Author Topic: PCB development - Sodium Carbonate  (Read 2506 times)

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Offline JerryW

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PCB development - Sodium Carbonate
« on: November 24, 2021, 07:30:21 pm »
So, my PCB sits in the warm Sodium Carbonate solution too long.  As I read the reporting of others,
the SC bath ought to take 4 - 5 minutes.  After 30 minutes, the copper areas that need to be etched
still have areas that are covered.

PCB is exposed in sunlight - about 3 minutes or so.

Photo Resits Film is applied on top of a wet board that has been sanded with fine sandpaper.  I don't
have a laminator but use a heat gun and vigorous rubbing with a dry paper tower to affix the film to
the PCB.

Currently using two doubled-up transparencies.

Any suggestions?  I've got another board ready for exposure,.

Jerry W
KI4IO
Warrenton, VA
 

Offline Daixiwen

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Re: PCB development - Sodium Carbonate
« Reply #1 on: November 25, 2021, 09:28:43 am »
My first guess would be exposure time. If you have another board ready, use it for testing different exposure times. For example you can expose only a part of the board for one minute, covering most of it with some cardboard. Then you move the cardboard slightly, exposing more of the board to the sun, wait one minute more, move again, expose more, etc... and at the end expose all of the board for 3 minutes.
Then at the end you'll have a part of the board that has been exposed for 3 minutes, a part that has been 4 minutes, etc...
Then put the board in the bath and see how the different parts reacts to find the best exposure time. I agree it shouldn't be more than 5 minutes to develop it in the bath.
 

Online Ian.M

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Re: PCB development - Sodium Carbonate
« Reply #2 on: November 25, 2021, 10:14:38 am »
Sunlight is not a reliable UV source.  Barely perceptible Cirrostratus cloud, haze and pollution can adsorb a significant proportion of the UV solar irradiance, together possibly as much as 50% near sea level, and it is also reduced by the cosine of the angle of incidence.   Exposure times will therefore vary significantly seasonally, and day to day even if you carefully position the board normal to the incident sunlight, and your only hope of reproducible results would be to either incrementally expose a test strip and develop it to determine the optimum exposure time, immediately before exposing boards, or to correct the exposure times with the aid of a UV lightmeter.

 

Online sleemanj

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Re: PCB development - Sodium Carbonate
« Reply #3 on: November 25, 2021, 10:36:13 am »
Probably too long exposure, but also too-strong sodium carbonate solution seems to slow the developing (it may be additives in the laundry powder I use of course that do that). 30g of Sodium Percarbonate (aka Peroxyhydrate, aka Laundry Whitening Powder) per Litre of water is what I use.

I also use a vibrating toothbrush to gently assist.

In terms of exposure you want the minimum exposure you can get away with in order to develop it cleanly.  After you have developed it you can (and should) put the developed board under UV for a longer period of time to harden it (at least twice as long as developing).  Then inspect to see if there are any bits you missed with debeloper (if so you can put back into the developer and clean those areas again, or scrape it away with a pointy thing or whatever).
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Offline Kleinstein

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Re: PCB development - Sodium Carbonate
« Reply #4 on: November 25, 2021, 02:22:24 pm »
The sun is a rather variable UV source unless you are in a really sunny spot at high altitude. Even with UV lamps one should do a series of exposure tests (e.g. a small area and uncover in steps like 1,2, 4, 8,16 min) to get the right exposure.  With the sun it may very well take way longer than 3 minutes. The time also depends on the base material and age - with the material I used a few years ago the needed exposure got longer the older the boards.

 

Offline jmelson

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Re: PCB development - Sodium Carbonate
« Reply #5 on: November 25, 2021, 05:36:11 pm »
I use Riston dry film resist.  I learned to not overexpose the film, I use JUST one minute exposure with a bank of filtered black light lamps.
Then, I let the polymerization complete for 10 minutes in the dark, then peel the cover sheet and dip in warm sodium carbonate solution for just about one - two minutes!  I wipe the board with my fingertips to help dissolve the unexposed resist.  If doing a double-sided board, I flip it every 15 seconds and wipe the other side.  I try to keep the solution above 40 C during this process.  Then, after I'm sure the development is complete, I wash in running water for a minute, wiping with my fingertips to make sure all the dissolved resist is washed away.  When it stops feeling "slimy" the wash is done.  This has worked quite well for me.
Jon
 

Offline JerryW

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Re: PCB development - Sodium Carbonate
« Reply #6 on: December 06, 2021, 11:33:39 pm »
Thank you all who have responded and sorry for the delay.  As it turns out, my Sodium Carbonate solution
was not warm enough.  I used hot tap water (about 130F) and the development happened in a few short
minutes.

Thanks again
Jerry
KI4IO
Warrenton, VA
 

Offline Flexbex

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Re: PCB development - Sodium Carbonate
« Reply #7 on: December 31, 2021, 04:53:24 am »
Strange because I don't have to warm it at all. I use 3% solution. We live in tropical climate 30°. But still.
 


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