1. Win some Crucial goodies in OCAU's Christmas Treasure Hunt!
    Dismiss Notice

Cleaning dirt/dust from PCB

Discussion in 'Electronics & Electrics' started by DRAGONKZ, Dec 2, 2018.

  1. DRAGONKZ

    DRAGONKZ Member

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2001
    Messages:
    1,787
    Location:
    Bankstown, Sydney
    I’m just after some suggestions for DIY or a place in Sydney to help clean a server motherboard.

    It functions fine but is covered in thick dust, so could do with a good clean.

    Any suggestions on the best way to clean it, or a place to contact?

    Thanks
     
  2. [SweN]

    [SweN] Member

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2002
    Messages:
    2,454
    fine, soft clean / new paintbrush, and a vacuum. personally i would also use compressed air, but if you are not familiar with using it you will make a huge mess, get shit in your nose and eyes, and potentially damage the component.
     
  3. power

    power Member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2002
    Messages:
    55,591
    Location:
    brisbane
    Compressed air is a good start, antistatic brush as well.

     
  4. merlin13

    merlin13 Member

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2003
    Messages:
    1,732
    Location:
    back in BrizVegas
    Do not use one with synthetic bristles - find one with natural/animal ones, 'coz synthetic bristles can generate that evil shit called static. Not much, but have measured appreciable voltage levels on some 'way back when ,and encountered more than one instance of "Ooops, I Used This Cheap Brush To Clean This Board Cleaned The Board But It Doesn't Work Any More...".

    More expensive to buy but they last loooong time. And don;t use them for anything else. Wash out in hot water if/when they become clogged up with dust.

    My general knock-around one is a 1"/2.5 cm with the handle cut right down to let me get into awkward corners. I also use a 3"/75mm for cleaning out large flat areas (cases etc) and a skinny one about 1 cm with the bristles trimmed back to stiffen the action up.

    Be careful usually vacuum cleaners on electronics as well, you may need to be picky on yours. Seen lots of cleaners that generate shitloads of static electricity due to airflow in the pipe that can jump across to the board and really ruin your day...
     
  5. Myne_h

    Myne_h Member

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2002
    Messages:
    8,061
    Take outside.
    Take vacuum cleaner outside.
    Switch hose on vacuum cleaner to the exit side (blow).
    From a decent distance, use vacuum to blow on board.
     
  6. OP
    OP
    DRAGONKZ

    DRAGONKZ Member

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2001
    Messages:
    1,787
    Location:
    Bankstown, Sydney
    Thanks for the replies.

    I’ll look at the WD40 product and get a decent brush.

    I’ve blown off the dust with with air and that’s got the loose stuff off, but the dust is caked on as well.

    If I run a section firmly with my finger all brown/thick/sticky dust comes off... the issue is that you need to use some muscles behind it to get it off (blowing/sucking alone won’t get it off)

    Cheers
     
  7. merlin13

    merlin13 Member

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2003
    Messages:
    1,732
    Location:
    back in BrizVegas
    Aaaaah, well.That then takes you to the next level, ie the "How Game Are You?" category, where you'd:

    a. take the board over to a large sink (or even into the bathtub/shower) and drown it in hot water 'n dishwashing liquid and give it a damned good scrubbing;

    b. submerge it in a large dish/tray/bucket of isopropryl alcohol for a good soak then scrub it off 'n rinse the hell out of it, either with more clean isopro or hot water. Be careful playing with isopro in a warm unventilated area, else you'll float out of there on the fumes.

    Either of these cleaning concepts scare the hell out of the Uninitiated... :leet:
     
  8. RobRoySyd

    RobRoySyd Member

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2008
    Messages:
    7,887
    Location:
    Sydney
    Isopropanol is definitely my go to solvent for cleaning PCBs. Nothing to really be afraid of using it apart from it being flammable. If you've ever been in hospital you know the smell of it. Adding 10% distilled water to it can make it more effective at cleaning. Applied Science has a great video on cleaning. In that you'll see why mixtures can work way better than a single solvent.
     
    Pugs likes this.
  9. Matthew kane

    Matthew kane Member

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2014
    Messages:
    1,789
    Location:
    Melbourne
    Don't use WD40 on the board, WD40 is a lubricator and will leave a oily film residue on the board, counterproductive of what you're doing and will not clean the board. WD Contact is the contact cleaner you want, part mixed solvent with IPA, cleaning solution for dirty electronics. Does not beat proper pure IPA though.

    If the board is caked in dust, use a fine brush to brush off the stuff first. I wouldn't even bother using contact cleaners on top of the board.
     
  10. power

    power Member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2002
    Messages:
    55,591
    Location:
    brisbane
    watch the video i posted, it mentions that product.
     
  11. Matthew kane

    Matthew kane Member

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2014
    Messages:
    1,789
    Location:
    Melbourne
    Yep I have 4 cans of the bugger at home. It's alright but I generally use my IPA or Deoxit contact cleaners or similar ones by Chemtools.
     
  12. aXis

    aXis Member

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2001
    Messages:
    5,149
    Location:
    Kalgoorlie, WA
    I have one of those battery powered "Canless Air" blowers (the O2 Hurricane), it does an awesome job of removing dust from components. That, and a soft brush is plenty.
     
  13. pfrcom

    pfrcom Member

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2009
    Messages:
    284
    Location:
    3114, Melbourne
    I use a shaving brush at $2-80 from a Daiso store, pig hair according to packaging
     
  14. Agg

    Agg Lord of the Pings

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2001
    Messages:
    30,815
    Location:
    A Reported Post Near You
    Chemtools in Sydney have some specialised PCB-cleaning sprays, I seem to recall from the soldering course there.
     
  15. JSmithDTV

    JSmithDTV Member

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2018
    Messages:
    252
    Location:
    Algol, Perseus
    Do not use the one with any water in it on computer parts... you want the 99.9% pure stuff. ;)

    OP be really careful using a vacuum.. as others mentioned static can fry chips. Hold the nozzle well away from the board, keep yourself and the vac grounded as much as possible. Even the dust and dirt moving fast can generate static...

    JSmith
     
  16. Caffeine

    Caffeine Member

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2003
    Messages:
    1,497
    Location:
    Sydney
  17. merlin13

    merlin13 Member

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2003
    Messages:
    1,732
    Location:
    back in BrizVegas
    don't laugh, 'Caff. SMT assembly crowd I did some work for used to put EVERYTHING through a large dishwasher after the boards had been populated.
     
  18. Caffeine

    Caffeine Member

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2003
    Messages:
    1,497
    Location:
    Sydney
    Yes, i regularly wash PCBs after assembly.

    We don't do PCBs at work anymore but there used to be a large washing facility there too.

    Many PCB components such as buzzers and speakers have little self adhesive labels on them saying ’remove after washing', to stop water ingress.
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2018
  19. adamsleath

    adamsleath Member

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2006
    Messages:
    11,709
    Location:
    Sunnybank Q4109
    [​IMG]
    i have yet to try this but some people on youtube have used it...i mean ive seen vids of it being used. a bit expensive though.
    i use leaf blower, then a small craft paint brush with meths. i also use isopropyl aclohol. either. a wet brush isnt going to cause static.

    ive also seen people just use water. so long as it is totally dry and discharged.....but i wont do that.
     

Share This Page