Mr. Pinball Tip:

Ever have one of those lamp sockets that you fiddle with the lamp and it seems to suddenly work? You button things up and 10 minutes later it doesn't work again. You try everything but nothing seems to work. You may also have a PC board connector with the same kind of problem, you wiggle it and it works for another 5-15 mins and fails.

This is a trick I learned a long time ago. Surprisingly few know about it. NASA uses a similar method on their connectors but still it doesn't catch on. Get a tube (not spray) of what is called silicon grease (not the white heat sink grease either). Remove the bulb and squeeze grease into the socket until some comes out the bottom. Put the bulb back into the socket and wipe any excess off. With the bulb in place, use needle nose pliers to rotate the center rivet that pushes out the back side of the socket a little to break old oxides. On connectors, wipe a little of the grease onto the pins before sliding together.

What the grease does is to keep air from reaching the point that makes contact. This means better contact. Don't used regular petroleum greases. These are designed to have high film strength and will actually make the connection worse. Dow Corning sells clear silicon grease for various things. I have tried their vacuum grease with good results but this stuff is expensive. A cheaper source would be automotive supply shops. I've used Napa's house silicon grease and a product called Silglide that I found at Kragens. Remember, don't use regular automotive grease, it doesn't work.

Dwight Elvey

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