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WET Labs

What are the recommended practices for inspecting, cleaning, and replacing o-rings?

Inspecting and Cleaning O-Rings and Mating Surfaces:

  1. Remove any water from the o-rings and mating surfaces with a lint-free cloth or tissue.
  2. Visually inspect the o-rings and mating surfaces for dirt, nicks, cuts, scratches, lint, hair, and any signs of corrosion; these could cause the seal to fail. Clean the surfaces, and clean or replace the o-rings as necessary.
  3. Apply a light, even coat of 100% silicon o-ring lubricant (Parker Super O Lube) to the o-rings and mating surfaces. For an end cap o-ring, a ball of lubricant the size of a pea is about all that is needed. Too much lubricant can cause the seal to fail as much, if not more, than no grease. Do not use petroleum-based lubricant (car grease, Vaseline, etc.), as it will cause premature failure of the rubber.
    CAUTION: Parker makes another product, Parker O Lube, that is petroleum-based. Do not use this product; verify that you are using Parker Super O Lube.
  4. After lubricating the o-ring, immediately reassemble the end cap or connector, verifying that no hairs or lint have collected on the lubricated o-ring.

Replacing O-Rings:

  • End Cap O-Rings: We recommend scheduled replacement of end cap o-rings approximately every 3 years, to prevent leaks caused by normal o-ring wear.
  • Connector O-Rings: Replacing connector o-rings requires de-soldering and re-soldering the connector wires, which makes it a more difficult task. Therefore, we recommend replacement of connector o-rings when needed, not on a routine, scheduled basis.

Additional Information:

  • 9-minute video covering O-ring, connector, and cable maintenance.
  • Short, silent video of application of lubricant to o-ring.
  • Short, silent video of application of lubricant to o-ring mating surface (note the use of a plastic dental syringe — no sharp points to scratch the housing — to apply the lubricant).