Cleaning boards after soldering

Discussion in 'Tips and Tricks' started by Dave, Jul 31, 2010.

  1. Dave

    Dave Full Time Elf

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    I have read some where or watched a video about cleaning the PCB after soldering components.
    I was just wondering what to use?
    Will contact cleaner do the job or do u need to use something stronger?

    Thanks

    Dave
     
  2. David_AVD

    David_AVD Good news, everyone!

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    It depends on the solder you use. At AVD, we use a "no clean" type. This means the residue is very minor, and does not need to be cleaned off the board.

    It is worth buying good quality solder. It's not all the same.
     
  3. AussiePhil

    AussiePhil Dedicated Elf Administrator

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    Ditto to what David said.

    Even using active flux solders i generally don't clean boards.

    Cheers
    Phil
     
  4. David_AVD

    David_AVD Good news, everyone!

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    Cleaning boards is over rated. If you use the correct solder and technique, it's just a waste of time. Spend the money of some good quality solder and it will be all good. :)
     
  5. AussiePhil

    AussiePhil Dedicated Elf Administrator

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    Alec

    Flux cored solder comes with different types of flux.

    they range from No-clean type all the way to highly reactive fluxes.

    High reaction type fluxes were more common 10-15 years ago even for electronics work and was were the entire you must clean the boards came from.

    Low reaction flux or better no-clean flux is more common.

    If the solder you buy for electronics does not say "no-clean" then it is likely to be low reactive type and shouldn't really need cleaning.

    Phil
     
  6. riri7707

    riri7707 Full Time Elf

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    Generally standard soldering wire rolls always integrates flux/resin to corrosion protection of the metal once the component was soldered on the boards.
    Now, we can effectively found a lot of soldering products with more on less chemical protection against corrosion.

    But in general, as you are soldering with standard solder wire, you will always have resin around and at end, the board doesn't looks really good and it's very difficult to detect any potential dry soldering point.

    The very easy and cheapest way to clean the boards without any damage is to use solvent (same base as our wife's used to clean their vernish they used to paint their ongles/fingers). This kind solvent (acetone) will totally clean you boards and the result is very good.

    Just use it with a brush to clean all the resin and soldering paste... Few seconds and that's ok...

    Simple but efficient and very cheap ( around $3 the Liter).

    Cheers....
    Henri
     
  7. AAH

    AAH I love blinky lights :) Community Project Designer

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    I make a few thousand pcbs a year and rarely clean them with no issues yet with board failures due to corrosion from the flux. Depending on the end user the pcb is for I either leave the pcb as is, clean it with aerosol flux remover and then coat the board with pcb lacquer or else I clean the pcb with a toothbrush dipped in metho. The toothbrush dipped in metho (or isopropyl alcohol if available) works great. For pcbs that have no green solder resist on them the residue that is created by "cleaning" with alcohol leaves a protective coating on the boards. Unlike bare copper boards that have no treatment of any sort the alcohol cleaned boards look identical years later with no signs of oxidisation.
    If the boards are going anywhere where there's going to be exposure to weather/humidity and the boards are bare copper then I'd recommend that they get some sort of treatment as a minimum.
     

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