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"greasy" PCB's

Discussion in 'Beginner Electronics' started by Alexander, Sep 8, 2005.

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  1. Alexander

    Alexander Guest

    I solder (wave) reguraly some PCB's.
    After soldering the PCB's are "greasy".
    I have tried brushing this off with a clean ESD-safe brush. but all this did
    was putting the grease on another spot off the PCB and leave some
    The same with all PCB-cleaners I have tried, some work well if you clean the
    PCB afterwards with some cloth. Unfortunatly not all produceb PCB's can be
    cleaned with cloth.

    Does anyone have a solution for this problem.

    I thought of a cleaner which cleans the PCB and dries up in powder. But I
    haven't found one.

  2. Alexander

    Alexander Guest

    Nice suggestion, but not all PCB's can be done in a dishwasher.
    Even if I use less agressive tabs.

    I have succesfull used a "proffessional" ultrasonic cleaner, but it also
    uses water and not all parts like water.
    The grease is only on the solderside so I can use cleaners on that site.
  3. Art

    Art Guest

    ? Denatured Alcohol ? Flux Remover Sprays ? Etc.
  4. Alexander

    Alexander Guest

    Tried them all of them need wiping with cloth, or leave stripes.
  5. Shaun B

    Shaun B Guest

    Years ago I got a can from dick smith that came with a tube like a pen tube
    with the ink in it, when i sprayed it on the PCB it disolved the greas and
    was heard of no more but the problem with it was that if I sprayed some
    types of components they would slightly melt because of the agent and the
    cold pressure great stuff though try and ask someone at dick smith. sorry I
    dont remember the name
  6. There are a couple of things that I am wondering about:

    1. How is the "grease getting on the boards in the first place.
    2. What kind of "grease" is it.

    I had set up a soldering machine some years ago that used peanut oil as a
    means of protecting the solder in the reservoir from oxidization. The oil
    usually didn't touch the boards, but if it had isopropyl alcohol would have
    cleaned it off.

  7. Alexander

    Alexander Guest


    You were right about the soldering machine.
    I (normally don't use it myself) cleaned the whole machine in the vacation
    of out soldering man.
    And the problem was gone (for a while).
    When it returned I got very angry, we now have antoher person at the
    To prefent the solder from oxidating we use nitrogen, which is won out of
    We use it both in wave soldering and reflow and the results of this are very

    And yes isopropyl alcohol is our primary mean of cleaning PCB's.

  8. Guest

    I gather you want a cleaning fluid, yet say youve tried everything:
    either they arent both true, or else youre out of luck.

    Re drying cleaners, I guess you could make your own with clay and
    solvent. The solvent mobilises the grease, the clay soaks it up, the
    solvent dries out, and the clay falls or brushes off.
    Clay: use heavyweight cat litter, crushed. Chalk might also work.
    Solvent: whatevers working with your particular grease. It might help
    if you told us what this grease was like, and where specifically it was

    Re the dishwashing option, in principle its possible to leave out the
    water sensitive parts such as relays, covering their pads by hand, wave
    solder, clean, then solder the remaining parts in by hand. I did this
    years ago, though I can understand wanting a faster method.

    I would first look for the source of the grease. Is it heatsink
    compound? Goo from the ends of reeled component wires? How its
    distributed on the PCB would give some clues.

  9. I agree about finding out what the grease is.

    Without knowing and from what you have told me, some one maybe taking
    liberties with the process, possibly using a flux such as No-Corrode. That
    is a stearite / stearate and not necessarily soluble in solvents such as
    alcohol. Also it is not considered appropriate for fine electronic work
    since it is somewhat corrosive. In that case the work may come back to
    haunt you down the line.

    If you wish to discus this further please feel free to contact me via email
    to arrange for a phone call.

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