Author Topic: Everyone's Favorite Solvent?  (Read 12811 times)

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Offline CaptnYellowShirt

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Everyone's Favorite Solvent?
« on: February 28, 2014, 05:22:58 am »
There's a 'best' solvent for cleaning just about everything out there. But here I'm wondering what people use on their electronics?


Personally, in the last year, I've gotten on quite well with 91% isopropyl. It seems to cut though just about any gook with minimal effort, it cleans up (evaporates) easily, and doesn't harm plastic (like acetone can). I also really like CNC's QD Electronic Cleaner -- that stuff works really really well. It's a bit like using freon to clean things, but its kind of expensive, and from the smell of it I worry if its going to give me cancer.

« Last Edit: February 28, 2014, 05:24:53 am by CaptnYellowShirt »
 

Online David Hess

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Re: Everyone's Favorite Solvent?
« Reply #1 on: February 28, 2014, 05:39:27 am »
I usually use distilled water with a little bit of dish soap or TSP.  Plastic safe contact cleaners often use naphtha as a solvent.  For other things I use isopropyl alcohol or lacquer thinner.
 

Offline Psi

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Re: Everyone's Favorite Solvent?
« Reply #2 on: February 28, 2014, 06:11:42 am »
When i need a solvent here's the order i try things in.

Level 1 - Meths or Iso
Level 2 - Turps
Level 3 - Xylene (wearing gloves)
Level 4 - Acetone
Level 5 - Paint stripper (wearing gloves)

Once i get to Level 3 It's a full-on battle and either the substance dissolves or the item itself does  :-DD



« Last Edit: February 28, 2014, 06:31:25 am by Psi »
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Offline CaptnYellowShirt

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Re: Everyone's Favorite Solvent?
« Reply #3 on: February 28, 2014, 06:27:40 am »
Yeah, if I can't get something with my 'electronic' solvents its straight to the brake cleaner.

In a related subject, I've found the auto-parts store "Mag Wheel/Rim" cleaner to be highly effective at dissolving even the most stubborn oxides. Granted, its some heart-stopping concoction of hydrofluoric, hydrochloric, and phosphoric acids... but hey, at least the thing will solder up now!
 

Offline Psi

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Re: Everyone's Favorite Solvent?
« Reply #4 on: February 28, 2014, 06:30:21 am »
haha brake cleaner, i've not tried that but yeah i've heard its pretty bad.
Greek letter 'Psi' (not Pounds per Square Inch)
 

Online BravoV

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Re: Everyone's Favorite Solvent?
« Reply #5 on: February 28, 2014, 06:31:40 am »
When i need a solvent here's the order i try things in.

Level 1 - Meths or Iso
Level 2 - Turps
Level 3 - Xylene (wearing gloves)
Level 4 - Acetone
Level 5 - Paint stripper (wearing gloves)

Once i get to Level 3 It's a full-on battle and either the substance dissolves or the item itself does  :-DD

Level ? - Aqua Regia  :-DD

Offline CaptnYellowShirt

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Re: Everyone's Favorite Solvent?
« Reply #6 on: February 28, 2014, 06:34:39 am »
haha brake cleaner, i've not tried that but yeah i've heard its pretty bad.

I walk that stuff outside when I need to use it.
 

Offline electronics man

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Re: Everyone's Favorite Solvent?
« Reply #7 on: February 28, 2014, 07:53:43 am »
I use isopropyl alcohol it alwase works for me.
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Offline grumpydoc

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Re: Everyone's Favorite Solvent?
« Reply #8 on: February 28, 2014, 07:57:49 am »
Quote
There's a 'best' solvent for cleaning just about everything out there.

Hydrofluoric acid - it'll fetch anything off :) :)  :o
 

Offline GeoffS

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Re: Everyone's Favorite Solvent?
« Reply #9 on: February 28, 2014, 08:11:41 am »
haha brake cleaner, i've not tried that but yeah i've heard its pretty bad.

