Stabilant 22 Contact Enhancer Application Notes from R.A.L. Audio
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Stabilant 22 Contact Enhancer Application Notes

App. Note 15 - Stereo Systems

What is Stabilant 22?

Stabilant 22 is an initially non-conductive block polymer that under the effect of a electrical field in a very narrow gap between metal contacts, becomes conductive. The electric field gradient at which this occurs is such that the material will remain non-conductive between adjacent contacts in a multiple pin environment.

Thus, when applied to electromechanical contacts, Stabilant 22 provides the connection reliability of a soldered joint without bonding the contact surfaces together.

While Stabilant 22 exhibits surfactant action, it is not promoted as a contact cleaner. Equally, it exhibits quite good lubricating properties but is not promoted as a contact lubricant. Its métier is in its active property when used in a connection and the other properties are a bonus.

Remember, Stabilant 22 is a resident treatment, it only has to be applied once and is left in place.

What are its benefits in a stereo system?

In general, Stabilant 22 can be used wherever electrical contacts are used, whether this is in connectors, or in switches. In home stereo system applications the number of places where Stabilant 22 or 22A can be employed are almost too numerous to list. When the signal path connectors and switches in an entire stereo system as treated (including socketed ICs and card-edge connectors) the distortion and signal to noise performance are usually improved substantially .

Where and how do I apply Stabilant 22?

PHONO CARTRIDGES: As the Stabilants reduce distortion caused by thin film rectification effects and as this effect is most pronounced at very low signal levels, the application of Stabilant 22A should start with the phono cartridge pins.

With Stabilant 22a it is not necessary to disconnect the phono cartridge leads as the diluted material will penetrate the connections. Use only a small drop on each cartridge connection. If the tip of the dropper bottle is too large, use a toothpick to transfer a smaller drop of the material to the contact. Do not use an excess amount! Don't get the material on any of the rubber shields (if present) that may cover the base of the stylus cantilever as the material will hold dust that might be present o the record surface.

PHONO ARM CONTACTS: Audiophiles often forget to treat both the headshell-to-arm connector contacts (if the headshell is detachable) and/or the connector(s) that may connect the cables to the arm. As Stabilant 22A will not cause leakage or bridging between adjacent contacts there is less restriction on the amount that can be used. If "RCA-type" connectors are used, be sure that the outer ground shell is bent inward so that it makes a tight contact to the ground section of the chassis mounted connector half. Stabilant 22A should be applied to both the central pin (signal) and the inside of the outer (ground) connection.

CD CABLE CONNECTORS: If a CD is installed, the connectors on the CD player should be treated with Stabilant 22. Note that it should NOT be used on "light-pipe" type connectors.

PREAMPLIFIER SWITCH TREATMENT: Audiophiles often overlook the fact that preamplifiers have switches in the signal path. These switches are also a potential source of distortion and noise. Rotary switches are usually the easiest to treat although it may be necessary to use a toothpick to transfer a drop of Stabilant 22A from the dropper bottle to the switch contacts. Slide switches may be treated by placing several drops in one end of the switch and cycling the switch.

Push button type switches, especially the ITT-Schadow type, may contain a lubricant that must be removed before Stabilant 22A is used. We have found that if the switch is flushed out with isopropanol (isopropyl alcohol) or one of the proprietary contact cleaners, it does not have to be disassembled. Several drops of Stabilant 22A should be run into the switch body through the slot on the upper side (ITT Schadow type).

We do not recommend the use of Stabilant 22A on volume or balance controls unless they are of the plastic element, wirewound of stepped-metal-contact type. Some controls use a resistive lacquer silk-screened on a phenolic insert for the element and in a few cases, the lacquer can be softened by an excess of isopropanol. ALWAYS TEST THESE CONTROLS FIRST! These might be cheap volume controls, although they are rarely found of good quality equipment anymore, they are much more common in old equipment. On plastic-element controls only the concentrate, Stabilant 22, cut 8:1 with hot water, should be used and then only sparingly. Very little is needed! Don't use the isopropyl-alcohol-diluted Stabilant 22A as the plasticizer in the plastic element can be extracted roughening the control's wiped surface,

POWER AMPLIFIERS: In tube type equipment, the tube pins may be treated individually. Because the voltages encountered in tube-type power amplifiers are often well above the switch-over-field-strength voltages for Stabilant 22 we specifically caution against the indiscriminate use of the material on an entire tube socket. Treat on the individual tube pins!


