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Author Topic: Silver Plating Tank Components  (Read 1789 times)
N9XTF
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Posts: 227




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« on: November 26, 2007, 07:21:59 PM »

In lieu of actually silver plating tank components, I wondered what effect silver solder would have for this purpose.  

At work, I silver solder a great deal of K copper pipe for cryogenic service.  I use 60% silver wire.  If I could deposit this solder in a semi-uniform fashion on my homebrew tank coils, would the benefit provide useful?

73 - Doug
N9XTF
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N2AXZ
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« Reply #1 on: November 26, 2007, 08:28:53 PM »

You can purchase silver plated copper strap from RF Parts or Surplus Sales of Nebraska that is ideal for building tank coils.

David, N2AXZ
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WB2WIK
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Posts: 20540




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« Reply #2 on: November 27, 2007, 07:56:27 AM »

I never noticed any difference going from copper to silver plating.

I used to use this stuff called "Kool Amp" (don't know if it's still available) to apply a thin silver flash (microinches) onto copper tank components and tried to find any difference in efficiency or anything else, and never could.

I think the silver just looks cool, especially if after making all connections you spray it with a clear laquer to prevent it from tarnishing...

WB2WIK/6
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N9XTF
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« Reply #3 on: November 27, 2007, 08:27:37 AM »

Steve,

Thanks for the information.  A quick Google search for 'Cool Amp' revealed the product you specified.

It looks very interesting.  I read the product information, but I am not sure how this stuff bonds to copper or its durability.  The directions state that you wipe it on with a damp cloth and it deposits .001" of pure silver.  I will have to do some more investigation.  

I greatly appreciate the info as always!

73,
Doug - N9XTF
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AD4U
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« Reply #4 on: November 27, 2007, 09:30:41 AM »

Way back when I was much younger I built a number of amps.  One in particular was a big mono-bander for 20 meters.  I wound a tank coil from 1/2 inch copper tubing.  After using the amp a long time, I decided to silver plate the coil and as much of the tank circuit as possible.  After silver plating everything, I could not notice one iota of difference in power out.  In my opinion silver plating copper is not worth the cost and effort.  I know.  I tried it.
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KE3WD
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Posts: 5694




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« Reply #5 on: November 27, 2007, 11:05:34 AM »

An oldtime xmtr engineer, now long deceased, once told me that the silver plate was beneficial in situations where bare copper could corrode over time because copper oxide has a higher resistance than silver turned black.  

Dunno anything more'n that about it, though, but it made sense.  

Very unlikely that an amp in an average modern hamshack environment would be exposed to conditions that would promote a lot of copper oxidation, which would likely take a long time.  


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K6AER
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« Reply #6 on: November 27, 2007, 01:10:16 PM »

The main benefit at HF frequencies by silver plating is to prevent oxidation of the tank components.

Alpha on their Alpha Omega 87A actually gold plated the tank circuit. It really looked very cool. Didn’t put out one more watt but boy was it pretty.
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WB2WIK
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« Reply #7 on: November 27, 2007, 01:31:04 PM »

>RE: Silver Plating Tank Components  Reply  
by K6AER on November 27, 2007  Mail this to a friend!  
The main benefit at HF frequencies by silver plating is to prevent oxidation of the tank components.

Alpha on their Alpha Omega 87A actually gold plated the tank circuit. It really looked very cool. Didn’t put out one more watt but boy was it pretty.<

::You can call in the XYL to look at it and say you bought gold for your girlfriend, "Alpha."  

:-)

Gold actually isn't as good a conductor as copper, it's just a notch above aluminum.  But it does look cool.
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SSB
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« Reply #8 on: November 30, 2007, 09:14:41 AM »

Some electronics distributors (getting scarce) used to sell powder to tin plate copper.  It was easy to use, cheap and worked well.  When copper starts to oxidize it gets really ugly but I don't think it matters much.


Alex...
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N2IK
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Posts: 220




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« Reply #9 on: December 05, 2007, 05:32:08 PM »

I have used the Kool Amp products to coat copper waveguide. It is easy to apply. Clean the copper well and follow the directions. It works well. The plating is very thin. It main use is on power switchgear bus-bar.

If you want thicker plating you can contact a plating company. They can plate as many mils as you want to buy.

73 de Walt N2IK
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WA9SVD
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Posts: 2201




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« Reply #10 on: December 06, 2007, 10:11:07 AM »

" Steve,

Thanks for the information. A quick Google search for 'Cool Amp' revealed the product you specified.

It looks very interesting. I read the product information, but I am not sure how this stuff bonds to copper or its durability. The directions state that you wipe it on with a damp cloth and it deposits .001" of pure silver. I will have to do some more investigation.

I greatly appreciate the info as always!

73,
Doug - N9XTF"

======================================

    The "Cool-Amp" works as claimed, and the durability is no different than electroplated material.  It WILL last.  And if the surface is clean and free of grease (including fingerprints!) it goes on fairly easily and gives a uniform, but thin finish.  (It's just as susceptible to scratching or abrasive removal as any other type of plating method.)
    While the "Cool-Amp" product seems expensive and it seems you have to buy a large quantity, they DO have a more reasonably priced "trial kit" that (if I recall) is less than $50 and can cover a lot of Amateur Radio projects.)

    Ag plating will not have a significant effect at HF, other than to prevent corrosion; Ag Sulfide and Agoxide arealso both better conductors than pure copper, and certainly much better than Cu oxide or Cu sulfide.  (The main pollutants in air, aka SMOG.)

    If there's truly a need for Ag plating, then electro methods can deposit almost unlimited amounts (depths)given enough time, expertise, and money.  But the chemicals are toxic and not normally a "DIY" type of home endeavour.
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