Do You Use Alcohol to Clean PCBs by mistake ?
2018-11-24 09:40Writer: qyadminReading:
Printed Circuit Boards Clean PCBsTypical Printed Circuit Boards or PCBs have a large number of small electronic components connected together with thin copper traces. With time, dust and other contaminants get deposited on PCBs, which may degrade their performance. It is therefore a good practice to clean the PCBs from time to time using alcohol.
Isopropyl Alcohol for Cleaning PCBs
Isopropyl alcohol can be used to clean PCBs. This type of alcohol is highly efficient in dissolving most commonly found PCB contaminants. It is also electrically non-conducting and evaporates quickly. Additionally, isopropyl alcohol has extremely low level of toxicity if inhaled. All these properties make it an ideal product for cleaning PCBs.
Other Alcohol Types for Cleaning PCBs
Theoretically, any type of alcohol can be used to clean PCBs. However, there are other aspects that should be taken into consideration, the most important of which is the toxicity. Many of the other types of alcohol products having high cleaning capabilities are also highly toxic. A common example is methanol, which is toxic and should not be used for cleaning PCBs.
Cleaning PCBs is a multistep process. The first step involves removing all the dust and other particulate matter that have accumulated on the board. This can be done with the help of a hair dryer blowing cold air at full speed. The cold air from the hair dryer dislodges the loosely bound particles on the board and disperses them in air. The next step is to clean the board with a dry cloth to remove any other loosely bound matter. In the third step, one takes a dry cotton cloth, wets it with isopropyl alcohol and gently rubs it on the PCB surface. The fourth step is the waiting period during which the remaining alcohol on the board evaporates in the air leaving behind a clean PCB.
Important Consideration for Cleaning PCBs with Alcohol
Even though the toxicity level of isopropyl alcohol is very low, it is still a good practice to work in well-ventilated areas while cleaning PCBs. You should always have eye protection on while working with this chemical as the fumes can cause eye irritation. Rubber gloves should be worn while using the alcohol on the board to avoid skin contact. The process of rubbing the alcohol on the board should be performed very gently since any excessive force may dislodge or damage electronic components. Keep the alcohol container and the board, while you are working on it, away from heat and fire as the alcohol is highly flammable.