To repeat, in transistor power amplifiers, the output-transistor pins can be treated as well as the electromechanical contacts to the filter capacitors, any tab-type connectors, as well as any card-edge connectors. It is suggested that you have this done by a qualified service-technician.

DO NOT TREAT ANY POWER SWITCHES THAT SPARK ON OPENING! If a inductive load is present the spark could cause decomposition of the material.

TAPE RECORDERS:Stabilant 22A may be used in tape recorders. If spring contacts are used on the playback and recording heads these should be treated in the same way as the connections on a phono cartridge. Anywhere there are card-edge connections, Stabilant 22A can be used. And it should also be used on any microphone connectors.

In critical Audio work involving long signal runs, Stabilant 22 on the XLR or cable connectors will not only cut noise, but will, in many cases, improve the sound by stopping high-order harmonic distortion caused by thin film rectification effects.

INTERCONNECTION CABLES: The RCA-type connectors on the interconnect cables should be treated, making sure that both the inner pin (signal) and outer shell (ground) of each connector are treated as well. On DIN-type connectors be sure that all the pins are treated.

LOUDSPEAKER CONNECTORS: The loudspeaker connections may be treated with Stabilant 22A, but we suggest that you make sure that you have treated all the low-level signal contacts first! There will be a much greater effect on lower-level connections, and you don't want to run short.

PATCH BAYS: Some elaborate stereo systems use patch-bays to facilitate equipment use. In these patch bays, Stabilant 22A is recommended for both ring, tip, and sleeve plugs and for the dual tip and sleeve plugs as well as for the jacks. Be sure that the plugs themselves are cleaned of any previous oil-like material that might have been used. The reason for this is that it is not uncommon to find that the ring-tip- and sleeve type connector contacts have been machined from a "free-machining" brass that has a high sulfur content. The presence of sulfur can cause unsaturated oils to "varnish" producing a thin film that is difficult to remove. Unlike most of these "protective oils", Stabilant 22A is chemically stable in the presence of these cross-linking chemicals and therefore, need not be periodically cleaned off and replaced.

There is also a potential problem with cleaners and lubricants containing silicones Under the right circumstances these chemicals can also cross-link producing a thin glassy polyoxysilane film that can be difficult to remove. Nevertheless, for best improvement this film should be removed before using Stabilant 22A. Use several alternating applications of kerosene and isopropyl alcohol to remove all the silicone!.

TUNER, TV, SATELLITE EQUIPMENT AND GENERAL ANTENNAE USE: Stabilant 22 can be used on cable TV connections, on the co-axial connectors used between satellite receivers and the low-noise-amplifier, and on the flange between the low noise-amplifier and the satellite antennae. Stabilant 22A is not waterproof, therefore when using it in areas exposed to rain, we suggest that the connector be protected with a section of shrink tubing, and the antennae waveguide-flange b sealed at its outer circumference, with a double layer of stretched black vinyl tape.

RADIO FREQUENCY INTERFERENCE: RF interference in stereo systems can be a constant problem. With the passage of time, connectors often build up thin films that act as crude rectifiers. This source of RF interference can often be eliminated by using Stabilant 22.

Why should we use Stabilant over less expensive alternatives?

Properly applied, it only has to be used once. Because of its very low vapor pressure it won't evaporate, and therefore it is unique in having a very long useful life once in place. As we noted it is totally unlike other so-called contact treatments in that Stabilant 22A will not cross-link (becoming varnish-like) under the action of sulfur based curing agents in elastomers, cutting oil residues, or the sulfur-bearing free-machining metal alloys used in some contacts. In most types of service work, the cost of the time involved in changing the interconnect cables or in removing and replacing a module, plug-in component, or IC W/I be much greater than the cost of the Stabilant used to treat the connectors. Here, what is important is that not only will proper connector treatment cure existing contact problems, it will prevent contact problems from re-occurring, thus eliminating the necessity of repeating the treatment at a future date.

In other words, why should you have the annoyance and expense of doing a job more than once?

In what forms is Stabilant available?

For home stereo system use, the Stabilants are normally available only as Stabilant 22A in either a 5 mL, or a 15 mL Service kit of the isopropyl alcohol diluted form, (depending on the area served by the local distributor), and on special order only, a 15 mL bottle of the concentrate, Stabilant 22 (which costs about 5 times as much as the diluted material). For studio, maintenance, and OEM applications, industrial sizes are available as well.

What is the difference in use of the Stabilants?

The concentrate, Stabilant 22, is most useful where the connections are out in the open such as exposed RF connectors. Where the connections are not too easy to get at or where the user wishes to apply the material to something such as a socketed IC (without removing the IC from its socket) it is easier to use the alcohol diluted form, Stabilant 22A. The isopropyl alcohol diluant serves only to carry the concentrate into the connector.

