How to restore gold finger contacts?

wwenze

Member
2008-03-07 12:46 pm
Got a few ram modules and expansion cards with worn out connectors that doesn't connect >90% of the time. Some of the pins are so worn out there isn't much gold left.

I've tried rubber eraser, alcohol, and household bleach using H2O2 with q-tip to wipe the connector. Slight improvement, not by much.

Any idea to restore the connector to decent reliability? Not asking for perfection, able to be detected after say 3 resittings is good enough.

How about if I put a thin layer of solder then file it down to size? The solder may break off and get stuck in the slot and fry etc though.
 
I've read that when the expansion card has gold contacts and the motherboard connector doesn't, it can cause connectivity issues.
I would not use solder to build up the connector. It will cause nothing but trouble in the future.
Using an eraser on the board was a bad choice. You probably "erased" the gold plating.
If you have access to some DeOxit, I'd try it.
 

multisync

Member
2008-01-31 10:34 pm
Carp
I don't know how many times in my past life I was faced with a similar situation, board was cleaned, but nobody thought about the backplane, as metioned above. What worked for me for the backplane/motherbard is a piece of paper folded 2-3 times then soaked in rubing alcohol then pushed in the backplane and moved back and forth once or twice. If the contacts were gold they would never have to be cleaned, gold never tarnishes. It's the stuff they mix it with that does.
 
"Gold contacts" doesn't necessarily equate to "quality contacts". The problem that I saw with network RJ-45 connectors was that most of the components supplied by other than "brand name" companies had insufficient gold plating on the contacts. After being disconnected and reconnected a number of times, the gold rubbed through to the base metal, causing intermittent errors in high speed networks. It's true that gold doesn't have to be cleaned, since it doesn't tarnish, however, it must be on the substrate or base metal to a sufficient depth to keep it from tarnishing.
I see the same problem with audio connectors. It seems as if every supplier offers "gold plated" connectors in nearly every configuration, but it's very rare that the depth of the gold plating is specified. I have discarded dozens of them with the plating worn off in a very short time. I'll stick with nickel plated audio connectors, as they seem to hold up well over a long time period.