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Dielectric grease or silicone compound

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by BWinkel, Oct 28, 2003.

  1. BWinkel

    BWinkel Senior Member
    Messages: 103

    Does anyone know which is better for electrical connections that are exposed to the weather, dielectric grease or dielectric silicone compound? I have always used the grease in the past, but it seems most of the auto parts sores around here are stocking the silicone compound. I would think the grease would be better as far as preventing corrosion. What do most of you use?
     
  2. Adams plowing

    Adams plowing Senior Member
    Messages: 195

    i use the dielectric grease it seems to work well for me
     
  3. Arc Burn

    Arc Burn PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,138

    I've always used the grease but would be interested in what others are using also.
     
  4. ROSELAWN

    ROSELAWN Member
    Messages: 78

    As part of our pre-season maintenance we disassemble, clean and apply di-electric grease to all electrical connections on our plows and spreaders. Good for keeping out salt and moisture. Be careful where you use silicone it can damage electronic parts, i.e. computer modules or insides of plow controls.
     
  5. Roger Dodger

    Roger Dodger Senior Member
    from nw Pa.
    Messages: 240

    Here's a tidbit about dielectric grease:
    Ox-Gard

    I know it comes off as a bit of an advertisement posting the website but, the page has a very clear explanantion to dispell the fallacies surrounding dielectric grease/compounds as many folks so often get confused about.

    Regarding those closely spaced multi-pin connectors on plows, the page states this:
    "The only advantage of dielectric grease over OX-GARD, is the fact that it doesn't conduct electricity, so you can slather it on without worry of shorting out adjacent conductors, like found in a multi-pin connector. This is why you need to be careful with OX-GARD, and only use it sparingly, being careful not to get it on anything else but the connection itself. Think of it as a solder grease, and don't short anything out with it. If you are applying it to small pins and sockets of a connector, use the large end of a flat toothpick and carefully apply to the contact surfaces, and just wipe away any excess when your done, and it will be fine."
     
  6. CarlosT

    CarlosT Junior Member
    from PA
    Messages: 24

    That Oxgard is totally opposite to a dielectric grease...it actually conducts electricity. I wouldn't mess with it.

    BTW most dielectric greases are silicone based including the Permatex stuff available at auto stores. Matter of fact, you can just raid the old lady's night table and swipe the KY Jelly...would work just as good :D
     
  7. CarlosT

    CarlosT Junior Member
    from PA
    Messages: 24

  8. CarlosT

    CarlosT Junior Member
    from PA
    Messages: 24

    Maybe you're thinking of silicone caulk...not silicone grease?
     
  9. Roger Dodger

    Roger Dodger Senior Member
    from nw Pa.
    Messages: 240

    CarlosT, not trying to argue here but, I believe that's exactly what BWinkel is trying to acheive- good conductivity while keeping oxidation/corrosion to a minimum. Unless I'm talking out of my hat here, you want as much conductivity as possible, especially when employing high amperage connections (lighting and pump motor). The info. on that webpage is spot on & true. The word die-electric does mean "insulator". Silicone is used in a variety of mixtures/compounds from caulking, to thermal transfer grease, to die-electric grease. Silicon is the die-electric at the very junction of transistors and other semi-conductors.... hence, "semi"-conductors. The die-electric or non-conductive material acts as a control gate or valve to the applied current.

    As per that link you posted:
    PERMATEX S.I.N.: 834-300
    PermatexÆÊ Dielectric Tune-Up Grease is a silicone dielectric
    compound whose dielectric and lubricitous properties facilitate
    and improve tune-ups. The compound prevents voltage
    leakage around any electrical connector thereby insuring a
    strong spark in high energy automotive ignition systems. The
    compound is an excellent lubricant on rubber, plastic and
    ceramic surfaces and it also has good high temperature
    properties, thus preventing fusing of spark plug boots to the
    spark plug. It will make installation of the boots easier."


    You see? The semi-conducting properties of that stuff helps reduce pathways for voltage leaks. It doesn't truly conduct since there are no conductive metals in it. It simply offsets the forming of oxidation that leads to resistance or prevents a resistive path from forming that would allow some conductivity to occur. As the OxGard site mentions, it's the physical points of mechanical contact that carry the electricity.

    Heat producing semiconductors are first, mechanically attached to a heatsink, however that in itself isn't good enough for longevity of the device when under load. Applying thermal heat transfer compound is the equivalent to applying something like OxGard or electrical solder to better "carry" the heat away from the semiconductor. Conductive compounds do the same... they serve to better "carry" the electrical current away from the power source to the load, providing an uninterrupted or a low resistance path = higher efficiency.

