A capacitor will store excess electrical energy which it supplies to the central appliance or device in case of power stoppage or shortage. However, when you want to work with a capacitor for a new device, it is imperative that you first discharge the capacitor for safety reasons.
And today’s write-up we will discuss how to discharge a capacitor with a multimeter. Our guideline will also include suggestions on discharging an AC capacitor, from the circuit board and the use of a capacitor discharge tool.
So, don’t miss the chance to know the safe discharging technique of the capacitor.
How To Discharge A Capacitor With A Multimeter
When we talk about discharging a capacitor with multimeter, there’s often a misconception that arises among us. So, let us first clear one thing-
The multimeter isn’t used directly to discharge the stored energy of a capacitor. Instead, people use it to measure the voltage and power of the capacitor to know whether it is fully released or not.
You can use different tools such as a light bulb or a DIY discharge tool for the process. But everything starts with checking the actual charge of the capacitor.
The First Step: Checking the Capacitor Charge
Step 1: Unplug from the Power Source
Make sure you have disconnected the capacitor from its power source. If you work with a capacitor in the car, disconnect the battery. And for home appliances, unplug the device from the power outlet.
Step 2: Setting Up the Multimeter
You need to set up the multimeter at its highest DC voltage capacity. Since different multimeters come with various DC voltage limit, read the user manual to know the specific DC voltage limit of the multimeter.
Then turn the knob to set the DV voltage in its peak. The highest DC setting ensures you will get the most accurate readings from the capacitor.
Step 3: Connecting the Multimeter with the Capacitor
Connect the two probes of the multimeter with two heads of the capacitor. It doesn’t matter on which capacitor head you connect the black or red probe or vice versa. Carefully hold the probes on the capacitor lead and check the readings on display.
Step 4: Understanding the Readings
Depending on the capacitor size, the multimeter display may show readings between a few volts to a few hundred volts. If the reading is above 10V, it is considered dangerous since anything above 10V can provide you with an electrical shock.
The few critical notes for the capacitor voltage readings are:
- A capacitor doesn’t need discharging if the reading is below 10V.
- You may use a screwdriver or light bulb to discharge a capacitor with a voltage between 10V to 99V.
- If the capacitor has a voltage above 100V, use a specific capacitor discharge tool for safety reasons.
Now we will discuss different discharging methods of the capacitor using light bulbs, screwdrivers, and discharging tool.
Method 1: How To Discharge A Capacitor With A Light Bulb
If you have a capacitor bank with a higher voltage value, you may use a light bulb to discharge it securely. The three standard DC capacitor voltages are 100V, 200V, and 300V. You can use a 75W enabled light bulb to discharge these capacitors.
These steps include:
- Open all switches on the power board. Then bring up the voltage supply on the capacitor to 100V with all switched adequately opened.
- When the voltage reached 100V, turn off the charging switch of the device.
- Wait for a few moments until the digital multimeter (DMM) display shows the result strictly at 100V.
- When you see the readings at 100V, open the circuit for charging switch.
- After that carefully close the adjacent discharging switch of the device.
- As soon as the discharging switch is closed, the connected light bulbs will start glowing with a dim light.
- After a few moments open up the discharging switch again.
- You need to repeat the steps with 200V and 300V for the capacitor to burn out the used light bulbs properly.
- Finally, close down the shorting switch securely to safeguard the capacitor from electrical shocks.
- Use the multimeter to check if the capacitor has been discharged appropriately or not.
Method 2: Use a Screwdriver
Another easy way to discharge the capacitor is the use of a screwdriver. It is less complicated and doesn’t require any superior skills too.
- At first, pick an insulated screwdriver. The rubber or plastic handle of the screwdriver works as an insulated barrier to prevent shocks.
- Once you have the insulated screwdriver at hand, closely inspect the handle. If the handle’s plastic or rubber seems worn out, don’t use the screwdriver. The screwdriver handle should be free from any cracks, or damages on the rubberized section.
- Now, you need to hold the capacitor with your active hand. Make sure you don’t touch the capacitor terminals. It is suggested that you handle either side of the capacitor body for safety purposes.
- When you hold the capacitor body focus on gripping it at a lower end. When you use your non-dominant hand to grab the capacitor, your hand and finger will make a ‘C shape”. It offers you maximum control over the grips.
- Now carefully touch the screwdriver with the two poles of the capacitor at the same time. Once you connect the screwdriver with the bars, it will discharge the unit soon.
- After a few seconds remove the screwdriver from the capacitor. Then, connect it with the capacitor poles to check if it has been appropriately discharged or not. If there are no sparks, the capacitor is discharged correctly.
Method 3: Use of a Discharging Tool
When you want to discharge a large amount of voltage from the capacitor, applying a discharging tool is recommended. You can DIY create the device.
Things you will need:
- Two alligator clips
- 12 gauge wire
- Electrical tapes
- A 50W 20k OHM resistor
The steps include:
Step 1: Assembling the Required Tool
You should remember that a discharging tool is simply a small resistor. The wires are connected with the alligator clips to soak the voltage from the capacitor. So, organize all the required items in one location to create the discharging item.
Step 2: Preparing the Wires and Alligator Clips
Firstly, wrap the two alligator clips with the electrical tapes. Wrap one clip with black tape and the other one with red tape to quickly identify which is for what ends of the resistor. Then, use a scissor to cut the wire in two equal parts, each 6-inch long.
When you use longer wires, it offers you easiness to connect the ends with the capacitor poles.
Step 3: Clipping off the Wire Insulation
Use a wire stripper to clip off about ½” from the wire insulation to bring out the copper wire. Alternatively, you can use a razor blade or sharp knife to cut the insulation carefully. Then, you may use fingers to pull the remaining part of the wire.
Whatever process you follow, make sure you don’t damage the wire.
Step 4: Connect the Wire with the Resistor Probes
Once you have brought out the metal portion of the wire, you need to connect its one end with the resistor. You can use solders to touch one end of each wire with one pole of the resistor. Once you have connected the cables with the resistor poles, the other side of each wire is free to attach with the capacitor.
