In various electronics repairs, you will eventually need some contact
spray (both dry and lubricating) and flux for soldering. Those will get
you very far. If you do any mechanical work, you'll want some some
run-of-the-mill lubricants (ordinary oil and lithium grease will get
you very, very far). A bottle of isopropanol can be invaluable to
remove greasy or sticky stains or flux remnants, and some acetone for
the really tough ones (but be careful you don't completely dissolve
whatever you're working on).
I've been doing electronics for a while, and will happily attack any
other technical problem as well, be it a broken refrigerator door hinge,
a seized-up sewing machine, or a stubborn bicycle shifter. Therefore
I have accumulated a variety of service chemicals, with quite likely
an unnecessary amount of overlap. But hey, most of them will last
forever. (And, being a chemist by training, I can hardly help myself,
The following is a (likely incomplete) list of what awful, smelly poisons
I have in shelf. Yes, they all have their uses:
What's still missing? Beer.
- Isopropanol: generic bottle (all-around solvent that's safe
for most plastics)
- Pro tip: Mix 1 part IPA and 3–4 parts water for
a wonderful all-around cleaning fluid!
- Many eyeglass cleaning fluids are that same composition.
Make your own at a fraction of the cost!
- Isopropanol spray: PRF IPA
- Isopropanol, gelled: Erä Trekking fire-starter gel
- This stuff is great as a cutting fluid when drilling aluminum
- Being a gel, it will stay where you dispense it, rather
than running off
- Acetone: generic bottle (not so safe for all plastics)
- For tough grease or sticky stains that IPA will not remove
- Acetone will also dissolve hardened cyanoacrylate super glue
- Whisky: Bruichladdich Octomore 11.2, will have to make do
- Electronics sprays:
- Dry contact spray: PRF 6-68
- Lubricating contact spray: PRF 7-78
- Pro tip: For cleaning 3.5 mm phone jacks with
contact spray, an inter-dental brush (e.g. Jordan
Clinic, size L) is just the thing!
- Plastic spray: PRF 202
- Pro tip: Don't use this as a substitute for
contact spray when servicing scratchy potentiometers.
- Cold spray: PRF 101
- Air duster: PRF 4-44
- Pro tip: When servicing that 40-year old desktop PC
or server, go outside before applying the air duster!
- Spray vaseline: PRF Bajol (Awesome stuff! It penetrates like
oil, and then thickens into grease.)
- Lithium grease: CRC Super Adhesive Grease KP 2 N-30 (Just
your generic average lithium grease.)
- Synthetic grease: Synco SuperLube (Several astro discussion
boards seemed to prefer this specific brand over anything else,
e.g. generic lithium grease, for lubricating telescope
focusers etc. when they must work at ultimate
- Fishing reel grease: Mitchell X3 (Green and smelly, yuck!)
- Silicone grease: CRC Silikon-Fett
- PTFE lubricant spray: CRC Dry Lube
- Bicycle chain oil: AT Sport
- Sewing machine oil: Prym
- Rust remover spray: Maston R3
- Multi-spray: CRC 5-56 (Pretty much equivalent of WD-40. Not
really good for anything, but if all else fails, make a mess.)
- Epoxy glue: Pacer 5 minute Z-Poxy (this is the best!)
- Cyanoacrylate superglue: Pacer Zap Thin CA (in the pink bottle)
- Pro tip: Store the epoxy and CA in a refrigerator. It
will extend their lifetime greatly!
- Contact cement: Casco Kontaktlim
- Thread lock: Mavala 3 Paris (yes, that's nail polish)
Shoe glue: Casco LiquiSole This
stuff was awesome! It would actually glue a cracked rubber sole
or gumboot, and it would stand up to walking! It found no
end of use for all kinds of other waterproofing applications as
well. It would stick to just about anything! But it had a very
limited shelf life once opened, and you can't get it anymore.
(Did it contain something too toxic? Heck, I'm still living and
breathing...) Casco now sells a replacement called RubberFix, but
I haven't tested that yet.
- Liquid flux: Multicore 6381-35
- Flux paste: Biltema 19-719 Lödpasta (no, really!)
- Solder tinning compound: Bera-Fix (This is a thick paste of
leaded solder and flux. Because of RoHS, you cannot get this
- Solder: I have 3 kg of leaded solder stashed away. I
really don't want to learn soldering again with
- Thermal compounds:
- Silicone thermal paste: Unick thermal compound
- Silver thermal paste: Arctic Silver 5
Thermal glue: AG ThermoGlue
This stuff will set in the tube after just one use.
Antti J. Niskanen <firstname.lastname@example.org>