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Help: Making Electrical Contacts

Discussion in 'Electronic Basics' started by Searcher7, Feb 24, 2008.

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  1. Searcher7

    Searcher7 Guest

    Can anyone direct me to a materials chart for referencing materials
    for electrical contacts?(Providing something like that exists).

    I've had no luck with Google, and since I'll need to make contacts for
    several projects I'm trying to get a good idea about what material/s I
    should get. Specifically materials that will be handling the power
    outputs of normal computer power supplies.

    Thanks a lot.

    Darren Harris
    Staten Island, New York.
  2. Tom Biasi

    Tom Biasi Guest

    You will need to say a little more than you have if you expect some
    meaningful help.

  3. J.A. Legris

    J.A. Legris Guest

    The word you're looking for may be "connector". Googling ( PC power
    supply connector ) turned up the following:
  4. Searcher7

    Searcher7 Guest

    There is nothing else.

    Like I said I want to make contacts. And all I'll need to determine is
    the material and the thickness I will make each contact. Which is why
    I asked if there was in existence a chart for referencing purposes.

    Darren Harris
    Staten Island, New York
  5. Searcher7

    Searcher7 Guest

  6. Jamie

    Jamie Guest

    Tungsten material for the contact surface and having them rounded would
    be good.

    "I'd rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy"

    "Daily Thought:
    Thoughts are like assholes, every one, has one."
  7. steamer

    steamer Guest

    --How much power and how much arcing do you anticipate? Also how
    fast do you want to make contact and how often do you need to do it? These
    variables need to be pinned down before you decide on a material.
  8. Tim Williams

    Tim Williams Guest

    You aren't understanding from the other responses that you have said
    nothing about: environment, mechanical robustness, conductivity, and a slew
    of other imaginable things that kind of have to be known before any
    self-respecting engineer here can specify anything.

    I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest you look at brass, phosphor
    bronze or beryllium bronze stock. These metals are springy, easy to work,
    and reasonably conductive (being alloys, they are quite a bit more
    resistive than pure copper, but not so bad as like...iron).

    Relay contacts are typically copper or brass rails with silver contacts.
    The silver may be alloyed with cadmium, etc., for weld resistance, or
    mercury (the term being amalgamated rather than alloyed) for low level
    contacts (audio switching, for instance). Tungsten is the king of
    refractory metals, but not the greatest in atmosphere, and not the greatest
    conductor either. It can be bonded with copper, making a very hard,
    conductive, refractory contact material. Copper filled graphite is used
    for high quality motor brushes.

    In adverse environments, stainless steel, titanium, etc. may be more useful
    than copper alloys, despite the low conductivity. Or even clad materials
    (pricey) to get the best of both worlds.

    Ya know, I find it hard to believe you can't just find "phosphor bronze" on
    Google. You must not be trying in the right direction. I don't happen to
    know offhand of any sort of conclusive contact chart, although I can
    imagine people in the business don't really need one anyway, hence your

  9. BobG

    BobG Guest

    I think there is a big convention of Electrical Contractors up near
    you in the Convention Center every year. This would be an excellent
    place to make some Electrical Contacts.
  10. John Fields

    John Fields Guest

    There certainly is!

    For starters, before you can choose the optimum material for the job
    you'll need to know how much current the contacts will be expected
    to carry, the voltage they'll need to break, the temperature they
    must not exceed, how much (make and break) bounce you can tolerate,
    how tightly they must be pressed together, the environment they must
    live in while resisting corrosion, and on and on...
    Not as far as I know.

    Your best bet might be to go to various relay and switch
    manufacturers' web sites and find out what they use for contact
    materials and then Google on those materials for more detail.
  11. NewsGroups

    NewsGroups Guest

    See here for more info about contacts.
  12. John is correct, but only if you want to go into production on the thing.
    If all you want is something for hobby use, the last time I had to make
    contacts I bought a junk silver dime, a dime produced prior to ?? 1960
    something. I then used a turret punch to punch out small 1/8" diameter
    pieces of the dime, soldered a wire to one side and used the other side for
    the contact. All in all, you can get about 5 sets of contacts out of a dime
    for a cost of about two bits apiece.

  13. JosephKK

    JosephKK Guest

    All of those connectors are standard, just buy them. The cost of the
    tooling will bury you.
  14. Searcher7

    Searcher7 Guest

    Ok. One person took a wrong turn and everyone else followed.(I knew
    this was going to happen).

    The first paragraph in the first post of this thread was the only
    question I was seeking an answer for.

    Making, breaking, speed of, wiping, arcing, corrosion resistance,
    wear, electrical conductivity and resistance, thickness and
    flexibility, bounce, size, shape, ect., ect. are things I will be
    deciding on for the various projects.

    I did say that I'd be dealing with materials that will be handling the
    power outputs of normal computer power supplies.

    But I didn't want to get into all of the specifics here for each and
    every project. It was just a simple request for a reference chart if
    one existed. From there I'd be able to determine all the parameters
    myself. But obviously no such chart exists.

    Thanks anyway.

    Darren Harris
    Staten Island, New York.
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