Application Note 27 - Models and Hobbies
- What is Stabilant 22?
- Stabilant 22 is an initially non-conductive block polymer which when used in a thin film
between metal contacts becomes conductive under the effect of an electrical field. This occurs
at an electric field gradient such that the material will remain non-conductive between adjacent
contacts in a multiple pin environment. In addition, Stabilant 22 exhibits surfactant action,
as well as lubrication ability providing a single component resident solution to virtually all
When applied to electromechanical contacts, Stabilant 22 can provide the connection reliability of a soldered joint without bonding the contact surfaces.
- What is its use in the model and hobby field?
- In this age of electronics, many models are dependent upon complex electronic controls for their proper function. These controls usually operate at very low signal levels, and, to conserve battery power, at very low power levels as well. This makes them very prone to malfunctions due to failures in the connector systems or in the switches used. It takes only a minuscule amount of contaminant to cause problems with such a circuit. Stabilant 22 was developed as a contact enhancer. It was developed specifically to improve the reliability of electro-mechanical contacts, and as such, is being used in many fields from biomedical electronic equipment (in hospitals), to computer & peripheral equipment. It has a long-term reliability factor presently unequaled by any simple contact cleaner. That's because Stabilant 22 is a resident treatment. This means that you leave it in place within the contact. There it will last for a very long time,- usually more than the design life of the equipment. Increases in connector reliability of from 10 to 100 times are not unusual.
- What are the differences between Stabilant 22 and Stabilant 22A?
- The Stabilants , as presently used by hobbyists, come in two forms. The basic material or concentrate is called Stabilant 22, while the isopropanol diluted form is designated Stabilant 22A This is a 4:1 isopropanol-dilution (by volume) and is much easier to apply. When used a normal room temperatures or higher, the isopropanol will evaporate after the application, leaving a thin film of the concentrate in place. In some applications such as socketed IC's it is not even necessary to unplug the IC to treat the connection. The dilute form should be used for treating existing crimp type joints between multiple stranded wire and the contact as well as for card-edge and other connectors. As Stabilant 22, the concentrate, is an excellent lubricant, it can be used on all rotating joints which have to pass electrical currents, such as model-railroad-car bearings. For this reason, the dilute form, Stabilant 22A is preferably used on model-train-layout rails, where it should be wiped on the rail to insure a very thin residual film!
- But won't Stabilants short-out multiple pins?
- No, for the reason that Stabilants are semiconductive in their action, switching at a desired field strength within a contact-pair, but not switching-on between adjacent contacts. Thus the material can be applied to a multiple-pin connector without worrying about getting it on the insulation or causing leakage!
- Is there any place I shouldn't use it?
- The Stabilants are not recommended for use on circuits which, due to inductive loads, spark upon breaking contact. The momentary high temperatures of the spark would decompose the Stabilants causing a moderate rate of carbon buildup. Thus, don't use it on motor commutators, which tend to spark!
- What about its use on connectors?
- Obviously, connector reliability is very important for trouble-free operation of models, more so when intermittent
connectors could cause the crash or loss of a remote-controlled model airplane. The Stabilants have had extensive
use on, for example, biomedical electronics and avionics where they are 'TSO'd'. In both cases absolute reliability
of the connectors in the equipment is extremely important.
Stabilants are also used on cameras, especially on battery contacts. In one critical battery application they are employed in hearing-aids.
- Can it be used on switches?
- The reliability of switches is generally greater than connectors if only because their wiping action sometimes is able to keep the contacts clean. Nevertheless, switches, like connectors, are the least reliable components used in electronic equipment. Because Stabilants are excellent lubricants, they can often increase the reliability of switches. One caveat; where switches do not have back-emf "snubbers" and are used to interrupt highly reactive loads, such load interruption, can cause sparking of the switch. While Stabilants can lessen this effect, their decomposition under the heat of the spark can lead to an accumulation of carbon. It is best to use a reverse-diode across a switch handling DC potentials as a first step thus eliminating the spark before using Stabilants.
- Is it useful on transmitters for remote controls?
- Stabilants are used extensively in the maintenance of transmitters in professional applications, both for remote control and for communications. It can be used on everything from EPROM's to crystal sockets.
- Can it be used on microprocessor-based controllers?
- Again, Stabilants have been used in computers for over ten years and are standard-stores items for many OEM's and third-party service organizations. Stabilants first received a 'User Product-of-the-Year" award from Byte magazine in 1985 and have been 'highly recommended" by Dr. Jerry Pournelle on numerous occasions since that award. In model railroading. this makes it esecially applicable to DCC systems and rail junctions.
- Can it be used on servos?
- Because of the reliability-advantage of Stabilant-treated connections at micro-power-levels, Stabilants can substantially increase the reliability of servos. While the material can be used on the potentiometers in servo controls, the isopropanol diluant of Stabilant 22A should NOT be used on conductive-plastic potentiometers as it can extract the plasticizer. Instead, use the concentrate, Stabilant 22, diluted 10:1 with hot water. Apply only the smallest amount to the plastic element of the potentiometer and cycle through its maximum stroke to distribute the material!
- Can it be used on model railroads?
- Stabilants can not only be used on switch-machine contacts, controller-boards and pulse-code modulation equipment,
but many model railroaders are employing it on their tracks in order to reduce the stalling-voltage of locomotives
thus obtaining better slow-speed characteristics.
Obviously, it can be especially useful on complex control panels and their wiring, including slide and rotary switches, mechanical and electrical sensors, relay and switch machine contacts, wirewound rheostats, and phone jacks.
In DCC "Command-Control" systems, Stabilant 22A is almost essential for trouble-free operation.
- What is the most common size?
- The most popular size is either the 5 mL or the 15 mL service kits of Stabilant 22A. The 15 mL size has about
700 to 900 drops per bottle. Because it is necessary to use very little of the material, a drop can go a very
long way! The dilute material, Stabilant 22A, will even wick into socketed IC's.
Needless to say, larger sizes are available.
Stabilants™ are a product of Dayton Wright research & development and are made in Canada
NATO Supply Code 38948
15 ml of S22A has NATO Part # 5999-21-900-6937