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Old 13th January 2013, 06:41 PM   #1
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Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Oregon
Default Cleaning carbon deposits from PCB

Hi folks, I just got an inquiry about replacing the power transistors in a Fender Acousasonic combo, user reports all four transistors are blown, and there is visible damage to the PCB. I am reluctant to take on the job, I don't have much experience cleaning carbon deposits from a PCB, if a tube socket gets carbon tracking on it I replace it without a second thought. Also, I'm not sure what kind of heat sink the output transistors have in the stock amp, but customer may want a heat sink upgrade. Any experience or tips would be very much appreciated!
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Old 13th January 2013, 06:51 PM   #2
jcx is offline jcx  United States
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Join Date: Feb 2003
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deposits, soot from components flaming out usually can be removed with cleaning

charred PCB is forever

I suppose you coud dremel out any damaged PCB material, wire around - I've never been that desperate to save something

Last edited by jcx; 13th January 2013 at 06:59 PM.
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Old 13th January 2013, 09:10 PM   #3
Simon B is offline Simon B  United Kingdom
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Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: North-East England
Draw /photograph what's there before starting to remove the debris.

Cut and scrape, using scalpel and suitable scrapers (probably improvising) the damaged parts away, getting back to sound pcb.

Fashion replacements for the lost tracks from single core copper wire - for tracks connecting to output devices I use stuff taken from twin and earth mains cable. Fix these in place with epoxy resin so as to get good contact with the pcb tracks you're connecting to - don't leave gaps to be filled with solder! Use whatever clamps, weights, or blu-tak works.

Fit new devices and solder in.
Engineer: One who can do for 10 shillings what any fool can do for 10 pounds.
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Old 14th January 2013, 10:49 PM   #4
Enzo is offline Enzo  United States
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Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Lansing, Michigan
When a resistor burns up, it often covers the surrounding area with soot. It looks a LOT more dramatic than it really is. REmove the actual burnt parts first, then a Qtip dipped in isopropyl alcohol is my choice. Swab the area clean, soot usually doesn;t stick. The alcohol will evaporate quickly.

If the board is discolored, it may be OK, but as jcx mentions, char is bad. ANy charred area has turned to charcoal - it has carbonized, and carbon is conductive. SO any black, chared area must be removed. I do use a grinding bit in ym Dremel for that. You have to get it ALL,so if that leaves a hole, well, it leaves a hole.

SO once the soot is removed, look carefully to see if it got to char or if it just left a stain.

Upgrade, schmupgrade, find out before bending to the customer's whim. There is a huge difference between parts that fail and then burn up or overheat and circuits that lacked heat sinking. I am not aware of Acoustasonics having a reputation for overheating. There certainly are circuit failures than can cause an amp to run too hot, but that is not the same thing.
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Old 16th January 2013, 01:20 AM   #5
Simon B is offline Simon B  United Kingdom
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Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: North-East England
Enzo's quite right to re-emphasise cleaning - clean everything that can be cleaned before doing any scraping, none might be needed.

My apologies for diving straight into scraping, I seem to be developing an entirely unwanted reputation as a repair man of last resort for incinerated mixing desk power supplies. I don't know what I did in that previous life, but it must have been bad.....
Engineer: One who can do for 10 shillings what any fool can do for 10 pounds.
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Old 16th January 2013, 02:41 AM   #6
Minion is offline Minion  Canada
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Join Date: May 2006
Location: Cowican Bay , vancouver island
with any PCB area that is totally burned out you can use some wire to bridge the burned out areas ..... done it a few times with mostly success ......
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