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Thread: cleaning NOS tube socket contacts

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    cleaning NOS tube socket contacts

    Hi All,
    I have a handful of really nice cinch NOS tube sockets for a work in progress. Not a scratch, and no hint of solder so Im sure they're "new" nos rather than removed from service. Looking down into the socket, the pin contacts are tarnished. What do you all use to clean old socket pin contacts? I didn't want to put the wrong stuff in there. Didn't think alcohol would do it.
    Thanks,
    MP

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    Member HaroldBrooks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikepukmel View Post
    Hi All,
    I have a handful of really nice cinch NOS tube sockets for a work in progress. Not a scratch, and no hint of solder so Im sure they're "new" nos rather than removed from service. Looking down into the socket, the pin contacts are tarnished. What do you all use to clean old socket pin contacts? I didn't want to put the wrong stuff in there. Didn't think alcohol would do it.
    Thanks,
    MP
    Deoxit. Spray it ligthly down each one of the pin receivers, and then insert the tube and pull it out a few times. I usually spray a bit more in the socket pin receivers as a final wash, and then you are done. They don't have to be perfectly shiny to conduct well, and this get's the job done, provided there are no "Tension" issues, or a bad solder joint on a pin. If the tension is too loose, you have to tighten the pin receivers first. Pulling the tube in and out several times after the first spray more or less makes sure you "scrubbed" the contacts.

    https://caig.com/deoxit-d-series/

    It's amazing how well the Deoxit contact cleaner works for sockets, tube pins (I use an old tooth brush for just a couple of swipes) and pots. Makes many amp issues go away ! By the way, there are other brands that work equally as well. Just make sure for sockets you use one without a lubricant. https://www.homedepot.com/p/CRC-QD-1...E&gclsrc=aw.ds

    The ones with a lot of lubricants should be used for pots and areas were there is not at much heat, but someone please chime in if I got that part wrong. I've been using Deoxit D5 in tube sockets with no issues so far.

    You might have to do this once every few years, but doing it right the first time makes sure it will last a long time.

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    Agree and add that I only trust Caig Deoxit D-series. Other contact cleaners often need to be washed/cleaned off after some exposure time to avoid problems with the residue like accelerated re-corrosion.

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    Old Timer tedmich's Avatar
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    for real bad grunge, maybe Deoxit plus a welding tip cleaner (gently!)

    Click image for larger version. 

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    The typical 6L6 pin is around 0.081" which corresponds to a wire gauge drill bit size of 45-46, which in the welding world is about a #30 cleaner
    The typical 12AX7 pin is around 0.039" which corresponds to a wire gauge drill bit size of 60-61, which in the welding world is about a #15 cleaner

    These have file like serrations so be gentle! You can nip off the unserrated tip if it keeps the teeth from reaching the contact.

    (Some people cut nuts with these too)

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    Awesome, thanks.

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    I avoid to use anything abrasive on plated contacts. And you don't want to widen the receptacles.
    The tarnishing on quality socket contacts is typically very thin. All it takes is a little Deoxit on a small diameter dental brush.

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    Thanks! I have some deoxit but I think it has some lubricant in it, its for pots. Will look for the non lube stuff and buy a can.

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    Senior Member SoulFetish's Avatar
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    I've been flirting with the idea of building a small(ish) ultrasonic bath for cleaning tube sockets, switch contacts, and other hard to service contacts. Of course, this is really only practical if the part is not already installed, or has been pulled as salvage. But, if one or a couple of the socket terminals in the tube socket is really bad or damaged and is already installed, then you can remove and replace them in Cinch/Belton style molded sockets.
    If like this molded style, and you're looking for 8 & 9-pin sockets, I've been really impressed with Belton's quality.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mikepukmel View Post
    Thanks! I have some deoxit but I think it has some lubricant in it, its for pots. Will look for the non lube stuff and buy a can.
    With tube sockets I only recommend Deoxit D5 (or even D100). AFAIK it doesn't contain lubricants (as opposed to Caig Fader Lube or Caig F-series, especially recommended for pots) - only agent + volatile (evaporating) solvent. The solvent in Deoxit D5 helps to clean from grease and oils while the actual agent loosens oxides/corrosion. Some mechanical action with a small dental brush helps to remove the residue. Use sparingly. I often apply Deoxit directly to the brush only. Good contacts do not necessarily have to look shiny.

