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Old 3rd February 2007, 06:50 PM   #1
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Default Ultrasonic Cleaning PCB's & Controls?

I have a very large ultrasonic cleaning unit and i am wondering if i can use it to clean PCB's and Volume controls? I have only used it for cleaning non electrical parts previously.

I have a large 24 channel mixing board i am rebuilding that has seen years of club gunk. Each channel strip will fit in the cleaner one at a time. I am wonding if i can just drop the the whole PCB into the cleaner without harm?

What fluid should i use for cleaning? Water and a mild dish soap comes to mind, but would that be best? how about denatured alcohol or some other fluid? whatever i use must not harm the potentiometers or any components on the PCB.


Zc
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Old 3rd February 2007, 10:28 PM   #2
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I would'nt use water and detergent(dishsoap). potentiometers would need to be relubricated.The cleaning medium would need to be fast drying..no residue...component freindly...you could try alcohol but on something else as a test.Denatured I believe will leave a residue as well as IPA. Might give technical Ethanol (ethyl)(everclear)a whirl.
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Old 3rd February 2007, 10:56 PM   #3
anatech is offline anatech  Canada
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Hi Zero Cool,
Having done this, I'll let you know what to watch for.

Doesn't matter what you use. All switches, controls and electrolytic caps must be removed. Some older transistors are not really sealed that well. WD-40 will kill them. Don't ask.

What I would do is use Simple Green in a 10:1 dilution. Remove the controls and switches. Let 'er rip. Rinse and dry. At least shake out the water before drying.

Now, old caps are probably bad or going anyway. Replace them at this point. Reinstall the other parts. Try one board to see if you will have transistor troubles. Some old Neves are like that. You could take the opportunity to clean the controls and switches while they were off the board.

The rubber seals on electrolytic caps are better these days. WD-40 will destroy them. Any cleaner would probably get rid of the lubricants in switches and controls. Don't immerse them for that reason.

-Chris
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Old 3rd February 2007, 11:12 PM   #4
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the controls and switches are what i need to clean! i figured i would have to relube them.

This is not an old board like a neve. its an EV club mixer. nothing great. but i need to get it cleaned up and fullly working again. the grease in the controls has dried and made them hard to turn on many and the sliders have lots of dirt in them. the board is not worth replacing all the controls. even putting the time into it to remove each channel is not really worth it and i wouldnt even do it but i am giving the board to a friend when i get it done so i am trying to find a solution to minimise how much time and money i have to out into it.

I have been finding lots of aqueous products ment for ultrasonic PCB cleaning, but everything seems to be in the UK, i cant seem to find anything here in the US....Still looking.


Zc
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Old 3rd February 2007, 11:28 PM   #5
anatech is offline anatech  Canada
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Hi Zero Cool,
You need to avoid any alcohol based cleaners that will attack the lubricants, rubber seals and some plastics.

I would still use Simple Green, but removing these parts is easier than trying to clean and relube them, never mind getting the cleaner and water out!

For a quick and dirty, run around the controls and use De-Ox-Id or WD-40 (sparingly). There is no easy way to do a proper job.

-Chris
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Old 4th February 2007, 01:21 PM   #6
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I'd use distilled water and a commercial electronics detergent solution
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