Connect with us

Is there a liquid conductor out there, or that I can make?

Discussion in 'General Electronics Discussion' started by sergioq, May 17, 2014.

Scroll to continue with content
  1. sergioq


    Oct 29, 2013
    So I have been working on a project that involves using ball bearing tilt switches. Which are fine. But in programmer's language I have to many IFs to in my equation that I need to solder together so many tilt switches at so many angles I that am getting dizzy, and am sure I will miss an angle.

    i.e. I'm not just looking for tilting forward at 15 degrees on one axis. I have to take into consideration every degree in a 350 degree 3D area. So you get the idea you many tilt switches I would need.

    All this would be easily solved if I could use a liquid switch and gravity. Obviously mercury is toxic and expensive.

    I started with citric juices...too weak. Someone mentioned adding salt to vinegar. Am thinking maybe that would work, but would it stay in solution?

    And then I realized maybe I should ask here before I keep experimenting.

    Anyone know of any liquid conductor that's readily available, not expensive, and that conducts as well as mercury (or as close to it) etc. etc.

    Thanks ahead,

    ps: this is a very low voltage project....6V. So the less power I lose, the better.
    Last edited: May 17, 2014
  2. (*steve*)

    (*steve*) ¡sǝpodᴉʇuɐ ǝɥʇ ɹɐǝɥd Moderator

    Jan 21, 2010
    A ball bearing, whilst not liquid, could be used to short out a pair of adjacent contacts.

    Another option id some sort of pendulum that has one connection at the fulcrum and rests against connections along the side of a cylinder that it nominally hangs in the middle of.

    The problems with liquids is that they may be corrosive or leak. Mercury is ideal because of the shape of the meniscus (meaning it won't be pulled uphill), and also because it doesn't "wet" surfaces.
  3. KrisBlueNZ

    KrisBlueNZ Sadly passed away in 2015

    Nov 28, 2011
  4. sergioq


    Oct 29, 2013
    Being new to this I assumed
    "Shorting out a circuit" would be a bad thing. Causing a battery to over heat? Etc? Maybe I should google this?

    Thanks for the reply.

  5. (*steve*)

    (*steve*) ¡sǝpodᴉʇuɐ ǝɥʇ ɹɐǝɥd Moderator

    Jan 21, 2010
    The action of a switch is to short out conductors. Unless those conductors are connected to opposite terminals of a battery you won't short a battery out.
  6. sergioq


    Oct 29, 2013
    Then I am using wrong terminology.

    There's completing a circuit ON

    Breaking a circuit (no connection) OFF

    shorting a circuit means something else in my mind
  7. davenn

    davenn Moderator

    Sep 5, 2009
    "shorting out " a pair of contacts as in Steve's context is a perfectly OK definition as that is the definition of a switch

    but definitely check out Kris's links and also check out " rotation sensors"

  8. sergioq


    Oct 29, 2013
    Ok, giving up on the liquid part,

    Will try another shot with the ball bearing switches...

    But have another idea, as I read will start a new thread on pendulums.
  9. shrtrnd


    Jan 15, 2010
    Sounds like you're gone, but in keeping with the topic of this post I thought I'd give an answer to anyone else who looks-up this information.
    GC Electronics has made a brush-on conductive coating for many years. It may not work in the application of this post, it's designed primarily to repair damaged/missing traces on PCB boards.
    They used to make (but I don't see it presently listed) a Nickel Coat (I still have bottles of that, so there might still be some available), and
    'Silver Print II' Their part number 22-023 for a 1/2 ounce bottle, or 22-024 for the 1 ounce bottle.
    It's pure silver suspended in a varnish that you brush-on.
    Just an answer to the post for anyone looking-up this topic.
Ask a Question
Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?
You'll need to choose a username for the site, which only take a couple of moments (here). After that, you can post your question and our members will help you out.
Electronics Point Logo
Continue to site
Quote of the day