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At college we have to use a colophony-free solder, but over heating the solder leaves the flux residue on the boards(light amber in colour). Multicore recommend there own Multicore Prozone cleaner(this is some datasheet on what it is) to remove this residue from the board, but I can't find it on RS, Farnell or Rapid Electronics. Is there another alternative? Is there another industrial alternative as it looks like a generic PCB cleaner.

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The MSDS for Prozone tells us that it is basically entirely "GLYCOL ETHERS".

Personally, I use %50 Acetone, %50 Methanol for cleaning PCBs, because it is very effective at dissolving the Kester solderpaste flux that I use.

I would recommend trying a few spray-can flux cleaners, then look up the MSDS for the one that works best.

Basically, for safety reasons, the manufacturer has to disclose the volatile/dangerous ingredients in the product, and you can probably mix your own from that.

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The trick to clean soldering is to figure out the proper solvent for the flux you're using-- or even if you should clean it up at all. For example, in my lab I only use water soluble flux. It cleans up well with, you guessed it, water! I just rinse the PCB's off in the sink with hot water and my boards are nice and clean. Just make sure that's it's good and dry before powering it up. But it turns out that isopropyl alcohol doesn't work well at all on it, and leaves a weird residue.

Other fluxes will clean up with isopropyl, but some require things like acetone (yuck!). But keep in mind that some fluxes will never clean up well, and that's just the way it is. For example, the "no clean fluxes" will often leave a residue that is unsightly but harmless. Standard rosin core flux is the worst for residue, in my opinion.

An alternative to 99% isopropyl is the 97% stuff that you can get at most corner drug stores or pharmacies. It costs a lot less than the 99% stuff, and does almost as good of a job.

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    \$\begingroup\$ you do know that acetone is less toxic than isopropanol, right? \$\endgroup\$ – Connor Wolf Mar 28 '11 at 4:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ I did not know that. I guess I'm biased against acetone from growing up in a house full of women/girls who like to paint their nails. To my nose at least, acetone certainly smells worse. \$\endgroup\$ – user3624 Mar 28 '11 at 16:35
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I use 99% iso-propyl alcohol, it works very well.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Most of the special "Flux Removers" are just isopropyl alcohol in an aerosol can with a fancy name. \$\endgroup\$ – Kevin Vermeer Mar 28 '11 at 1:23
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    \$\begingroup\$ @reemrevnivek - The ones I have read the MSDS for are mostly acetone and methanol. I don't think you can generalize in this situation. \$\endgroup\$ – Connor Wolf Mar 28 '11 at 4:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ @FakeName, The flux removers I have had to use have always had to be acetone for the resin flux. This is not a case of just alcohol necessarily. \$\endgroup\$ – Kortuk Mar 28 '11 at 11:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ IPA works very well for resin and other fluxes. I've used it for years. \$\endgroup\$ – Leon Heller Mar 28 '11 at 12:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Fake Name - Well, the three brands I've seen around the labs at school were mostly isopropyl with some lighter stuff in smaller percentages. I was generalizing, sorry. \$\endgroup\$ – Kevin Vermeer Mar 28 '11 at 14:12
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I have used with much success the Micro-care Pro-Clean alcohol enhanced flux remover. Comes in a spray which is very handy especially for stencil printed wipe down pcbs.

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