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How to remove oxide from our tin plated copper terminals?

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<- Ed. note: No abstract
    questions please!
    Please tell us YOUR
    situation.   What? Huh?

Q. What if you have old terminals and just want to clean off the oxide off them?

Christopher Hoinsky
hobbyist - Milford Connecticut usa
August 18, 2022


A. Hi Christopher. To do it right would depend on whether the terminals are bare copper, or tin plated, nickel plated, gold plated, silver plated (or something else); the current & voltage levels they need to sustain is important.

For casual applications (flashlights, toy trains, etc.) consumers tend to just remove the oxide with a mild abrasive, which will often work for a variable period depending on exposure conditions. Contacts which carry digital signals (usually gold plated) will not work unless the gold plating is restored. There are 101 ifs-ands-&-buts -- please try your best to describe your situation. Thanks.

Luck & Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey




Closely related historical posts, oldest first ...

2007

Q. We use a component with two terminals, the terminals have tin plate coating. At the end of my process the terminals have a oxide layer, How can I remove this oxide layer?

Oswaldo Montes Palma
product designer - Matamoros, Tamaulipas, Mexico


A. Hello, Oswaldo, welcome to finishing.com. I don't think that is the correct question though! In my opinion what you should do is prevent the tarnishing by applying a tarnish banning post treatment after the tin plating, and by using procedures that will eliminate staining, including operators wearing gloves and never touching the terminals, tarnish preventative packaging, and minimizing the time the parts are in process.

Another possibility is to use electroless nickel plating instead of tin. Many if not most 'charging' contacts on cordless phones, cell phones, etc., are electroless nickel plated.

Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey

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