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Ultrasonic cleaner for cleaning PCB
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Music Tech DIY  
Author Ultrasonic cleaner for cleaning PCB
haternob
I'm nearing the end of the DDRM build and have the chance to use my friends ultrasonic cleaner which he uses to clean his records.

I've watched a few videos and it seems that this is the choice method for cleaning flux and residue from PCBs but I'm a bit nervous about the procedure since it involves bathing them in water!

From what I can fathom, provided I use the correct solution and make sure I let the boards dry out thoroughly afterwards, I should be ok...right?!

Does anybody have any experience of this? Any tips, warnings, suggestions are welcome!
Grumble
If you insist on using water, make sure it is denaturalised water.

edit: this is because drinking water holds several minerals which leaves a residue.
Joe.
When I used ultrasonic cleaners on boards in the past we left the boards in a PCB oven overnight to dry them.

It wasn't super hot (it was the same oven we'd put PCB's with conformal coatings in) from memory it was just a few degrees warmer than room temperature.

It got rid of the moisture that was trapped under components and in sockets. Not sure how you'd do that in a home setting.
Grumble
You can remove water by putting the moist pcb in a plastic box (tupperware?) and add a bag with silica gel.
After reaching the maximum absorption capacity of the silica gel, just put it in a baking oven, set to the lowest possible temperature.
JAO
Isopropyl Alcohol (99%) will displace water on the board. Just pour it over after removing from the cleaner.
This will aid (NOT replace) the air drying process.
Grumble
Be sure all components can withstand isopropyl alcohol meh
mskala
Not all components are water-washable, and that would go all the more for ultrasonic washing. I'd be especially concerned about things like trimmer pots that are enclosed but maybe not absolutely sealed. Having the ultrasonics drive water inside one of those could be a problem. Check the data sheets carefully for whether the parts are washable, and preferably for mention of ultrasonic washing in particular.

With any solvent including water, there'd also be the issue that crud dissolved or suspended in the solvent could be left behind after it evaporates. It's important to rinse thoroughly before you air-dry, and that too may be difficult with an ultrasonic washer.
haternob
Thanks for your replies folks. Given me some more food for thought! It sounds like it might be sensible to bathe them before I add pots, sliders. Sockets, screen etc. It's the flux around the caps, resisters and IC sockets that makes up much of what I want to remove. I suppose I can do the rest by hand at the end
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