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

App. Note 17 - Navigational Equipment

What is Stabilant 22?

Stabilant 22 is an initially non-conductive block polymer that under the effect of an electrical field or when used in a very narrow gap between metal contacts, becomes conductive. The electrical field gradient at which this occurs is set so that the material will not cause leakage between adjacent contacts in a multiple pin environment.

Thus, it provides the connection reliability of a soldered joint without bonding the contact surfaces together.

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

What are its uses in avionics and navigational equipment?

Stabilant 22 can be used wherever electrical contacts are used, whether this is in connectors, or in switches. Whether it's ground, marine, or airborne applications, the number of places where Stabilant 22/22A or 22E, can be employed are almost too numerous to list.

As any avionics technician can well attest, one of the major problems in avionics, has been that equipment that performs flawlessly on the service bench, often fails where-installed in the aircraft. This usually involves connector or wiring harness failures, these are a difficult thing to service for the technician who is often faced with working in hard-to-reach places, and expensive to the aircraft operator as well, because the aircraft is tied up during this service. Although the reduction in power requirements and the use of more complex integrated circuits has enabled avionic equipment manufacturers to reduce the size of the equipment. In this case, many installations can be handle with a one-package-unit. This permits manufacturers to offer a host of new feature on both commercial and general aviation avionics. But, as any technician or aircraft operator well knows, these improvements have not been totally free of problems.

While some of the connector problems have been moved from the previously complicated multi-chassis aircraft harness, into the equipment itself, where the complexity of the circuitry together with the very-low current levels in the contacts has increased the connector-related service problems! The use of microprocessors in avionics has made it much easier for a host of extra features to be added; once the microprocessor is there, because implementation of these features is simply a matter of adding the extra routines to the internal software (via the ROM or EPROM)> This type of system is more prone to "crashing" because of a contact problem.

There is also the problem of EPROM-based databases to consider. In Loran-C equipment, as in GNS, for example, the requirement for databases that can be updated periodically in order to accommodate new frequency, or other airport /nav-aid information means that EPROMS have to be socketed. Because of the vibration and cyclic pressure environment, these sockets, as is the case with most aviation connectors, are much more prone to contaminant-penetration; an IC socket that is virtually 100% trouble free in an on-the-ground application, such as a computer; may be quite prone to contaminant-based failures in an airborne avionics application.

Increasingly, the Stabilants are being used to overcome these problems. The increased contact integrity in this environment is a result of several factors. Under vibration conditions, small relative movements of contacts, because of "stiction" effects, are usually more abrupt, and thus accompanied by microphonics that can introduce spurious signals. As the thin-film contaminant level increases, the microphonics grow worse as the contacting surfaces encounter a non-homogeneous distribution of contaminants, some of which, being corrosion by-products may also exhibit rectification effects. The latter can not only alter waveforms and change critical timings, but can made the connector prone to RF interference. Simple lubrication of the connector can sometimes minimize these problems by allowing a wiping action that can wipeout some of the layer of contaminants. But if the use of this type of treatment is accompanied by problems of "varnishing, i.e., cross- linking of the oil, the solution is only of a temporary nature.

By providing a lubricating film that won't cross-link, Stabilants address this part of the problem. But they also have a good detergency and thus will keep existing contaminants both from adhering to, and being burnished onto the contact surfaces. The electrically active properties of the Stabilants also counter any rectification effects by penetration corrosion films. And, of course, the very presence of the Stabilant material prevents many contaminants from entering the interstices of the contacts.

The Stabilants thus can substantially improve the reliability of multiple (interdependent) package installations as well as improve the reliability of single package units. With the increasing costs of avionics service the savings can be considerable.

In instrument landing systems, the use of the Stabilants has been proven to cure most connector related problems, especially where the operating environment is less than ideal. This is also true of VOR'S, VORTAC'S, NDB's and marine beacons. Often these navigational aids are located in remote, difficult-to-access places, where a major part of the maintenance time is just getting to and from the site! Added to these costs is the necessity, in many cases, of verifying that the repair work is in calibration.

Many navigational aids are more likely to fail under severe weather conditions, which is often when they are needed most. When connections are less than perfect, thin film rectification effects may occur, making the system more susceptible to the electromagnetic-pulse side-effects of lightning. These same connector faults can also make the system more susceptible to RF interference from the facility itself, or from other sources.

With the increasing sophistication of the equipment, it is not unusual to find that the power level of the individual circuits has been substantially reduced in order to conserve power and/or minimize heat-dissipation requirements. The result is that man of the connections in the system are operating at much lower current levels, and thin film effects are proportionally more important in determining reliability of the connections.

The number of connections in most systems has also increased substantially. And while microprocessor control is now making it easier to perform self-checks on some of the new equipment, it has made the same equipment much more sensitive to connector problems, whether they be card-edge connectors or those in socketed IC's.

While the material was designed to substantially increase the reliability of all forms of contacts, Stabilant 22 is also finding increased use as an insertion lubricant for multiple-pin IC's. Here it almost eliminates the possibility of bending-under a pin on a IC.

We have even been told that some maintenance personnel, are applying Stabilant 22 to the pins, as well as to the finger stock contacts used on transmitting tubes in order to reduce parasitics.

Why should we use Stabilant over less expensive alternatives?

We grant that the material itself is expensive. However it is unique in having a very long useful life once in place. Unlike other so-called contact treatments Stabilant 22 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 removing and replacing a module will 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, as Stabilants stay resident, they will prevent other problems from occurring, thus eliminating the necessity of repeating the treatment at a later date!

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

In what forms is Stabilant available?

