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PCB cleaning with toothbrush
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Old 23rd February 2020, 12:34 PM   #1
cbueche is offline cbueche  Switzerland
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PCB cleaning with toothbrush
Default PCB cleaning with toothbrush

Hi all,

my Oral toothbrush's planned obsolescence came up last November. The battery just didn't hold the load anymore and swapping it is possible but well.... I went for a new one (Philips time time). Anyway, I had the idea to use the old brush to clean solder flux, and it works very well. Dispense some isopropyl alcohol on the PCB, start your toothbrush on it and gone is the flux, much easier than by any other method I tried. A second passage eliminate the flux haze and the PCB is nicer than new.

As the battery was dead, I opened the brush as explained here, removed every electronics and the dead battery, and soldered two wires to the motor's taps. It takes 1.2V at about 1.5 - 1.6 A from my lab PSU and works perfectly.


Charles
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Old 23rd February 2020, 02:20 PM   #2
randytsuch is offline randytsuch
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PCB cleaning with toothbrush
Very cool idea. Anyone who uses electric toothbrushes must have an old one around that doesn't hold a charge.

I would manually brush and then blot with a papertowel but I'm pretty sure your method would work better.
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Old 23rd February 2020, 02:40 PM   #3
CG is offline CG
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That is a fine idea! I will try that next time.

I’ve been using denatured alcohol and cotton swabs. Out with the swabs now.

Instead of a second alcohol wash, I’ve had better luck using a foaming bathroom cleaner followed by hot water.
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Old 23rd February 2020, 02:47 PM   #4
wgh52 is offline wgh52  Germany
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cbueche View Post
...I opened the brush as explained here, removed every electronics and the dead battery, and soldered two wires to the motor's taps. It takes 1.2V at about 1.5 - 1.6 A from my lab PSU...
Hey Charles,

thank you sooo much for sharing you excellent ideas!

Regards,
Winfried
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Old 23rd February 2020, 05:37 PM   #5
RJM1 is offline RJM1  United States
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I save regular old tooth brushes for this, they're great for getting between the pins of small pitch
connectors and leave no cotton swab remains that have to be picked off from the sharp edges.

Last edited by RJM1; 23rd February 2020 at 05:40 PM.
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Old 24th February 2020, 06:32 PM   #6
Mark Tillotson is offline Mark Tillotson
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Just don't get it mixed up with your actual toothbrush!


I find that rosin tends to accumulate on a toothbrush after a number of uses and its good to rinse it off into a paper towel occasionally with pcb-cleaner, otherwise the brush tends to smear rosin about rather than remove it.
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Old 24th February 2020, 07:29 PM   #7
ferret is offline ferret  South Africa
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I have an old AA battery powered toothbrush that I use the same way (Colgate) and the great thing is if the brush is pulled off, the metal "driving" pin can also be used to clean thick flux (light pressure only) in hard to reach places. Old dental tools also have their uses in getting into hard to reach places.
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Old 25th February 2020, 02:21 PM   #8
Vovk Z is offline Vovk Z  Ukraine
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Tillotson View Post
I find that rosin tends to accumulate on a toothbrush after a number of uses and its good to rinse it off into a paper towel occasionally with pcb-cleaner, otherwise the brush tends to smear rosin about rather than remove it.
- you have to clean brush with pcb-cleaner after every time you use it (sorry Mark, I don't wanted to be Captain Obvious ).
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