Tips for Maintaining Printed Circuit Boards

Tips for Maintaining Printed Circuit Boards

Running a business can seem like a juggling act, complete with balls, scarves, and bowling pins flying through the air. Keeping every system, employee, and machine running smoothly doesn’t require a clown suit, but it definitely requires a sense of humor. While some non-business related responsibilities are obvious—like keeping the sidewalk shoveled and ensuring the restroom toilet paper is stocked—others aren’t quite so clear.

For example, did you know you should be maintaining your printed circuit board components? Keeping your PCB in tip-top shape is an important consideration for any owner. Dust can gum up the works of any office electronics, but it can be especially damaging to PCBs because PCB surface contaminants can effect soldering, bonding, coating, and the electrical components of printed circuit boards. Special cleaning fluid, designed specifically for dusting PCBs, is available to protect the delicate parts of printed circuit boards.

Tips for Maintaining Printed Circuit Boards

Finding an appropriate cleaning solution is critical. The best cleansers will be fast evaporating, non-corrosive, non-conductive, and non-flammable. It should also be residue-free, meaning it won’t stain components, and non-oily. Simply use the fluid to dust your PCBs and then use a dryer—on the lowest heat setting—to dry the boards.

The PCB’s capacitors are basically two conductors separated by an insulator. Like all electrical components, capacitors have limitations. When too much voltage is passing through them, they can fail or short-circuit. Ideally, a capacitor’s capacity should be more than 20 percent of nominal capacity. When it falls below 20 percent, you may need to replace an electrolytic capacitor. It’s also time to replace a capacitor if it’s been in service for more than 10 years.

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