Good Circuit Board Cleaner?
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  1. #1
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    Question Good Circuit Board Cleaner?

    Hey All,

    My 1992 Fadal VMC40 arrived with a bunch of gunk, crud, goo, junk, dust, etc. on a lot of the circuit boards. I'd like to clean them up a bit. Any good recommendations for a spray, non-conductive, affordable circuit board cleaner? I was given some recently that was insulated to 60,000 volts. Peace of mind is nice when a short could do lord knows what. I don't remember the brand...

    If anyone has some good ideas, lemme know!

    Thanks.

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    Alcohol works pretty good.

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    I have been using spray cans of "TechSpray". I don't like the way the stuff sprays out under such pressure when I need a small amount. Got to hit the button gently.
    But in your case you probably want to spray and scrub with a toothbrush. Probably any run-of-the-mill circuit board cleaner will be the same. The local electronics
    store or Digikey or Mouser will have it.
    Last edited by rons; 05-08-2019 at 05:23 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Larry Dickman View Post
    Alcohol works pretty good.
    Should I not be as worried as I am about shorting out? Especially near the capacitors?

    I also don't know the conductivity of alcohol.

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    Are you intending on pulling them for cleaning, or doing them while they're mounted? I'd urge caution if doing them mounted, it's best to remove them to prevent gunk from running into the connectors on the main board.

    On the other hand, if you remove boards you should do them one at a time, and be careful to mark connectors and cables that anchor to those boards. If you remove more than one at a time take plenty of pictures for reference before you remove anything.

    I've heard of cleaning with alcohol and even a bit of dish soap and water. Full rinsing and drying before remounting is important. And don't get anything like solenoids or circuit breakers wet, just board components like caps, transistors and resistors - solid state stuff.

    You can check out some of the gaming computer forums for tips on board cleaning.

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    Shirely yur not proposin' to clean the boards while they are hot. I usually take the boards out to clean them. Have used B12 carburetor cleaner successfully.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nineandtwothirds View Post
    Should I not be as worried as I am about shorting out? Especially near the capacitors?

    I also don't know the conductivity of alcohol.
    well, you don't want to plug it in until it's dry.

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    99% isopropyl alcohol (leaves less of a film than the standard stuff you buy at 91%) and an old toothbrush is my daily go to. I'd definitely remove the boards prior to cleaning as others have suggested.

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    Like others have said, 99 iso and a toothbrush. On really stubborn stuff CAIG DeOxit has saved me more than a few times.

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    Denatured alcohol is our preferred stuff.

    Absorbs any water and cuts most crud.

    Use a refillable spray can or a hand pump oil can that has been well cleaned.

    Chip brush cut to 3/8 length.

    Make sure clean work space and avoid static charges.

    Let them drip dry and air dry a day or so as compressed air can get things in bad places.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G930A using Tapatalk

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Quiring View Post
    Make sure clean work space and avoid static charges.
    Are there recommended practices around this?

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    Quote Originally Posted by BugRobotics View Post
    99% isopropyl alcohol .....
    This ^ or anhydrous alcohol (ethanol or isopropyl) were the Fanuc recommended cleaners for dirty boards. I'd be cautious about denatured alcohol. It often has a significant percentage of Methanol which can damage the silkscreened printing on boards.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vancbiker View Post
    This ^ or anhydrous alcohol (ethanol or isopropyl) were the Fanuc recommended cleaners for dirty boards. I'd be cautious about denatured alcohol. It often has a significant percentage of Methanol which can damage the silkscreened printing on boards.
    Never had a problem on all of the things we cleaned, radio and computer stuff.

    Lots of better boards should nor be issue, test first maybe.

    Not enough time to cover static protection.

    In short, metal bench grounded and wrist strap grounded to same.

    Avoid laying any cut board directly on metal bench due to batteries and possible charged capacitors.

    Static mats are prefered.

    They sell work kits that include everything for field service in a roll up kit.



    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G930A using Tapatalk

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    If you do a good job and they end up squecky clean, look at giving them a quick spray with one of the repairable conformal coatings, Equally work out how they got so shitty and add some filters to the cabinet too!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vancbiker View Post
    I'd be cautious about denatured alcohol. It often has a significant percentage of Methanol which can damage the silkscreened printing on boards.
    We call denatured alcohol, methylated spirits down here. Its sort of the go too cleaning solution up to and including wound dressing.

    I got caught out years ago. It un-glued the grate on a Heidenhain Scale reader head.

    Regards Phil.

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    1500 psi steam cleaner with a grit blaster for the stubborn bits, ……..works for me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by machtool View Post
    We call denatured alcohol, methylated spirits down here.....
    I got caught out years ago. It un-glued the grate on a Heidenhain Scale reader head.

    Regards Phil.
    If y'all would learn to speak English we could call it the same thing . How on earth does a car have a boot and a bonnet anyway????

    Denatured alcohol here can be mostly ethanol with a couple additives to make it bitter and slightly poisonous or ethanol with up to 50% methanol.

    Were you able to repair the reader head? That had to be a bad feeling to see it come adrift. One of the "oh shit" moments of machine tool servicing. Have had a couple myself.


    Quote Originally Posted by Limy Sami View Post
    ..... a grit blaster for the stubborn bits, ……..works for me.

    Those nasty little black rectangular chunks that are all over the board????

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    If Your going to remove the boards to clean them, which it sounds like you are. Make sure your wearing your grounding strap. Hate to have static shock effect one of your boards

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    Remove the boards and give a generous blast of shop air remove the loose bits followed by a firm toothbrush scrub and CRC 05103 QD Electronic Cleaner. This is a very fast evaporating solvent which leaves no residue. I clean my wire EDM circuit boards with this all the time.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 615sexjnw8l._ac_us500_.jpg  

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vancbiker View Post
    Were you able to repair the reader head? That had to be a bad feeling to see it come adrift.
    From memory, I sent it into the local H-H agents. They sent it back as un-repairable, and kept some of the parts including the optical grate.

    I got lucky, I think it was an LS403. I found one on Ebay, wrong length, but I was able to swap the reader heads.

    Regards Phil.


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