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 Post subject: Can gold plated connectors cause corrosion on connectors?
PostPosted: Sun Sep 19, 2021 7:08 pm 



Joined: 03 Dec 2019
Posts: 51
Can gold plated connectors cause corrosion on the regular metal connectors they are paired with?


I have read someone suggesting that gold plated connectors will actually cause galvanic corrosion on the connectors they go with, so they should be avoided.

How true is this?

[del]I always buy gold plated when I can but now I'm concerned this might be a mistake.[/del]
Haven't owned gold plated cables that are actually connected for very long.


Last edited by oldgamer on Sun Sep 19, 2021 8:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Can gold plated connectors cause corrosion on connectors
PostPosted: Sun Sep 19, 2021 7:35 pm 



Joined: 01 Mar 2018
Posts: 841
Do your copper wires corrode when in contact with gold connectors?


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 Post subject: Re: Can gold plated connectors cause corrosion on connectors
PostPosted: Sun Sep 19, 2021 8:31 pm 



Joined: 03 Dec 2019
Posts: 51
ldeveraux wrote:
Do your copper wires corrode when in contact with gold connectors?


Until now, no. But I haven't really owned gold plated stuff for long enough for anything to be concluded, been using gold plated RCA connectors for only a few months.


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 Post subject: Re: Can gold plated connectors cause corrosion on connectors
PostPosted: Sun Sep 19, 2021 10:14 pm 



Joined: 01 Mar 2018
Posts: 841
oldgamer wrote:
ldeveraux wrote:
Do your copper wires corrode when in contact with gold connectors?


Until now, no. But I haven't really owned gold plated stuff for long enough for anything to be concluded, been using gold plated RCA connectors for only a few months.


I think you'll be fine.


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 Post subject: Re: Can gold plated connectors cause corrosion on connectors
PostPosted: Mon Sep 20, 2021 1:46 pm 



Joined: 21 Aug 2016
Posts: 690
Gold-plated connectors are a good way to justify charging you more for no real benefit. The reality is that having a tiny bit of gold plating on just the connector isn't going to provide any substantial increase in conductivity when the rest of the cable is copper and the bulk of the connector is whatever non-gold material it is. On top of that, the plating always wears off over time (especially if you plug and unplug frequently), so eventually it won't even be plated anymore. By the time it could even begin to cause any corrosion, there won't be any gold left to cause it.

Mind you, I know nothing about the chemistry, so I can't speak to whether or not corrosion is even a concern to begin with. But I can say that I've never seen it over the past couple decades.


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 Post subject: Re: Can gold plated connectors cause corrosion on connectors
PostPosted: Mon Sep 20, 2021 2:02 pm 



Joined: 01 Mar 2018
Posts: 841
thebigcheese wrote:
Gold-plated connectors are a good way to justify charging you more for no real benefit. The reality is that having a tiny bit of gold plating on just the connector isn't going to provide any substantial increase in conductivity when the rest of the cable is copper and the bulk of the connector is whatever non-gold material it is. On top of that, the plating always wears off over time (especially if you plug and unplug frequently), so eventually it won't even be plated anymore. By the time it could even begin to cause any corrosion, there won't be any gold left to cause it.

Mind you, I know nothing about the chemistry, so I can't speak to whether or not corrosion is even a concern to begin with. But I can say that I've never seen it over the past couple decades.


I am a chemist (analytical, but still a chemist), it's fine. I don't even know what current/voltage is passing through those cables, but come on... I'll bet the majority of those vendors that sell parts on the super-cheap don't gold coat, but just use brass/bronze and hope the end user doesn't know any better.


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 Post subject: Re: Can gold plated connectors cause corrosion on connectors
PostPosted: Mon Sep 20, 2021 6:17 pm 


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thebigcheese wrote:
The reality is that having a tiny bit of gold plating on just the connector isn't going to provide any substantial increase in conductivity when the rest of the cable is copper


Especially since gold is less conductive than copper.

Gold for cables/connectors is a marketing meme.


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 Post subject: Re: Can gold plated connectors cause corrosion on connectors
PostPosted: Mon Sep 20, 2021 8:04 pm 



Joined: 01 Mar 2018
Posts: 841
Osirus wrote:
thebigcheese wrote:
The reality is that having a tiny bit of gold plating on just the connector isn't going to provide any substantial increase in conductivity when the rest of the cable is copper


Especially since gold is less conductive than copper.

Gold for cables/connectors is a marketing meme.


But gold doesn't oxidize nearly as easily, which I will assume is why it's used.


