Cleaning elec points -anderson, trailer plug and the like

Submitted: Saturday, May 31, 2014 at 12:18
ThreadID: 108028 Views:6041 Replies:8 FollowUps:10
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My trailer plug (7pin flat) has a thin rusty greeny coating on it. similarly my anderson plug connector.
I have found that my trailer brakes work much better if i clean those pins. I would assume the same would apply to clean anderson plugs as well as it is a weak link in the supply chain. I have found a small file but it is tedious work and it only cleans the very small are of direct contact. But it is a PITA.
Any tips on how to clean these bits? A solution of some kind?
Cheers,
CJ
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Reply By: Bob Y. - Qld - Saturday, May 31, 2014 at 13:40

Saturday, May 31, 2014 at 13:40
CSJ,

Get some Contact Cleaner, available in pressure packs, from DSE, Jaycar, Altronics, or maybe Bunnings, Masters etc.

If you use a file you'll only exacerbate the problem

Bob

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Follow Up By: Neil & Pauline - Saturday, May 31, 2014 at 16:33

Saturday, May 31, 2014 at 16:33
Nail polish remover also works for when someone hasn't put the contact cleaner back in the car.

Neil
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Follow Up By: Bob Y. - Qld - Saturday, May 31, 2014 at 16:42

Saturday, May 31, 2014 at 16:42
Ha ha, I like that!

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Follow Up By: The Bantam - Saturday, May 31, 2014 at 20:22

Saturday, May 31, 2014 at 20:22
unless you go for one of the contact cleaers that contain acid...hmmm....none of them will touch heavy corrosion or even heavy tarnish.

the use of a "contact cleaner and lubricant", along with or after some sort of mechanical cleaning may improve the cleaning effectivness and reduce the speed of corrosion after.......the word lubricant is critical for the long term.

I have used many contact cleaning products in my career ranging from contact burnishers and microscrub ( a 3 m product) thru to files and grinders.

for fairly soft contacts bassed on copper and plated with nickle, tin or whatever...I have found scotchbrite pads to work quite well.

There are dedicated similar purpose made scotchbrite and similar products intended for the purpose......but for most medium to large contacts schotchbrite can be made to work.

Just be carefull because it can scrub all the plating off the contact.....if the contact is badly corroded....bare copper is better than corroded plating.

another thing that can be handy is those little brass and stanless brushes.

for the insides of round contacts..arrond the 2 to 3 mm in diameter....about all mere mortals can get hold of is pipe cleaners.

Pipe cleaners come in standard and prickly...the standard ones are best for actual cleaning and the prickley ones better for scrubbing.

use them with contact cleaner.

I have recently baught a fiberglass contact cleaning stick...I have not used it yet, but I know those who swear by them.
They are a retractable pen type stick and you just scrubb at the contact with the tip.

Of couirse there is the old favorite...hose as much carp out of the contacts with the contact cleaner...then while there is still plenty in there and the cntacts are still wet...plug and unplug vigorously several times......dont forget to hose out with more cleaner after.

hope this helps.
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Follow Up By: The Bantam - Sunday, Jun 01, 2014 at 09:19

Sunday, Jun 01, 2014 at 09:19
Raiding the handbrakes beauty kit can also yeild some usefull contact cleaning equipment.

Emery boards are an old favorite.

The modern diamond impregnated nail files are a real find.....they are sharp enough and hard enough to be pretty effective on hard contact materials like ignition points and high current realy contacts.

As someone else mentions further down, 600 grit sand paper can put a realy good finish on a contact.

remember the brighter and smoother the contact surface the longer it will stay clean.

one fine and maybe obscure point though.....the carborundum in wet and dry paper may tend to embed in soft materals like copper & brass, so glass or alox paper may be preferable.

this issue may not be as important on small contacts as it is on motor comutators.

cheers
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Reply By: Nomadic Navara - Saturday, May 31, 2014 at 18:19

Saturday, May 31, 2014 at 18:19
More important with the trailer plugs is to spread the pins a little to restore the contact pressure. Just use a fine knife blade and push it a little way down the slot in the pins. Be careful not to overdo things, its easy to split one side off.

If you have been using a file on the contacts I suggest you may have gone some way towards destroying the nickel plating on the contacts. Replacement of the plug and socket may be in order.
PeterD
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Reply By: Ross M - Saturday, May 31, 2014 at 18:37

Saturday, May 31, 2014 at 18:37
Once clean a slight spry with lanolin will retard the verdigris from appearing on the contacts and while it may attract some dust it moves away easily and can be cleaned with contact cleaner for when a reapplication is required. Doesn't inhibit electrical contact but having the pins spread slightly, as previously mentioned, will see the brakes actually working.
AnswerID: 533512

Reply By: Michael ( Moss Vale NSW) - Saturday, May 31, 2014 at 18:56

Saturday, May 31, 2014 at 18:56
$10 will buy you a new plug. The little pins weaken and collapse towards the slot in the middle of the pin so a new plug every few years will fix your woes! A can of contact cleaner will cost you more than that. Michael
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Reply By: Tony H15 - Saturday, May 31, 2014 at 19:29

