(Topic ID: 82828)

Circuit board cleanup

By DrMark12PA

5 years ago

Topic Stats

  • 19 posts
  • 10 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 5 years ago by barakandl
  • Topic is favorited by 3 Pinsiders


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#1 5 years ago

Looking for recommendations on how to cleanup some boards on an older pinball I'm restoring (KISS). I assume compressed air is first but I am looking at recommendations for topical cleaning agents that are safe and quick. I would like a look that would be obtained just short of running it/soaking it water (not going to do that!).

#2 5 years ago

Soap and water is fine if you remove all the ICs, relays, dip banks, that could get water trapped. I do it all the time. Finish with a Naptha scrub/bath to displace the water. Sit in front of a fan to dry. Sparkly clean.

#3 5 years ago

My process:

1: Mark all ICs with the socket they are plugged in to.
2: Remove all harnesses.
3: Remove the ICs from the sockets.
4: Mark and remove any other parts that are removable.
5: Run the board under hot water, and scrub with a brush I got from Harbor Freight.
6: Pat the board dry with an old dish towel
7: Spray the board with 97% alcohol, tipping the board to one side so the alcohol forces the water to run off the edge.
8: Pat the board dry
9: Let the board dry, or blow off with an air compressor (being sure to get inside each IC socket)
10: Reattach all removed parts.

#4 5 years ago

Could a person use alcohol bath only so that once the board is removed from the "bath" it would evaporate much more quickly?

#6 5 years ago

I do the above followed by a few hours in the sun to make sure everything is dry. Of course I live in CA and it is still winter where you are. Don't set it on the snow, in the sun. Defeats the purpose...


#7 5 years ago

Wash and rinse with an old paint brush and dish soap in a wash tub type sink. Sometimes I spray down with Simple Green (or sometimes Mean Green). Let air dry standing on end in a tube for a few days (usually takes me that long before I am ready to mount back into the machine).

Have never removed anything other than the batteries (which make sure you do before getting the board(s) wet.

Doing the soap and water for over 25 years (the Simple/Mean Green part I started a few years ago and only on the really nasty boards). The 'dust' just with soap and water.

#8 5 years ago

You could always use the dishwasher method. Be sure all things that could be taken off the board are taken off, than blow dry complete and let dry a day or so.

#9 5 years ago

To clean circuit boards I first blow off loose dirt and grime with a compressor. Next its a distilled water + 90% alcohol + vinegar bath. I use a soft bristled brush to clean all the nooks and crannies. Lastly, I remove the boards from the bath, place them on a towel, and hit them with the compressor to remove any moisture.

Sometimes after I remove the board from the cleaning solution, I give to board a generous squirt of alcohol (both sides) to help disperse the water. I don't remove any chips or parts except for relays. Wouldn't' want to trap moisture inside the clear casing. I Usually let the boards sit for a few days but if I'm in a hurry I will hit them with a hair dryer after the compressor. Even then I still don't power on the machine for a few days just to be safe.

#10 5 years ago

Rubbing alcohol sucks to clean boards with. It leaves behind a white powdery residue. Try Naptha. It cleans flux way better, evaporates quicker, and evaporates clean.

#11 5 years ago

Where do I buy naptha? Sounds like something from Home Depot?

#12 5 years ago

Depends on what is on the board.
Do not wash relays or DIP Switches -- nasty things happen inside.

#13 5 years ago
Quoted from SarverSystems:

Where do I buy naptha? Sounds like something from Home Depot?


#14 5 years ago

My method is similiar as described by SarverSys.
- Blow with compressed air the board to remove the bigger dirty
- Mark and pull off all the socketed IC
- Clean the board with demineralized water and isopropyl alchool, rubbing with a brush or toothbrush
- Lay the board on a paper towel and blow with compressed air to remove all the water traces
- Put the board under the sun for a few hour (Sometimes I also use an hairdyer if the weather isn't good )
Which product do you mean with "Naphta"? Because here in Italy Naptha is a oily product... highly not recommended!

#15 5 years ago

So it looks like Naptha is just paint thinner?

#16 5 years ago
Quoted from SarverSystems:

So it looks like Naptha is just paint thinner?

more like lighter fluid.

#17 5 years ago
Quoted from SarverSystems:

So it looks like Naptha is just paint thinner?

No, it evaporates quickly without leaving junk behind - think purified lighter fluid.

#18 5 years ago

Doing a search on Home Depot's website for naptha just brings up paint thinner.

#19 5 years ago

It would help if i spelled it correctly. Sorry everyone.

NAPHTHA is between acetone and rubbing alcohol as far as how powerful of a solvent it is.


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