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Evolube (possibly Elvolube).

Discussion in 'Electronic Components' started by ian field, Jun 26, 2007.

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  1. ian field

    ian field Guest

    Does anyone know if Evolube (possibly Elvolube) still exists?

    This is a product I remember from many years ago when I worked for an
    instrument calibration company, its a special lubricant for electrical
    contacts which I remember using on those front panel brass studs rotary
    switches on decade boxes and measuring bridges.

    A while back I found a crumpled tube of the stuff in a toolbox I picked up
    at the dump, its sat in a drawer for years until now, the severe rain storms
    have caused problems with my motorcycle brake light switch and this
    lubricant (the little I have left) seems the only satisfactory way of
    excluding the water.

    Even if the original product no longer exists, its almost certain that
    another brand has filled the gap in the market and I'd like to find out the
    name with a view to obtaining some.

  2. Eeyore

    Eeyore Guest

    I'd have thought silicone grease ought to do that.

    Btw, there's this thing called Google.......

  3. mc

    mc Guest

    Apparently so:

    Haven't found anyone selling it in small quantities, but the manufacturer
    can presumably direct you to a distributor.
  4. ian field

    ian field Guest

    I'd have thought silicone grease was the worst possible lubricant to put on
    switch contacts!

    From past experience of light viscosity silicone spray on switches, it
    causes intermittent contact - and that was a toggle switch, the brake light
    switch supplies current to 2x 21W filaments, so arcing is a possibility
    which might form SiO2 on the contacts.

    Its an excellent water repellent though.
  5. ian field

    ian field Guest

    Yes - my google search found several references to that family of automotive
    lubricants, apparently an assortment of grades in a variety of colours.

    Mostly extreme water resistance and greases that increase in viscosity in
    response to shear (probably not very good for "wiping" contacts!).
  6. Fred Abse

    Fred Abse Guest

    IIRC, there was a product back in the 1960s called "Elvalube". As I
    recall, it was made by Gulf Oil, and was just a pure mineral grease
    without additives.

    Never seen any for many years. Any good quality "straight" mineral grease is
    as good as anything, in my experience, used very sparingly. Greases
    thicken over time, so it's a good idea to clean any old lubricant off
    before applying fresh.
  7. Have a look generally at PFPE's poly fluoro polyethers. You won't want the
    kilopoise, because the viscosity is huge, but there are finer ones. Water
    repellence is excellent, as is adhesion, and unlike silicones, they tend to
    stay where you put them instead of migrating. One possible source of a
    small amount of low viscosity PFPE is a scuba gear shop, it's used on the
    oxy tank seals.
  8. ian field

    ian field Guest

    When I last used the stuff in a job was many years ago and a long distant
    memory, and the tube that since came into my possession was so crumpled the
    label was all but obliterated, but now you mention Gulf Oil I think you may
    have hit the nail.
  9. ian field

    ian field Guest

    PTFE lubricants are common enough - what is PFPE?
  10. Polyfluoro polyethers. But Googling for PFPE will tell you more unless you
    like some very rarified chemistry, way over my head.

    Correction to my last post, while I'm about it: it's used in the valve
    seals, not the tank fittings seals, though maybe both, as it's good stuff.

    Apparently both PFPE and PTFE are DuPont things. How come one firm seems to
    manage all the advanced polymers I can easily think of, ever since the
    fifties? No wonder the tin-hatters say they had special rights to Roswell.
  11. ian field

    ian field Guest

    If its at all similar to PTFE I can't see it doing electrical contacts much
    good, PTFE is an excellent insulator - what does PFPE do?
  12. Eeyore

    Eeyore Guest

    I've seen a number of switches with a clear grease lubricating them that I
    always took to be silicone grease.

  13. Eeyore

    Eeyore Guest
  14. I think PTFE greases are a suspension of fine solids. PFPE (Perfluorinated
    Polyethers, correction of what I said before) greases are a liquid. If you
    choose one with the right (lowish) viscosity, it should stay put on switch
    contacts, and act like any fluid, so long as it's not too viscous, the
    contacts should close ok. If the switch arcs from heavy currents and
    particles build up between the contacts, that might degrade performance,
    but even then a PFPE grease should help, as it will exclude oxygen as well
    as water. There are solvents to allow removal, so the only serious obstacle
    to trying one is price. They cost, so it really pays to look for a source
    of small tubes. Scuba gear shops had the smallest cheapest supply I could
    find, maybe £28 spend. Worth it though, if it works, you might not find
    anything better.

    An example of properties of a PFPE grease:

    Fomblin Z-derivatives are widely used as lubricants in
    the magnetic disk drive industry to decrease the fric-
    tion between the head and disk, that is, reduce wear
    and therefore minimize possibility of disk failure.

    • Chemical and Thermal Stability - limited decomposition
    • Low Surface Tension - good coating, high spreading
    • Low Vapor Pressure - low out-gassing
    • Good viscosity index - low change in viscosity over
    wide temperature range
    • Good re-flow properties - self coating
    • Adhesion to substrate via organofunctional bonds
    • Excellent Lubricity - reduce disk wear

    I imagine that anything that can be used in that sensitive an environment
    isn't going to damage a switch, unless the switch produces its own means of
    destruction and the grease maintains adverse conditions created by the
    switch itself.
  15. Ross Herbert

    Ross Herbert Guest

    Looking at the ECL products info it would appear that Evolube is not
    the best choice for switch contacts. Rheogel 283 and Absolube 411A are
    suitable for this use however.
  16. ian field

    ian field Guest

    Not if they still work it isn't!
  17. ian field

    ian field Guest

    Its fairly obvious that I got the name wrong, its many years since I last
    saw the product in a workplace and the tube of it that came into my
    possession was so crumpled the label was barely readable - I vaguely
    recognised what was left of the livery on the tube and could just make out a
    few lines of instructions to thinly coat electrical contacts.

    The reply from Fred Abse correctly names the product but googling gets no
    hits, so it seems likely the product is no longer available. Your suggested
    alternatives are well worth following up - thanks.
  18. ian field

    ian field Guest

  19. Eeyore

    Eeyore Guest

    Why do you say that ?

  20. Eeyore

    Eeyore Guest

    Pardon ?

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