How to Properly Clean and Care for Connectors

Proper care and handling of cable assemblies and connector interfaces is critical to ensuring accurate operation. When connectors are not properly mated or cared for, there is a risk of damaging test ports and mating devices. Cleaning your connectors is a quick process that will keep debris from collecting and help to keep your cable assemblies operating at peak performance throughout their life.

Interface Inspection

Visual Inspection. Be sure there is no visible damage or debris in the connector interfaces. Check center pins for concentricity. A good practice is to use a containerized compressed air, such as Tech Duster, to blow out any dust and debris prior to connection. Do not touch connector mating surfaces with your hands as this can propagate natural oils onto the mating surface. Only touch the outside surfaces.

Inspecting Interfaces. Be sure there is no scoring, dents, on outer conductor, center pins, and dielectric surfaces. Center contacts must be present, straight and centered. Contact shoulders need to be sharply defined with flat edges and no rolled or mushroomed edges. There should be no evidence of contact pin looseness or cross-threading. Cable Assemblies with damaged interfaces should not be used. Do not mate them with any connector or interface gauge.

Inspecting Interface Threads. There should be no evidence of cross threading or broken or missing threads. Cable assemblies with damaged threads should not be used. Do not mate them with any connector or interface gauge.

Interface Cleaning

Cleaning Connector Threads. Use a clean, soft, lint-free swab, such as a cotton swab, lightly moistened with isopropyl alcohol to remove dirt, dust, and other debris.

  • Apply a small amount of isopropyl alcohol to the lint free swab. Press excess alcohol out of swab on a clean lint free cloth.
  • Clean the connector threads. Do not allow alcohol to come into contact with dielectrics or gaskets. Do not allow alcohol to migrate into the connector. Migration can cause VSWR, phase, and insertion loss problems. If migration occurs, the cable assembly should be thermal cycled at +70 C for one hour.
  • Allow the isopropyl alcohol to evaporate, then dry the threads using containerized compressed air. Make sure the connectors are completely dry before use.
  • Re-inspect connector to be sure there is no visible debris.

Check out the video from MegaPhase below and read the white paper for more helpful info.

How to clean connectors by MegaPhase RF and Microwave Interconnects


Author : MegaPhase RF & Microwave Interconnects