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Author Topic: RAM contact spray?  (Read 4150 times)

bit

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RAM contact spray?
« on: February 13, 2015, 11:07:11 PM »
I have four 1GB RAM sticks; Win 7 32bit uses three of them.
I recently ran a RAM stick memory check and it found errors.
I loosened each end of each stick's lock-down tab to unseat it, then reseated it.
The test found errors again.
I loosened and reseated the sticks again, and all errors were eliminated.
I believe this is supposedly due to tarnish on some of the 168 or more gold contacts?

I've never heard that it is at all advisable to use any sort of electrical contact spray on the RAM contacts, and won't without specific advice to do so.
But if so, what kind (i.e. totally clean or leaves protective film residue?), and should it be sprayed directly on the RAM contacts, or wiped on via a cloth or tissue paper?

Whenever I reseat one end of a loosened RAM stick, it takes tremendous pressure with my thumb pad to get it to drop back into the slot, and flexes the mobo.
In fact, after doing each end of four RAM sticks, twice in a row, my thumb pad was sore for 24 hours afterward.
There is no way to reach behind and support the mobo while doing this; I just have to press until it drops back into the slot and the tab pops back up into the indented spot in the end of the stick.
Is that 'normal', or are there any suggestions how to do it better?

Ath

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Re: RAM contact spray?
« Reply #1 on: February 14, 2015, 05:41:25 AM »
Step by step plan:
  • Take out DIMM
  • Fold a piece of ordinary printing paper
  • Put the fold over the contacts of the DIMM
  • Move the paper a few times with thumb and indexfinger each on a side of the paper in the length of the DIMM (like using it as sandpaper)
  • Voila, Bob is your uncle!

(worked for me for 25+ years in my computer-repair history)

Stoic Joker

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Re: RAM contact spray?
« Reply #2 on: February 14, 2015, 08:26:19 AM »
^Now that's a new one ... I usually just use one of those large rubber pencil erasers.

Either way use care not to damage one of the tiny components soldered to the edge of the memory card near the contacts (I mention this only because I did it once..).

Another thing to consider is dust down in the memory slot. Use a can of air to blow out the slot when the RAM is removed to ensure that you're not packing dust back down into the slot during reinsertion.

In fact, after doing each end of four RAM sticks, twice in a row, my thumb pad was sore for 24 hours afterward.

That sounds like an alignment issue... I've seen some tight ones...but never that tight. I usually rock the pressure end to end to -(feel for)- be sure it's not in backwards (old eyes) and to coax one end into going in first to minimize the Mboard flexing.

mouser

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Re: RAM contact spray?
« Reply #3 on: February 14, 2015, 09:03:27 AM »
Quote
nother thing to consider is dust down in the memory slot. Use a can of air to blow out the slot when the RAM is removed to ensure that you're not packing dust back down into the slot during reinsertion.

i agree with possibility of dust, but be VERY careful using compressed air which creates moisture -- i destroyed a power supply blowing compressed air into it.  if you do use a can instead of your mouth, make sure you leave pc unplugged for a while before and after.

Stoic Joker

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Re: RAM contact spray?
« Reply #4 on: February 14, 2015, 09:56:17 AM »
Quote
nother thing to consider is dust down in the memory slot. Use a can of air to blow out the slot when the RAM is removed to ensure that you're not packing dust back down into the slot during reinsertion.

i agree with possibility of dust, but be VERY careful using compressed air which creates moisture -- i destroyed a power supply blowing compressed air into it.  if you do use a can instead of your mouth, make sure you leave pc unplugged for a while before and after.

Canned air isn't really air ... It's a solvent (difluoroethylene) that vaporizes quickly. If you hold the can upside down to long the liquid that comes out will usually freeze immediately. So if your PSU was energized (and presumably hot or at least warm), then the rapid temperature change may well have caused a component to fracture and fail. But the fluid in nonconductive, so it can't really short anything out like water vapor (which I'm inferring from moisture).

Now if you're using an air compressor (I do frequently in a pinch), moisture can be an issue. But in either case the key is to keep the nozzle back at least 8-12 inches from the surfaces you're dusting ... If for no other reason than just to keep from dislodging and launching a jumper or other small component.

MilesAhead

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Re: RAM contact spray?
« Reply #5 on: February 14, 2015, 11:52:01 AM »
Speaking of using air for cleaning I must have spent a dozen hours online trying to find a mechanical way of doing it.  The perfect solution for me would have been a tiny bellows with a pistol grip so it could be operated with one hand.  Of course as soon as I search on the term "bellows" all I find are stupid decorative bellows like you hang on a fireplace grate.

