Is it safe to clean eurorack boards with 99% IPA?

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waldenpotato
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Is it safe to clean eurorack boards with 99% IPA?

Post by waldenpotato » Wed Jul 15, 2020 10:00 am

I'm going to be building a handful of Oakley eurorack boards soon. I've got some 99% isopropyl alcohol. Is it safe for me to use this to clean the boards before I start soldering components on?

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htor
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Re: Is it safe to clean eurorack boards with 99% IPA?

Post by htor » Wed Jul 15, 2020 10:24 am

yes, as long it's not indian pale ale you're good to go!


:beer:

smartwentcrazy
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Re: Is it safe to clean eurorack boards with 99% IPA?

Post by smartwentcrazy » Wed Jul 15, 2020 10:27 am

I was so hoping someone was asking about cleaning these with beer. Hahahahaha

waldenpotato
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Re: Is it safe to clean eurorack boards with 99% IPA?

Post by waldenpotato » Wed Jul 15, 2020 10:54 am

Haha - funny. I could imagine accidentally spilling beer on the boards, resulting in needing to clean them.

I'm new to using this kind of alcohol to clean boards and wasn't sure if 99% was too strong.

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Synthbuilder
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Re: Is it safe to clean eurorack boards with 99% IPA?

Post by Synthbuilder » Wed Jul 15, 2020 11:21 am

groffcole wrote:
Wed Jul 15, 2020 10:00 am
I've got some 99% isopropyl alcohol. Is it safe for me to use this to clean the boards before I start soldering components on?
It's what I use to clean any boards when I have used rosin cored solder. I've not had any problems. The worst that could happen is that some of the silk screen might come off - but I have not had that with my current manufacturer.

If you did spill any of the other type of IPA on your boards, then warm water would be your best bet. :guinness:

Tony

waldenpotato
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Re: Is it safe to clean eurorack boards with 99% IPA?

Post by waldenpotato » Wed Jul 15, 2020 1:40 pm

Thanks for the help.

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emmaker
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Re: Is it safe to clean eurorack boards with 99% IPA?

Post by emmaker » Sat Jul 25, 2020 3:08 pm

groffcole wrote:
Wed Jul 15, 2020 10:00 am
I'm going to be building a handful of Oakley eurorack boards soon. I've got some 99% isopropyl alcohol. Is it safe for me to use this to clean the boards before I start soldering components on?
Cleaning with IPA is messy, hard sometimes and it's flammable. Better solution would be solder water washable parts (typically chips, resistors, ceramic/film caps, check data sheets for other parts) first with water soluble flux solder, wash and finish up the parts (sockets, connectors, pots, switches, electrolytics (some are, some aren't washable)) with no clean flux solder.

Jay S.

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Re: Is it safe to clean eurorack boards with 99% IPA?

Post by waldenpotato » Sun Jul 26, 2020 12:41 am

emmaker wrote:
Sat Jul 25, 2020 3:08 pm
groffcole wrote:
Wed Jul 15, 2020 10:00 am
I'm going to be building a handful of Oakley eurorack boards soon. I've got some 99% isopropyl alcohol. Is it safe for me to use this to clean the boards before I start soldering components on?
Cleaning with IPA is messy, hard sometimes and it's flammable. Better solution would be solder water washable parts (typically chips, resistors, ceramic/film caps, check data sheets for other parts) first with water soluble flux solder, wash and finish up the parts (sockets, connectors, pots, switches, electrolytics (some are, some aren't washable)) with no clean flux solder.

Jay S.
I'm going to be using this strategy for when I'm soldering components onto the boards. But I was asking about cleaning the boards before any soldering has started.

Appreciate the feeback.

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emmaker
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Re: Is it safe to clean eurorack boards with 99% IPA?

Post by emmaker » Sun Jul 26, 2020 12:49 pm

groffcole wrote:
Sun Jul 26, 2020 12:41 am
I'm going to be using this strategy for when I'm soldering components onto the boards. But I was asking about cleaning the boards before any soldering has started.

Appreciate the feeback.
OK, to me cleaning the boards is an essential part of soldering a board. A lot of people don't do it and end up with crapping soldering.

For a blank board I use a cleaning powder like Ajax or Comet and water, scrub it good and rinse it good. That should remove any oxidation. When dry I give it a good wipe with IPA to remove any oils or contaminates. Some times if I just want to clean a small area I use an ink eraser with a fine grit and then the IPA wipe.

Jay S.

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Re: Is it safe to clean eurorack boards with 99% IPA?

Post by waldenpotato » Thu Jul 30, 2020 10:40 am

emmaker wrote:
Sun Jul 26, 2020 12:49 pm
For a blank board I use a cleaning powder like Ajax or Comet and water, scrub it good and rinse it good. That should remove any oxidation. When dry I give it a good wipe with IPA to remove any oils or contaminates. Some times if I just want to clean a small area I use an ink eraser with a fine grit and then the IPA wipe.
Do you use a regular cotton cloth or rag to scrub with Ajax or Comet? Is there any chance this could damage my boards?

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emmaker
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Re: Is it safe to clean eurorack boards with 99% IPA?

Post by emmaker » Thu Jul 30, 2020 1:01 pm

groffcole wrote:
Thu Jul 30, 2020 10:40 am
emmaker wrote:
Sun Jul 26, 2020 12:49 pm
For a blank board I use a cleaning powder like Ajax or Comet and water, scrub it good and rinse it good. That should remove any oxidation. When dry I give it a good wipe with IPA to remove any oils or contaminates. Some times if I just want to clean a small area I use an ink eraser with a fine grit and then the IPA wipe.
Do you use a regular cotton cloth or rag to scrub with Ajax or Comet? Is there any chance this could damage my boards?
I either use a cotton balls or cotton rags. Yes you could damage a board if you scrubbed it long and hard. Gold plating on boards is very thin and you could remove it, solder/tin plated boards are more robust. You really don't need to scrub it that much or that hard. Just use common sense, go over the board 2-3 times with light to medium pressure. Use enough pressure to feel like you're cleaning something but not like you're cleaning baked on grease. That should do it. If you have a scratch board might just give it a try on it first before you do your premium boards.

Good soldering.
Jay S.

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Synthbuilder
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Re: Is it safe to clean eurorack boards with 99% IPA?

Post by Synthbuilder » Fri Jul 31, 2020 2:48 am

I've never found the need to wipe over any of my boards with anything prior to soldering. However, I use Pb/Sn solder with a water washable flux core, or Pb/Sn with ersin (rosin) flux, which does tend to flow better than the unleaded formulas. If I did need to wipe down, say, because the board was older than a few years, I would use IPA only.

For I time I did use ENIG plating (with the gold coloured solder pads) for my boards and they certainly needed a wipe down if left long enough, and a bit of abrasion probably wouldn't have gone amiss too. All my current stock is lead free HASL which seems to work well for hand soldering.

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