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wondering if anyone could help me out here. I don't work with PCBs, but troubleshooting a salt chlorine generator for my pool and believe the board in the pics below is the cause. My question is, does the level of corrosion shown seem like something i can clean with isopropyl alcohol and a toothbrush? I won't even bother trying to remove the damaged components and replace, I've never soldered anything before in my life and I'm sure I'd do a horrible job.

The part isn't easily replaceable as it is no longer manufactured by the vendor so trying to salvage if I can before spending thousands on a new system.

Thanks for any help you can provide.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Ultrasonic cleaner + deionized water \$\endgroup\$
    – DKNguyen
    Apr 13, 2021 at 20:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ Would this potentially cause it to start working again? I am not an engineer but assume corrosion = bad, but not sure if that would cause malfunction. There are two boards in this device but the other one is pristine. There is also a large transformer but I successfully tested the power paths and didn't find any issues there. \$\endgroup\$
    – eddiewink
    Apr 13, 2021 at 21:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ It's the lowest effort, lowest skill thing to try and you'll find other uses for the ultrasonic cleaner anyways. \$\endgroup\$
    – DKNguyen
    Apr 13, 2021 at 21:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yikes, that looks quite serious. A professional should look at it. I'd call around and see if any electronic repair shops near you could tackle something like this. It'll require some of the components being removed from the board as I see corrosion on the copper traces. \$\endgroup\$
    – rdtsc
    Apr 13, 2021 at 21:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ Ok thanks guys, appreciate the feedback. I'll definitely look to see if there are any shops here in Montreal first, if not I'll potentially try buying an ultrasonic cleaner as I'm guesssing alcohol and a toothbrush isn't going to cut it at this point. The only fear I have is investing in to it as there is a large transformer and another board, but both of those look to be in great shape and I successfully tested the power paths through the transformer without issue. \$\endgroup\$
    – eddiewink
    Apr 13, 2021 at 21:09

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I suggest trying this:

Clean thoroughly with a toothbrush and 99% isopropanol (don't use low grade rubbing alcohol- Life Brand 99% "Alcool isopropylique" from Shoppers' is okay). Allow to dry thoroughly (some of those parts will retain liquid underneath- a few hours with it moderately warm or overnight is more than enough). Inspect the board with a bright light behind it/on top and see if any of the traces appear corroded away. If nothing looks bad, try it at this point. It may work. It may work but the switches may be unresponsive or intermittent.

If it doesn't work, the 6x6mm tact switches are too far gone (they're not sealed) or there are corroded away traces, you might want to get some local help- preferably with good desoldering tools and skills or at least skills. None of that stuff is difficult and all the parts I can see are cheap and easily sourced and replaced so if you don't cause additional damage yourself you should be able to find someone willing to give it a shot. Note that if you muck it up, folks will be much less willing to have at it.

And of course you probably want to find a way to prevent that from happening again.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for all the details. The source cause was a seal that I didn’t notice broke off letting rain in to the device directly on top of this board. This is now sealed. \$\endgroup\$
    – eddiewink
    Apr 13, 2021 at 22:32

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