Author Topic: eevBLAB #33 - Why Gold Plated Probes Matter  (Read 12050 times)

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Online EEVblog

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eevBLAB #33 - Why Gold Plated Probes Matter
« on: August 12, 2017, 03:29:16 am »
Dave demonstrates why gold plated multimeter probes matter, and why you should be using them for all your electronics measurements.
Probe Master probes: http://amzn.to/2vNUmc7
BM235 Probes: http://amzn.to/2vNUsR1

 
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Offline vk6zgo

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Re: eevBLAB #33 - Why Gold Plated Probes Matter
« Reply #1 on: August 12, 2017, 04:03:22 am »
Dave, am I imagining things at my advanced age, or do those gold plated leads have non-shrouded connectors on the meter end?

 

Online BravoV

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Re: eevBLAB #33 - Why Gold Plated Probes Matter
« Reply #2 on: August 12, 2017, 04:10:07 am »
Sometimes, for old probe, its not chemical, but its the physical layer that deteriorate the conductivity of the surface.

Like the Fluke ones, I guess as it aged, usually finger fat, grease etc you name it, formed at very thin layer at the tip and will affect the surface conductivity.

Usually I dip the tip only into acetone (beware, not allowed the liquid to touch the plastic part), and give the tip a good strong rub using tissue paper or hell, even used news paper, then it will perform as gold ones.

Yes, even gold plated ones, when aged especially used alot, it will be covered with grease/fat/oil, and even the gold doesn't react with them, but still the dirt layer will affect the performance.

Offline jh15

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Re: eevBLAB #33 - Why Gold Plated Probes Matter
« Reply #3 on: August 12, 2017, 04:37:34 am »
I'd be more concerned with the point contact. How long does the gold last there, and what's underneath?
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Online BravoV

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Re: eevBLAB #33 - Why Gold Plated Probes Matter
« Reply #4 on: August 12, 2017, 05:14:12 am »
I'd be more concerned with the point contact. How long does the gold last there, and what's underneath?

Depends on the gold flake thickness I guess.  :P

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Re: eevBLAB #33 - Why Gold Plated Probes Matter
« Reply #5 on: August 12, 2017, 06:31:06 am »
Dave, am I imagining things at my advanced age, or do those gold plated leads have non-shrouded connectors on the meter end?

These ones do, but they come in many options.
 

Offline alm

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Re: eevBLAB #33 - Why Gold Plated Probes Matter
« Reply #6 on: August 12, 2017, 07:56:09 am »
How much difference in contact resistance if you actually use the probes, e.g. to measure resistance on a PCB? I can not remember ever touching the probes together like that except to check if the leads are connected.
 

Online TheSteve

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Re: eevBLAB #33 - Why Gold Plated Probes Matter
« Reply #7 on: August 12, 2017, 08:42:54 am »
I've never done continuity measurements using the side of the probe. :) No question gold wins for resisting corrosion but how quickly does it wear off on the tips where the probes make contact in actual use? Gold is awful soft so a few years in I wonder which might end up winning.
VE7FM
 
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Offline NANDBlog

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Re: eevBLAB #33 - Why Gold Plated Probes Matter
« Reply #8 on: August 12, 2017, 08:44:29 am »
I'll take a 34138A and a good, spring loaded Pomona 6341 over any gold plated test lead any day.
 

Offline alm

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Re: eevBLAB #33 - Why Gold Plated Probes Matter
« Reply #9 on: August 12, 2017, 09:05:21 am »
I like these Hirschmann Prüf 2610 probes for low contact resistance with their sharp spring-loaded tip. But obviously a blunt gold-plated tip like the Brymen ones will be superior :P.
 

Online Muttley Snickers

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Re: eevBLAB #33 - Why Gold Plated Probes Matter
« Reply #10 on: August 12, 2017, 09:18:56 am »
I have an older set of leads hanging around some place where due to using the slip on crocodile clips the nickel/ chrome coating has worn off revealing a golden coloured substance underneath, I strongly suspect it to be brass but with my run of luck lately it is more likely some highly toxic cadmium coating or something.   ::) :P
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Offline alm

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Re: eevBLAB #33 - Why Gold Plated Probes Matter
« Reply #11 on: August 12, 2017, 09:31:08 am »
Nickel-plated brass is pretty standard for probes (just check a Pomona datasheet). Rugged probes might use stainless steel because it is harder and better suited for punching through thick layers of corrosion.
 

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Re: eevBLAB #33 - Why Gold Plated Probes Matter
« Reply #12 on: August 12, 2017, 09:33:01 am »
Well this video seems to have riled some people up on Youtube comments  :-DD
 

Online BravoV

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Re: eevBLAB #33 - Why Gold Plated Probes Matter
« Reply #13 on: August 12, 2017, 09:33:19 am »
How much difference in contact resistance if you actually use the probes, e.g. to measure resistance on a PCB? I can not remember ever touching the probes together like that except to check if the leads are connected.

I guess this video is more on the advertorial side  ;), hence created in BLAB than in BLOG video, cmiiw.

Offline Electro Detective

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Re: eevBLAB #33 - Why Gold Plated Probes Matter
« Reply #14 on: August 12, 2017, 09:36:15 am »
I've never done continuity measurements using the side of the probe. :)

No question gold wins for resisting corrosion but how quickly does it wear off on the tips where the probes make contact in actual use?

Gold is awful soft so a few years in I wonder which might end up winning.


