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Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: In the Woods Pa
Re: Battery Charger Tip
Most jumper cables and battery charges have steel clips. But steel doesn't conduct like copper; so they are washed in a thin copper plating. That is why they look copper color.
Using sand paper on clips as a maintenance procedure is really not good. You are removing the copper coating, leaving exposed steel. The exposed steel rust and also steel doesn't conduct as well as the copper coating. Electricity travels on the outside of the clip, in the copper coating, not on the center.
If your clips are corroded then cleaning them with some steel wool is fine as the copper covering on the clips has already gone. I like an SOS pad as it has some soap that acts like a wax.
Sort of the old adage, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.
Batteries always seem to have some acid on them (often even the sealed ones. As you charge your battery most emit an acid gas, which corrodes and eats off the copper coating and causes rust. If you feel compelled to do routing maintenance, I suggest just wiping the clip with a light water and baking soda paper towel.