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Old 26-08-2013, 08:42   #1
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USB Rusting What to do?

Folks:
After 4 years on the alto mar I have found many cases of rusting on different USB connectors, no matter how or where I store the cables. I am concerned about the rust particles getting into the computer USB inputs and ruining the USB on the computer.
I cut one old and bad USB cable and it has only 3 (4?) thin wires, colour-coded so I'm thinking it is possible to splice a new end fitting on and change when required. Is this possible, or are all USB 2 cables different with different colours on the wires? Anyone tried it? My worst problem is my Pactor USB connection to computer. It won't connect when I need it most and it is hard to remove the Pactor from my radio panel.
Any ideas?
Thanks,
Pete
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Old 26-08-2013, 08:58   #2
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Re: USB Rusting What to do?

Anhydrous lanoline can be used to prevent corrosion of electrical connections, or in your case stop corrosion from progressing further. It is available in pump or aerosol spray as well as in it's natural state which is like thick grease.

The spray versions can be applied easily to electrical connections, the grease version is great for preventing corrosion between dissimilar metals such as stainless fasteners in aluminum. It does this by excluding water, hence the "anhydrous" part, which is different from the type of lanoline in skin cream.

Lanoline itself is a type of wax produced by sheep which coats their wool. Smells like sweaters. It is available as two different products, Lanocote by Forespar, and another brand called Fluid Film.

Also, I understand it works great as anti-fouling on inflatable dinks.

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Old 26-08-2013, 09:04   #3
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Re: USB Rusting What to do?

I keep cheap spare blank USB flash drives in my computer ports. Helps prevent dirt, air, oddities from entering the space, and on the other end I plug my important USB cables into spare blank ports when not in use. Loose cables and computer I keep in watertight box with a desiccant pack when not in use. Have not noticed a rust issue, but I was doing it more to prevent damage from getting knocked around that would prevent the connector from aligning properly.
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Old 26-08-2013, 19:27   #4
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Re: USB Rusting What to do?

I bet it's the chromed "shell" of the USB connector that's rusting and the interior contacts are OK, yes?

There's a number of coatings and greases that can protect (somewhat) against corrosion while still permitting electrical conduction. They should be light enough that they don't guck up the connectors of the computer or device.

Unless it's a very specialized USB cable, you'll find that a replacement USB cable is common and pretty cheap. Stock up from ebay or next time you're ashore, and don't bother splicing connectors on.
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Old 26-08-2013, 20:07   #5
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Re: USB Rusting What to do?

I sprayed the outer part (not contacts) with silicone spray and it helped heaps.

b.
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Old 26-08-2013, 20:48   #6
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Re: USB Rusting What to do?

Forgot to mention, use the Lanocote on your 12v system to prevent corrosion of the battery terminals.

Yeah silicone spray, I sort of like the lanoline better cuz it seems like its easier to clean up, being mostly a natural product.
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Old 26-08-2013, 21:13   #7
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Re: USB Rusting What to do?

I prescribe to the notion that you shouldln't use silicone anywhere on your boat. It gets absorbed into fiberglass and undermines future fiberglass repairs.

Would dialectic grease work on a USB connection? I use that on my 12V connections. Hmmm. I wonder if it has silicone in it?
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Old 26-08-2013, 21:16   #8
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Re: USB Rusting What to do?

I guess I haven't been taking my own advice. Mr. Google tells me dielectric grease is silicone based.
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Old 26-08-2013, 21:38   #9
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Lanoline can be bought cheaply in the baby section of most supermarkets.
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Old 26-08-2013, 22:19   #10
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Re: USB Rusting What to do?

Quote:
Originally Posted by dohenyboy View Post
Lanoline can be bought cheaply in the baby section of most supermarkets.
Typically the lanoline used in skin care is not of the"anhydrous" variety, that is to say it contains water unlike the "anhydrous" variety which has had all the suspended water removed from it. I believe it is this lack of water combined with it's ability to exclude it are why it works to prevent corrosion.

That said maybe it would still be effective, just not as much? I am interested to know if you have used it with success?
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Old 27-08-2013, 06:22   #11
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Re: USB Rusting What to do?

"No-OX-ID" is what you want here. Actually, you want this for all your electrical connections on your boat. Electrically conductive and prevents corrosion. Every boat should have some on board.

For the USB connectors, typically all but the very cheapest ones have gold plated contacts, so those aren't a problem. The ground shield metal cage surrounding them is often the only thing that corrodes. The above product will solve that problem.

Mark
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Old 27-08-2013, 06:29   #12
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Re: USB Rusting What to do?

Guys:
Thanks for all replies. I will try pick up some anhydrous lanolin in Buenos Aires. Should be an interesting language sword-fight.
Pete
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Old 27-08-2013, 06:54   #13
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Re: USB Rusting What to do?

Quote:
Originally Posted by rigormortis View Post
Guys:
Thanks for all replies. I will try pick up some anhydrous lanolin in Buenos Aires. Should be an interesting language sword-fight.
Pete
Be very careful when gesturing about the sheep part...

You just may end up in some serious trouble with the locals and the law...

:whist ling:
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Old 27-08-2013, 07:41   #14
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Re: USB Rusting What to do?

Opps, sorry I missed the Argentina part. The No-Ox-Id product refered to above labels itself as a type of Cosmoline, which may be more available where you are at.

You may have encountered in the past, it's a sort of greasy brown waxy stuff used to coat machinery parts at the factory prior to shipping. Often used on guns for shipping or storage, might be able to get it at a gun store.

I did not know you could use it on electrical connections, good to know. Learn something new everyday!
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Old 27-08-2013, 07:53   #15
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Re: USB Rusting What to do?

I didn't know it was used on anything but electrical connections!

Mark
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