I ended up getting a cheap plastic bicycle pump type thing about 6" long from China.  It was great for blowing dust off the keyboard.  The main flaw was the two handed operation.

This seems to be an area where nobody wants to produce a mechanical solution since if made well repeat sales are unlikely.  I can see requiring "clean air" if you are blowing into open sockets.  But for just blowing the dust out of the box or off the keys it seems a bit pricey.

Stoic Joker

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Re: RAM contact spray?
« Reply #6 on: February 14, 2015, 01:07:16 PM »
(not sure how long the link will last, but...) Something like this? They call it a 1-handed puffer duster.

cranioscopical

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Re: RAM contact spray?
« Reply #7 on: February 14, 2015, 02:14:35 PM »
… or there's this nifty item.

pistolSpray.jpg

I've used this one-handed with a 'straw' to blow out my computers (and to get lithium onto tractor and snow-thrower linkages in sub-zero temperatures).
 

bit

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Re: RAM contact spray?
« Reply #8 on: February 14, 2015, 03:59:08 PM »
OK, nobody is agreeing with electrical contact spray, and it occur to me I don't want a goopy RAM stick slot full of hydrocarbon gook and dust building up.
I usually don't have an internal dust problem, but I'm taking special note of the danger of liquified 'canned air' (difluoroethylene) bricking a hot (thermally or electrically) PSU or other components and really appreciate the head's-up on that plus all the other comments.  :Thmbsup:
If necessary, I agree would agree about how to just hold the canned air nozzle back a few inches and only give it a few quick bursts.
I'd rather not completely remove the RAM sticks b/c there are so many wires in the way and I hate to disturb anything more than necessary, but I'll keep the paper-wipe (and pencil eraser) procedure in mind as it sounds like a great trick.  :Thmbsup:

Ath

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Re: RAM contact spray?
« Reply #9 on: February 14, 2015, 04:24:16 PM »
The pencil-eraser _could_ leave some goo when used, and by the time I've found a pencil that has some eraser left, I've walked past the printer half a dozen times... ;)

Ath

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Re: RAM contact spray?
« Reply #10 on: February 14, 2015, 04:30:20 PM »
Oh, and even a sticky-note would live long enough to clean 4 DIMM's (yes, it's normal for the paper to get thorn by the sharp edges of the connector). And I usually have plenty of those lying around.

4wd

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Re: RAM contact spray?
« Reply #11 on: February 14, 2015, 10:17:36 PM »
^Now that's a new one ... I usually just use one of those large rubber pencil erasers.

Back when we were having an argument ... discussion of alternative methods of contact cleaning  :)

Stoic Joker

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Re: RAM contact spray?
« Reply #12 on: February 14, 2015, 10:58:17 PM »
^Now that's a new one ... I usually just use one of those large rubber pencil erasers.

Back when we were having an argument ... discussion of alternative methods of contact cleaning  :)

See, I told you I was old - That was only 6 years ago...and I forgot already. :D

MikleB

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Re: RAM contact spray?
« Reply #13 on: February 21, 2015, 11:43:34 PM »
===================================================================================
[                                                                                                                                                   ]
[   WARNING: Do not buy this linked item for use on a computer's circuits! Read till the end to find out why.   ]
[                                                                                                                                                   ]
===================================================================================
·

 Funnily enough I had forgoten myself that these puffer dusters are usefull for printed circuit board cleaning, as I had come across this tip years ago for gently blowing out contacts on the back of Hi-Fi gear (To stop crackle in the sound.) and it was mentioned there that internal use is also recommended to stop heat build up. (Reminds me I must blow out all my Hi-Fi gear... I live in a slightly dusty area and haven't done it for years. and it should be done regularly.)

(not sure how long the link will last, but...) Something like this? They call it a 1-handed puffer duster.

 This looks like a eBay store add and will most likely be there for years... 137 sold when I looked suggests an eBay store, and the price is attractive (US$10) but for me in Australia the US$52 postage puts it out of the question ( :().

 If you want this kind of a thing in a hurry then any camera 'Puffer Duster' will do the trick and they are all priced around the same. Just head off to a camera store and they should have one.

