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.
locked by Dave Tweed♦ May 17 '17 at 19:49
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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.
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.
I use 99% iso-propyl alcohol, it works very well.
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.