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Thread: Being careful with memory

  1. #1

    Default Being careful with memory

    Is there really an insertion limit for memory sticks for a PC? One guy made a side comment on an old 2003 post on geek.com that gold plated memory is good for about 25 insertions. I've never noticed any trouble back years ago when I had bags and bags of old PC memory and I often went through many PC builds and testing memory. In general the issues I had were just the system being ram picky. A lot of PCs were back then. The disliked stick of ram worked in a different system, and so forth. They had scratches on the plates from being inserted time to time, but they still appeared to function well in compatible systems. I even touched the contacts sometimes to remove a hair or dirt piece and I never remember having an issue. Maybe it's because I wash my hands before working in a computer, but still my hands sweat a lot during PC repair. I know now not to touch any metal pin contacts when working in a computer, but I still go back to bad habits. Sometime soon i'll start wearing antistatic gloves to completely fix the issue so I have no risk of oil or grime corroding anything.

  2. #2
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    I'd say that it depends on the plating. Cheap gold-over-copper plating will wear in no time. Gold plated over nickel over copper has a considerably longer lifetime. "Acid hard gold", that is, gold alloyed with nickel or cobalt over a proper underplating is the most durable. On most memory modules, the thickness of the gold plating is less than a micro, so very thin and quite susceptible to "fretting". And in no case, should gold-plated contacts be used with tin-plated sockets.

    So, in short, "it depends". I've gotten some gold-plated Chinese-origin connectors that were so bad, that I've cleaned and plated them with silver.

  3. #3
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    I've inserted and removed memory modules dozens and dozens of times without any detriment to the functionality of the module. You do eventually start seeing wear to the edge pads, but I'd say you'd probably have to be really rough inserting the module to cause galling, or have insertion/removal cycles in the hundreds of times to cause the contacts to wear to the point of failure.

    The biggest problem I have with old modules though is the edge contacts tarnishing to the point that it causes electrical issues and the module stops working entirely or shows random memory errors. Ambient humidity over time causes tarnishing, so unless you store your modules in a sealed container with desiccant, it will always happen eventually.

    The best way to fix tarnished modules is with some of that Krud Kutter rust inhibitor liquid on a Q-tip, you just rub it along the contacts on both sides, let it sit for about 30 seconds and remove it. You'll see a noticeable change in color when you're done, and the module usually works fine after.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by GiGaBiTe View Post
    The best way to fix tarnished modules is with some of that Krud Kutter rust inhibitor liquid on a Q-tip, you just rub it along the contacts on both sides, let it sit for about 30 seconds and remove it. You'll see a noticeable change in color when you're done, and the module usually works fine after.
    I treat them the same way I handle tarnished expansion cards and other card edge components -- with a 25 cent rubber pencil eraser from Office Depot, Max, Staples, etc. Works every time in less than 30 seconds.
    PM me if you're looking for 3" or 5" floppy disks. EMail For everything else, Take Another Step

  5. #5
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    One thing that I do not recommend is cleaning the gold-plate contacts of a memory module or PCB with a pink pencil eraser. The gold plating is sometimes less that a micron thick and those abrasive erasers can do more damage than good.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck(G) View Post
    ...those abrasive erasers can do more damage than good.
    Dunno, been using an eraser for this procedure for 30 years with no ill effects whatsoever.
    PM me if you're looking for 3" or 5" floppy disks. EMail For everything else, Take Another Step

  7. #7

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    By the time you've gotten to the point where you need to do that, the gold is (was) kind of irrelevant, in my opinion.

  8. #8

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    I always clean contacts with isopropanol and a q-tip first. If that's not enough to remove corrosion then step up to a pencil eraser or fiberglass pen

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stone View Post
    I treat them the same way I handle tarnished expansion cards and other card edge components -- with a 25 cent rubber pencil eraser from Office Depot, Max, Staples, etc. Works every time in less than 30 seconds.
    That just scuffs up the metal and allows tarnish/corrosion to get deeper into the metal. I used to do that until I realized that the tarnish would re-appear in sometimes less than a week and was much worse than on clean unscuffed edge pads.

    Krud Kutter changes the composition of the metal so it generally doesn't tarnish/corrode for years, at least the stuff I've applied it to.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by GiGaBiTe View Post
    That just scuffs up the metal and allows tarnish/corrosion to get deeper into the metal. I used to do that until I realized that the tarnish would re-appear in sometimes less than a week and was much worse than on clean unscuffed edge pads.
    Again, in thirty years of applying this procedure, that hasn't been my experience. I've never had to re-visit a once cleaned card edge connector.
    PM me if you're looking for 3" or 5" floppy disks. EMail For everything else, Take Another Step

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