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 Post subject: Re: Can gold plated connectors cause corrosion on connectors
PostPosted: Mon Sep 20, 2021 11:37 pm 



Joined: 03 Dec 2019
Posts: 51
ldeveraux wrote:

But gold doesn't oxidize nearly as easily, which I will assume is why it's used.


But gold being good at not oxidizing means the non-gold metal it is in contact with corrodes preferentially, doesn't it?


My concern mostly is something like a gold-plated male RCA plug causing the non-gold-plated female jack on the tv set side to corrode instead, which would be far harder to replace than the RCA male plug.


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 Post subject: Re: Can gold plated connectors cause corrosion on connectors
PostPosted: Mon Sep 20, 2021 11:44 pm 


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ldeveraux wrote:
Osirus wrote:
thebigcheese wrote:
The reality is that having a tiny bit of gold plating on just the connector isn't going to provide any substantial increase in conductivity when the rest of the cable is copper


Especially since gold is less conductive than copper.

Gold for cables/connectors is a marketing meme.


But gold doesn't oxidize nearly as easily, which I will assume is why it's used.


Right, gold doesnt oxidize/tarnish at all-- at least pure gold doesnt. Thats the real reason it is desirable in electronics.


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 Post subject: Re: Can gold plated connectors cause corrosion on connectors
PostPosted: Mon Sep 20, 2021 11:48 pm 


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oldgamer wrote:
ldeveraux wrote:

But gold doesn't oxidize nearly as easily, which I will assume is why it's used.


But gold being good at not oxidizing means the non-gold metal it is in contact with corrodes preferentially, doesn't it?


My concern mostly is something like a gold-plated male RCA plug causing the non-gold-plated female jack on the tv set side to corrode instead, which would be far harder to replace than the RCA male plug.


No. According to this, gold does not galvanically react to, nor does it cause accelerated galvanic reaction in, other metals when in contact.


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 Post subject: Re: Can gold plated connectors cause corrosion on connectors
PostPosted: Tue Sep 21, 2021 1:11 pm 



Joined: 21 Aug 2016
Posts: 690
Could be that people see that the gold has not oxidized and the nearby metals have and take that to mean that the gold caused the oxidation when in fact if there was no gold at all there would still be the same oxidation. Correlation does not equal causation and all that.


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 Post subject: Re: Can gold plated connectors cause corrosion on connectors
PostPosted: Tue Sep 21, 2021 2:20 pm 



Joined: 25 Jul 2008
Posts: 1145
Location: Leeds
/\ possibly what big cheese said.

Tldr - gold is best, worry more about humidity and other warm/condensation prone components.

But no, this is the kind of thing an anti vaxer might come out with; where there might be a crumb of logic in a completely different context, but wouldn't have much bearing in the real context we're in :)

Gold, nickel, tin - all are pretty good at conductivity and avoiding corrosion and malleable enough to avoid drastic damage like splitting. Is gold worth the upsale/hype? Probably not. But it probably is so tiny it has little actual impact on cost versus the bulk of everything else in the cable tbh...

Although I do wonder how much 'gold' is actually some kind of nickel. But even that is perfectly fine. I suppose some kind of (gold looking) nickel copper mix maybe more prone to oxidisation and lead to an accusation that 'gold' was underperforming... BUT that would probably be still performing better than most other alternatives...

With electronics if any other component is at risk of corrosion you can't really protect it by having something else rust in preference. In some environments you could conceivably slow corrosion by attracting a reaction to occur elsewhere - most commonly on boats/oil rigs. You can probably even use that to help buy you time to treat/maintain an exposed metal you are interested in. But that's not really applicable and even in theory - like gaming in a suana - any damage will lose some conductivity, and if you trap some moisture in a repair and it rusts under a repaired surface its more hassle than ever to root out and eventually replace/repair than something visible... Some situation like this might exist at I dunno a power station... and it's got me thinking what a low resistance av brass connector could look like (Probably completely massive and unoptimal at this voltage)... But for something like an av plug this is all impractical musings :)


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 Post subject: Re: Can gold plated connectors cause corrosion on connectors
PostPosted: Tue Sep 21, 2021 3:37 pm 


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Joined: 16 May 2008
Posts: 2067
Location: Denmark
When I was looking to buy banana plugs for my speaker cables (purely for convenience), I came across a few sites that claimed silver to be a better conductive material than gold. Silver does oxidise like crazy, but unlike other metals this supposedly doesn't affect its conductivity. It just becomes really matte and dull looking after a short time.

