that the new inverter welding machines are going to be running into problems in a fairly short time. He says that they run voltage levels that are uncomfortably close to the upper limits of the capacitors, that these capacitors eventually "dry out" (or maybe they oxidize or suffer some chemical degredation; I didn't quite get that part), and when they do, "you're on your own!" Curiously, he claimed that, as with some kinds of batteries, these capacitors tend to last longer the more often they are used, that you don't want to buy an inverter machine if you're going to let it sit a lot. Well, I mentioned the deal about the capacitors to a friend in ham radio. He confirmed it, saying that restorers of old radios have a term, "re-capping," meaning that they take out all of the paper and electrolytic capacitors and replace them first thing, before they then start checking on whatever else the old radio might need.

    Not having owned or looked inside the tightly-packed case of any inverter machine, I would imagine that "re-capping" one as a preventative maintenance measure would be next to impossible . . . whether or not it might be desireable. But if anyone cares to favor us with any other particular tricks or tips on how I can keep welders I have or might get to lead long happy lives, I'd appreciate it and surely others will, too. Or if you have a link to a collection of such info (I did look, but I'm not the most skillful at internet searches), that would be great. Obviously, Cruizer, this is largely aimed at you because you are always generous with what you've learned, but I appreciate good ideas from anybody.

    One thing I'm looking for: is there a product that can be squirted into and on electrical connectors, points, etc., that you like better than acetone for cleaning/deoxidizing? And is there an after-cleaning protectant that might be better for some things than the dielectric grease (goopy stuff)? Plasti-Kote used to sell a thin spray protectant for automotive ignition parts (cap and rotor, plug-wire boots, etc.) but I don't see it listed on their site now.

    (I'm asking about general info, but FWIW, my own stuff is currently all simple old-fashioned stuff, an Idealarc TIG250/250, a short-hood SA200, a couple of Ranger 9s, a MM175, several feeders and a Traffimet spoolgun, and some little old stuff I don't use much any more)(But related to that last category, if anyone here happens to have either a Century 150A/230V MIG machine or a Traffimet gun, I can actually pass on some useful advice . . . ).
    Last edited by old jupiter; 07-16-2012, 01:09 PM.

  • #2
    Acetone, is BAD, as it tends to harden to the point of cracking the connectors. The dielectric will clean the pins just fine.


    • #3
      No more acetone. Didn't know that dielectric grease had any cleaning agent in it, but I'll go with that. Thank you.