    Interestingly Caig seems to not recommend Deoxit D5 for pots - generally works well though.

    https://caig.com/deoxit-selector-guide/

    I actually have an ultrasonic bath, but while this is nice for removing dirt, grease etc., I don't expect it to remove corrosion/oxides. So you would have to treat the contacts with something like Deoxit D5 additionally before using the ultrasonic bath.

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    Last edited by Helmholtz; 10-30-2019 at 11:14 AM.
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    Member HaroldBrooks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Helmholtz View Post
    With tube sockets I only recommend Deoxit D5 (or even D100). AFAIK it doesn't contain lubricants (as opposed to Caig Fader Lube or Caig F-series, especially recommended for pots) - only agent + volatile (evaporating) solvent. The solvent in Deoxit D5 helps to clean from grease and oils while the actual agent loosens oxides/corrosion. Some mechanical action with a small dental brush helps to remove the residue. Use sparingly. I often apply Deoxit directly to the brush only. Good contacts do not necessarily have to look shiny.

    Interestingly Caig seems to not recommend Deoxit D5 for pots - generally works well though.

    https://caig.com/deoxit-selector-guide/

    I actually have an ultrasonic bath, but while this is nice for removing dirt, grease etc., I don't expect it to remove corrosion/oxides. So you would have to treat the contacts with something like Deoxit D5 additionally before using the ultrasonic bath.
    I believe You are correct Helmholtz, contacts do not require a perfectly shiny surface to be good most often, and if you create tiny scratches or grooves in pins or sockets as a result of too vigorous a cleaning job, you might create more harm than good in the long run. Big metal car battery style contact should be cleaned to the metal is shiny, but the contact area is large, and the cable ends made of soft metal to conform to the battery post surface irregularities. I don't see that in tiny electric parts, so you can over do it with scrubbing too much, and while I am not an expert, I have only vintage amps and very little issues, actually no issues once I have cleaned with Deoxit.

    Connection issues that remain are usually caused by poor tension or crooked pins, or bad solder joints. I have about 20 vintage amps at this point, and I have virtually no socket issues since I learned to clean with Deoxit.

    I only had to retention two sockets with a dental pick and a loop (worked great !), and once that was done no issues, even when transporting the equipment back and forth to a few gigs and bouncing it around a bit in a truck.

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    Thanks again everyone. As far as I can tell, these really are brand new, just have not been stored in a perfect environment. I bet a warehouse with less than optimal humidity. I will grab a photo and post. I looked at them as closely as possible with a magnifying glass, no scratches or other indication that they had pins inserted. Just discoloration from whatever oxide grows on there. Not a clue what the materials are.

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    The only good solid state amp is a dead solid state amp. Unless it sounds really good, then its OK.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SoulFetish View Post
    I've been flirting with the idea of building a small(ish) ultrasonic bath for cleaning tube sockets, switch contacts, and other hard to service contacts. Of course, this is really only practical if the part is not already installed, or has been pulled as salvage. But, if one or a couple of the socket terminals in the tube socket is really bad or damaged and is already installed, then you can remove and replace them in Cinch/Belton style molded sockets.
    If like this molded style, and you're looking for 8 & 9-pin sockets, I've been really impressed with Belton's quality.
    Yeah, I like the Belton 8 pins. Solid. But their 9 pin sockets at least the ones Ive gotten, seem a lot more flimsy.

    0 Not allowed! Not allowed!
    The only good solid state amp is a dead solid state amp. Unless it sounds really good, then its OK.

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