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Old 10-12-2008, 05:40 PM   #16
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As others here have said, erasers to clean contacts is a very old trick. I used to do it in the '70s and early '80s mostly with solder-tinned connections. Haven't had to do it in a long time.

As has also been pointed out, an eraser will abrade the gold plating on the connectors. I have never found it necessary to clean a gold plated connection this way.
Old 10-12-2008, 06:50 PM   #17
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I too have been cleaning contacts with pencil eraser since the 1980's. However I preferred the more smooth eraser types as they were less likely to abrase.

Many years later, I am wondering if this trick is really totally unharmful considering static electricity. Both a pencil eraser, or a piece of paper moistened with 99% alcohol are good insulators. Insulator + rubbing = charge. The PC board is a very good insulator, and by rubbing you are cleaning off any dirt and dust which might have been accumulated and which could provide a few micro or nano Siemens conductivity. In this aspect I think the paper + alcohol is even better because the 0.1% water in the paper might conduct still conduct. By rubbing you are transferring charge constantly to the connection pads.

I never lost a board due to this practice, but then again, static defects often do not show up immediately, but damage being done it can lead to defects of electronic components much later.

I know circuits ought to be protected agains statics, and it is also said that components mounted on boards should be safe. But the electronics industry is pretty paranoia about static electricity.

Old 10-12-2008, 07:11 PM   #18
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You're over-thinking the problem.
Old 10-12-2008, 11:22 PM   #19
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Sure the eraser trick has been used for a long time. But that doesn't make it a correct technique. As I stated most good techs would not use an eraser to clean a contact be it gold or tin plated. as for static charge, not enough to even consider damage.

You are more likely to transfer charge if not at the same potential with the equipment. A good wrist strap or even just a 10 MΩ resistor and a piece of wire will provide a means of grounding. Just solder the wire lead to the resistor along with some gator clips to each end. Then ground (machine ground) one end and attach the other end to your wrist watch band or other band of some sort. You will then be at the same potential as the piece of equipment your are working on.

I'm not over thinking the problem but just presenting the proper technique of cleaning board contacts and edge connectors.
I've done this on mainframes, mini and micros without problems. Along with other electronic instrumentation. Just proper maintenance.


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