Stabilant 22 is packaged in 15mL, 5OmL, lOOmL, 25OmL, 5OOmL and 1 Liter containers. Stabilant 22 is available in several forms; as a concentrate, Stabilant 22, an as an isopropyl alcohol-diluted form called Stabilant 22A, and as an ethanol diluted form called Stabilant 22E. Because of the 4:1 dilution, a given size container of Stabilant 22A , for example, will cost about one-fifth the amount of a container of Stabilant 22,for it has only one-fifth the amount of the concentrate in it. Another form of packaging is available for industrial-bulk users. Stabilant 22S package the concentrate such that it occupies one-fifth the volume of an otherwise empty container. This allows the end-user to add his own diluant and saves the added cost of shipping alcohol, as well as allowing the end-user to use an alternate diluant, such as one of the other solvents used in electronics.

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 I (without removing the IC from its socket) it is easier to use the alcohol diluted form. In Stabilant 22A, for example, the alcohol diluant serves only to carry the concentrate into the connector.

Is Stabilant available in a spray can?

No. 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 if only for appearances sake.

A further consideration is the fact that while hydrochlorofluorocarbon and especially chlorofluorocarbon propellants, are no longer generally used in spray cans, a highly inflammable mixture of butane and propane is often substituted. 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 material which stays resident in the contact-pair, enhancing 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, for example,you'll have to use enough so that once the isopropyl alcohol evaporates the desired 0.5 to 1 mil film of Stabilant 22 remains.

What is the 15mL service kit?

This was made up at the request of several manufacturers and electronics equipment service organizations who wanted a standard kit of reasonable dimensions that they could purchase and stock in quantity, issuing it to their field service personnel as required. The service kit consists of a 15mL container of Stabilant 22A and some soft-tip applicators, all in a small capped tube. The applicators are reusable.

Why would anyone want to buy quantities of the concentrate?

Quite a few manufacturers and larger service organizations, prefer to make large volume purchases, diluting the material and issuing it, as required, for specific manufacturing or field service requirements.

Many end users have found that the material cuts their service costs so much that it is more economical to purchase Stabilant 22 in the larger container sizes, rather that run any risk of being without the material. The number of different applications tends to increase as users discover the large number of problems that can be solved by the material.

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/CAGE supply code number, we could cite the fact that Stabilant 22 is used by computer companies, and is used by many hospitals on their biomedical electronics, to improve reliability of the equipment where lives are in the balance! We could cite the use of Stabilant 22 by many broadcasting networks to achieve the last measure of reliability in critical network switching applications, w could cite its use in navigational aids, or we could cite the years of use in the audio field where even consumers found the material easy to use and its results impressive. However we still feel that the best way to find out just how well it works is to try it out! That's why we have samples available. Almost every service shop or manufacturer has equipment available where the switches or connectors have become erratic over the years. Use Stabilant 22A on them for a quick turnaround test, or use the material in field service and satisfy yourself.

Stabilant 22 has already been TSO'D by a major avionics manufacturer.

Can I use Stabilant 22 in other equipment?

It can be used in computers, test equipment, cameras, just about everywhere there is 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! Sometimes it even eliminates non-software crashes completely.

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 buss-controlled equipment, to cut down on the potential for system lock-ups.

The Stabilants have also been used in flight simulators.

Is the material hazardous?

No, Stabilant 22 has caused no skin reactions in tests, and is, in the undiluted form, non-flammable. If orally ingested it will cause bowel looseness. Stabilant 22 has a LD50 of about 5 grams per kilogram body weight.

In the United States, users should be aware that none of the Stabilants are subject to the Toxic Substance Control Act, nor are they reportable under SARA Title 111. The fact that the Solvent Burden/Year for Stabilant 22A, for example,is about 200 times less than solvent-cleaning treatments. This has made the Stabilants the treatment of choice for many environmentally-concerned agencies.

What is the best way to apply it to a contact?

The 15mL and 50mL containers have "dropper" type caps that allow Stabilant 22 to be applied directly to such components as socketed IC's, switches, connectors, etc. Some end-users prefer to buy larger quantities, and use industrial syrettes to apply the material onto connections. Camel's hair or sable brushes can be used to brush it on card-edge connectors. Cards can also have their edge connectors dipped into the dilute material.

When using Stabilant 22 as an IC insertion lubricant, and large quantities of IC's are involved, we would suggest that an applicator be made up. This consists of a rectangle of conductive foam (of the type used to prevent static-charge damage of IC's) be epoxies to the bottom of a flat tin. Flood the foam with Stabilant 22. The IC can then be pushed down on the foam thus applying Stabilant 22 to its pins.

Does the action of Stabilant 22/22A/22E deteriorate with age?

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, when used in connectors containing rubber or thermoset plastic components which themselves contain accelerants and curing agents, or when used in areas where cross-linking promoting agents are present in the environment. This, the phenomena of "varnishing" does not occur with Stabilant 22.

The Stabilants do not contain any silicones, so there is no possibility of the phenomena of a contaminant inducing the silicone to cross-link to form a hard, glass-like layer on the contact's surface..

The Stabilants do not affect elastomers save for some slight swelling on some materials. The diluants employed (either isopropyl or ethyl alcohol) are much more likely to cause problems, although it is gone as soon as the alcohol evaporates. Nor are plastics generally affected. We don't recommend the use of Stabilants on deposited- carbon-film or resistive-paint-film type potentiometers.

Stabilants have been in some field 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. Unless removed by cleaning, it will probably outlast the usefulness of the electron equipment on which it is used.

These many factors combine to make Stabilants the connector treatment of choice where long term reliability is essential.

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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