 They are recommended for cleaning camera lenses and the internals (The lens well that opens when you change lenses on reflex lensed cameras... Both film {Single Lens Reflex} and digital {Digital Single Lens Reflex} cameras are 'interchgeable lensed' cameras and are called reflex types as the internal mirror mechanics is called the "reflex" mirror system, and this area may contain dust that can be shaken loose when wielding the camera about or just taking a picture as the mechanism operates and shakes the dust loose and thusly it can float inside within the light path for hours, and for film cameras, also occasionally clean the film roller guides and shutter in the rear also {Shutters are not in the lenses... those are apertures, which is a common source of confusion [Shutters open and shut to let the light through, like your eyelids. Appertures control the amount of light addmited to the film, like your eye's iris].}.) of any dust within the camera as they do not touch the lens as even lens cleaning cloths will over time pick up body oils, so they (Cloths.) should be used sparingly and replaced whenever they start to look a little grubby or don't clean as effectively as you would hope. NEVER touch or use anything but a blower to clean the mirror as this is of the front surfaced kind (Household mirrors are rear surfaced... Silver coating on the rear.) as they only blow off what is already there.

{NB: The above service message was brought to you by my desire for you to take cleaner pictures! ;D}

I would have bought the eBay one as my camera one is all rubber (No problem with that, they all work on the same principal as an eyedropper.) but I prefer to leave it with my camera kit and a good second one would not go astray but in this case the postage price prohibits this. Nice sturdy design though being partly metal. ¿?¿?...  :o I just realised that the fact that they are metal could be a problem if dropped onto a motherboard as even when powered off voltages flow within a motherboard and they could short and fry components  :down:, so my recommendation would be to go for an all rubber one. :Thmbsup:

EDIT after doing more research on the item in question:
There is no information regarding this on the the originally linked page but the nozzle may be entirely metal, as I discovered one to have when I did a general eBay search looking for other suppliers that may ship at a better price as I like the item and thought that I may try to acquire one and exchange it for my camera one.

 I did find one shop with a little higher price and a fairish shipping but still too pricey when combined as I could pay half the total at my local camera store for a second one. This site had a picture of the item with the nozzle clearly being made of metal and a lengthy description including that the nozzle is metal. So even more reason to avoid for circuit board usage. Even if the original posted link's
item looks a bit different it may just be a painted nozzle and also be metal itself. I went on about this previously as the top definitely is and maybe the bottom also is metal on the original one.

 I wouldn't chance it for the usage that this thread is aimed at either way even if the price was reasonable. Not even for my camera. So consider carefully if you think you would like one.

 A clear case of buyer beware (As eBay generally is not a good place to rush any purchase.) and the need to do a thourough investigation on items one would like to purchase (At least sometimes with a second search on eBay, more information may be gleaned from a second seller's description, it sometimes is a nice place to go shopping {As opposed to go buying!}.).

Cheers
Remember, wherever you go... There you are!
« Last Edit: February 22, 2015, 02:50:43 AM by MikleB, Reason: More research done. »

MikleB

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Re: RAM contact spray?
« Reply #14 on: February 22, 2015, 01:39:56 AM »
G'day again.

 I thought I best start a new, more on topic reply as my previous post started off as more of a reply as to how long the 'Small Bellows Puffer Cleaner' would be available mussing of Stoic Joker [On February 14, 2015, 01:07:16 PM] and just grew out of proportion and a little off topic.  ;)

 A few thoughts on readily available cleaning solutions (As in liquids.) and methodologies for cleaning any kinds of electrical contacts.

 Isopropyl alcohol has been mentioned before and commercial spray contact cleaners often use this and aren't too expensive and usually come with extension pipes that attach to the nozzle for hard to reach places and if I recall my chemistry, it is also what is used in nail polish remover. (Use only the non-oily kind... If you need to clean a bit more thoroughly that a spray. IE: If their is a smoker in the household for example... as the smoke will leave a decent amount of residue over time, and this could be the case. A small bottle will last for years and should be available from a Chemist/Drug Store, but may not be at a discount drug supply chain (In Australia, a store name that comes to mind is 'Priceline', a discount chemists that would have nail polish remover for sure but probably only the oily kind for the person that doesn't like that dry out their hands, and not the non-oily kind. You know the kind of shop I mean to avoid if you wish to find this product.), that pushes brands but has no real base product diversity if you get my drift. A few drops on a tissue or cotton ear bud and a quick but firm wipe will do the trick nicely.

 I use Isopropyl alcohol but I have liters of the stuff as I used to grab it from work (My father's plastics business had a print shop and it was used to thin the inks.) and it cleans gooey grime off everything (Metals, Perspex, glass, brickwork [Great to remove glue and felt pen marks.], etc, etc...). Love it. Actually, one might be able to buy a small amount from a local to you, packaging printer or maybe just about any printer as I suspect that it is fairly commonly used throughout most of the commercial printing trades. The fumes are a little strong and may induced a little light headedness.

