White board cleaning ( 4 Pole Mission ) after soldering ?
  • I have not found the thread that talked about the white board cleaning after soldering .
    Cutter : ok but little scrath, i like wooden toothpicks but it takes time !
    I didn ‘t want to use acetone : dangerous for PCB !
    Maybe Ethanol ? or other ?

  • Dishwasher? My old Apple Keyboard (the one mith the MicroSwitches and ADB) did this every time i spilled Coffe or Coce on it ;-)

  • It depends on your flux. I have rosin flux which cleans off with isopropyl alcohol. I’m not certain what others use. I did test it on another less important PCB with flux on it first though.


  • I use water soluable solder like this and just wash the board in warm water a few times while populating the board. Comes up absolutely clean with no residue whatsoever.

  • My flux is … beurk ( i dont know how to say “ beurk “ in english !) :

    I tried cleaning withdishwasher but it does not take off the remaining flux
    I don’t have isopropyl alcohol but something labeled “LR100” a degreasing agent used to clean oily machine parts, I think it is not suitable

  • I do not know there was “ water soluable solder “ !
    There is flux in that solder ?

  • I think it is the flux inside that is water soluble.

  • I’m currently doing a 4PM, and I’m using ethanol and cottonbuds to remove the gunk. I found that it was easier to clean the flux before you cut the leads (saves you from shredding the buds on the pointy bits)

  • @lucchio: i think the word you’re looking for is “yuck”. or maybe “eew”.

    beurk indeed. i haven’t started building my 4pm yet. hope it won’t look like that when i’m done.

  • - mic.w : ok for “yuck” ! The brown part is just glued and come off fairly well by scraping . But it’s long
    Good idea to scrape before cutting component leads – vlarz : I can get ethanol, I’ll try that

  • Kester 331 is what I use for water washable solder, works brilliantly but you HAVE to wash the flux off, its for all intensive purposes an organic acid that will corrode the board if left on. I use it for everything that wont have a problem with water and no-clean (Kester 245) for pots and switches

  • Normal RA (activated rosin) residue will clean off with a spray can of defluxer or with alcohol (same thing). Methyl, ethyl, isopropyl will all work; just get as pure as you can find. Water will not remove it.

    What kind of flux is that? Are you using separate flux or flux core solder? You have to be careful because some kinds of flux absolutely must be cleaned from the board or they’ll corrode it or short things out. If you’re using flux core solder, what kind? I use Kester 44 “63/37” (eutectic), RA (activated rosin) and rarely have splatter problems with it unless I use too much solder per pad.

    Here’s a great link explaining the different types of solder, fluxes, etc: http://store.curiousinventor.com/guides/how_to_solder/kind_of_solder/

    BTW, an old toothbrush works much better than cotton balls, paper towels or cloth; no worries about shredding.

  • Arghh ! : @phreon “or they’ll corrode it or short things out”@
    i use this one :

    Flux CMA
    Flux CT22
    Acide 185/215 mg/g
    chlore 0.35 0.45
    temp fusion :183

  • From what I have found on-line, “CT22” flux is water soluble. This should clean with water and must be removed as soon as possible since it is likely aggressive and will attack the solder joints.

    The only information I can find about “CMA” flux is in French, which I do not speak. However, if I can trust Google Translate, “CMA” flux is what I would call RMA (Rosin, Mildly Activated) in English. This does not have to be cleaned but will dissolve in alcohol.

    Are you adding paste or liquid flux to your work? The image above says “flux incorpore”, which means the flux is already in the solder; you do not need to use liquid flux with this solder.

    Also, Rosin flux and Water Soluble flux are of different chemistries and are not compatible. They should not be mixed.

    Finally, some of your solder joints appear to have burnt flux around them. Either your iron was too hot or you held it on the joint too long. What kind of soldering iron do you use?

  • I have not added flux, just this solder.
    I use a soldering iron JBC 26W.

    @kvitekp and Altitude i note about kester 331 ..

    And here the result cleaning with Ethanol

    with : a

    and a

    ( duck on the brush is not required )

  • ethanol!
    ok, good to know
    i’ve tried cleaning a board once (a sammischfm) : it was a total disaster…

  • i like the duck brush. is there a platypus version?

  • I think no, i try whith this one but have little scratch ! :

  • For me, it really helps to wash the board several times: first time after all the resistors, diodes and caps go in, second time after IC sockets and multi pin connectors are soldered in. At this point you can rinse and wash it rigorously without worrying about sensitive components like buttons, encoders, pots etc. Finally when the board is fully assembled I wash it lightly trying not to let solvent get on the component side.

  • I never clean PCBs – i use opaque Cases ;-)

  • If you want to go all out: we use an ultrasonic cleaner at work with IPA, gets them about as clean as possible in minutes. No scrubbing, no nothing. We got ours on ebay for $60. huge boards wont fit but shruthi size is not a problem

  • Beer removes flux?

  • hardy har har. IPA= Isopropyl alcohol

  • Double IPA’s aged in bourbon barrels works the best and gives the filter that “oaky” timbre.

  • @Altitude : good idea.
    My wife has this one, but too small for the Shruti board ( and she doesn’t want that i fill it with ehanol ! )
    You put board whith buttons, encoders, pots in yours ?
    It seems that ethanol and IPA ( Isopropyl alcohol ) is not the same thing ..

  • no, just the passives. chips resistors caps etc, its good for batches of boards but for one-offs. I just use a denture brush and warm water + the water soluble flux. Takes less time and less hassle. I even use the water based flux for mechanical parts but just spot clean with a tooth brush and a bit of water, not a full rinse.

  • Your board cleaned up nicely, it looks great!

    For what it’s worth, if you think you’ll continue building kits or soldering, a basic temperature controlled station will vastly improve your results and increase your enjoyment. Simple soldering irons like the one you have do not regulate their temperature and get hotter as you let them run, burning the rosin and possibly components.

    Some good models to look for new or used are the Hakko FX-888, Hakko 936, Hakko 937, Xytronic 137 ESD, Xytronic 379, Xytronic LF-369D, Xytronic-LF1600D, etc. All the Xytronic stations are clones of Hakko soldering stations, which are highly regarded. Aoyue makes affordable Hakko clones as well, but aside from good reviews online, I don’t know much about them. All of these take easy to find T18 or M900 tips. The Weller WES51 is a good affordable station too, but takes different tips.

    I have the Xytronic 137ESD and have been very pleased with it. Be aware that if you plan to switch to lead free solder at some point, you need a station that can sustain higher temperatures and not all of the above are capable of this.

  • I note all this information !
    T18 or M900 tips are “standard” ( or more used) tips ? Weller and has its own dimentions for tip, is that right ?

  • The T18 / M900 tips are “standard” among most Hakko 936 / 937 / FX-888 clones. There are many irons that copy the Hakko and use the same tips. Weller tips are different, but they make a good, affordable soldering station as well. Go with whatever is most available in your part of the world. In the United States, either type is readily available.

  • I haven’t got a white board (yet!), but my rosin fluxed solder cleans up nicely with a bit of methylated spirit and a toothbrush. It’s a bit stinky and it’ll sting like merry Hell if you get it in your eye, so safety specs are a good idea. I can confirm that the screen printing on the Shruthi boards was untouched by meths.

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