Good points (no pun intended)  :-+

Either way, gold tips can only take you so far and MAY perform like cheapies if:

the meter sockets are dirty,

the lead plugs are dirty and or in bad shape under the shrouds,

the soft gold tips are abused too often and half rooted,

tarnish, grease, dust, cat saliva etc

and or the plastic shrouds HINDER proper contact and spoil the show  :--

I am going to try DJs tests with the Brymen gold, Fluke standards and better ones too asap,
and see if I can get them to perform identically after I clean them up and ensure no obstructions





« Last Edit: August 12, 2017, 09:49:09 am by Electro Detective »
 

Offline BBBbbb

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Re: eevBLAB #33 - Why Gold Plated Probes Matter
« Reply #15 on: August 12, 2017, 09:48:19 am »
video from 3:01-3:04:
https://youtu.be/uV9mW0rpRxg?t=181

 :-DD :-DD :-DD :-DD :-DD :-DD
 

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Re: eevBLAB #33 - Why Gold Plated Probes Matter
« Reply #16 on: August 12, 2017, 09:48:59 am »
I've never done continuity measurements using the side of the probe. :) No question gold wins for resisting corrosion but how quickly does it wear off on the tips where the probes make contact in actual use? Gold is awful soft so a few years in I wonder which might end up winning.

Electronic contacts like probes, connectors, PCB card edge contact connectors all use "hard gold" plating:
http://www.superior-processing.com/hardgold_softgold.html
 

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Re: eevBLAB #33 - Why Gold Plated Probes Matter
« Reply #17 on: August 12, 2017, 09:52:22 am »
I guess this video is more on the advertorial side  ;), hence created in BLAB than in BLOG video, cmiiw.

No advertorial intended at all.
I was doing my pocket meter shootout (some of which had gold probes) and I thought it might be interesting to show the difference.
Yeah I put some amazon links in the description as I always do when possible, I won't spend my 10's of dollars total in commissions all at once.
 

Offline EPTech

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Re: eevBLAB #33 - Why Gold Plated Probes Matter
« Reply #18 on: August 12, 2017, 10:02:55 am »
Hi,

Fast continuity response is only useful when wiping across a set of pins. Gold is much softer than nickel so it will wear of much faster in doing that. The coating would have to be really thick, which I doubt.
When wiping across pins we are talking safety voltage (below 24VDC) anyway so what I do, is take some spring loaded test probes with socket and solder some wire on those, heat shrink, banana plugs on the other side. When the probes are worn out, I put new ones in the sockets. I use nickel coated probes for everything else.

Dave's point though, seems valid. Gold coated probes will probably respond faster when checking for continuity. But I do not feel like throwing away a probe set every few months just because they have lost their golden tip.
Kind greetings,

Pascal.
 

Offline EPTech

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Re: eevBLAB #33 - Why Gold Plated Probes Matter
« Reply #19 on: August 12, 2017, 10:04:33 am »
Ah, so it is some kind of gold alloy plating, not 24 carat? That sounds better.
Kind greetings,

Pascal.
 
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Offline EPTech

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Re: eevBLAB #33 - Why Gold Plated Probes Matter
« Reply #20 on: August 12, 2017, 10:10:44 am »
A suggestion: (sorry for spamming  :P)

As a stress test, use the 3D printer, attach the probe to the bridge of the printer with a spring pushing it down and have it wipe over a QFP for a couple of 100 times. Check under the microscope.  >:D


Kind greetings,

Pascal.
 

Offline mikron

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Re: eevBLAB #33 - Why Gold Plated Probes Matter
« Reply #21 on: August 12, 2017, 10:17:45 am »
I noticed that the beeper in my Fluke sounds much more authentic and 3D when I am using gold coated probes!
 
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Offline PA4TIM

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Re: eevBLAB #33 - Why Gold Plated Probes Matter
« Reply #22 on: August 12, 2017, 10:38:04 am »
I have a new set of Fluke probe from the model Dave shows. They had the highest series resistance and highest isolation leakage from  all my probes.  But I have also a 25 or older set used automotive and they are still usable. My six years old Agilents are totally dead. The leads are now about 50 cm and the probe-"foam" is sticky and falls apart. Only used in the lab.

Just bought a set miniprobes from Pomona with very thin leads and replacable tips. Found out later there are goldplated tips versions too, those tips are for sale  and should fit my probes

I'm thinking about making a set probes with replacable pogopins as tip.

Micron: and the electrons are much better spaced and the multimeter looks much more open,  you can not measure it, but the effect is amazing. Your friends will be jealous .
How many hours you spend on braking them in,  Are the cryogenic treated ?
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Offline WackyGerman

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Re: eevBLAB #33 - Why Gold Plated Probes Matter
« Reply #23 on: August 12, 2017, 11:11:50 am »
I am using the Brymen probes for a long time and they are still the best bang per buck . With an unlatched continuity tester like the Greenlee 830A which is similar to the BM 829 the difference between gold plated and nickel tips is really huge . With gold tips you hear a real clean beep and with nickel it is a scratchy sound when you put them together softly .
But at my job as electrician I still use nickel tips because they are more robust . Putting the probes in push-in terminals and spring terminals for measuring . The terminals have really sharp edges and would kill the gold plating in a short time .
At home I use the Brymen probes for measuring on boards and I am still really happy with them .  :-+
 

Offline max_torque

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Re: eevBLAB #33 - Why Gold Plated Probes Matter
« Reply #24 on: August 12, 2017, 11:43:31 am »
Sorry, but gold probes are only "superior" when testing gold targets!

As soon as one contact is not gold, then the "advantages" of gold probes (in terms of low pressure = low resistance) disappear.

For most people, when testing continuity, it's going to be across something that is NOT gold plated! (ie, all your video shows is you testing the continuity of the probes and not against a DUT.......   |O  )
 
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