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Ribbon Speakers: Where to find conductive paint / epoxy, ribbons?

RFQ: Hello this is a long-shot but thought what the heck: where can I get ribbon for Carver Silver ALS 48 inch?

S Mccullough
- Winston-Salem, North Carolina
December 7, 2022
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Ed. note: As always, gentle readers: technical replies in public and commercial replies in private please (huh? why?)

Closely related historical posts, oldest first ...

Q. I own a pair of ribbon loudspeakers. The ribbons are made up of a mylar film that is covered by a thin layer of aluminum. My dog cracked the aluminum coating on one of the 1/2 inch wide ribbons, thus completely disabling the speaker. The mylar appears to be intact. The coating though has a 1/32 inch wide crack.

The manufacturer is no longer in business, and I can't get replacement parts. In addition, the speakers weigh 100 pounds apiece, and are four feet high, so I can't easily ship them anywhere. I'm not real happy about knowing that I have an expensive pair of speakers that have been turned into a piece of modern art.

Is there a conductive paint that would stick to the aluminum-coated mylar that would repair this electrical connection? Where can I acquire a small amount of it? Thanks

Christopher Shustak
- Massachusetts USA

A. Try using the conductive paint used to repair rear windshield heater elements. It can usually be found in small bottle at most auto spares shops

Ed Reed
- Canada

A. Mr. Shustak said: Is there a conductive paint that would stick to the aluminum-coated mylar that would repair this electrical connection? Where can I acquire a small amount of it?

Any repair made like this will have a couple of hurdles. For one, the aluminum surface will have probably oxidized, and this oxidation is an excellent insulator. But if you try to remove it, you'll probably do more damage than the dog did.

For the other, the flexibility of the repair may not equal that of the original material.

That said, you can get several different conductive paints that are probably just a little more specialized than that mentioned already. You probably want one that doesn't have a carrier solvent that will damage the mylar, so I would avoid MEK / methyl ethyl ketone -containing ones. Alcohol-based _might_ be OK, I am not guaranteeing anything. (And use any of them in a well-ventilated area!) Several choices with loadings of either graphite or silver are available from Ted Pella, Inc., It comes in small bottles. Good luck from a fellow audiophile.

paul tibbals
Paul Tibbals, P.E.
gas & electric
San Ramon, California, USA
(My opinions are not related to nor a statement of my employer's)

A. We make silver and nickel based paints. The silver paint is not MEK based. Both paints are excellent for electronic repair. The silver paint has a very low resistance at 0.1 ohms per sq. in.. The nickel based paint is 0.5-0.6 ohms per sq. They are used to make circuit traces and to repair or make new connections.

Fred Brandt
conductive paints - Brinnon, Washington,usa

A. I have two pair of 64 inch ribbons that I acquired while I worked at CARVER. Would a working pair of these speakers help you out?

Michael J. Brown
- Seattle, Washington

? Mr. Brown. Do you mean only ribbon? Otherwise, ribbon speaker unit?
64 inch is correct? I know Carver produced 60 inch ribbon speaker unit.
In fact, one of my 60 inch ribbon speakers was torn.
So I am finding how to repair or replace it.

Myung Sun Song
- Blacksburg, Virginia
November 9, 2010

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