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Cleaning FEMALE stagepin connectors.

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by gafftapegreenia, Oct 14, 2008.

  1. gafftapegreenia

    gafftapegreenia CBMod CB Mods

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    We all know about the pinsplitter and its built in wire brush for cleaning male stagepin connectors. What I'm looking for is a small, sturdy wire brush that I can use to clean the contacts on a female stagepin. Hot patching is not kind. I want something small, self contained, ideally pocketable, or if it is long handled, easily modifiable.
     
  2. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    Something like below in a 5/16" or 3/8" diameter? If the arcing was caused by hot-patching, the carbon build-up won't be very deep into the socket. Chances are good that a piece of rolled-up emery cloth would work, especially if the connector has removable/replaceable pins.

    http://www.millrose.com/double-spiral_tube.pdf
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Pro-Shot Products

    I think I've only used the brush on my Pinsplitter once, when I found a very old plug. I'm fairly certain any theatre should/would have higher priorities than cleaning one's stage pin plugs. How often do you vacuum out your floor pockets?
     
  3. n1ist

    n1ist Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    It probably goes without saying, but make sure you use proper lockout/tagout procedures before sticking anything into a receptacle.
     
  4. gafftapegreenia

    gafftapegreenia CBMod CB Mods

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    It's not the kind of thing I'm going to sit down and clean every single one in the theatre, more so something to have on hand if I come across one than needs it.

    And actually, we do vacuum the floor pockets often enough. They get dust and crap in them and they they loose connection.
     
  5. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    On the female and even the male, often a good stock of replacement pins or connectors is your best option. Sure if only a bit of carbon buildup or something else, a brush can do the trick - follow up with a electical deoxident or McMaster offered 7437k15 Electrical Contact Cleaner w. Lubericant 16oz. Spray. Gotta treat the metal after cleaned or often its coming back what you cleaned. Key if you are going to clean is first if there is arching, pitting, welding, or melting most likely it's toast in never having again a round surface that's worth your time in doing a proper job on.

    Second if cleaning, what brush be it soft brass wire wheel or soft silicone/fiber wheel on a grinder, flannel or other buffing wheel with or without buffing compound, rifle cleaning brush, various other brushes, specilized drill bit, emery or better yet chrocus cloth; don't get too agressive in causing harsh scratches or taking too much metal away.. Even on the type II pinsplitters for the male pin with the brushes = they are way too agressive. Put a 1/4" steel rod in your drill and wear away a lot on the pinsplitter brush if you ever intend to use it. Otherwise what any modern pinsplitter is going to do is instead of just clean your pin it's going to create deep scratches into it which will reduce conductivity.

    Modern pinsplitters tear up stage pins short of getting rid of a lot of the brush. Too hard bristles and not enough of them if they were soft. The all aluminum Type I no longer available due to someone doing something stupid at one point with one used to do a decent job of cleaning pins - male at least. Didn't have the brush, you just sort of put it into the socket and grinded away at the aluminum hole. (If only I could run into the person who ever he or she is that has mine now...) None the less, I don't recommend using the brush on modern pinsplitters unless a lot of the brush material is taken away.

    Afterwards as above a coating on the pins or sockets.

    But also the general note of if you have a socket that's bad, replace the connector and you now should have two replacement sockets for the next time you see such a thing.

    Also another note about cleaning the sockets. Too aggressive on the sockets could expand them out too much this by way of opening them up in size or taking away too much material. Better unless say a nylon or really soft brass brush for a socket to just replace it.
     
  6. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    Hey Ship,

    I didn't know you could buy replacement pins for connectors. Is that something available to us small time regular customers or is that a deal only a company with a monstrous account like yours gets? You probably get them straight from the manufacturer right? I bet that's the trick.
     
  7. avkid

    avkid Not a New User Fight Leukemia

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    Some styles of stagepin connectors have replaceable pins, and others do not.
    Whether or not replacement is possible is usually associated with how the body is molded, a removable cover toward pin end usually indicates that the pins can be removed.

    These Bates brand connectors for instance have replaceable pins-
    [​IMG]

    BTW, there are USITT standards for stage pin connectors:
    http://www.usitt.org/bookstore/downloads/U87%20S3-StgPinStandard20050610.pdf
     
  8. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    Yes, I do buy from the manufacturer direct - big deal, buy many hundred a year and a direct account is easier. Challenge is keeping enough in stock for the gear coming in. Those that buy the new gear don't always think about the details. You know like lamps, plugs, clamps and safety cables. Much less the crew chiefs on shows requireing extra gear, don't often think about the details. What I do for my living is no different in many ways than anyone else that tries to keep a place stocked with enough but not too much of gear.