I walk that stuff outside when I need to use it.

Never weld near it or on metal it's been used on. Phosgene gas can be released.
 

Offline Derick Freese

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Re: Everyone's Favorite Solvent?
« Reply #10 on: February 28, 2014, 08:25:29 am »
The phosgene issue only exists with chlorinated brake cleaner.  Go for the non-chlorinated stuff.
 

Offline peter.mitchell

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Re: Everyone's Favorite Solvent?
« Reply #11 on: February 28, 2014, 08:31:56 am »
Quote
There's a 'best' solvent for cleaning just about everything out there.

Hydrofluoric acid - it'll fetch anything off :) :)  :o
And if that isn't good enough, use some HF-SbF5 (Fluoroantimonic acid), that'll surely get rid of anything.

As for solvents and the mention of brake cleaner, brake FLUID itself is a pretty damn good solvent too.
 

Offline 6E5

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Re: Everyone's Favorite Solvent?
« Reply #12 on: February 28, 2014, 09:23:29 am »
Bringing things back to reality....anks
DeOxit, denatured alcohol, acetone, and lacquer thinner cover everything for me. 

One useful thing to do is when you get DeOXit oil residue on your PCB because of overspray from cleaning your pot, use denatued alcohol to get it off. I hate having that lube on my PCBs. Also, it gets rid of sharpie.

I buy everything but the DeOxit in 5 gallon tanks for $20.
 

Offline T3sl4co1l

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Re: Everyone's Favorite Solvent?
« Reply #13 on: February 28, 2014, 09:59:05 am »
1,1,1TCE  ...if it were available anymore.  Cuts through grease, flux, adhesive and other assorted residues like nothing, while generally leaving substrates alone.  In terms of number of materials affected and amount required to soften or dissolve them, it's probably halfway between acetone and single-carbon chlorides (methylene chloride (CHCl2) being the active nastiness in paint stripper; chloroform (CHCl3) being a little more mild, and carbon tet (CCl4) being nasty stuff either way).

Also... Level 666 :o

Oops, ya beat me to it..
And if that isn't good enough, use some HF-SbF5 (Fluoroantimonic acid), that'll surely get rid of anything.
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Offline poorchava

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Re: Everyone's Favorite Solvent?
« Reply #14 on: February 28, 2014, 11:28:58 am »
Usually a stuff called PCB Cleanser manufactured by Polish company Micro-Chip (no affiliation with a bit more known company, they only deal in chemicals for electronic industry). It's IPA based with some mild additives.

For more persistent stuff i use stuff called 'Nitro'. It's a kind of solvent widely available in Poland (and other neighbouring countries). Generally it's thinner for nitrocelulose-based paints and lacquers. Typically consists of around 70% toluene and 30% acetone, but the formula is not standarised and various manufacturers add stuff like xylene, ethylobenzene, methyl or ethyl acetate and sometimes isopropyl or methyl alcohol. Generally quite nasty stuff, but it's cheap, readily available and if it doesn't work the next thing to try is a sledgehammer.
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Offline Stonent

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Re: Everyone's Favorite Solvent?
« Reply #15 on: February 28, 2014, 12:16:07 pm »
Quote
There's a 'best' solvent for cleaning just about everything out there.

Hydrofluoric acid - it'll fetch anything off :) :)  :o

 :-+
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Offline madires

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Re: Everyone's Favorite Solvent?
« Reply #16 on: February 28, 2014, 01:05:07 pm »
Personally, in the last year, I've gotten on quite well with 91% isopropyl. It seems to cut though just about any gook with minimal effort, it cleans up (evaporates) easily, and doesn't harm plastic (like acetone can).

Acetone is quite useful when dealing with ABS. Dissolve some ABS in acetone and you'll get a nice glue for ABS. No need to buy an expensive special glue.
 

