Cleaning a case/mobo

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Cleaning a case/mobo

Postby manuka on Wed Dec 11, 2013 9:07 am

Hi all, I have a case and motherboard that are covered in a powder which is quite corrosive, 3-4 on the PH scale according to my cheap chinese litmus paper . I was wondering what would be the best way to clean the motherboard up? It is on a modern (last 5 years) mobo. any pointers?
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Re: Cleaning a case/mobo

Postby tezza on Wed Dec 11, 2013 9:21 am

If it's acidic, maybe a baking soda solution would do the job? Clean gently with a soft toothbrush and the solution brushing in the direction of tracks rather than across them if possible, then rinse?
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Re: Cleaning a case/mobo

Postby Gibsaw on Wed Dec 11, 2013 7:29 pm

mm.. yeah, If you use baking soda, make sure to dissolve it properly. Last thing you need is more contaminant and it can leave a residue.

Also, most ordinary unscented soaps are alkali. (Normal soap... not a "PH balanced moisture bar lovingly made by virgins by moonlight in a rainforest on the summer solstice")

An ordinary soap and water solution with cotton buds is an option...or like Tezza says... a soft brush if it's stubborn, but be gentle. clean with the traces. Loosen it and then dab /wipe it off with a paper towel.

If the traces survive, then circuit cleaner or isopropyl to finish the job, and I'll be "captain obvious" and say it has to be 100% dry before you turn it on.
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Re: Cleaning a case/mobo

Postby mrad01 on Wed Dec 11, 2013 7:47 pm

I am doing a motherboard cleanup right now for my Apple Lisa. Using white vinegar - which works well (50% vinegar/50% water), use a very soft toothbrush - and as Gibsaw says, clean *with* the traces. Clean off with circuit cleaner. After it drys, I will be testing with a low power meter to see that the traces are intact. So far, so good. I'll use a wire or solder to fix any trace issues.

Take care, don't rush - and test before firing it up.


Gibsaw wrote:mm.. yeah, If you use baking soda, make sure to dissolve it properly. Last thing you need is more contaminant and it can leave a residue.

Also, most ordinary unscented soaps are alkali. (Normal soap... not a "PH balanced moisture bar lovingly made by virgins by moonlight in a rainforest on the summer solstice")

An ordinary soap and water solution with cotton buds is an option...or like Tezza says... a soft brush if it's stubborn, but be gentle. clean with the traces. Loosen it and then dab /wipe it off with a paper towel.

If the traces survive, then circuit cleaner or isopropyl to finish the job, and I'll be "captain obvious" and say it has to be 100% dry before you turn it on.
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Re: Cleaning a case/mobo

Postby xjas on Thu Dec 12, 2013 12:15 pm

mrad01 wrote:I am doing a motherboard cleanup right now for my Apple Lisa. Using white vinegar - which works well (50% vinegar/50% water), use a very soft toothbrush - and as Gibsaw says, clean *with* the traces. Clean off with circuit cleaner. After it drys, I will be testing with a low power meter to see that the traces are intact. So far, so good. I'll use a wire or solder to fix any trace issues.

Take care, don't rush - and test before firing it up.



Vinegar is great for cleaning oxidation but I'd hesitate to use it on something that's already acidic. The powder might go into solution and suddenly your dilute cleaner is eating traces. Just a thought.
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Re: Cleaning a case/mobo

Postby tezza on Thu Dec 12, 2013 12:24 pm

xjas wrote:Vinegar is great for cleaning oxidation but I'd hesitate to use it on something that's already acidic. The powder might go into solution and suddenly your dilute cleaner is eating traces. Just a thought.

Yes, some batteries leak acid and some batteries leak alkalies, which is why there is confusion as to whether to use baking soda or vinegar around the web. If the residue is low PH, it is acidic and I'd recommend a mildly basic material like baking soda solution. Vinegar would seem to be better for alkali leaks.
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Re: Cleaning a case/mobo

Postby manuka on Thu Dec 12, 2013 12:50 pm

Thanks for all your hints. The machine itself is a rather recent desktop server. Thinking of using it as a NAS possibly on a local mesh network I keep on threatening to build.
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