    Been a hard last month or so (hardest I can remember since I worked for the place), three or four major tours going out and two or three left in the shop getting ready to go out. Two days ago one of the crew chiefs said he needs 100 safety cables to safety cable his truss casters. Ready to start safety cabling them now of course immediately. That's a first for use but fine. Surprise to me that the last couple tours wiped me out in that I normally stock at least 100 if not more like 200 safety cables and also in the past month just bought around 800 more. I was completely out of everything but a few Euro type and silver ones and nobody told me when they took the last of them. Soo sorry, not important enough to give me prior notice, and in following up a big month, give me two days in not seeing it reasonable to overnight instead of two day in more safety cables. Anyone know how much it costs to overnight stuff? Ordered 100 safety cables on a two day, the rest 200 more on a three to five day shipment. Vendor didn't listen to directions. That was lucky for the tour in that upon recieving their safety cables they asked for 50 more to safety the not truss or ratchet straps holding parts of it together, to instead safety cable the ratchet strap handles. Gee, ok, lucky the vendor screwed up and we paid $$ to two day in 300x safety cables or you will have had to wait a few days more for the additional amount. (This plus a email to the account rep. saying they now have 150x safety cables at xxx price on the show so as to charge for it.)

    Stuff like that... still waiting for a re-supply of fast fit lamps to support a tour that left a week ago. Normally I stock enough but got caught with my pants down given the amount of lamps that went out for shows or in prepping them. Buy most normal moving light lamps by the 500 or 1,000 amounts at this point, 1.2K fast fit lamps I'm not quite ready to buy bulk on yet until the test is done on the alternate brand for them and I figure out if we will stay with the fixtures using to now really crappy lamps, or brand supplying them. Quality and at times back orders plus price for something that's lucky to get to 500 hours doesn't make me a buy big - gonna need them anyway customer. So I sit and wait for them to come in and hope nobody needs to replace a lamp until than.

    On plugs:
    What I say to my people when they say this pin's toast is go to the bin of spare pins/sockets. When that gets low or out I say, whell gee, this plug you were working on just added one to two new ones to that bin and go grab a new or better yet used connector from the drawer. Got a bin of strain reliefs, drawer of bodies, bin of screws - both normal ones and after market slightly larger ones for stripped hoes etc. And a bin just of pins and sockets.

    That's economical. Just one, don't have a spare, you now have two spares as opposed to throwing it out and not saving the various still good pieces. Can buy a 8-32x1/4" brass philips pan-head screw also in it being another bin full of. Even longer ones for use with panel mounts with bus bars or multiple ring terminals on one panel mount socket. Silicone bronze external tooth lock washers etc. Bins of lots of stuff. Walls of bins and spare parts. Not enough walls to hang all the parts I store.

    Never throw Nothing out! Got some 40 year old switch panels and 50 year old Lekos that darned if they are not still considered for use or upgrade at times. This amongst other stuff. Not enough storage is a problem, not enough efficiency had better not be the reason for that. Any time someone allows a piece of gear without at least all the usable parts coming off it go to a dumpster, you have wasted money.

    On some brands of plug do and some don't have removable pins/contacts, I buy the ones with removable contacts and insert strain reliefs so you can grip what's going into it properly. No big deal on other brands, another drawer of other brands of stage pin also I acquire - both of parts for them and plugs. Never throw nothing out. Good for training people into other styles of plug and good enough say for an adaptor. I even still use old style Union plugs for at least adaptors. Good learning thing especially where training in how to make a friction tape strain relief comes in.

    Heck, I even save the used/cut off crimped stage pin terminals manufacturers do on their gear for use on non-grounded gear. Remove the normal plug/connector terminal from what won't be needing it, it goes into the spare terminal bin, the crimped terminal that's otherwise useless goes into the plug. Side note, don't buy gear with plugs already on them. Often it's if stage pin the crimp type of pin that once you need to replace the cable on the fixture with, you now have a plug also that goes into the trash. Specify gear without plugs in saving the labor costs, and putting normal plugs on the gear so its reusable. Or specify and you can - that they use non-crimp type plugs if they are putting them on. Nothing piss's off my wife faster than finding a crimped stage pin plug which is now useless if she has to change a whip and now also the plug.

    Hmm, have not tried to buy the pins/sockets yet. Probably could and can - anyone no doubt can buy them. Never needed them given a rotating inventory.
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2008

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