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Gold Contact Slip Rings | Why Gold-Plate a ROTOCON?

Gold Plated Electrical Connector Slip Ring

Rotocon Brushless Slip Rings vs Gold Plated Contacts

Many manufacturers of conventional brushed slip rings will advertise ‘gold plated contacts’ – but what exactly does that mean for a slip ring?

Part functional, part advertising buzzword, ‘gold plating’ a contact in a slip ring is about the best manufacturers can do to provide the highest quality connection for low noise and low contact resistance in a rotating electrical connection. Typically, standard brushed slip rings rely on a carbon (or metallic fiber) brushes to come in contact with a ring that rotates – hence the term ‘slip ring’. Carbon is a material, that while electrically conductive to a point, is electrically noisy and degrades over time producing dust and particles to a slip ring. This, in turn, will only generate more electrical resistance thus producing more heat (if higher current is being transferred) and compromising the signal integrity. A compromised signal might mean a temperature measurement is incorrect, an encoder signal is wrong, or packets/bytes of Ethernet (or any other communication protocols) are being lost along the way.

Unfortunately, gold (or silver) contacts are the crème de la crème of slip rings and they still have issues of brush wear, high & varying electrical resistance, and periodic maintenance required to sustain performance.

These issues are all forgone by using Meridian Laboratory’s unique and proprietary brushless slip ring technology which all ROTOCON rotary electrical connectors possess. By using a viscous metal mercury-wetted contact, sealed and held under oil, there is 360 degrees of electrical contact providing uninterrupted electrical continuity. Additionally, by being sealed under oil and zero metal-on-metal contact, the connection maintains a much lower and stable electrical resistance level unaffected by momentary RPM, total revolutions, vibrations, temperature variations, and many other application/environmental factors which commonly plague conventional, brushed slip rings…even ones which are gold or silver plated.

So, while conventional brushed slip rings have their place in providing a rotating electrical connection in low rotation, and non-critical applications – most industrial and production environments can be hampered by the inconsistencies these types of slip rings provide in electrical performance. Additionally, users must rely on routine slip ring maintenance which can mean cleaning out the assemblies, or replacing them periodically. This can lead to unpredictable downtime and costly losses in continuous use, production environments.

Meridian Laboratory customers who have used and trusted brushless ROTOCON rotary electrical connectors have enjoyed faster duty cycles, increased longevity, and substantially less maintenance compared to traditional, brushed slip rings.

Supreme Corrosion Protection (Gold Plated ROTOCON)

At this point you might be asking yourself, “so why gold plate a ROTOCON?”

Great point! While Meridian Laboratory doesn’t need to rely on gold plating for signal quality and low electrical resistance – gold makes for an excellent material for harsh and corrosive environments. This gold plated ROTOCON was custom designed and built for a semiconductor manufacturer, completed in under 8 weeks to serve as a high current rotating ground while allowing a vacuum to be pulled through the center of the spindle hole during rotation. Despite operating at 1500+ RPM and in an acidic, corrosive environment – Meridian Laboratory’s ROTOCON rotary electrical ground provides over 125A of current carrying capacity!

In conclusion, while aesthetically impressive, not all ROTOCON rotary electrical connectors need to be gold plated to provide an excellent electrical connection under rotation. Exceeding expectations on this challenge is another example of why Meridian Laboratory has remained an industry leader since 1963.


We continue to reengineer, rethink, and redefine the limits of what slip rings can do, and with over 6000 standard slip ring assemblies, we’ve got the products to prove it. Whether it’s harsh environment slip ring assemblies custom engineered to your specifications, or just an expert analysis of your process to breakdown bottlenecks and make recommendations, we pride ourselves on delivering solutions our competitors simply can’t.

If our vast array of in-stock slip rings does not meet your design needs, our engineers are ready create a solution to meet any design requirements. Contact us today.

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Google Rating

5.0 47 reviews

  • Avatar PJ Degnan ★★★★★ a week ago
    Excellent service! We faced Meridian with a difficult part to make and asked for perfection. They took the challenge on … More and through repeated effort and determination, Vance and the team were able to get us the "perfect" product we needed. Although this was undoubtedly a frustrating project for all involved, they saw it through and proved Meridian Laboratory to be exactly the company we needed and want to work with in the future. Great work!
  • Avatar Griffin Speicher ★★★★★ a month ago
    Adam and the crew at Meridian Laboratory were a pleasure to work with! Adam was extremely helpful, knowledgeable, and responsive. … More A slipring was purchased through Adam for the use of a university engineering capstone project, he was eager to help and very nice throughout the entire process to ensure our needs were satisfied. The slipring shipped and delivered in a timely manner and once the unit was received, all expectations were exceeded. The fit and finish of the slipring was great, and it performed exactly as expected. I highly recommend Meridian Laboratory if you require the use of a slipring, as I cannot say enough good things about the team over there and their American made products
  • Avatar Adam Sandahl ★★★★★ 2 months ago
    We contacted Adam Ellingson of Meridian Laboratory about acquiring a high-speed 3 channel ROTOCON slip-ring for our university … More capstone project. Mr. Ellingson was gracious enough to provide our team with a 6 channel slip-ring that performed excellent out of the box. The slip-ring assembly feels precisely machined and spins true with little mechanical resistance. It was the perfect product for testing our axial flux generator design and the extra channels came in handy. We appreciate the ease of mounting and excellent support from Mr. Ellingson.

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