Step 5: Wrapping the Soldering Joints
This step is pretty simple. Use the black and red electrical tapes to wrap each soldering points of the wire. It secures the connection from any loose activity. Also, it acts as a safeguard against any accidental electrical shocks.
Step 6: Connecting the Alligator Clips with the Wire
This time, use your soldering skill to connect the free ends of the wire with the alligator clips. After soldering the alligator clips with the wire, wrap them using the electrical tapes for security.
Step 7: Connecting the Alligator Clips with the Capacitor Poles
Place the capacitor on a plain woody surface and make sure it doesn’t move. Now, connect each wired alligator clips with one pole of the capacitor. When the poles are associated with the resistor through the wires, it will quickly discharge the entire capacitor.
Step 8: Check the Discharging Correctness
Now connect the multimeter with the capacitor probes and check the readings to find out whether or not the capacitor has been correctly discharged. As you set the multimeter at its highest voltage and connect the capacitor, the reading should come below 10V.
If the reading is above 10V, connect the alligator clips correctly and continue the discharging once again.
You can follow these guidelines to accomplish knowing how to discharge an AC capacitor too.
Discharging a capacitor doesn’t need any rocket science knowledge. Neither does it require any expert skills. Nonetheless, when you work to discharge the capacitor with a multimeter, you must be attentive and operate with caution to prevent electric shocks.
Also, note that the multimeter is only used to measure the voltage of the capacitor; it doesn’t have an active role in the discharging project itself. You will need a proper discharging tool or a screwdriver to complete the whole process.
Desoldering the connections from the circuit board are vital for replacing or salvaging electronic components when these are damaged. And when it comes to how to clean solder off a circuit board, you can opt for many methods.
You can use a soldering pump or braided equipment or even a compressed air device to solder off the circuit board. We will thus, discuss the essential tips to remove solder from pads. So, without much ado, let us start the tutorial.
How To Clean Solder Off A Circuit Board
You can use a soldering pump, iron or even an air compressor to remove solder from the circuit board. The good news is that none of these desoldering methods ischallenging.
Tips 1: How to remove stubborn solder
When it comes to removing stubborn solder from the metal PCB or ceramic PCB, you can use a desoldering pump or iron for the process. The soldering pump is also known as a solder sucker or vacuum device.
It removes the melted solder from the circuit board components. The process includes the following steps:
Step 1: Cleaning the board
The first step of using a soldering pump is to clean off the terminal from unnecessary debris and rust. Use isopropyl or rubbing alcohol on the circuit board terminals to wipe off the residue. You need to apply the isopropyl alcohol on the soldering side and not on the electric components.
After using rubbing alcohol, use a soft-bristled toothbrush to wipe off the debris from the solder parts gently.
Step 2: Attaching a heat sink
It often happens that excessive heat of a soldering iron will damage the electric components on the other side of the circuit board. The damage may occur on the transistors, resistors or even in the integrated circuits (ICs).
So, you need to bring down the heat of the soldering pump or iron into a more manageable point. Thus, we recommend you use a metal alligator clip. The metal part of the pin will absorb heat and dissipate the heat.
You need to attach the clip in between the electric terminal and component of the circuit board to reduce the heat effect of the soldering iron or pump.
Step 3: Cleaning the soldering iron
Often the tip f the soldering iron contains debris, especially soldering material. It hampers a neat and clean desoldering of the circuit board. So, the tip must be clean.
For it, turn on the soldering pump at first. After that, wait for three minutes to allow the tip heat up adequately. Then, push it on a clean sponge for cleaning. You should push the soldering iron from the tip to down for cleaning.
Also, use a wet sponge for better results.
Step 4: Heating the part of a soldered location
Now push the soldering iron right on where you want to clean solder off from the circuit board. Keep pressing the solder iron tip until it connects with the soldered section of the circuit board. Once the tilt latches with the depressed point, heat the location with the iron.
Step 5: Vacuuming the melted location
Once you hold down the soldering iron properly on the location, the heat will start melting the solder from the board. Then apply the soldering pump and connect it on the melted portion of the solder pad to create the vacuum.
You will have to release the spring using a push button. Once removed the piston of the soldering pump will shoot back immediately. The created vacuum in the process will then pull up the melted solder part towards the pump.
Step 6: Emptying the desoldered part and cleaning off the circuit board
Now remove the vacuumed solder into the trash and then carefully wipe off the recently wiped off circuit board pad. You will be amazed at your desoldering skills.
Tip 2: How to remove solder without heat
If you want to clean solder off a circuit board without using heat, using a compressed air machine is your best alternative. The compressed air inside the can will merely blast the solder away from the circuit board using its high pressure. The process is also ideal when it comes to how to remove solder without a pump.
- Before you release the compressed air from the can shake it properly. Turn the can of the compressed air upside down and then bring it right where you want to release the compressed air.
- Remove the container lid and spray the compressed air carefully on the soldering joints. The high pressure may turn the PCB. But it will return to the normalcy once the pressure is released and absorbed by the soldering point.
- The joint will still have connections with the board. Use wrench pliers to pull off the soldered components from the board.
- Sometimes, you may not have pliers readily available at hand. Then use the edge of a table to brush and remove off the solder.
Tips 3: How to remove solder from speaker terminals
Sometimes the speaker terminal of connections between two speakers or audio devices may get damaged. Then, you need to remove it for replacing. Also, if you want to fix the problems of the speaker terminal, you may need to replace several components from the circuit board.
You can use the soldering pump, iron or braided desoldering gear for the purpose. The processes have been described adequately on the tips mentioned above.
Tips 4:How to remove solder from copper
Sometimes you may need to remove solder from the copper PCB. We recommend you use a desoldering braid for the purpose.
- At first, unwind the desoldering braid a few inches from the copper coil.
- The solder wick needs to have soldering flux. If the wick lacks the flux, add it on the tip.
- Now carefully position the braid on the soldering joint.
- Now between the desired soldered pin and positioned braid to use the soldering iron to heat the component.
