-- The Home Page of the Finishing Industry
23+ years of serious education, promoting Aloha,
& the most fun you can have in metal finishing smiley
    no popups, no spam
on this site
current topics
topic 5492

Electrically Conductive Anti-tarnishing Lacquer for Brass Terminals

A discussion started in 2000 but continuing through 2017


Q. Dear Sir , We are on the lookout for suppliers of Electrically conductive Anti-tarnish lacquer for coating on Brass terminals.

We are a leading manufacturer of Wiring Harnesses in India . The Wiring Harness is a bundle of Automotive wires , the ends of which carry often brass / copper terminals ñ either as a free end or inserted into a plastic connector ( with mating terminals inside ) . The terminals in most cases are plated with Tin or Nickel .

Our Main Problems are as below:

  1. Corrosion of Tin Plated Brass Terminals ( Cu ~ .3 to .5 microns + Tin 1- 2 Microns )
  2. Corrosion of Nickel plated Copper Battery Terminals ( 10 ± 2 Microns )
  3. Tarnishing / Blackening of unplated Brass Terminals .

I. We have four types of sources for the terminals :

  1. Imported ready to use terminals
  2. Terminals manufactured using imported Brass strips .
  3. Terminals manufactured using indigenous Brass strips ( ETP quality 70:30 or 67:33
    generally with grades varying from quarter hard to full hard ).
    The terminals are either chain type ( i.e. continuous reels ) or separate .
  4. Battery Terminals ( separate pieces ) using indigeneous ETP grade copper .

II . Manufacturing Process of Brass Terminals

  1. The Brass strips received in bright condition are processed in the stamping line to form chain terminals. During the stamping process,the strips are sprayed with an Anti-rust Castrol Brand oil.The chain terminals are then inspected & wound on a reel . The terminals are often plated with Tin as slated above . The overall plating thickness is in the range of 1 ñ 2 microns.
  2. The Tin Plating Process at Vendorís Premises :

a) Pickling , cold water rinsing , Cu plating , Cold water rinsing , Tin Plating stage 1, Cold water rinsing , Tin Plating stage 2 , cold water rinsing , air drying , winding into reels .

III. Manufacturing Process of Copper Battery Terminals

  1. The Copper strips received in bright condition are processed in a press line , to form individual terminals. The terminals are then inspected & sent for Nickel plating ( 10 ± 2 Microns ).
  2. Rack Type Nickel Plating at Vendorís premises is as below : a) Bulk dipping process - in Kerosone oil , cleaning with saw dust , HCl washing , cold water rinsing , cathodic cleaning , cold water rinsing ( twice ) , b) Loading in jigs & dipping ñ in H2SO4 washing , Cold water rinsing ( 2 times ) , Nickel Plating , cold water rinsing ( 4 times ) , centrifugal drying , packing .

IV. Problems with Brass Terminals Unplated

(1) Terminals getting tarnished , in as short a period of 1-3 months from the date of manufacture .The problem becomes acute in the rainy & winter seasons. The Brass strips are received from vendors ( Indian Smelting Co. ñ Mumbai ) with the supplier recommended life of about 3 months only ( for brightness ) . Even some of the imported strips have the same problem .

V. Problems with Tin Plated Brass Terminals

  1. Low life of 16 hrs in Salt Spray test , against specified 50 Hrs. Minimum .
  2. Blackening of Terminals within 1 to 3 months .

VI. Problems with Tin Plated Brass Terminals

  1. Non-uniform plating thickness ranging from 7 to 20 microns against 10±2 microns .
  2. Peeling off

VII. Customer Complaints due to above

The Customers want the terminalsñ(either unplated brass or Tin Plated brass , or Nickel plated Copper ) to appear bright irrespective of environmental conditions , till the Wiring Harness gets used up in the vehicle & the vehicle gets despatched . A Wiring Harness that gets manufactured ( 1 to 2 weeks from strip stage for the terminals ), may lie with our customersñfor 4 to 8 weeksñ(waiting to be assembled in the vehicle) .