Saturday, May 31, 2014 at 19:29
Anderson plugs are designed as self abrading, the contacts rub against each other each to you plug them in or disconnect them, cleaning the contacts and providing a good electrical connection. Each pin in a seven pin plug has a slit down the middle (sometimes two), with time, the contacts will bend inwards and the slit will close up thus providing a poor electrical connection. Using a stanley knife blade, open up the slit so the pin is slightly wider on the end (brass in particular is quite brittle so be careful not to snap the pin halves/quarters), this then has the same effect as the contacts on an anderson plug: each time you connect/disconnect the plug the contacts will abrade and produce a good electrical connection. Dissimilar metals will work the best; ie, a brass socket and a stainless plug. Stainless is more malleable than brass so stainless pins in the plug will stand up to bending better. Wiggling the plug around when connecting/disconnecting (as we all do) has the effect of closing the slits in the pins - thereby breaking the connection. A lot of the time this is the cause of lamps not working on hire trailers, always check the pins before checking bulbs, fuses and wiring - it's the quickest and easiest check.
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Follow Up By: The Bantam - Saturday, May 31, 2014 at 20:34

Saturday, May 31, 2014 at 20:34
Anderson plugs may well be " self cleaning" in that they have a wipeing action during plugging.

BUT if they are very corroded...and they frequently get that way.....plugging and unplugging just is not enough to clean the contacts to make good connection.

Pulling the pins out of the plug and cleaning them can save you a lot of trouble....but remember..the plugs are reasonable cheap.

as for those flat trainer plugs...Ive said it before and I will say it again...they are just trash.....from start to finish they are a badly designed plug.
start with relying on spring tension in an non springy material inclined to break..move onto the type of plating used and the shape of the contact that does not maximise contact area and harbours moisture and grime.
I could go on...but that coners the contact problems.
As someone wo works with a variety of plugs every day...I know what makes a good reliable plug...and they are not one.

If you want to solve your problems with flat trailer plugs....replace them with round utilux type plugs.

cheers

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Follow Up By: The Bantam - Saturday, May 31, 2014 at 20:36

Saturday, May 31, 2014 at 20:36
That should read flat trailer plugs.
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Follow Up By: Ross M - Saturday, May 31, 2014 at 22:15

Saturday, May 31, 2014 at 22:15
I like to use a wire brush on my anderson plug because I like to see sparks.
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Follow Up By: The Bantam - Sunday, Jun 01, 2014 at 09:08

Sunday, Jun 01, 2014 at 09:08
Ym ...yeh...one would be wise to disconnect the cable feeding the anderson, before dismantling the plug ir trying to clean it assembled with a wire brush.

cheers
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Follow Up By: Sigmund - Tuesday, Jun 03, 2014 at 08:32

Tuesday, Jun 03, 2014 at 08:32
When it comes to it, replace the plakky with a metal version of the flat plug.
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Follow Up By: The Bantam - Tuesday, Jun 03, 2014 at 16:46

Tuesday, Jun 03, 2014 at 16:46
The metal shell does not solve all the other design problems.

cheers
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Reply By: pop2jocem - Saturday, May 31, 2014 at 22:54

Saturday, May 31, 2014 at 22:54
I find a small quantity of Brasso or Silvo on a cotton bud or match head wrapped in cotton wool works a treat to clean out the round female part of a trailer plug. Works well on Anderson plugs but dismantling makes the job easier. A good wash out with contact cleaner after and a spray with Inox or similar. The pins are pretty easy to clean with very fine 600 or so grit wet and dry paper.


Cheers
Pop
AnswerID: 533522

Reply By: CSeaJay - Monday, Jun 02, 2014 at 14:21

Monday, Jun 02, 2014 at 14:21
Thank you all, for meaningful contributions and advice.
For the 7 pin flat I recon the best advice was to buy a new connector altogether. The cleaning will then be maintenance on the pin, but also used on the Anderson plug, and my external monster fuse
Cheers again, CJ
AnswerID: 533602

Reply By: Member - Phil 'n Jill (WA) - Tuesday, Jun 03, 2014 at 18:57

Tuesday, Jun 03, 2014 at 18:57
Saw some 'weatherproof' plugs on ABR Sidewinder website today - could be useful.

They are in the 'specials list'



wpc50-prado_zps47c023be.jpg?t=1370499318

wpa18292b5.png

WPC50-PLUGED_zps9384d954.jpg


50 Amp Anderson Mountable Plug
WPC50 Weatherproof Connector
Complete Plug Assembly, grey plug
is not included.


$10.95 Ea

With a bit of luck one of these may get you the link: http://www.sidewinder.com.au/page16.html
Anderson plugs
Cheers - Phil
Phil 'n Jill (WA)

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