- As the heat flow through the braid, the component will melt. After that, remove the braid carefully and then, remove the melted element too.
The methods of how to clean solder off a circuit board can be tricky if you don’t know the processes elaborately. That’s why we have described each of the steps with proper explanation and care for your convenience.
So, you shouldn’t face any problem with the cleaning solder off a circuit board anymore.
Imagine a situation when your circuit board works perfectly in one minute and stops working in the next minute. When this happens, the likelihood chance is broken or damaged wiring of the printed circuit board.
So, what’s the fix then?
Well, you can quickly re-solder wires of the PRC boards and LEDs to avoid expending on buying a new circuit board. But for this, you effectively need to know how to re-solder wires to the circuit board.
Don’t worry; the process isn’t insensitive. We will show you how to re-solder circuit board wires using circuit board soldering iron and without solder.
So, shall we begin?
How To Re-Solder A Wires To Circuit Board:
Before we get to the main point, eventually, we would like to suggest useful tips. The re-soldering of wires on the circuit board is similar to what we know about how to solder the electrical wire to the circuit board.
So, you shouldn’t face many issues with the re-soldering process. However, if you have forgotten the soldering process, we will recap the process for re-soldering the damaged or cracked circuit board wires.
Things you will need:
- Solder: This is pretty straightforward. You will need a solder for the re-soldering process. These are available in various thicknesses that usually start from 0.02mm. The thick solders are widely used for copper pipe or PCB. It is used with a butane torch. However, you will have to opt for the thin solders for detailing and repairing jobs.
- Soldering iron: You will need a quality soldering iron to generate the right amount of soldering temperature. You can opt from the low wattage (15-40W) or high wattage (60-140W) for the soldering process. The low wattage works on circuit boards, and high wattage helps work with braided speaker wire.
Once you are ready with the gears, you can start your re-solder or solder wire to the PCB pad successfully. The steps are:
Step 1: Getting ready
Working with soldering iron is a risky process since the soldering iron can get heated up to 800°F, and it is not fun. So, you need to be ready with proper gear. It includes hand gloves, safety goggles, and work boots.
Also, don’t touch the soldering iron tip even with the gloves on to avoid accidents.
Step 2: Fixing the wire
Now, closely look at the damaged or broken wiring section on the circuit board. After that, heat the soldering iron tip adequately.
Joint the two disconnected wirings of the PCB board and connect them with a twist. Then, remove your hand and hold the twisted section with a plastic stick. Bring the soldering iron tip close to the twisted wiring.
Then, connect the soldering iron tip right on the wire. You need to hold the tip for 2-10 seconds but make sure the cables don’t get melted. Otherwise, you may need to start the soldering process once again.
Step 3: Adding the solder
Once the wires are hot enough (there will be smokes as a sign of heated wires), attach the solder on the heated location. Hold on to it until you think the re-soldering is appropriately accomplished. Finally, remove the remaining solder and move on to the next fixing work.
Step 4: Soldering the LEDs
When you know how to solder and re-solder a wire on the circuit board, you can ardently move to the next steps. Yes, we will now talk about how to solder LEDs to the circuit board. You will need a heat adjustable soldering iron for the process. The soldering iron tip also needs to be smaller in size.
When you are ready with the LED and circuit board, heat the soldering gun at 675°F. You should load the circuit board on an alligator clip to avoid a direct connection with it. Use the heated soldering iron tip to reach the required temperature both on the LED and circuit board side.
Once you have adequately heated both components, you need to create a small cracking between the metal pad and the leads. Then wait for two to four seconds briefly, and pour the solder on the crack. Once the solder is melted and appropriately poured on the damage, remove the soldering iron and the solder itself.
The LED and circuit board will easily get soldered.
How To Connect A Wire To A Circuit Board Without Solder
If you don’t ardently have a soldering iron or gun readily available at home, you may think to repair the circuit board without solder. It is an inexpensive and straightforward process. You can opt for multiple options to connect the wires without solder in a circuit board.
Method 1: Use of Alligator clips
Alligator clips are cheap and readily available in hardware or electric shops. You need first to strip the two wires end to connect them using the clips. Once the striped wire ends are accommodated in a parallel form, use the alligator clip to join them.
The use of an alligator clip for joining circuit board wires is a temporary solution. It is also the weakest of all wire connections and will often come up with loose joints frequently. Hence, you may want to seek a stronger and permanent wiring method.
Method 2: Using electrical tape
Electrical tape to connect wires on a circuit board is another inexpensive and effortless method of joining wires. Also, you can quickly get the electrical tapes in a hardware shop.
Twist the two ends of the wires and wrap them using the electrical tape. The method is suitable for permanent wire connections. Also, it is widely practiced for insulating joints to ensure safety.
You can alternatively use a crimping tool or hot glue gun to create a permanent connection of the stripped wires.
When you know how to re-solder wires to circuit board, it can save you a fair amount of money. Also, it helps your device to get an increased lifetime. Therefore, we have ensured that our described methods of re-soldering the damaged wires on the circuit board come in handy for you.
Also, we have highlighted ways to joint wires without solder for further convenience.
When you work with the Printed Circuit Board (PCB) design, you may want to visualize the result of your hard work. Also, the visualization helps you identify the right layers of the PCB and fine-tune them with proper connections.
And to do all these, you will require a Gerber (.GBR) file extension to store the design of the circuit board. Also, you will need a proper Gerber file viewer to import the file and open it for appropriate and adequate visualization.
Hence, we will discuss how to open Gerber files with the proper Gerber file viewer. Also, we promise you that the work isn’t as challenging as you might think initially.
So, keep calm and enjoy the write-up.
What Is A Gerber File?
A Gerber file is built to store the designs of the printed circuit board. The file is often represented by the.GBR extension. A professional circuit board designer will export data from the Gerber file to the PCB designed program.
The file holds images of the standard PCB for comparison and builds an ideal circuit board. Also, you will see the use of Gerber file in the Game Boy Tileset. There the file incorporates with the Game Boy Color, Super Game Boy and also, the standard Game Boy.