Is it available in a spray can?

Not at present. During the initial stages of our market research we did provide spray cans of the material, but the users found that in most cases it did not ease the application of the material, wasted many times the amount that actually got on the contact areas, and generally left a film of excess material that had to be cleaned up, for appearances sake.

A further consideration is the fact that we wish to use neither the hydrochlorofluorocarbon or the chlorofluorocarbon propellants, nor the usual alternative, a propellant consisting of a highly flammable mixture of butane and propane. Remember, very little Stabilant 22 is necessary to treat a contact, so why waste it?

Is Stabilant just another contact cleaner?

No, it is important to remember that Stabilant 22 is an electrically active resident treatment which enhances conductivity within a contact without causing leakage between adjacent contacts. Thus large quantities of the material do not have to be "hosed" on as is the case with cleaners.

Just how much should be used?

Normally, a final film thickness of from 0.5 to 1 mils of the concentrate is all that is necessary. In other words you want just enough to fill up the interstices between the contact's faces. Where you're using Stabilant 22A, you'll have to use enough s that once the isopropyl alcohol evaporates the desired 0.5 to 1 mil film of Stabilant 22 remains.

How can I be sure that the material works?

Quite apart from the fact that Stabilant 22 has passed a number of stringent field tests before being issued a NATO supply code number, we could cite the fact that Stabilant 22 is used by many hospitals on their biomedical electronics to improve reliability of the equipment where lives are at stake. We could cite the use of Stabilant 22/22A/22E by many broadcasting networks to achieve the last measure of reliability in critical network switching applications. We could point out that many computer manufactures and field service personnel use the material to increase reliability in their products. We could note that it has been TSO'D for use in avionic & navigational aids, or we could refer the years of its use in the audio field where consumers have found the material easy to use and its results impressive. But we still feel that the best way to find out just how well it works is to try it out!

Can I use Stabilant 22 in other equipment?

It can be used in test equipment, cameras, just about everywhere there's a low voltage signal or control connection. For example, the effect of Stabilant 22 in computers is to reduce the number of times the system locks-up or crashes, often it completely eliminates non-software crashes in older systems.

When used on socketed IC's, photo-couplers/isolators, rotary, push button, or slide switches, or even on BNC connectors, the net effect is usually to make the proper operation of the equipment less erratic, and in the case of IEEE-488 bus- controlled equipment, to cut down on the potential for system lock-ups.

Is the material hazardous?

Stabilant 22 has caused no skin reactions in tests. In the undiluted form, it is non flammable- although if heated above 200' C its decomposition products will burn. If orally ingested in small amounts it will cause stomach upset, while ingestion of the concentrate in amounts in the range of 100 ml could cause systemic collapse! If it gets into the eyes it should be flushed out with running water. The Stabilant 22 has a LD50 of about 5 grams per kilogram body weight which is considered non-toxic. Material safety-data sheets are available on request.

In the United States, neither Stabilant 22, Stabilant 22A, or Stabilant 22E are subject to the Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA), nor are either of them reportable under SARA Title 111. In those states having restrictions on the amount of solvents used in coatings, the fact that the use of even isopropyl-alcohol diluted Stabilant 22A results in a factorial reduction in the equipment solvent-burden/year by about 200, has led Stabilants to be the contract treatment of choice for many environmentally-conscious agencies.

Will Stabilant 22 damage any components or plastic parts?

Both we and others have done extensive tests on the compatibility of the Stabilants with plastics and elastomers. We know of no molded plastic material used in the electronics industry that is adversely affected by Stabilant 22. Some elastomers are "swelled" slightly by the isopropanol diluant. This is not to say that somewhere, and at sometime a manufacturer, trying to cut costs, won't come up with a plastic formulation which might be damaged. It is highly unlikely that this would be used in good equipment.

Does the action of Stabilant 22122a deteriorate with age?

Stabilants have been used in some applications for over fifteen years now without showing any sign of reduced effectiveness. The material has a high molecular weight and a very low vapor pressure, thus it is not prone to evaporation.

Once again let us emphasize the point that unlike some other contact treatments containing oils, Stabilant 22 will not cross-link when exposed to certain materials such as high sulfur brass, or when used on contacts where cross-linking-promoting agents are present in the environment. This phenomena of "varnishing" does not occur with Stabilant 22.