It can be hard to find good reliable information on these things. Especially if you end up on hi-fi forums where a lot of contradicting nonsense is thrown around. The plugs were priced similarly to the gold ones so that's the reason I even did a little bit of info searching, while being careful not to go too far down the rabbit hole :D

I wonder why, if silver is superior as some sites claim, it isn't used more often for plugs and connectors? I wouldn't be surprised if it all came down to looks at the end up the day. Oxidised silver doesn't look very pretty compared to gold :)


For what it's worth, I did end up getting the silver ones. They are very slightly cheaper than the gold ones, and they have a really tight grip which is nice. Obviously I hear no difference after soldering these on, and I don't suspect the gold ones to fare much different :D
https://www.av-connection.com/?PGr=8121


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 Post subject: Re: Can gold plated connectors cause corrosion on connectors
PostPosted: Tue Sep 21, 2021 5:34 pm 



Joined: 01 Mar 2018
Posts: 841
Konsolkongen wrote:
For what it's worth, I did end up getting the silver ones. They are very slightly cheaper than the gold ones


because ounce for ounce, silver is less expensive than gold.


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 Post subject: Re: Can gold plated connectors cause corrosion on connectors
PostPosted: Tue Sep 21, 2021 6:33 pm 



Joined: 21 Aug 2016
Posts: 690
I'll also say that for nicer cables, the copper used for the cabling, at least, is advertised as being oxygen free, so the only place you'd get any corrosion is on the plugs (which are replaceable with a bit of soldering or sometimes just some crimping). Or you just insert the plug a few times to rub off the corrosion, so... invest in a quality cable and corrosion is basically irrelevant is what I'm saying.


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 Post subject: Re: Can gold plated connectors cause corrosion on connectors
PostPosted: Tue Sep 21, 2021 8:02 pm 


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You know there's an abundance of oxygen in the atmosphere right


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 Post subject: Re: Can gold plated connectors cause corrosion on connectors
PostPosted: Tue Sep 21, 2021 8:33 pm 



Joined: 01 Mar 2018
Posts: 841
maxtherabbit wrote:
You know there's an abundance of oxygen in the atmosphere right


It's not oxygen free obviously, it's probably marketed as oxidizer free. Either way mostly a scam.


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 Post subject: Re: Can gold plated connectors cause corrosion on connectors
PostPosted: Wed Sep 22, 2021 2:15 pm 



Joined: 21 Aug 2016
Posts: 690
ldeveraux wrote:
maxtherabbit wrote:
You know there's an abundance of oxygen in the atmosphere right


It's not oxygen free obviously, it's probably marketed as oxidizer free. Either way mostly a scam.


The term is oxygen-free copper or OFC for short and it's a standard, apparently, not just a marketing term. That link will take you to a Wikipedia page about it. It's supposed to have better conductivity, but, as stated on that page, it's like maybe a 1% improvement. However, in industrial applications, having it be oxygen free is actually super important: "In any of these applications, the release of oxygen or other impurities can cause undesirable chemical reactions with other materials in the local environment."

Mind you, I'm not saying any of this is relevant to retro consoles, nor am I saying there's actually any reason to worry about your cables and connectors corroding provided you're not leaving them out in the rain.


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 Post subject: Re: Can gold plated connectors cause corrosion on connectors
PostPosted: Wed Sep 22, 2021 6:54 pm 



Joined: 01 Mar 2018
Posts: 841
thebigcheese wrote:
ldeveraux wrote:
maxtherabbit wrote:
You know there's an abundance of oxygen in the atmosphere right


It's not oxygen free obviously, it's probably marketed as oxidizer free. Either way mostly a scam.


The term is oxygen-free copper or OFC for short and it's a standard, apparently, not just a marketing term. That link will take you to a Wikipedia page about it. It's supposed to have better conductivity, but, as stated on that page, it's like maybe a 1% improvement. However, in industrial applications, having it be oxygen free is actually super important: "In any of these applications, the release of oxygen or other impurities can cause undesirable chemical reactions with other materials in the local environment."

Mind you, I'm not saying any of this is relevant to retro consoles, nor am I saying there's actually any reason to worry about your cables and connectors corroding provided you're not leaving them out in the rain.


Cool info! It says 200-400 mV to perform the process, I wonder what the voltage is in retro gaming cables? Regardless, I don't understand how that result is maintained, because copper likes to oxidize. Maybe by encapsulating in the coating that protects it ultimately? But yeah I'm sure it makes little to no difference in retro games!


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