Gerber files are encrypted with the image of printed circuit board design. After opening them in the right format using the right tool, you can enlarge the image to see the multiple layers and also work on them before printing and work on them later.
The Best Gerber Viewer to Open the File
When it comes to opening the Gerber file or, GBR file extension, you will first need the file viewer tool for it. Luckily, you will see various Gerber file viewer out on the internet, and most of them are free too for usage.
These software supports viewing of the measurement of the Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs) and also supports printing of the board from the tool.
While some tools support only the viewing of the circuit board design, some come with extensive applications. However, some these are Gerber file editor. So, you can use them to view the structure and change the PCB design too.
Some of the most reliable Gerber viewer tools are listed below:
- CAMtastic Gerber Viewer
Also, there are multiple options for Gerber viewer software that you may choose according to your preference.
How to Open Gerber Files
Actually opening the Gerber file is pretty straightforward. So, you won’t have to know rocket science to open and view the printed circuit board design. All you ardently need to do is to get the right Gerber viewer for the purpose.
If you are going to use the GBR.file extension for occasional purpose, you may want to use a Gerber editor open-source and free PCB viewer. We recommend you to use the CAMtastic Gerber viewer to visualize the PCB design.
It is a tool engineered for viewing and editing CAM data. For those who don’t know what is CAM, here’s a little suggestion for them.
CAM date broadly refers to the Computer-Aided Manufacturing, which helps the user to visualize the design and edit accordingly. Once you download the CAMtastic Gerber viewer, you can proceed to the next steps of opening and visualizing the file.
You can install the software and then, upload the Gerber file in it for visualization. However, the file viewer works a bit strangely, which may seem outdated for modern-day users. Firstly, you need to select the action you want to do with the file.
Once you have selected the command, import the Gerber file from the desktop location in the viewer. Once imported successfully, it should visualize each Printed Circuit Board layer for further action. You can check for any imperfections and remodel it to correct the error.
You can execute the command action with the ‘Right Click’ functionality.
There is another way to open the Gerber file for viewing. Yes, you can view them online without the hassle of downloading and installing a freeware for the purpose. Reference Gerber Viewer is an online-based platform.
Once you have uploaded the file successfully, you can easily see it on the browser of your PC or laptop. Also, the GIMP Brush files are operated with Linux, macOS and importantly, Windows for users convenience.
Converting the GBR File
A Printed Circuit Board design has three various file formats. Sadly, one file format doesn’t work with the other, and the conversion works differently, too. We have mentioned earlier some Gerber file viewer that not only opens the file but lets you edit them again.
Once you have found the right file viewer, you can convert the GBR>file extension into the following file formats-
Also, some online file viewer allows you to convert and save files in the PNG format. Also, if you want to use the file in Adobe Photoshop, you have to convert the file into PNG format first. Once you have converted the file into PNG format, you can import in Adobe Photoshop and work further on it to make any possible corrections.
What Happens When You Can’t Open the File?
Sometimes, even after your extensive use of all the methods and formats mentioned above, you may fail to open the file. If it happens, the main reason may be the misreading of the file format. Also, GBR.extension is widely used in meteorological data collection.
So, reread the file format, and you may opt for the other software application too. So, be aware of the misleading file format before working with it.
Printed Circuit Board designers often have to visualize the circuit boards to identify any possible errors and correct them. Hence, knowing how to open Gerber Files will help them unlock the file format in the correct method and check for the correctness.
Once you follow the instructions mentioned above correctly, you will quickly open the file for necessary actions.
When it comes to manufacturing prototype electronic circuits, aka, Dot PCB, the use of perfboard is widespread. The perfboard is a thin material shaped in small grids across the sheet. The grids have tiny holes often circled by copper.
However, if you want to make bare boards, you will want to manufacture the perfboard without coppers. Hence, we have researched on the topic and taken valuable comments of our PCB engineers to come up with the guideline on how to use perfboard without copper.
We have included the flux soldering and detailed step by step guidelines on the perfboard application without any copper.
So, aren’t you excited?
How to Use Perfboard Without Copper
Perfboards without copper clad is beneficial in many electronics and communicative sectors. However, sometimes you need to use perfboards without copper. In this case, you may want to use the aluminum clads.
Also, the flux soldering procedure is sometimes challenging, especially with the soldering of the small holes for components. However, the following steps will make the process lot easier.
You will need:
- A medium-sized plastic lid
- Aluminum foil with a size of 36 gauges
- Scriber or PCB pointer assisting tool
- Finest flux for soldering
- Piece of perfboard
- Soldering iron with a clean and fine tip
- Leather punch with rotatory feature
Once you have collected all the instruments, we can proceed to the steps. Luckily, you will get all the equipment at home and that isn’t available at home should be easily gettable from hardware shops.
Step 1: Preparing the plastic backing and aluminum foil
At first, you will need to cut the plastic lid in 2” sizes to prepare the backing for the leather punch. You can ardently use a pair of scissors to cut the plastic lid with ease.
On the aluminum foil, you will find patine or oxidized coating on the foil. Find a piece of fine steel wool to scuff off the coating carefully. Once the upper layer is removed successfully, you can proceed to the next big step.
Step 2: Punch the aluminum pad
You may want to work with larger pads instead of the smaller pads since working with the smaller pad is practically very tough. To find the right size on the punching tool, keep rotating the punch head to meet the correct size.
Once you find the right size, quickly squeeze the punching tool to meet the anvil in perpendicular motion. After that, briefly relieve the squeeze and slide in the aluminum-clad in the punching tool. Also, insert the plastic lid in the punching tool.
Now, squeeze the punching head firmly in a 90° angle and make holes through the aluminum foil. Repeat the punching process twice to make sure that it has gone through the board holes perfectly.
Step 3: Wiring the aluminum foil pad
Once you have cut holes on the foil, please don’t remove it from the punching machine. Instead, slide in the wire directly through the hole of the foil pad. After that, slowly remove the wired place from the punching machine.
You may use tweezers to remove the aluminum foil.