Revision 4

Stabilants are a product of Dayton Wright research & development and are made in Canada

NSCM/Cage Code - NATO Supply Code 38948

15 mL of S22A has NATO Part # 5999-21-900-6937

The Stabilants are patented in Canada - 1987; US Patent number 4696832. World-wide patents pending. Because the patents cover contacts treated with the material, a Point-of-sale License is granted with each sale of the material.


Stabilant, Stabilant 22, and product type variations thereof are Trade Marks of D.W. Electrochemicals Ltd.

Copyright 2003 - D.W. Electrochemicals Ltd. This note may be reproduced or copied, provided its content is not altered. The term "contact enhancer", 1983 Wright Electroacoustics.

NOTICE: This Application Note is based on customer-supplied information, and D.W. Electrochemicals is publishing it for information purposes only. In the event of a conflict between the instructions supplied by the manufacturer of the equipment on which the Stabilant material was used, and the service procedure employed by our customer, we recommend that the manufacturer be contacted to make sure that warranties will not be voided by the procedures.

While to our knowledge the information is accurate, prospective users of the material should determine the suitability of the Stabilant materials for their application by running their own tests. Neither D.W. Electrochemicals Ltd., their distributors, or their dealers assume any responsibility or liability for damages to equipment and/or any consequent damages, howsoever caused, based on the use of this information.

Stabilant, Stabilant 22, and product type variations thereof are Trade Marks of D.W Electrochemicals Ltd.

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Stabilant 22 Contact Enhancer

Stabilant 22 Contact Enhancer

We carry the complete line of Stabilant products. Looking for something not listed here? Please contact us.
Stabilant 22
1. Electronic Equipment
2. Computer cards
3. Schadow switches
4. Mic connectors
5. RTS & Dual plug patch bays
6. Biomedical Electronics
7. Computing & Peripherals
8. Cable TV
9. Robotics
10. Environmental Impact
11. Recording studios
12. Broadcast equipment
13. Mobile Radio
14. Educational computing
15. Stereo systems
16. Aid to IC insertion
17. Navigational equipment
18. Card edge conn. problems
19. Complex process control
20. Automotive service
21. Gold plating/solder alloy
22. Very high humidity
23. High current thermal runaway
24. Car stereo systems
25. Plastic element pots.
26. Farm machinery & trucks
27. Model & hobby
28. RF case seals
29. Outdoor environments
30. Computer crashes
31. Relays & switches
32. Silicone problems
33. Tin-plated contacts
34. Solder flux & resin residue
35. Post application color tinting
36. Aircraft connectors w/ flurosilicones
37. Avoiding unsafe solvents
38. S22 R&D Design Goals
39. Stabilant use on PLCC's
40. Sensor problem solution
41. Repair of flood damage
42. Marine electrical & electronics
43. All Cameras & Video Equipment
44. SCSI removable SCA drives, caddies & connections
45. Home Theater & Computer Connectors

Some of these application notes are repetitive of material in other application notes. We realize this. But some were written as a reference to a contact problem in a particular field or application.

NOTICE: This data has been supplied for information purposes only. While to our knowledge it is accurate, users should determine the suitability of the material for their application by running their own tests. Neither R.A.L. Audio Services, D.W. Electrochemicals Ltd., their distributors, or their dealers assume any responsibility or liability for damages to equipment and/or consequent damages, howsoever caused, based on the use of this information.
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Stabilant 22
Over the years, Stabilant 22 has been highly parsed in publications that target a wide range of electronics applications including:
* Andrew Marshall's Audio Ideas Guide
* BYTE Magazine (7 articles)
* Windows Magazine
* Q.S.T. Amateur Radio
* Model Railroads (2 articles)
* Motor Magazine
Stabilant 22
1. MSDS - Stabilant 22
2. General Information
4. MSDS - Stabilant 22A
5. MSDS - Stabilant 22E
9. MSDS - Stabilant 22L
20. Military Applications
21. Elastomer Compatibility
22. Effectiveness of Stabilants
24. Connector Harmonic Distortion
39. Signal rise time

There are gaps in the sequence numbers below because some Technical Note s were written by the manufacturer for specific companies and are confidential.

NOTICE: This data has been supplied for information purposes only. While to our knowledge it is accurate, users should determine the suitability of the material for their application by running their own tests. Neither R.A.L. Audio Services, D.W. Electrochemicals Ltd., their distributors, or their dealers assume any responsibility or liability for damages to equipment and/or consequent damages, howsoever caused, based on the use of this information.
Stabilant 22 Contact Enhancer

Stabilant 22 Contact Enhancer

We carry the complete line of Stabilant products. Looking for something not listed here? Please contact us.

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