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rockeater

How do you guys clean the boards?

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Before some pics here can be posted, the gear must look good.

How do you guys clean boards, especially these densely populated, where a toothbrush soaked in isopropyl alcohol just does not cut it?

I was thinking of getting a large ultrasonic bath, but one with decent size costs a fortune.

Any suggestions?

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No way would I be dipping in a populated circuit board in an ultrasonic bath!

 

I use this https://www.jaycar.com.au/electronic-circuit-board-cleaner-spray-can/p/NA1008

 

But beware if you use it on boards that have been dipped in flux you can end up with a sticky mess in the solder side meaning you may have to use a lot!. I recently ploughed through 1 can cleaning just a couple of boards for a Sansui restoration.

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3 hours ago, Tubularbells said:

No way would I be dipping in a populated circuit board in an ultrasonic bath!

That would show all the intermittent faults... 😉

 

I used a whole can of board cleaning spray recently to do a Marantz pre-amp. It had a sticky mess of general dirt, some salty sea-spray and some kind of fluff. But being densely populated it was a painful job and I was hoping for some kind of easier, automated way. Also, it hardly ever comes out really nice visually.

 

Maybe a bath in baking dish filled with isopropyl alcohol to loosen the stuff up and then the spray to move the contamination off the board?

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Don’t touch them.  If there’s nothing wrong, let it be.  I wouldn’t do any cleaning with any fluids including IPA.   

I wouldn’t even use a brush or vacuum cleaner ever unless they are specifically designed to be grounded for static.    I actually carry a vacuum cleaner that is earthed all the way to the nozzle.

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Personally I dont believe static to be an issue with parts already soldered onto the board as there already grounded for the most part and am a big advocate for cleaning as excess buildup of dust and debris can cause components to heat up and wear prematurely.

 

If nothing else give the board a good dose of air from one of those air in a can products and not only does it help the parts but also also makes identification much easier.

 

Case in point.

20190206_144955.jpg

20190217_115648.jpg

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24 minutes ago, Tubularbells said:

Personally I dont believe static to be an issue with parts already soldered onto the board as there already grounded

Additionally, in vintage stuff there are hardly any CMOS devices.

And further, here in WA there is enough humidity in the air for it not to be a major issue.

25 minutes ago, Tubularbells said:

air from one of those air in a can products

I have to get one of those re-chargable cans, making it more economical.

For now I use the solution from my R.F. days where compressor was used at the beginning of every job to clean the red dust from mobile radios. Less dust, better slug movement in them R.F. coils and they got broken less often. Problem with running the compressor is that it is bulky and very loud (and I do a lot of work around midnight).

 

 

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20 minutes ago, rockeater said:

I have to get one of those re-chargable cans, making it more economical.

 

Amen to that. Cannot believe there charging $20 for a can of air when the chemical cleaners are about half the price!

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Get yourself a 40L can with a compressor bolted onto it from S'cheap or similar. Just keep the pressure down low enough not to blow dirt and crap into pots etc. I usually go over with a brush and a vacuum cleaner, with a slim piece of tubing taped into the nozzle, first. Then Compressor with air on a fairly low pressure.

 

I have, in the past even washed boards TV boards in a very mild detergent (handwash) and water, then dried off with low pressure air it hair drier. Non-ionic detergents are what you should use for boards, and especially on expensive gear. I used to have access to it for free. If you google "non-ionic surfactant" you can find lots of agricultural wetting agents listed.

 

But, this isn't a good idea for things like pots or other components (chokes & transformer cans) or any where the water can get trapped.

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On 21/02/2019 at 1:32 PM, bob_m_54 said:

If you google "non-ionic surfactant" you can find lots of agricultural wetting agents listed.

Why don't you recommend one? I.E. the one you used to use with good results.

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14 hours ago, rockeater said:

Why don't you recommend one? I.E. the one you used to use with good results.

Because I obtained it in 1990, and it has long since been used. Also, mine was decanted from a 20L drum into a plastic container. I can't remember the brand, but it was military specc'd...... and that's all I can say about that.... ;-)

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