Step 4: Placing the punched foil pad on the contact
Now you will require placing the punched foil pad on the perfboard correctly. For this, get hold of the perforated aluminum foil using the PCB assist tool. Then using the device, slowly and surely center the punched pad right on the perfboard.
Then stab the pad on the board. Then use the tweezers to transfer the skewered pad from the perfbaord and replace it on the contact pins. You need to be careful while accomplishing the entire process.
Lastly, press the pointed tool down on the pad and help it sit at ease on the cushion.
Step 5: Soldering the pad and perfbaord
In this ardent step, we will discuss how to solder with flux for perfect contact of all the elements. However, before you begin the soldering process, we suggest you wear protective gear such as gloves and goggles. Also, make sure the soldering space has proper ventilation.
Now touch the soldering iron on the punched holed pad with a steady and firm hand. Then, dedicatedly add the flux-cored solder on the pad and make contact for 1 to 2 seconds only. You will smoothly perform the solder and flux in one go.
Sometimes the flux may not be correctly performed, and while removing the soldering iron, the aluminum foil may come off from the board. If you find any improper displacement of the foiled pad from the perfbaord, give a second touch to it using the soldering iron.
You will need to repeat the flux soldering process for all the contacts.
Step 6: Complete the project
Once you have successfully soldered each of the aluminum foils in the perfboard pad, make sure the soldering is done correctly. You can use multiple pads on the board and use it in different applications.
After you have made the pads properly, you should plan the wiring properly. Also, you may draw the wiring outline on the perfbaord ahead of the soldering process. Finally, you can use the Kynar wire to set up the entire wiring procedure.
To set up the wiring correctly, make sure you have measured the wire perfectly. Then, use a punching machine or scissors to cut the wire in the right-sized. Once cut adequately, you can set up the wiring and use the perfboard for your desired application.
So, this is our in-depth guideline on how to use perfbaord without copper pad. Thankfully, the procedure is relatively easy and straightforward. So, we sincerely aspire that you won’t find any difficulties performing the bare board manufacturing process.
Last but not least, when you use the perfboard without copper, make sure the flux soldering is completed correctly so that the contact points are secured and won’t damage at ease. It will ensure a long-lasting service under all circumstances for all types of devices.
Printed circuit boards (PCBs) use multiple layers of copper and fiberglass connected with glue or epoxy resin. Although the epoxy resin used in the printed circuit boards is heat-resistant, sometimes it can get damaged due to overheating and high voltage issues.
At this time, you may want to know how to fix a broken circuit board contact. Well, repairing the circuit boards is really a frustrating task, given the fact that it is time-consuming and needs strict attention from your part.
But don’t worry.
We are going to reveal the easiest way to fix the broken circuit board as well as repairing burnt PCB pads for your convenience.
How To Fix A Broken Circuit Board Contact
If the wiring of a printed circuit board is damaged, it will fail to perform the similar way as it was used to do earlier. It will result in unsatisfactory performance from the device. So, it is crucial that you truly know how to fix a broken wire on a circuit board.
The process includes:
Step 1: Applying epoxy
The key to repairing any damaged or broken parts of a printed circuit board is to apply the epoxy resin properly. For this, read the user manual and mix the resin on the board following the manufacturer’s instruction.
After that, spread it on one side of the printed board. Now press and hold on two separate pieces of PCBs near until the epoxy resin connects them accurately. It will take 20-30 seconds for the epoxy to set in between the two parts of PCB.
However, we recommend you to leave away the boards for at least thirty minutes. After that, you may proceed to the next steps. It will allow the epoxy resin to set correctly on the damaged boards.
Step 2: Work with the traces
Now, carefully look for the broken copper traces in the printed circuit board. Then use a proper razor knife to cut through the copper traces smoothly.
One by one, cut and remove all the damaged and lost traces. Now use a soft emery cloth to smoothly sand the sections from where you have removed the loose copper traces. You will have to continue grinding on both sides until the bright copper is clearly visible from outside.
It would help if you were ardently careful not to touch the undamaged traces on the printed circuit boards so that they also don’t get hurt in the process.
Step 3: Preparing for the soldering
Next, you will have to prepare the printed circuit board for soldering to reestablish the wired connection between the boards. For this, at first, find a 110V receptacle (power source) and plug in the soldering pencil in it.
Then wait until the soldering pencil becomes hot. When the soldering tip gets hot, wipe it using a wet soldering sponge. Make sure to plug off the soldering pencil before wiping it on the sponge. Also, ensure that the tip is free from every dirt and oxidation for fine soldering later.
Step 4: Applying tinning coat
Now, it is time to apply a thin but useful ‘tinning’ resin coating on the tip of the soldering pencil. If the tinning is appropriately used, the tip will look bright silver. However, sometimes the tip may look like a dull grey color.
If such is the case, you may require to repeat ‘step 3 and 4’ to keep the tip of the soldering pencil neat and clean and ready for further soldering. If you fail to keep the tip clean, the heat won’t dissipate smoothly and result in bad soldering.
Step 5: Applying rosin core
Now, find the bare copper traces right on the printed circuit board and apply rosin core solder masking on it. You will have to be careful so that the heat isn’t too much on the copper board. If the applied heat is too much, it will damage the printed circuit board.
Also, if you apply heat more than necessary, it will detach the copper trace from the board.
Step 6: Applying copper wire
Now select a quality 18 gauge copper wire. Use a cutting tool to cut the copper wire adequately so that it may span the copper traces. Now use rosin-core solder to tin such short wirings.
Step 7: Layering the copper wiring
Use tweezers to pick the tinned wires one after one carefully. Then lay the picked wiring right on the traces from where you have removed the loose traces lately.
After you have layered the copper wiring on the traced gaps, you will require soldering them properly. For this, use the soldering pencil tip and fuse the 18-gauge copper wiring accurately in the holes. You will have to repeat the wiring procedure to fill up each loose trace and link the wiring appropriately.
Step 8: Checking for correctness
Once you are done with the repairing job, assemble the device, and check if everything is working correctly or not. Ideally, it should.
However, if the device still malfunctions, you may need to find out the cause once again and repeat the repairing process once again.
