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best way to clean copper?

Discussion in 'Electronic Repair' started by [email protected], Jul 1, 2005.

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  1. Guest

    How should I clean the surface of pcb that has sat around for a long
    time and doesn't take solder well (ideally, using materials I can go in
    a local store and buy over the counter).
  2. Mike Berger

    Mike Berger Guest

    Very fine steel wool or scotchbrite.
  3. My favourite is a fibreglass 'pencil'.
  4. Jim Yanik

    Jim Yanik Guest

    wrote in
    Tarn-X,available at (US)supermarkets,drug stores,Wal-Mart and lots of other

    Wipe on,rinse off,dry.
  5. quietguy

    quietguy Guest

    A vague memory that Coca Cola does the job

  6. You also can use Brasso. I use it on hi current contacts on the job.
  7. NSM

    NSM Guest

    I like a diamond nail file for those.

  8. Jim Yanik

    Jim Yanik Guest

    you probably remove a lot more material with the file than with a
    chemical(polish) like Brasso or Tarn-X.
    Tarn-X is even easier to use than Brasso.
  9. NSM

    NSM Guest

    That's what I need. Sometimes silver points grow peaks and craters. A
    diamond file in the hands of the skilled (me) works well.

  10. A diamond file may be ok for what you do, but when I say hi current
    I'm talking 12 to 16 power modules with 2200 amps coming from each
    into a common buss line. with a combined current of 26400 to 35200
    amps. Start taking material off the contacts and your talking some
    real fireworks if you don't weld everything together. And at that
    current levels a few mills of oxidation acts like a power resistor and
    it gets real hot. I had a 3 inch X 5 inch X 1/2 inch thick contact
    plate with just a little corrosion get hot enough to burn my hand. (I
    got first degree burns that time) That was before I started to polish
    the contacts.
  11. NSM

    NSM Guest

    No argument there. I'm cleaning relay contacts - max 5 amps usually and
    maybe a lot less. I installed a 400 amp 400 volt busbar system once and I
    did that with a wrench and a heavy hand. Expensive stuff to have burn up on

  12. Jim Yanik

    Jim Yanik Guest

    Well,then you are not just cleaning tarnish,you are reshaping eroded
    contacts,an entirely DIFFERENT task.
  13. NSM

    NSM Guest

    I find it works for all cases.

  14. Jim Yanik

    Jim Yanik Guest

    IIRC,the OP wanted to clean off a PCB's tarnish.
    I'd like to see you use your diamond file on a PCB for tarnish removal.

    PS;the title of this thread is "BEST way to -clean- copper".
  15. NSM

    NSM Guest

    But the topic drifted to "hi current contacts"

    For PCBs I'd use an acid.

  16. Ron(UK)

    Ron(UK) Guest

    Lemon juice works fine.

    Ron (UK)
  17. NSM

    NSM Guest

    Or vinegar.

  18. none

    none Guest

    They used to make something called "board washer" or something like
    that. An aerosol spray that cleaned gunk and removed tarnish from
    entire circuit boards. My old man had a can or two of it way back when
    he had an electronics repair shop.
    I seem to remember a similar spay cleaner during my Navy days in
    avionics corrosion control, though it came in a unmarked green can
    with just a mil spec number.
    There are plenty of copper cleaners on the market that might give the
    desired results with a little care and an acid brush or q-tip.
    Never Dull might be the best bet. It's cotton balls that are doped
    with a copper cleaning solvent. Can be gotten at any hardware or
    marine supply shop. Should be safe for any of the components and
    they're water free.
  19. Trouble is you can't guarantee they won't leave some form of coating on
    the copper that isn't good for soldering. After all, they're not made for
    this job.

    I favour mechanical cleaning. Fine wire wool or like I said a fibreglass
    pencil which is made for the job.
  20. none

    none Guest

    Easy, you follow up the de-tarnishing of the surface copper with a
    light washing with a decent contact cleaner. Say crc electro wash and
    a bit of compressed air to blow it off?
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