Author Topic: Copper Wiring Corrosion fix!  (Read 13455 times)

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Offline ack

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In preparation for the typical midwest winter, I replaced my old battery and seriously corroded terminal connections.

After cutting off the connector and stripping back enough insulation for the new connector, I wondered "How the Heck am I gonna get a good connection with all this GREEN corrosion on the wire???"

I knew that most soda pops have some mild acid content to them but I needed something stronger than a Coke Classic...

How about vinegar???

(I forgot to take pics of how terriffic vinegar was on the green corrosion so I am simulating it here with a piece of copper tubing. Please suspend your disbelief for a few moments  ;)  )



I went to the kitchen and found a bottle of white vinegar (5% acidity) along with a small Tupperware(tm)-like container to dip the stripped copper wire ends in.

Here is how it looked at first.



After 20 minutes, the tube finally gleamed all copper-y.



I have to say that the vinegar worked MUCH FASTER at stripping the green corrosion away.  It took less than two minutes to turn the formerly corroded stranded copper battery wire to a bright reddish brown.  It took nearly 20 minutes to get the results pictured below on the pipe:



I imagine that you can use this to clean up grounding wires and other tarnished wires that you are going to splice with a soldering gun.

Give it a try!
Ack
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Offline flea

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always found that vineagr, bakingsoda and cola works well.  CLR is a big winner in my book !

thanks for the demonstration jim.
De inimico non loqaris male, sed cogites. --- Do not wish ill for your enemy, plan it.

Offline kyradog

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In my experiences I've found that the corrosion often extends several inches into the cable under the insulation.  Once you clean up the corrosion at the terminal and have a nice clean connection to make, the corosion works it's way back down after a while like an insidious virus.

Instead of baking soda (calcium carbonate) to clean corrosion, I've been using Soda Ash (sodium carbonate) that I get free at work. Much more aggresive. The same stuff your grandma bought as 'laundry soda' but that isn't nearly as potent.

However, using the acetic acid in the vinegar to etch the conductor perfectly clean could prevent the corrosion from creeping it's way back down to the terminal agian maybe. More so if you take a nicely etched cable and run a bead of silicone around the cable above the terminal as a bit of a buffer?

Maybe I'll try that on my old beater. Thanks for the tip and good pictures.

 

Offline ack

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Kyradog:

You make a good point with the corrosion creeping up the insulation.

One of the things that I did was to peel back about an inch of insulation because the nut on the battery was so corroded that I had cut the clamp off the cable and start over with bare wire.  Fortunately, I peeled back past the "creeping corrosion" - yep the corrosion HAD moved up the cable under the insulation!

So, as Kyradog suggests, peel back insulation until you get clean wire.  If you end up peeling back too much, you probably needed a new battery cable anyway.
Ack
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Offline Bingo Jed

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Ack... Awesome demonstration. [thumbsup]


One question about the oxidation underneath the insulation...

How does that affect the conductivity of the copper? I can understand it providing more resitance at the point of contact, so it makes sense to clean the end where it's connected, but I don't see how it would make a difference once it's past that point.

 ???

Offline ZUKIMON

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Black wire disease man. It eats away at the wire making it brittle and thin, until it ends up breaking. It's also near impossible to ever make a good connection later on if you need to cut it in that particular spot for adding another end or such onto it. ;)




I have a great wife. ;)

Offline kyradog

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and again, my point was that the corrosion WILL work it's way back down the cable to the point of origin... The terminal.  On a piece of stranded cable about 8 or 10 guage it won't affect conductivity at all, at first. But once up in the insulation it will eat away, as mentioned before, creating a weak spot. all it needs is a little atmospheric moisture.

The unfortunate thing is that most modern cars don't allow you sufficient slack in the cable to just simply 'cut out' 3-4 inches or so.
So if you have a battery that has been venting off and corroding cables, your best bet in the long run is to just simply bite it and replace the cable right from the start.