How To Repair Burnt Circuit Board
If somehow the printed circuit board is burnt in any parts, you can quickly fix it. Start by cleaning the brunt area with a saturated swab or IPA liquid. Then, use an appropriate razor knife to remove the loose materials from the board.
After that, you will have to apply epoxy resin on the damaged parts and reestablish the wiring connections. The procedure remains the same as described in the above sections. So, it should be easy to follow for you.
The printed circuit board has become a breakthrough technology in our daily life. These boards are used in a myriad of devices. So, when a PCB board is damaged, it may, at times, cause us severe problems. Thus, the above guideline on how to fix a broken circuit board contact should come beneficial for you.
Luckily, the process isn’t a challenging one. However, it requires patience and attention. So, be aware of it.
A circuit board is responsible for the speed and performance of most electronic devices, including smartphones, smart TVs, and many more. However, due to many unavoidable reasons, the electric boards may get dirty and cause corrosion.
And corrosion on the circuit board is detrimental for device performance and may cause the device to get damaged permanently. Hence, you might be interested to know how to clean a circuit board of corrosion with easy steps.
Today, for all our circuit board users, we are going to discuss the same topic and add the most timesaving and convenient tips on cleaning corrosion from the circuitry. Moreover, we will address different causes of corrosion on the board and ways to prevent them.
So, are you ready?
Reasons for Circuit Board Contamination and Getting Dirty
Although the circuit board rests underneath many essential pieces of equipment, incidents of getting the board dirty aren’t rare- in fact, very common.
Almost all devices have small gaps to let air flow inside, which also draws dirt and debris inside the device. This debris and trash will ultimately sit on the board to make them dirty and start the corrosion with their moisture.
Also, larger devices use fans to reduce overheating issues, which also causes the board to get dirty quite prominently.
Two types of contaminants can cause corrosion and dirt on the printed circuit boards. These are:
- Dry contaminants: It is an obvious answer that dirt and debris will make the boards dirty most often or not. It accumulates through the air and easy to clean as well.
- Wet contaminants: Soda, waxy oil, grime, and flux are the wet contaminants and cause corrosion on the boards. It needs different cleaning and drying approaches to prevent permanent damage to the board and device.
Causes of Corrosion on Circuit Boards:
Before we dive deep into tips to clean corrosion off motherboard or circuit board, it is essential to know what factors will cause such corrosions. It will help you take preventive measures against the corrosion build-up.
Many chemicals in our environment float in the air both in contaminated and uncontaminated conditions. The aluminum and copper in the circuit boards will over time along with other metals react with these airborne chemicals and start eroding the board.
Also, sometimes liquids may fall on the board and cause corrosion. Whatever may be the reason, the ardent and most common result is the rust that lowers the device performance.
Rust makes the board vulnerable against short circuits, and a large amount of corrosion will result in the permanent damage of your device.
Detailed Tips on How to Clean a Circuit Board of Corrosion
There are multiple chemical solutions when it comes to how to remove corrosion from electronics. These chemicals are capable of tackling natural rust to severe corrosion, depending on their acidic strength, which we will be dedicatedly discussing one by one in the respective segment.
Also, we will discuss different tools you will require to clean corrosion on the circuit board once and for all. Lastly, we will discuss all the possible steps to take you through on the corrosion cleaning procedure on the printed circuit boards.
Safety measurements with circuit board cleaning:
- Before you start wiping out the corrosion from the board, make sure the device is disconnected from electric sources.
- Then remove the battery and place it separately.
- Also, avoid any water usage and make sure your hand and cloth are dry.
- When you use isopropyl alcohol, you may require wearing gloves to safeguard your hands.
- When you work on the board, tackle it gently, and don’t force the cleaning steps.
- Don’t hurry on the project and be patient to handle the corrosion.
Chemical and non-chemical elements use to clean corrosion on boards:
In the majority of corrosion cleaning requirements, compressed air will work fine. It successfully wipes out the messes from most boards. However, if the amount of corrosion is too much on the board, you may require using distilled water or isopropyl alcohol.
Therefore, we are going to discuss the impact of all these elements in the following parts.
A can of compressed air works fine for regular maintenance of the board from corrosion and rust. You just need to spray the compressed air on the rusted portion of the board through the ventilated port of your device.
Most of the dirt and debris should go away with the high-pressure air of the can. Also, it works well to wipe out a small amount of rust.
Baking soda contains sodium bicarbonate. It works on the grime and dust collection of the PCBs to break down the dirt into small particles. It will help you clean the debris and grime from the board easily without any issues.
If you have to make any chemical solutions to remove corrosion from the circuit board or battery, we recommend you use distilled water along with the desired chemicals. Since distilled water is specially treated to remove harmful contamination, it won’t damage the printed boards.
Commonly known as rubbing alcohol, this isopropyl alcohol is a traditional cleaner used by many people to clean debris, flux, dust, and corrosion from a wide variety of components. However, isopropyl alcohol should be your last remedy to wipe out the rust and corrosion.
You will need to use 90% alcohol for the process. However, a higher percentage will yield a better result. It only needs to be sued when the mess is not repairable with the use of distilled water or baking soda or even the compressed air.
Tools necessary to clean corrosion from circuit boards:
When you are ready with the necessary chemical solutions for the corrosion removal procedure, next, you will need a proper removing tool for the board. It includes:
Microfiber cloth or rug:
You can use a small towel or piece of cloth to quickly wipe out the applied chemical such as isopropyl alcohol or baking soda from the board. However, make sure that the fabric you are using is lint-free, which will leave fewer residues on the board.
Alternatively, you may use a microfiber cloth for the cleaning procedure.
A small paintbrush with soft bristles will also work fine to remove the rust and corrosion from the board. The bristles need to be fragile so that it won’t leave any scratches on the board. Also, it is helpful to reach the tiny gaps on the board to get a full cleaning with ease.
A blow dryer or hairdryer:
Sometimes you may require drying the printed circuit board since the liquids won’t get away totally from the board. In this case, we thoroughly recommend you use a heat source such as hair or blow dryer for the purpose.
