Removing oxidation from old wire

Discussion in 'General Classic Motorcycle Discussion' started by texasSlick, Jul 3, 2014.

  1. texasSlick

    texasSlick VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2013
    While making a splice into the 50 year old wiring on my Atlas, I skinned the old wiring to find dull brown, oxidized, copper under the insulation. A crimp connection would have high resistance, and a solder connection would be near impossible.

    I removed the oxidation by fanning out the wire strands, and dipping the wire ends in cartridge brass cleaner, producing shiny copper in minutes. The active ingredient is citric acid. You can make your own by mixing 1 cup water, 1/2 cup vinegar, 1/4 cup lemon juice, and 1/16 cup salt.

    Slick
     
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  2. acotrel

    acotrel

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2012
    If you put one small drop of potassium dichromate solution into that acid, you will probably find the copper will stay bright for years. You wouldn't do that to cartridges where the brass may be in contact with propellant. If I'm cleaning copper I use very dilute nitric acid with one very small drop of chrome solution added. It creates an anti corrosion effect which occurs at atomic level. It just needs to be hexavalent chrome which is added. You will see the copper change immediately from brown to pink and it will stay that way for ages.
     
  3. texasSlick

    texasSlick VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2013
    Alan:

    It is not easy for we non-chemists to find small quantities of such chemicals (dilute nitric acid, potassium dichromate or hexavalent chrome). Can you suggest an alternative, or commercially available product that contains such?

    Slick
     
  4. Bernhard

    Bernhard

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2011
    You really need to dip the copper wire in Critic acid which is in those Jenloite rust remover then wash out in water.
    soldering then is easy, where before it would be impossible.
     
  5. acotrel

    acotrel

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2012
    Tex, if you want small quantities of chemicals, make friends with your local electroplater. The amounts you would need are almost nothing.
     
  6. Danno

    Danno

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2010
    I've recently discovered that Limeaway, a common household product containing (I think) oxalic acid, is great for cleaning oxidation and scale from aluminum, copper and brass. There are also dips for tarnished metal that may work. No need to ask Einstein to raid his stash.
     
  7. robs ss

    robs ss VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2016
    The best product I've found to stop corrosion - especially in electrical wires/components is called ACF50
    I thoroughly recommend it
    I'm currently using it on my neighbour's 80hp Yamaha outboard motor which was overturned and submerged for 3 days (local flooding event)
    Bottom line is that it's good for all corrosion but especially good for electrical stuff
    I bought 4 litres and decant into small spray bottles
    Some of the terminal wires on the 80hp were showing the beginnings of the "green death" but a week after being sprayed with ACF50 now look like healthy copper
    Worth a look!
    Cheers
    Rob
     
  8. xbacksideslider

    xbacksideslider

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2010
    I just fan the strands out and lightly scrape them with a cheap plastic utility knife until bright.

    Soldering splices is not done by OEMs in aircraft, marine, or automotive because the soldered joint is so stiff that vibration is bound to cause a break next to the joint. That said, crimp joints of old wire can be too resistant, so, I still solder splices but I place the cut off end of a zip tie under my shrink tube to reinforce the wire on each side of the soldered joint. So, my box of automotive/MC wiring stuff includes solder, shrink wrap, and a lot of zip tie cut off ends.
     
  9. Danno

    Danno

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2010
    I've often wondered about a good use for those. Being an inveterate unreformed dutchman, I don't throw anything away. Sometimes stuff lays around for years before I come up with a good use for it. the other day I was able to utilize a pack of old aluminum pop rivet shanks I saved.
     
  10. xbacksideslider

    xbacksideslider

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2010
    Me too, my sweet wife, knowing that I might claim a possible/potential/maybe use for stuff that she wants to throw out, often mentions it first.

    With the electronics on cars, millivolts are in play, and oxidized crimp connections in the middle of a run in the middle of a loom are a bad idea. That's why I scrape, solder, and reinforce the shrink tube insulation with those nylon strips from zip ties.
     

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