I think there's a lot of knowledge in pinball, and I think it's great that so many people are willing to openly share it. There are techs who don't participate in forums like this, and don't share knowledge. Without share of knowledge, it dies with us.
I have a lot of practical knowledge from doing, but I have no formal education in this area.
I've learned at least something from everyone who has posted an opinion in this thread in the past. I don't look at anyone posting here as 'right' or 'wrong'.
So, I don't know that I agree with the 'start your own thread' thing - it's easier to have an open discussion with multiple opinions in one thread. It helps if everyone checks their ego at the door and the thread can go in a civil direction. I'm not pointing any fingers here. Anyone reading this thread can form their own
I think there's more than 1 way to skin any cat. I have repaired a significant number of PCBs for a number of people over the last few years, and I turn away boards with large amounts of corrosion. I do this for multiple reasons... including but not limited to...
1) Cost of repair. I'm not doing this as a volunteer effort. It helps me with my master plan to get out of debt, helps me support my family, and from time to time, supports my hobby. I have a very limited number of hours in any given week to fix pinball boards. A WPC CPU like you're using in this repair guide would be returned un reparied by me. That's not saying it's not repairable - any board is repairable, given enough time - it's not economically repairable. Considering the readily available replacements from Rottendog, Two Bits, or anyone else, you can't spend hours on a CPU board repairing it if you are charging a labor rate. I can't charge a guy $125 to repair an original WPC CPU when they can buy a repro that has never been exposed to the alkaline for $50 more. There are very few exceptions to this rule - a few boards that are not reproduced, or are not available used in reasonable quantities. Those might be worth putting a little more into.
2) I can't be certain on a repair like that that I'll catch everything. I don't do a repair where I don't give the customer some sort of a warranty. I try hard to get it all, and I hope I got it all, but as alkaline travels through the air, you may never see a bit of it that somehow got under a chip.
I too have opinions, and have operated as sort of a 'Switzerland' of pinball for years. I try to respect everyone, and I value everyone's opinions. As stated, I've learned from everyone with an opinion here in some format.
I bought a bead blaster in 2014. Part of this was based upon Clay's advice, but I had also wanted a bead blaster for cleaning up metal parts for vehicles and metal brackets etc for pins for years. So, I figured even if it wasn't useful for PCBs, I would get my moneys worth out of it.
I've fixed a number of rotten boards where people did the whole 'douche the PCB' with vinegar and water, and there was corrosion under ICs and resistors that may not have been there before. It also may have been there before - obviously I haven't been watching the board since the beginning of time to know for sure. So, I've not been a fan of that method *solely*. IMO, that method solely may buy people some time - but we don't know how much time that is.
The bead blasting has worked better some times than others for me. I haven't had much luck with WPCs, probably due to lack of finesse. I think I use mine differently than Clay uses his, however. I will blast an area so I can desolder any affected components. I cut the ICs and resistors out, leaving the lead intact, and then blast the board so solder will flow, desolder the components, and then get the traces clean before sealing them. I don't want to send someone a board where the stripes are gone off the resistors, for example. I think if you've blasted a resistor that much, odds are, you've shortened its life. Resistors are cheap.
My favorite tool for cleaning corrosion is my fiberglass pen. I feel it gives me the most control. You can use a light touch, or a firm touch, and it cleans depending on how firm of a touch you give it. It's aggressive enough to remove the alkaline, but not so abrasive that it instantly burns through traces. Even on a Sys11 where the battery traces are fine under the battery holder.
I'm playing with Cratex, a rubberized abrasive in stick format, similar to the socket cleaning sticks that PBR and Marco sells. It's a machinists tool that one of my local collector friends/customers brought by for me to check it. It has potential too.
I know several guys who just use regular ole sandpaper and do a good job. I think that may be a more likely tool for a hobbyist to have in their toolbox, as those are the people who are going to repair a CPU like the one in the pics. Someone who has time to invest in something like that board as a fun side project.
It's also worth pointing out that pinball boards are not expensive boards. Yes, $200 for a aftermarket CPU seems expensive, but when I say expensive, I mean boards that may cost multiple thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars in a MRI machine or something. I expect the people working on those to have a much higher degree of training, better equipment, etc. If every pinball tech had that level of equipment and experience, none of us would be able to afford the pins!
So, please keep the open discussion going IMO. But let's keep it civil - and fun!