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Old 13th April 2009, 09:37 PM   #1
dognut is offline dognut  United States
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Default circut card cleaning

Hello to all. After blowing with compressed air & brushing circut boards what can be used to clean them more if needed? Is there any spray can wash that could be used. Can isopropyl alcohol be used? Thanks, tom
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Old 13th April 2009, 10:13 PM   #2
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I found simple green and a toothbrush works well. just make sure to rinse well and let dry. I have been running simple green and water in my Ultrasonic cleaner and then letting the boards soak for 20 minutes and that has been working very well to clean some nasty nightclub amp boards that were just caked in smoke, fog juice, and all kinds of other nasty night club funk.
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Old 14th April 2009, 12:53 AM   #3
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i go through a pint of 99% isopropyl every 2 or 3 weeks. it cleans off solder flux and oils (some equipment owners try to "clean" their boards with WD-40 or some other petroleum based "cleaner" from time to time). it also seems to work well for neutralizing the allergens in the dust that collects on boards, and dissolves the sooty gunk that forms when components burn up. water based cleaners should be used for cleaning the residue from beverage spills such as soft drinks, coffee, or adult beverages with high sugar content.
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Old 14th April 2009, 02:39 AM   #4
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Big fan of denatured alcohol. Got to be careful with some of the components, like film caps. If in doubt, use it for the board only. Works great for removing old flux and dirt.
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Old 14th April 2009, 04:15 AM   #5
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big fan of denatured alcohol I use a purer one supplied by electronic stores. Be careful blowing with air if in dry climate it will generate static electricity and blow your fets. Evan during the cleaning process I make sure I am grounded while handling boards. In fact I will usually wait until final assembly before installing fets and Mosfets.

my 2 cents
Bill
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Old 22nd April 2009, 07:54 PM   #6
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Believe it or not, you can clean most PCBs in the dishwasher.

Bob Pease, ex-National Semiconductor guru, recommends this in a number of his articles/books. Use a short cleaning cycle with some Calgon and you're away. Or so the theory goes. I did actually try this once, and it worked quite well.

If you're chicken, like me, you'll probably want to try it with something unimportant first.

Nigel
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Old 22nd April 2009, 08:31 PM   #7
timpert is offline timpert  Netherlands
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Most boards are perfectly resistant against plain old water, so if the board is dirty, a good rinse with the shower will work. Ater this, always rinse twice with demineralized/distilled water in order to remove any trace of salts that tap water contains. Demineralized water will leave no water stains or other residue as it dries up.

Isopropylic alcohol works very well to clean off fatty/oily residues and solder resin.

Some components may be sensitive. I think of relays, which obviously have to be kept dry unless the datasheet states that it's hermetically sealed. But there are other components too which may not like a rinse at all. Sensors, buzzers, switches come to mind.
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Old 22nd April 2009, 09:04 PM   #8
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We had a scrub rack that we would cart stuff out to and spray it down with soap and water and then used an air hose to blow off the excess moisture. A nice soft bristle paint brush (a big one for big stuff - a small one for small stuff) works well to help scrub off the built up dirt, dust, and crud. Allow to air dry thoroughly (like a day or two) if the weather is warm enough - or oven dry (low temperature "warm" setting). If the unit has potentiometers that aren't sealed you should give them a shot of pot cleaner/conditioner or just replace 'em if they have been well used. Denatured alcohol works well to clean off solder flux and helps to cool components down after soldering. You do need to be aware of electro-static discharge when doing this stuff so follow proper ESD precautions. Even plain old solid-state electronics (like diodes) can suffer from ESD - and the MOS / CMOS stuff can get very nasty if improperly handled. Some of the very old MOS stuff from the '70's will blow out on you if you look at it wrong!!! BTW - if the gear has any meter movements, CRT's, displays etc. you will might want to remove those items if you are going to give the unit a "bath" or heavy scrub down.
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