Grease on new Siemens circ. breaker contacts - need to wipe out before installing?

Discussion in 'Electrical Forum discussion & Blog' started by electrotuko, Aug 13, 2013.

  1. electrotuko

    electrotuko New Member

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    Lately in the stores I found Siemens circuit breakers with some sort of grease, paste on the contacts.
    Just curious if this needs to be kept and install breaker in to panle with that or just wipe it out.
    The panel has a copper bus. Is this, I assume electricall contact improving grease , should still stay?
  2. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

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    It's likely dielectric grease...it helps to keep oxygen out of the contact that can cause corrosion...it's not a bad thing to have on any electrical contact...leave it there.
  3. electrotuko

    electrotuko New Member

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    Thanks jadnashua, will follow your advice.
  4. Homeownerinburb

    Homeownerinburb New Member

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    I use the stuff pretty religiously, especially in a panel. On the big conductors coming into the panel, on the larger gauge wires on breakers of 50 or 30 amps, and on the breakers as they get loaded onto the buss bars.

    I count having a tube of the stuff a cost of doing business.
  5. brownizs

    brownizs In the Trades

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    You can get the small packets from Napa, Auto Zone, Advance Auto, O'Reilly's also, which come in handy for small jobs.
  6. electrotuko

    electrotuko New Member

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    That is a perfect advise. Can you please provide a link to places on the web to get that grease/paste. I have no idea how it looks like.
    Homeownerinburb, where ae you getting that tube of the stuff? How you use it on conductors coming into the panel, on the larger gauge wires? Just applying a bit making sure that wires in contact with connectors/termilanl are sligtly moistured/covered or co mpletely swamped by grease/paste?
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2013
  7. Homeownerinburb

    Homeownerinburb New Member

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    Here is the stuff I use:

    http://www.amazon.com/Gardner-Bender-OX-800-Anti-Oxidant-Compound/dp/B000BOCBCA

    I usually get it from Home Depot, they seem to have a decent price on the stuff.

    It can be had in various sized tubes, the one I gave you is pretty huge, it would last me for the better part of a year.

    I have cut the nozzle of the tube large enough that I can stuff a #8 wire into it, which certainly coats the wire pretty well.

    For large stuff I just squeeze it out as if it were tooth paste, and smear it all around. You can also drop a dab into a lug that is going to receive a large wire.

    Often enough I get called out on trouble shooting that gets me opening a panel. I just as a matter of course check the wires as best as I can, the white ones especially. If there is any sign that the wire has been stressed, I might back off the screw, pull the wire out, cut back the burned bit, expose fresh copper, and give it all a nice goosing with anti-ox.

    And I stuff it up the breakers where they are going to grab the buss bar. Make sure it is not slopping all over the place, as it conducts electricity.

    It has two wonderful qualities: it keeps the oxidation at bay, and it maximizes conductivity. These are GOOD things in an electrical panel, assuming you don't have it bridging from one leg to the other. Oh, and improved conductivity means less heat at that point. Very good thing.
  8. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

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    Yeah, I bought a tube at HD, it wasn't all that expensive. Good to use on things in the car as well, especially things like trailer hitch electrical connections and your battery posts.
  9. electrotuko

    electrotuko New Member

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  10. electrotuko

    electrotuko New Member

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    Location:
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    I was reading a discription on the web for other similar product which has the same component in it - Zinc:
    "IDEAL Noalox Anti-Oxidant"
    It has "Suspended zinc particles penetrate and cut aluminum oxide".
    I am thinking that all those product intended to be used on aluminum.
    If used on copper, would not be even make worst since zinc particles touching-penetrating copper would make an electrochemical contact and initiate corrozion reaction. Aluminum in Zinc are in the same chemo-electricla group, where Copper-Zinc in oposite.
  11. jwelectric

    jwelectric Electrical Contractor/Instructor

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    110.14 Because of different characteristics of dissimilar metals, devices such as pressure terminal or pressure splicing connectors and soldering lugs shall be identified for the material of the conductor and shall be properly installed and used. Conductors of dissimilar metals shall not be intermixed in a terminal or splicing connector where physical contact occurs between dissimilar conductors (such as copper and aluminum, copper and copper-clad aluminum, or aluminum and copper-clad aluminum), unless the device is identified for the purpose and conditions of use.
    Materials such as solder, fluxes, inhibitors, and compounds, where employed, shall be suitable for the use and shall be of a type that will not adversely affect the conductors, installation, or equipment.