Alternatively, you can ardently use a desk lamp or a pre-heated oven foil
Steps to clean corrosion from circuit boards:
When we talk about how to remove battery corrosion from a circuit board, you can quickly opt for the following steps.
- First off, start with dissembling the device. Make sure the device is disconnected from charging ports and remove the battery first. Then use a screwdriver to remove the different parts from the device and reach the printed circuit board section.
- You should follow the user manual for the dissembling process. Also, please take a few clear photos of the device circuit board before dissembling it. Also, check on YouTube to understand the circuit board removal process better. Also, use a designated screwdriver for the procedure.
- Now at first, apply a regular PCB cleaning solution. You can easily make it using distilled water and baking soda. Use a half cup of water and 1-2 tablespoons of baking soda to mix and make the cleaning solution.
- Once the solution forms a thick paste, use a soft-bristled brush to apply the solution to the circuit boards. Then let the solution work on the corrosion and grime to soften them. After that, use the brush gently to remove the pest. As you remove the pest, the debris should also go away with it.
- You will also require distilled water to rinse off the dried pest from the board.
- If there is still debris on the board, we suggest you opt for the home cleaning solution or isopropyl alcohol.
- Pour a few drops of cleaning chemical or rubbing alcohol on the board and let it sit for a few seconds, 15-20 seconds approximately. Then use the rug or paintbrush to rinse off the solution along with the rust from the board.
- Lastly, apply a blow or air dryer to generate heat on the board. It will take a few minutes to wipe out the rest residuals and dry the board also.
So, this was our detailed guideline on how to clean a circuit board of corrosion. We have discussed nearly all solutions, including both chemical and non-chemical ones, to remove debris, grimed, and rust from the electronics board.
Also, the detailed step by step guideline, along with the drying procedure, will help you to remove the corrosion of the board. However, we urge you to keep your devices safe from water sources, which is the prominent reason for corrosion build-up on the PCBs.
PCB or printed circuit boards have brought a breakthrough revolution in the communications and electronics industry. These PCBs are available in a variety of shapes and sizes, and at times, you might require cutting them to fit your operational requirements.
So, did you even think about cutting a PCB?
I guess even if you have tried to cut these boards at home with a manual PCB cutter or a PCB cutter tool, you have found the entire process clunky.
So, for your convenience, today’s tutorial will discuss how to cut PCB at home or workspace with ease.
So, are you up for it?
Different Ways of How to Cut PCB
PCBs comprise of copper lines along with the glass-reinforced plastic. When you purchase a large piece of the printed circuit board, it allows you to cut it into smaller pieces and engage in works as you need.
The process has two steps:
- The cutting
- The sanding.
The cutting process can be done using multiple PCB cutting tools. We will be discussing this equipment in the following sections. Now, let’s take a look at both steps with details.
Cutting PCB with a tabletop paper cutter:
- Before you can cut a PCB, you need to prepare it for the cuts. The preparation includes wiping the PCB with a clean rug or cloth. This way, excess dust and debris on the PCB will go away, and you will get a clean and tiptop board surface.
- Now, before you move on to cut the board using a PCB cutting machine, we suggest you wear safety gloves. It prevents accidental cuts and keeps your hand clean too.
- Raise the blade height of the tabletop paper cutter and slide in a paper on its surface. It will protect the boards underneath the portion from abrasion.
- Unless you use a table paper cutter, you also can use a table saw. In this case, place the paper next to the table saw blade.
- When you place the board on the surface, it’s copper or aluminum base should be kept face up.
- Now align the board’s edge right with the tabletop paper cutter or table saw guide.
- Stop the board’s movement forcefully with one hand. Then use the other side to cut the board using the PCB cutting blade of the PCB saw.
- The printed circuit board should be cut into your desired sizes now.
Cutting PCB with Dremel:
Dremel is a famous American power tool manufacturer. They manufacturer some great power tools out of which their rotatory device is the most popular. Nonetheless, the Dremel rotatory come beneficial to cut PCBs with ease.
The process steps include:
- At first, you will require to use a sharpie to outline on the PCB. The outline will permit you to know exactly where the cut will take place on the copper clad.
- Now you will need a mini saw bit to use with the Dremel. Cut the slots away from the board using the mini saw. It is similar to the reversing of trace laying by isolating the paths on the board.
- As you isolate the path with the Dremel and mini saw bit, make sure the cuts are crisp and clean. Sometimes you may need to create holes on the board to attach wires and other parts with the PCB. Before you start cleaning the board, make those holes if required.
- Then use a pad made of scratcher steel wood to remove the burrs from the board carefully.
- Now it’s time to finish off your PCB cutting boards. For this, carefully and ardently add all the parts one by one slowly,
- At this stage, your printed circuit board should be ready for your wished projects.
Cutting boards with a homemade PCB cutting machine
If you don’t own a PCB cutting tool, there’s also an alternative to cut the board with a homemade PCB cutting machine.
For this, you will need to collect a 12V DC motor drill. Then you will have to prepare the sliding mechanism for the cutting machine. Use a motor bracket and adaptor to help the sliding mechanism run on the table where you will cut the boards.
Lastly, you will require a circular saw blade to cut the printed circuit board.
Once you have collected the blade, then, find a wood piece to create the surface for the cutting machine. After that, saw away right on the wood surface to create depth so that the saw blade can move freely on it.
Now assemble all the parts, including the motor, adaptor, and motor bracket. Make sure all these are arranged in perpendicular sideways so you can perform the required 90-cuts on the printed circuit boards.
To install the sliding mechanism, use screws. It will hold the sliding mechanism tightly on the position enabling you to cut with the highest accuracy. Once the tool is ready, you can insert the circuit board in it and perform the required cut.
How To Cut Circuit Board For Jewelry
If you have an unused or extra circuit board, you can actually use it to make interesting jewelry, such as earrings. Yes, it’s possible if you are ready to unleash your creativity.
