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Share your tips on how to keep personality pins clean

Question asked by t_stinchcombe on Aug 5, 2009
Latest reply on Oct 28, 2009 by Dennis_Dyer
Hi list,

Of necessity our 3070s are used in an environment which includes our cardboard packing boxes, so we have an endless battle against cardboard dust getting between the MINT pins on the testhead and the personality pins sticking out the bottom of the fixtures, resulting in non-existent contact between the two, and hence a board test that simply doesn't run. This then requires frequent brushing of both sets of pins in order to get a good contact, but this in turn, in particular, leads to the personality pins at the bottom of the fixtures getting dull and grubby. The occasional clean of all personality pins works wonders at removing 'pin contact'-type problems, but I still haven't found a really effective way of doing this, and was wondering whether other people have developed their own methods which might be superior to those I have tried?

One of the better ways I have tried is to use a small (approx 1" diameter) circular buffing-disc head on a Dremel-type drill, with some metal polish, running this up and down the grooves in the alignment plate/interface matrix (or whatever it is called). Whilst this can get the personality pins clean, the metal polish flings off everywhere and so it is a messy task, plus of course the pins are so sharp the buffing head gets ripped to shreds very quickly.

A 'quicker fix' I sometimes use is simply to use some cleaning solvent and a toothbrush, but the problem with this is that it is hard to get the ends of the pins clean (i.e. where it really matters), as the pins push the toothbrush bristles aside. (Also the pin locations are painted on the plastic interface matrix, and the solvent can dissolve this, thus not helping matters at all...)

I have also tried using some chamois-tipped-type 'swab applicators' (sold for cleaning video heads etc.), again with metal polish, but the abrasive nature of the pins soon rips these to shreds as well, plus it is much harder to get the polish to buff-up nicely to get the pins shiny-clean.

If anyone else has a tried-and-tested and fool-proof method that they swear by, I'd love to hear of it!