    Notice the last sentence of this code section. This junk is not required unless it is amended in your area and it is my personal opinion that those who amend their codes have no clue of what they are talking about.
    If this junk is used according to the instructions that are included in the listing and labeling then the conductors have to be untwisted and brushed with a wire brush before this junk is applied and unless it is called for by the manufacturer of the terminal then it is a code violation to use the junk.

    What is found on the slots of breakers and bus bars if far from being this junk. The stuff found on breakers was designed by the manufacturer of the breaker and in no way comes close to being this junk.

    Has anyone got the idea yet that in my personal opinion this is nothing but junk?
  12. bluebinky

    bluebinky Member

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    I'll probably get beat up for this, but there seem to be two basic kinds of "grease" being talked about here.
    1) non-conductive to keep oxygen out.
    2) conductive to help reduce problems when dissimilar metals are connected (Al-Cu).

    My guess is that the breaker has the non-conductive grease.
  13. jwelectric

    jwelectric Electrical Contractor/Instructor

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    The stuff on the breaker does conduct as well as the film on the bus bars but neither is grease.
  14. electrotuko

    electrotuko New Member

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    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    jwelectric, yes we are getting the idea. But let me ask your opinion, it is a kind of paste in the slots of breakers put by manufacturer. Most likely it is not only in case the breaker installed in to aluminum bus bars based panel, it should work or at least does not do nothing harmfull in case copper bars used.
    Older production breakers did not have it. Something new approach breakers manufacturers took. Would it worth to get the same kind of paste, or whatever you call this, not the junk a you call it, and apply everywhere were the conductive copper and aluminum arts of panel exist, as Homeownerinburb mentioned. Would not it benefit?
  15. jwelectric

    jwelectric Electrical Contractor/Instructor

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    it is to be used only when called for. If it is not called for then it is not to be used. I haven't used any for over twenty years.
  16. electrotuko

    electrotuko New Member

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    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    It was not called on older breakers, only recently Siemens tarted putting this stuff in.
    Was not it needed, not called before, does it has to be addd on previosuly bought breakers???
  17. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades Master of one

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    I would think your guess is correct.

    A conductive grease could really cause problems and would do very little good, and should not be needed on good clean contacts.
  18. Homeownerinburb

    Homeownerinburb New Member

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    Actually, the stuff I was writing about, and that I use is indeed conductive.

    Conductive grease is GOOD. Any place where there is dubious contact, is an opportunity for heating and burning.

    Lord knows that the old Zinsco trash was infamous for having contacts in the breakers that did not grab the buss bars for squat. In the event that I am called out on a dodgy Zinsco panel, and it is common enough, I likely will find a breakers that has not been making reliable contact to the buss bar and is arcing. Assuming that the client will not face up to the cost of a re-panel, often all I can do is clean up the buss bar, replace the breaker, and apply a generous dose of conductive grease.

    Admittedly, there are situations where too much of a good thing is the case.
  19. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades Master of one

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    If you say so.

    Sounds like a half ass fix to me.

    If the panel needs replaced then it should be replaced.

    I hope you have good insurance.

    A breaker panel is nothing to play with, or cut corners on.

    Good thing JW is not the inspector. I agree with him.



    Good Luck.
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2013
  20. jwelectric

    jwelectric Electrical Contractor/Instructor

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