 Just be a little careful using it on most plastics like CD covers, Hi-Fi display panes, etc... (Nooooo! It will eat into them! But soft plastics. like the formulations that are used in say bread wraps, carrier bags, etc... {That's what the business was.} or children's plastic toys and those based on this type of plastic are fine with it.). It is fairly cheap and in my experience better than Methylated Spirits. Also, it is benign to circuit board formulations and the bond between the board and the metal contacts and evaporates fairly fast and if the amount of grime needs a bath to loosen it (How such system would continue working till it reaches this state is puzzling in itself, but some industrial installations are very dirt generating and machinery manufacturers do use reseatable/replaceable componentry for areas other than PC related items.), a little poured into a plate and dipping only the contacts that requires cleaning into the pool of liquid will facilitate loosening up heavy coatings.

 Methylated Spirits has always worked fine in my experience and it may have a residue but this is far less than that left by nicotine or if the electronics are near a kitchen (Open plan houses with kitchens adjacent to family rooms come to mind.) and thus may be contaminated by cooking oil fumes. If I'm asked to attend to a friends Hi-Fi gear at their homes and if they have some I will use this in a snap, or recommend that they get a little and do it themselves latter (Glass cleaner is my second choice in this circumstance but may be a bit 'iffy' inside electronic circuit areas, but is OK for RCA plugs and such.).

Erasers, the ink ones at least if they have a fairly fine granularity, are great for getting rid of small areas of corrosion when used gently. The pencil ones are sometimes OK but may be too gentle and Art Gum erasers are just about useless for this purpose. If you dare, try a little toothpaste as this has very fine polishing grit (Yes it's true.) in the formulation (This will also remove fine scratches from CDs, DVDs Blue-Rays and may restore playability if not overdone, and also the jewel case covers of CDs.), but it will then need a carefull wash with a water dampened cotton ear bud, finishing off with alcohol as an aid in water dispersion and drying. If you have heavy corrosion, a diamond cleaning stick (Available at good jewelers for a few dollars... Made from glass fibers, and surprisingly, benign enough not to remove gold, hence it's use in the jewelery trade is absolutely the bees leg joint. Will last for years. And the significant other's jewels will gleam into the bargain and they'll think you really care about their appearance and may be all the more frisky for it! If' that's a good thing in your books.  ;D).

Finally a blow off with a good commpressed air blast or more gentle puffer, as the case may require, just before reinsertion and that B person is your uncle.

{Another post covering all the bases that I can currently think of or have experienced... Cleanliness being next to godliness as the saying goes. And no I haven't been sniffing the Isopropyl alcohol as I am sick of the stench it, very long term familiarity breeding contempt and such is it's current effect on me. Yechh!  :sick:}


Cheers and hopefully someone can find this rant usefull and not too off topic. :)
Remember, wherever you go... There you are!
« Last Edit: February 22, 2015, 02:52:12 AM by MikleB, Reason: Added toothpase and diamond brush to methods. »

bit

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Re: RAM contact spray?
« Reply #15 on: March 05, 2015, 03:15:42 PM »
^Now that's a new one ... I usually just use one of those large rubber pencil erasers.

Back when we were having an argument ... discussion of alternative methods of contact cleaning  :)
Tnx, your sublinks (and everyone's comments) are hugely informative.  :Thmbsup:
BTW, I've found that an xnlt indicator of whether my RAM is all connecting correctly is to set my disk-burning software to 'verify burn', b/c a 'failure' there is a definite head's-up that the RAM may be generating errors and deserve a full-on memory check.

bit

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Re: RAM contact spray?
« Reply #16 on: April 18, 2015, 08:58:08 PM »
Nero Burning ROM told me a disk burn check found errors.
I use that as a 'cue' that there may be ram stick errors.
I ran a Memory diagnostics and sure enough my ram had errors.
Unseated & reseated all four 1-GB ram sticks; mem-check failed again.
Removed the ram sticks one at a time and used the ^paper wipe method and reseated the ram, and mem-check was successful.

BTW, FYI, paper has tooth, that is, a specific grade of roughness that helps it to absorb ink, charcoal, or paint.
I used simple typing paper, which apparently did the trick.
I would recommend avoiding anything really smooth or glossy, such as high quality color printer paper, as the tooth or roughness might be too smooth for good results.

When I was finished wiping each ram stick, there was a streak of discoloration where it had rubbed across the ram contacts and picked up foreign material.

Ath

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Re: RAM contact spray?
« Reply #17 on: April 19, 2015, 04:10:36 AM »
^that is exactly as I intended my write-up, earlier. And it resolved the issue! :Thmbsup: