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Author Topic: Cleaning up a circuit board with grime  (Read 1514 times)
W3TTT
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Posts: 264




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« on: October 17, 2017, 07:21:36 AM »

Any suggestions?  I just scored a Heathkit HW-16, just like the one that I built when I was in eighth grade.  The one that I built was new, but now the rig that I just bought has a lot of grime, especially on the printed circuit board.  Let me describe the grime.  Imagine leaving the circuit board in the kitchen, where a lot of frying is done.  All that vapor grease lands on the board, a hard, sticky yellow.  Then it gets very dusty and the dust sticks to the grease.  That is what I have.  However, it seems to WORK okay.  And I would just leave it as-is, but does anyone have a suggestion on the best way to clean the printed circuit board without damage?
thanks
Joe W3TTT Undecided
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W3RU
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Posts: 13




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« Reply #1 on: October 17, 2017, 07:44:19 AM »

Joe,

Just remove some of the obvious components, liberally spray on 50%-reduced Dawn dishwashing detergent (nothing stronger - it will remove the silkscreening) work it around with a 2-inch paint brush, let sit 10 minutes, work it around again with the paint brush, flush it off with the sink sprayer, blow off the excess moisture with 60 psi compressed air, and set out in the sun to dry.

Components and PC board surface will come up looking like new - especially the resistors and PC board printing.  Do the same on both sides and chassis metal.  Dawn has never ruined the front panel paint or screenings on any of my efforts to-date.

Plenty of demos on you-tube showing this procedure for SB-101's and SB-110's.  Don't be frightened.  I've done it on Collins S-Lines, and never had a problem.  You may want to finish off the drying process with a 150 degree oven for a couple of hours - no higher temp, however.

Jack  W3RU
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N4UE
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Posts: 695




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« Reply #2 on: October 17, 2017, 03:54:17 PM »

Joe, get some Simple Green Extreme. Not the 'regular' SG. Dilute it 50 %. Spray it on and use the paintbrush to wash around.
Rinse with water, blow dry (or let it bake in the sun for a while).
SGE is certified by Boeing to be aluminum safe and it is the best boatanchor/Test Equipment cleaner I've ever used and I've done hundreds of radios/TE and never damaged a thing.

I get mine from Amazon, 5 Gal at a time.
Yeah, I like it.....

ron
N4UE
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W3RU
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Posts: 13




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« Reply #3 on: October 17, 2017, 08:44:20 PM »

Simple Green will lighten, and possibly remove, the black silk screen lettering on the chassis of Heath equipment.  I made the mistake of using it ONE TIME before learning my lesson.  Not sure of what it will do to the front panel, because I did not get that far with it after seeing the effect on the chassis lettering.

Jack  W3RU
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N4UE
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Posts: 695




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« Reply #4 on: October 18, 2017, 08:58:59 AM »

There are SEVERAL types of Simple Green. The 'original' green formula is very strong and STINKS.
SG Extreme, is odorless and clear.
They are NOT the same.

ron
N4ue
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W3TTT
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Posts: 264




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« Reply #5 on: October 18, 2017, 01:03:18 PM »

Thanks for the Simple Green advice.  However, I was hoping to do the cleaning with the circuit board in place, installed.  And not have to remove the board to clean it.  And the "rinse with water" would not go well with the rest of the electronic components, I think, in my experience. 
Does anyone have experience with acetone or alcohol?  Would either of those work?  Looking for Something to brush on, brush off the dirt and grease, and leave no residue, or leave a residue that can be removed with another brush on brush off sort of action. 
I am thinking that using a more dilute solution of Simple Green, and working carefully and slowly, using only drops of the solution at a time?
And how to remove the baked on rosin?  I see that the builder had some rosin shorts which he scraped off, leaving scrape marks. 
thanks all
73 Joe
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AC5UP
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Posts: 4412




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« Reply #6 on: October 18, 2017, 01:15:42 PM »

And how to remove the baked on rosin?

Q-Tip and common rubbing alcohol.  Follow up with a dry Q-Tip to remove any residue marks.  Remember that Q-Tips are cheap and the object is to remove the rosin so don't worry about using too many...
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KE7YD
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Posts: 80




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« Reply #7 on: October 18, 2017, 06:55:56 PM »

I might caution you about using too much water/liquid on the pcbs.  Those were the brown paper phenolic type of boards.  Wash it, rinse it, and dry it off right away. 

Ken
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