Question about micro clips?

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I did a search and read all the good information about micro clips. I have a few more questions. I read that stainless steel are the best but pricy at $1.00 each. 1) What is the second best micro clip material solid copper or nickel plated? 2) Which is better alligator or smooth jaw?

Thanks in advance,
I can't answer your other questions, but I do know most people prefer smooth jaws. It's because the alligator jaws will bite into the ignitors, and on some ignitors that's a bad thing (i.e. Copperheads).
rocketsonly is right about smooth vs. gator clips question. I believe copper is the prefered material over nickel plated as it is less prone to rust; although I'm not too sure about how it weathers the motor flame and exhaust.
I myself have only used alligator clips , and it has worked perfect on Quest Tiger-Taill II's , Estes Ignitors , and AE Copperheads , without a problem! I suppose the alligator type give more grip on the ignitor , and smooth clips may slide off time to time ? The only down side to Alligator clips is that sometimes you may buy a 'bad' one or two , where the jaws dont fully close and just slide off the ignitor.
Copper clips are the best, although you may find that your "copper" clips are copper plated steel. The retail cost is the same so look around for the 100% copper clips if you can.

Stainless steel is a poor electrical conductor compared to copper and you can't solder to it, so you really don't want stainless steel clips. Nickel plated copper is another option, (they look like stainless), but after a few launches the nickel plating is likely to come off.

Flat jaws are typically used. A quick cleaning with sand paper will make copper clips as good as new. You'll get quite a few launches out of a set of copper clips before replacement is necessary. Your amortized cost will be 1 to 2 cents per launch for the simple copper clips. That's one of the smaller expenses in the sport.

Bob Krech
McMaster-Carr has the all copper micro alligator clips:

Catalog Number 7236K51
Alligator Clip Toothless, With Crimp Connection, 1-3/32" L, Copper
$ 5.58 per Pack of 10

Bruce S. Levison, NAR #69055
If you can still find them.. I no longer have a source..Nickel clad steel will out last copper clad steel (which is what Radio shack sells) or solid copper clips by about 2 to 1. Stainless steel will outlast the all other types by a factor of 10 or more.
Stainless steel clip Minimum order is 100pr at about 1.00 each. If you can get an order together with others in your club or folks you fly with they are well worth the expense.
Hello again,
Thanks for all the information. I have a few more questions. Is nickel plated the same as nickel clad steel? Mueller makes nickel plated clips and 100% copper clips. Which one of these will last longer?

Best regards,
hey if you get the aligator clips and they don't clamp tight all the way around...a nice tap with the hammer or rubber mallet fixes this...just be careful not to break em. This always helps me heck i even do it on good ones just to make sure the grip is real tight all around. $.02


The words "plating", "plated", and "clad" all have the same meaning.

Nickel is often used as a corrosion resistant top layer for steel (which rusts) and copper (which tarnishes). It gives a silvery like finish to the surface, and can be applied electrochemically by either an electrode plating process (passing an electrical current through the parts in a plating solution) or in an electrodeless process (simply a reactive chemical solution).

Most nickel plating applications are very thin ranging from as thin as 0.00004" (1 micron) or thicker.

For ignitor clips, nickel plating may make the clips look prettier longer, but it is likely to come off when you sand the clips to remove the propellant deposits.

I would recommend using 100% copper clips over anything else since sanding copper clips exposes a fresh copper surface. When you sand nickel plated or copper plated steel to clean them, you will remove the plating and expose the underlying steel which is not as good a conductor as copper.

On the other hand, clips are cheap so simply replace them if they don't work.

Bob Krech
I am amazed at how helpful everone is on this forum. Thank you very much for all the great information.

Best regards,
Brian Swanson