If you do have room to cut and etch the connection as described above, place a good whack of either petroleum jelly (Vaseline) or silicone gel around the insulation terminus to prevent the corrosion from creeping back down to the terminal.

My $.02   

Offline Cole82

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Ack... Awesome demonstration. [thumbsup]


One question about the oxidation underneath the insulation...

How does that affect the conductivity of the copper? I can understand it providing more resitance at the point of contact, so it makes sense to clean the end where it's connected, but I don't see how it would make a difference once it's past that point.

 ???

Electricity travels around the outside of the wire not through it. So if there is some corrosion on the outside of the each wire strand it causes a lot of resistance. That makes it much harder to get the amps to flow through useing the rest of the clean strands. Reduces the effective size of your 0-1 gauge wire to small wire gauge that heats up and melts.
« Last Edit: Thursday, October 30, 2008, 07:49:12 PM by Cole82 »

Offline Bingo Jed

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Cool.

Good to know! Thanks for clearing that up.

[thumbsup]

Offline catfishblues

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Electricity travels around the outside of the wire not through it. So if there is some corrosion on the outside of the each wire strand it causes a lot of resistance. That makes it much harder to get the amps to flow through useing the rest of the clean strands. Reduces the effective size of your 0-1 gauge wire to small wire gauge that heats up and melts.

Skin effect. Not entirely true, but for the most part, it is. I can't really explain much further than that. I had it explained thoroughly once, when I worked in electronics repair, but it was really unnecessary for me to hang onto that info, so it got filed in the circular file of my brain. I'm sure a little creative googling would yeild the results you seek, should one be so inclined.
UNDERSTEER is when you hit the wall with the front of the car. OVERSTEER is when you hit the wall with the rear. HORSEPOWER is how fast you hit the wall. TORQUE is how far you take the wall with you.

Offline Cole82

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Skin effect. Not entirely true, but for the most part, it is. I can't really explain much further than that. I had it explained thoroughly once, when I worked in electronics repair, but it was really unnecessary for me to hang onto that info, so it got filed in the circular file of my brain. I'm sure a little creative googling would yeild the results you seek, should one be so inclined.
LOL I knew someone would say that! :P
Yeah that's from college in 2002 so if it lacks soemthing some where I am sorry but that is what I remember from then.

Offline catfishblues

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LOL I knew someone would say that! :P
Yeah that's from college in 2002 so if it lacks soemthing some where I am sorry but that is what I remember from then.


I believe it has to do with the frequency. DC kinda travels wherever it wants to, HF sticks to the surface. Again, I could easily be wrong, but this is what I kinda sorta remember.
UNDERSTEER is when you hit the wall with the front of the car. OVERSTEER is when you hit the wall with the rear. HORSEPOWER is how fast you hit the wall. TORQUE is how far you take the wall with you.

Offline catfishblues

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I was RIGHT!!!!  ;D ;D ;D

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skin_effect

I feel like I just got called to the blackboard and got the answer right. And I showed all my work!  ;)
UNDERSTEER is when you hit the wall with the front of the car. OVERSTEER is when you hit the wall with the rear. HORSEPOWER is how fast you hit the wall. TORQUE is how far you take the wall with you.

Offline Cole82

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Ah those stupid formulas I remember those. Man I am glad I didn't pursue that line of work. ;D
« Last Edit: Thursday, October 30, 2008, 09:29:38 PM by Cole82 »

Offline catfishblues

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Ah those stupid formulas I remember those. Man I am glad I didn't pursue that line of work. ;D

Holy crap! You actually remember those?  :o I just kinda glossed over them. I'm lucky to remember Ohm's Law!  ;D Seriously, I have long since forgotten most of that stuff, and I never got too far into the engineering side of it anyway. Sometimes, I want to dig out the old books and read up again.
UNDERSTEER is when you hit the wall with the front of the car. OVERSTEER is when you hit the wall with the rear. HORSEPOWER is how fast you hit the wall. TORQUE is how far you take the wall with you.