All You Need to Know About PCB Care

All You Need to Know About PCB Care

Care guides for electronic components, especially PCBs, are not given as much importance since they are usually firmly installed within the internal structure of the equipment. However, discussions and instances infer that one possible cause of electronic malfunctions is due to soiled electronic parts. Dirt accumulates over time, blocking necessary passageways for air and electricity needed to power up a device.  

One highly recognized electronic industry item is the Printed Circuit Board, commonly known as the PCB. It is a universal board that houses different components depending on the device’s needs. Therefore, it has a vital role for parts to operate and function in the long run despite the simplicity of its structure. 

A Printed Circuit Board is designed as an enclosed component; it does not exempt from external environmental threats. Considering that it is a part other features rely on, it is crucial to know and understand different PCB cleaning processes. But before that, let us identify several external threats, which we may refer to as contaminants. These will provide a better analysis of which cleaning process to use later.

PCB Board Contaminants

There are only two main PCB contaminant categories: Dry and Wet. First, we have the most common under dry: dust and dirt. Second are wet contaminants, including grime, waxy oil, flux, and soda. These are somehow relevant to the first two when electronic devices are placed under extreme temperatures. 

As science explains, sudden temperature changes result in the formation of moisture. The production of wet contaminants begins with the build-up of dry pollutants that have not been removed. These are unavoidable scenarios which are why Printed Circuit Boards house and protect components; however, a PCB requires varying manual cleaning processes.


Different PCB Cleaning Processes

Now that we know the different PCB contaminants, let us discuss a variety of PCB cleaning processes, from simple to particular cleaning gadgets. 

Let us begin with dry contaminants dedicated tools:

  • Like a horsehair paintbrush, a Small Delicate Brush is an essential tool for on-the-spot cleaning. This tool does not affect other components like the resonator, for it has a reach limitation. 
  • Compressed Air is also for mild cleaning. However, it requires attention as it can affect other components due to pressure exerted and the nozzle that may come in contact with parts inside.                                   
  • A Vacuum Cleaner is a next option for compressed air when not available. It may be bigger, but it makes it less potent regarding the reach capacity. This can be characterized as a   mediocre tool that combines delicate brush and compressed air functions.                                                                

Wet contaminants can be considered a second-phase reaction following the threats of dirt and dust. The abovementioned cleaning tools would need chemical cleaning agents, which are explained as follows:

  • Isopropyl Alcohol (IPA), with the help of a q-tip, small brush, or cotton cloth, is the first for removing wet contaminants. IPA is the most accessible tool but will require a well-vented environment, ideally under a fume hood, to avoid unwanted incidents. Simply wipe off surfaces within reach.                                      
  • Demineralized Water can replace IPA when not available. As water does not evaporate immediately like alcohol, the PCB must be left to dry after cleaning thoroughly. If not done correctly, moisture will still be present, ultimately damaging the component.

 We have mentioned the importance of understanding and gaining knowledge on care guides of electronic components, but there is another better way to reduce the frequency of cleaning. This is by having quality Printed Circuit Boards and parts from credible electronic components manufacturers.

If you are looking for obsolete electronic components to complete your PCBs, you may contact us here:

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