Can someone explain what is causing this white scale to appear on the copper pins and on the block of this LED light connection? The seal at the connection is supposed to be watertight. On occasion, there is a white (crystallization) that forms at the PC board, pin and on the block at this connection. These lights are exposed to sun and rain and are located 5 miles from coastal waters. There is power and data flowing through these connects and both get affected causing the lights to go out.enter image description here!(https://i.stack.imgur.com/6tFew.jpg)enter image description hereenter image description hereenter image description hereenter image description hereenter image description hereenter image description hereenter image description here

  • \$\begingroup\$ The powdery scale looks like it's the same both on the outside and on the inside of the connector. Do you have an IP (Ingress Protection) rating for the seal? \$\endgroup\$ – 1N4007 Feb 7 at 17:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ Seems like typical water infiltration. You should probably use dielectric grease to prevent this if you can't change the seal. \$\endgroup\$ – Natsu Kage Feb 7 at 17:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ The IP rating is 65, and we are not allowed to add anything to the connection per the manufacturer. \$\endgroup\$ – Needtoknow Feb 7 at 18:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ Right now you clearly have water getting inside, so that's definitely "something". "Adding anything to the connection" probably means electronically. Dielectric grease isn't anything that will ruin a warranty. Only thing that can solve this is a change of seal, or adding something to prevent water infiltration. If you leave it like that chances are it's going to stop working completely once rust corrodes the interior. \$\endgroup\$ – Natsu Kage Feb 7 at 18:41
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Needtoknow If you are saying that this is affecting a small percent of installed equipment on 30 floors of a building, then I think you have both a moisture (could be condensation onto something else that eventually dissolves, as it moves, some small amount of compounds) and also a problem with differential voltages which is forcing this dissolute to precipitate at the connector's connection points. The fact that only some pins in a connector, and not others, experience the problem far more is also suggestive of this kind of problem. \$\endgroup\$ – jonk Feb 8 at 2:11

Copper is a material that corrodes, just like any other. When copper corrodes, it will turn into copper carbonate (Cu2CO3(OH)2), but near the sea it might become copper chloride (Cu2(OH)3Cl) as well. When water is involved, like in your case, there may be an effect called efflorescence. Efflorescence "is the migration of a salt to the surface of a porous material, where it forms a coating". This usually forms in a crystal form, since it's formed of salt. This is what creates the white buildup sometimes found on water pipes for example:

https://diy.stackexchange.com/questions/86004/green-and-white-stuff-on-copper-pipes https://diy.stackexchange.com/questions/86004/green-and-white-stuff-on-copper-pipes

In your case it's the same: enter image description here

So basically, you're getting water infiltration. The easiest solution to solve this is using dielectric grease. Or get a better seal for your electronics.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I appreciate and thank all of you for responses. I will move forward with these ideas to find answers. As I uncover more info, I will update what I find. \$\endgroup\$ – Needtoknow Feb 11 at 22:02

I agree with the theory of water ingress. On top of that I would like to add following.

IP65 has a complete protection against water jets and is dust proof. The protection level itself forms a part of the problem due to the following.

  1. A lower temperature of the enclosure in relation to the surrounding air causes a difference in pressure with an inflow of outside air as result. If the temperature becomes low enough the moisture in the air starts to condense. Compare this with dew in the morning. Now the trouble starts.

  2. Water can't escape. Only when the inside enclosure temperature becomes high enough to evaporate the water or prevent condensation in the first place and the inside presure becomes higher than the outside pressure the vapour is forced out and corrosion is prevented.

  3. Any encloser with enough heat production or forced dry air is able to fulfill these conditions. The connector presented by OP does not fulfill these conditions and corrosion can not be prevented.

  4. The only way out is to use enclosures that can ventilate to the outside and yet are protected against splash or sprayed water. For this the IP standard does not yet offer any help.

You can try to clean but the problem remains.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ @SamGibson. It is the principle that is causing the problem for any enclosure. We have and had similar problems with light fixtures in a harbor. Replaced all with complety sealed units and sealed also the in comming connection with resin \$\endgroup\$ – Decapod Feb 8 at 17:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks very much for updating it - the answer makes perfect sense after changing "armature" to "enclosure". \$\endgroup\$ – SamGibson Feb 8 at 17:13
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    \$\begingroup\$ I have had an opportunity to open up the female connection block and found a hole full of a white, silicone type substance. This appears to build up in the prong connection and completely insulates the prong. I would not expect water to have this affect. Could this be an organic type growth? Again, this material is soft and rubbery to the touch and has a shiny surface. \$\endgroup\$ – Needtoknow Apr 24 at 20:55

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