    While the use of a die-electric compound on contacts/connectors is better than having equipment performance suffer or fail from oxidation or heavy corrosion, the use of a truly conductive paste/grease/whatever is certainly the best method. That's why I always solder wires into a connector wherever possible. The rules for a lasting, reliable, and a quality connection is to:
    #1. First, always assure the connection is mechanically sound. Minimize gaps and acheive a solid physical contact (the reason for crimping, set screws, clamps, etc.)
    #2. Follow up by applying either electronic solder or a conductive compound to promote good current flow and minimize resistive paths.

    A perfect example of where to use die-electric compound and not a conductive paste is in "F" connectors (those silver or gold threaded connectors on cable tv coax ends). The cable industry applies die-electric grease liberally on both the center wire conductor and the threaded connector sleeve. This reduces moisture from entering into the coax jacket and affecting high frequency channel reception, etc. The threads of the connector's sleeve provide such a large surface for multiple contact to the mating connector that the rf signal isn't affected by the grease. The same for the tiny center wire. It is inserted into a pinching receptacle which slightly bites into the copper. If a conductive past was applied all hell would break out and a tv would have lousy to downright horrible reception from the center wire being shorted to the braided shield. Die-electric grease, good... conductive past bad!

    For current carrying connections, conductive paste, good, die-electric grease, fair to useless.
     
  10. CarlosT

    CarlosT Junior Member
    from PA
    Messages: 24

    No argument here. The dielectric grease is just more foolproof 'cause you don't have to worry about misapplying the stuff. I'm thinking of situations where the conductive grease could melt and spread creating electric losses by contacting ground. A sparkplug comes to mind.

    In terms of good connections if the connector is tight enough and displaces the dielectric grease at the contact point, I don't see the problem.

    For permanent connections yeah solder would be the ticket.

    You didn't comment on the KY :D ;)
     
  11. Roger Dodger

    Roger Dodger Senior Member
    from nw Pa.
    Messages: 240

    KY huh? LOLOL! That stuff would wash off with the first few snowflakes! Heck, the plower is better off covering those plow connections with their favorite prophylactic!!! :eek: :eek:
     
  12. CPSS

    CPSS Senior Member
    Messages: 334

    OK guys I have to dispell a myth. OX-GUARD is not conductive. It's a dielectric compound that prevents oxidation at electrical connections. I'm an electrician and use it and another similar product, NOALOX made by Ideal ( the same company that makes the Ideal line if screwdrivers, wire strippers, and other tools), every day. Just to prove it to myself, I applied a 1" line of OX-GUARD to a scrap piece of plastic and used my Fluke digital VOM to measure the resistance of the stuff. Even on the 200K scale I showed an open circuit.

    We use the stuff on all our plow connections. Squirt it right into the multipin connectors on our Fisher harness. I also use it on the crimp on wire connectors to make them weather proof.
     
  13. Roger Dodger

    Roger Dodger Senior Member
    from nw Pa.
    Messages: 240

    Well guess what? Noalox is just the same: CLICK HERE
    It too has metal (zinc) particles suspended in a paste carrier. A conductive past should read on an ohmeter scale much lower than 200K! Hmmm, something's not right. I can't speak for Ox-Gard's conductivity factor but i do have "ox-id" solution used on submarines that is truly something else for promoting conductivity!
     
  14. BWinkel

    BWinkel Senior Member
    Messages: 103

    Is it possible that the zinc particles are there to prevent galvanic corrosion? Much the same as blocks of zinc are mounted to the lower units of outboard motors to prevent corrosion.
     
  15. XPECTATIONS

    XPECTATIONS Member
    from SE PA
    Messages: 38

    wow

    You all are getting into to much detail! As much as I understand, You guys are confusing me. Buy the dielectric grease that western sells and recommends! It works Great. My neighbor work on the Osprey project at Boeing and the use dielectric by the barrel. They also use Alodine, But thats another thread.
     
  16. Roger Dodger

    Roger Dodger Senior Member
    from nw Pa.
    Messages: 240

    Don't run away man, we're all learning things here! :waving:
     
  17. SnowLane

    SnowLane Senior Member
    Messages: 125

    I may be mistaken but I thought the Osprey is still grounded by the Marines Corp.
     
  18. BWinkel

    BWinkel Senior Member
    Messages: 103

    I wonder if the marines use grease or silicone. Wow!
     
  19. Roger Dodger

    Roger Dodger Senior Member
    from nw Pa.
    Messages: 240

    I know they sometimes they use a 50 cal. Barrett!!:salute:
     
  20. Progrounds

    Progrounds Junior Member
    Messages: 29

    Ok all you techies.
    Can someone bottom-line it for us business people that don't know anything about how equipment works?
    I just want it to start f$%&ing snowing so we can make some money, and I also need to know what to put on my trucks so my drivers don't waste my $$ and their time.
    Thanks