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.