Offline madires

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Re: Everyone's Favorite Solvent?
« Reply #17 on: February 28, 2014, 01:10:16 pm »
For more persistent stuff i use stuff called 'Nitro'. It's a kind of solvent widely available in Poland (and other neighbouring countries). Generally it's thinner for nitrocelulose-based paints and lacquers.

Yep, the lovely nitro thinner. Use it outsides and don't have too much sniffs ;-)
« Last Edit: February 28, 2014, 01:16:19 pm by madires »
 

Offline nanofrog

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Re: Everyone's Favorite Solvent?
« Reply #18 on: February 28, 2014, 03:00:16 pm »
I buy everything but the DeOxit in 5 gallon tanks for $20.
Where are you finding it that cheap?

I'm used to seeing 1 gal containers for ~20 (denatured alcohol), and cheapest price on a 5 gal ~$43 FWIW, so a cheaper source/s would be extremely helpful. Could also use sources on cheaper IPA and maybe some MEK ($92 for 5 gal).
 

Offline N2IXK

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« Last Edit: February 28, 2014, 03:04:52 pm by N2IXK »
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Offline robrenz

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Re: Everyone's Favorite Solvent?
« Reply #20 on: February 28, 2014, 03:14:16 pm »
Personally, in the last year, I've gotten on quite well with 91% isopropyl. It seems to cut though just about any gook with minimal effort, it cleans up (evaporates) easily, and doesn't harm plastic (like acetone can).

Acetone is quite useful when dealing with ABS. Dissolve some ABS in acetone and you'll get a nice glue for ABS. No need to buy an expensive special glue.

I have always used MEK for that. I checked and both acetone and MEK are used but acetone dissolves ABS quicker.

Offline rstoer

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Re: Everyone's Favorite Solvent?
« Reply #21 on: February 28, 2014, 03:20:34 pm »
I can't get away from methanol. I used it for over twenty years when I had my electronics repair business. When I started in 1969 I bought it by the gallon at the local hardware store. By the time I sold out in 1992 we had to special order it from a lab supply for big $ (at least compared to the hardware store).
I've tried everything else since. The substitutes either don't do the job as well or they eat plastics. Now that I'm back into electronics (mostly as a hobby), I got myself a liter of it (through Amazon) and it works as well as I remember.
They say it doesn't take much of it to kill you but after all these years I'm still here. Probably isopropyl is the closest in results and it's much safer, but once you've used the real thing...
 

Offline G7PSK

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Re: Everyone's Favorite Solvent?
« Reply #22 on: February 28, 2014, 03:39:44 pm »
I use benzine or meths.
Hydrofluoric acid certainly shifts most things but its not much good on rubber.
 

Offline CaptnYellowShirt

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Re: Everyone's Favorite Solvent?
« Reply #23 on: February 28, 2014, 04:32:10 pm »
I can't get away from methanol. I used it for over twenty years when I had my electronics repair business. When I started in 1969 I bought it by the gallon at the local hardware store. By the time I sold out in 1992 we had to special order it from a lab supply for big $ (at least compared to the hardware store).
I've tried everything else since. The substitutes either don't do the job as well or they eat plastics. Now that I'm back into electronics (mostly as a hobby), I got myself a liter of it (through Amazon) and it works as well as I remember.
They say it doesn't take much of it to kill you but after all these years I'm still here. Probably isopropyl is the closest in results and it's much safer, but once you've used the real thing...

I have a litter of methanol for optics stuff, but I rarely use it out of fear it will absorb though my skin (really, its more of a laziness to get up and find a pair of gloves). Did you always use gloves?
 

Offline CaptnYellowShirt

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Re: Everyone's Favorite Solvent?
« Reply #24 on: February 28, 2014, 04:33:48 pm »
For those REALLY stubborn cleaning jobs, there's always chlorine trifluoride....

http://pipeline.corante.com/archives/2008/02/26/sand_wont_save_you_this_time.php

http://pipeline.corante.com/archives/2013/04/05/chlorine_trifluoride_some_empirical_findings.php

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