VIII . Our Other Findings & Observations

  1. The imported ( Japanese ) unplated brass terminals have a life of 2 to 3 years without tarnishing .
  2. (Our R & D have conducted electrical tests on such tarnished terminals & Tin Plated Brass Terminals (using indigeneous brass strips) and have not found any significant difference in electrical conductivity & as such there is functional problem .

Of late customer complaints have become chronic & we are really unable to lick the problem effectively . Efforts are on trying out Electroless Nickel plating of Nickel Plated Copper Battery Terminals . The results are good , but cost wise very high .

We also understand that some electrically conductive lacquers are available ( with negligible deposits ) , which when coated , prevents or delays tarnishing of unplated brass terminals, without affecting the electrical conductivity of the terminals . But we are unable to locate the source for the same .We seek your assistance in locating a few suppliers of such lacquers . Hope you will be able to help us out .

With Regards, R.Vishwanathan

Rajagopalan Vishwanathan
- Noida -.India


A. Dear Mr. Rajagopalan,

There are various methods of getting anti-tarnishing coatings on brass, however, it will involve changes in the way the vendor is doing his processing.

Since it is a long time since you have posted this letter, we leave it at this. However, in case you still face this problem, and would like to have a solution, please write back with the current set of problems, whether they are same or changed.


Sandeep Kundra
- Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

August 21, 2009

Q. Sir,

Am also looking for a low cost solution in the area of CLEANING machined copper conductor surface area; that will improve the shelf life of the same.

Kindly advise

Thanks & Regards

- Ernakulam, Kerala, India

August 21, 2009

A. Hi, Chikku. Generally you cannot combine the cleaning step with the preservation step. You probably need alkaline cleaning, followed by a bright dipping process (perhaps sulfuric acid and peroxide), followed by a preservation step (possibly benzotriazole or chromate conversion coating). Good luck.


Ted Mooney, Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Pine Beach, New Jersey

April 26, 2012

Q. Is there any chemical or any method to retain the electrical conductivity of copper yet prevents its tarnish??? If so, can you post its name? (or the method of doing?)

Arun Banik
- Kolkata, India

April 27, 2012

A. Hi Arun.

Sodium Benzotriazole is a good copper preservative which should not affect its conductivity. More elaborate methods would involve electroless nickel or gold plating, but they would alter its appearance.


Ted Mooney,
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Pine Beach, New Jersey

August 27, 2017

Q. Will this treatment work for silver plated busbars also?

Nitin Jhaveri
- Vadodara, GujRat, India

August 2017

? Hi Nitin. Probably not, chromating would work better if acceptable, but which treatment are you talking about? Alkaline cleaning, copper bright dipping, sodium benzotriazole, electroless nickel plating? :-)

Please carefully detail your own needs. Are the bus bars completely silver plated or just the ends? Are you trying to introduce a treatment into their manufacturing process, or restore tarnished bus bars in the field or as a service. Is it okay to alter their appearance? Can non-RoHS chemistry be used? Are they in a sealed switch, or open to the atmosphere? Can you post have pictures of these bus bars?

Unfortunately, short abstract questions can be the kiss of death to forum discussions :-)


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

September 16, 2017

Q. Dear Sir,

Anti Tarnishing of Brass and Copper Terminals and lugs. Please give your valuable information of process to prevent Electrical connecters of Brass and copper from oxidation and thereby turning blackish.

Waiting eagerly for your valuable reply.

Sandeep Modi
Quality search - Mumbai INDIA

This public forum has 60,000 threads. If you have a question in mind which seems off topic to this thread, you might prefer to Search the Site

ADD a Comment to THIS thread START a NEW threadView CURRENT TOPICS

Disclaimer: It's not possible to diagnose a finishing problem or the hazards of an operation via these pages. All information presented is for general reference and does not represent a professional opinion nor the policy of an author's employer. The internet is largely anonymous & unvetted; some names may be fictitious and some recommendations may be deliberately harmful.

  If you need a product/service, please check these Directories:

JobshopsCapital Equip. & Install'nChemicals & Consumables Consult'g, Train'g, SoftwareEnvironmental ComplianceTesting Svcs. & Devices

©1995-2018, Inc., Pine Beach, NJ   -   About   -  Privacy Policy
How Google uses data when you visit this site.