For this, get a damaged or old PCB at first. After that, outline the earring shape on it using a sharpie. Then use the Dremel rotatory tool and saw blade to cut away the outlined shape. Lastly, spray golden paint on it or silver and let the PCB board soak.
Also, make a hole in the middle to add strings to wear it in the ear. That’s it, and you now own an exotic electric circuit board made jewelry.
Sanding the PCB:
Whether you use the cut PCB for electronic devices or jewelry, you will require to sand it for the necessary polish-ness. For this, use a200 grits sandpaper. Keep sanding until the edges become smooth. Lastly, use a rag to wipe off the excess dust from the board’s surface.
PCBs have transformed the whole world with its brilliance and versatile usability. So, when you follow the aforementioned steps to thoroughly understand how to cut PCB in different shapes and sizes, you unleash a myriad of multitasking with the PCBs.
Hope, it comes handy for all electricians and mechanics who every day come across the printed circuit boards for one reason or another.
Cleaning the PCB from flux after soldering is probably one thing that is based more on myths than the facts. For instance, most technicians prefer using or at least advised to use IPS (Isopropyl alcohol) to clean the flux residues for the post-soldering procedure.
However, there are indications that such hygroscopic solvent such as the IPA is harmful to clean the soldered printed boards. Instead, you can use a specialized flux cleaner for the purpose.
To help you out in post-cleaning the PCBs, our professionals have chalked out guidelines on how to clean flux residues from boards. We have included all the possible solutions to clean the PCB boards without harming them.
So, get ready to dive deep into the article.
What is the Flux?
Technicians use flux to solder electronic components correctly to the various types of PCBs. Technicians use flux to properly solidify and connect the electrical components using a different kind of soldering process.
When you apply to solder flux paste or only solder flux, it leaves residues on the boards. The tailings can eat up the components slowly and result in a damaged PCB board over time. It may cause etch or inhibition on the printed boards.
Thus, it is essential to clean the residues to prevent inhibition and etched wiring on PCBs. Also, the flux cleaning avoids obstructing other electrical components as well.
How to Clean Flux
When you solder printed circuit boards such as flexible PCB and heavy copper PCB using flux, it leaves a thick soap-like residue on the components. Thus, it is a must to remove the waste from the post-soldered elements to avoid damages and improper wiring.
It is even more important for the conventional PCBs which often carries conductive materials. The process includes the following steps:
Step one: Making the flux removal
Your success rate of cleaning the soldering residues from the electrical components will depend mostly on the type of removal you use for the purpose. While several manufacturers produce some best flux remover using isopropyl, you can actually create a residual removal at home.
You will require the following things to make the homemade flux remover-
- 95% pure ethyl alcohol. It needs to be 850ml.
- 95% pure and tested 100ml isopropyl alcohol.
- Ethyl acetate solution of 50ml.
You can use a measuring bottle to measure the essential amount of the three chemical liquids correctly. It will help you achieve the desired proportion better. Since the purity of the chemical fluids is critical, always buy them from trusted shops.
Also, store them in the proper container and make sure the cap is sealed. Otherwise, air may contaminate the solutions. Furthermore, ethyl tends to evaporate if the lid is open.
Now let’s get into the mixing procedure. Thank god, it is secure.
Just take a proper mixing container, then, first, pour the ethyl alcohol on it. After that, add the isopropyl alcohol and ethyl acetate solution on it. That’s it, and your homemade flux remover is all set to go.
Since you won’t be using the entire liquid in a single go, pour some (approximately 100 ml of solution) in a spray bottle and use it. The mixture works on both resin and non-resin based flux as well as no-clean flux too.
Note: Always wear gloves before you handle the ethyl and isopropyl solutions and start mixing them. It helps you prevent unwanted happenings.
Step two: Cleaning the flux residue
Once you are ready with the flux cleaning solution, know that the rest of the procedure of how to clean PCB after soldering is only a matter of time.
- Take a clean brush. The brush should be flexible and soft so that it won’t damage the sophisticated electrical components.
- Drip the toothbrush on the newly made solution or use the sprayer to spray it on the soldered board.
- Then, wait for a few minutes. In the meantime, the isopropyl and ethyl solution will work on the residues to dissolve and make it softer.
- Then begin the cleaning process with the brush. Apply gentle pressure and, with patience, clean the entire board.
- The cleaning is straightforward and doesn’t ask you to be a master on it. The only dedicated thing you require is to be gentle and patient. Never rush on the process, or you will end up damaging the entire PCB.
An Alternative Way:
We have already told that isopropyl is somewhat harmful to printed circuit boards. Isopropyl is extraordinarily aggressive, and it intrudes plastics with detrimental effects. Thu, you may not want to use it for the flu cleaning.
Well, we have an alternative solution for you.
You can use ‘Poly Clens’ for the flux cleaning from the soldered PCBs. It is a simple plastic cleaning and paintbrush. It is made of mild detergent (many people call it surfactant), alcohol, and thinner material mixture.
You just need to pour some ‘Poly Clens’ on a non-plastic (necessarily metal) container or bowl. Then carefully apply it on the soldered flux boards. After waiting for a few minutes, brush off the dissolved residue from the boards.
Sounds easy, right?
The usefulness of ‘Poly Clens’ doesn’t end here.
As it emulsifies the soldered residues, the water will comes handy in removing any traces of deadly activating agents from the sophisticated resin flux. So, you get impressive final results.
How To Clean Flux Residue After Soldering Copper Pipe
Many amateur technicians worry about cleaning soldering residues from the copper pipe. Well, it is straightforward. You can use vinegar and a clean toothbrush for the purpose. If the copper pipe is too long to reach with a toothbrush, use a stick attached with the brush to reach the far corners.
Also, our previously described two solutions will also work best for the purpose.
The final appearance of the printed circuit boards is a distinguishable feature to differ between an amateur made and professional made PCBs. Hence, to achieve such impressive appearance and reduce damaging chances, always clean the flux residue after the soldering.
In such cases, our professional guideline on how to clean flux is a surefire shot for you. It doesn’t ask you to be Picasso of the process; but, you will need the patience to deal with the cleaning method. Rejoice!