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Industrial cleaning, motherboard

Level 7
Okay, this is going to be a question that probably has never, nor will ever be posted again XD
At work we poduce PCB's, and in relation to that we have a "washing machine" specifically designed to clean boards.
But apparantly there are some components that cant go throught the proess without being destroyed.

I am soon rebuilding my computer and have wondered if i can use that machine to clean my ASUS Impact VI Motherboard (and a GTX 780, but ill ask that question somewhere more apropriate).

This is the machine:
Here is the brochure for it:

This is the soap it uses:

Now i could go find the datasheet for the board(if it even exists publicly available) and go through every component to see if they can be washed in it, but i would rather ask here first in case any technicians or something are on here and can answer the question straight forward.

Thanks for any and all answers!

Apparntly as long as the card can be washed with water and temperaures exceeding 110c, using the machine won't be a problem

Level 7
I'm no electronic board washer machine tech but what possibly can be on that board that you would want to wash it ?? lol that's interesting though

Should work just fine as far as I know.
Just don't use a lot.
Revetement portfolio

Level 14
VIGON is a brand marketed by ZESTRON, and the primary ingredient of VIGON plus CI 20 is Sodium Metasilicate Pentahydrate - an extremely concentrated detergent with very high pH which causes an aggressively active redox reaction (and nasty caustic burns) on contact. The "plus CI 20" refers to some ZESTRON-proprietary mixture of additives which collectively act as an oxidation inhibitor, a corrosion inhibitor, and makes the washing process a little gentler on the product (or on the washing machine) by altering the abrasiveness, viscosity, evaporation rates, and other physical properties of the primary cleaning ingredient in aqueous solution.

I'm unfamiliar with this particular cleaning product or with your particular brand of cleaning machine, but I am familiar with a variety of similar ZESTRON cleaning agents and similar vacuum-pressure-spray or full-immersion industrial SMT/PCBA cleaning systems.

I'm unsure what you intend to accomplish with a full-immersion cleaning of your ASUS ROG Impact VI Motherboard (and a GTX 780). These cleaning machines are meant to remove process flux residue from post-SMT boards before solder mask is applied to the finished surface.

The marketing material for VIGON plus CI 20 claims it's "safe" on most ceramic, ceramic-hybrid, metallic, and glass materials, with a few exceptions. It will damage many polymers (plastics), most elastomers (rubbers), and "fine-grained" fiber-based materials. It chemically attacks certain substances, which not only de-rates the electrical integrity of certain components but also possibly contaminates the cleaning solution enough to damage adjacent components.

Your cleaning agent will deposit some "soapy" residue, a very thin slick film (barely noticeable to the touch) on flat open surfaces, a thicker accumulation inside connection points and between restricted or awkward part geometries. Your cleaning machine probably uses a carefully controlled program of rinse, spray, wash, dry, heat, and pressure cycles to minimize such accumulations. Good wash results probably requires proper reprogramming of these parameters for each specific product you place inside, the machine may even require different specially-formulated cleaning solutions for different products. Leftover residue is supposedly nonconductive, but in my experience it can interfere with normal functions when it's on (or in) sensitive electrical parts. The residues also impedes thermal dissipation on critical surfaces (or between mating surfaces), and seems to invariably capture a lot more dust particles (which unfortunately functions as an awesome insulator), so washing certain parts (like basically all the best gizmos on your motherboard) is usually not advised.

Improper washes can block pins and connector points. And strip a few microns off gold-plated connectors. A serious consideration on a motherboard with 1150 CPU pins, two 240-pin DDR3 slots, an 84-pin PCIEx16 slot, and a fair variety of other electrical signal/power slots, connectors, pins, and sockets.

Improper washes can also dissolve adhesives. Including epoxies used in the PCB construction; whether the PCB itself is a fiber-epoxy composite, a collection of layers glued together, or copper traces glued to non-glass substrates. A serious consideration if you don't know exactly which materials went into your expensive motherboard or how they're held together.

Improper washes will also corrode some solders (especially a lot of RoHS-compliant solders designed to provide controlled melting points for multi-stage SMT assemblies). Such corrosion may be immediately obvious or it may work internally towards the surface over time (especially when dissimilar metals are in contact, where the oxidized wash accelerates galvanic fretting). Weak solder points or joints are always a Very Bad Thing, whether their purpose is electrical or structural. Another serious consideration when you don't know exactly which bunch of low-cost mass-produced solder alloys went into your expensive motherboard.

Aggressive caustics also strip or abrade away conformal coatings, lacquers, finishes, and other surfactants. And they dissolve organic-based inks, dyes, and pigments. So printed part markings can become illegible, colors run, and anything made of paper, cloth, or textile is automatically doomed. I wouldn't really expect a ROG motherboard to look the same coming out of the wash as it looked going in. You may find this ROG page interesting, ASUS apparently invested a lot of effort when selecting the materials and processes used on their signature red ROG PCB solder masks, but remember that in the end it's all still Made In China or Made In Taiwan, so don't expect miracles.

I would only recommended these sorts of cleaning agents for a motherboard:
Methyl Chloroform (1,1,1-Trichloroethane) - if you can get any, it's a dangerous and regulated substance - the classic truly superior all-purpose mighty electrical cleaner, can be used on virtually any electrical part, residue-free, can cause serious illness and death and cancer and mutations and stuff
Terpene-based cleaners (Limonenes, Pinenes, etc) - powerful organic solvents made from fermented citrus or pine, superb electrical cleaners which leave no residue and smell pretty (I prefer orange-based TechNoMelt aka Melt-O-Clean)
Isopropyl alcohol - cheaply available everywhere, evaporates instantly and leaves no residue, but a weak cleaning agent - use anhydrous (>99% pure) isopropyl, not drug-store isopropyl, to ensure no perfumes or additives are deposited onto your electronics
DeoxIT or Stabilant-22 - the only electrical contact cleaners worth mentioning
ArtiClean is mysterious but awesome stuff for cleaning CPUs, heatsinks, and blocks - much better and safer than using acetone near electronics
Mister Clean Magic Eraser - don't laugh, this thing will scrub the most stubborn gunk off any piece of fragile electronics
"All opinions are not equal. Some are a very great deal more robust, sophisticated and well supported in logic and argument than others." - Douglas Adams


Level 14
I should have mentioned that you won't find any datasheets, schema, or part BOMS for this (or any other) ASUS ROG motherboard in the public domain. ASUS is somewhat paranoid and very protective of it's proprietary inventions. Their documentation and support is reluctant, terse, and minimally informative for their enterprise customers - it's virtually nonexistent for their ROG customers (who largely depend on the expertise of gamers/overclockers in these ROG forums). ASUS even goes so far as to be deliberately vague or cryptic about such trivial stuff as what certain BIOS settings do, they expend every effort and do anything they can do to slow or obstruct competitors who intend to duplicate (then elaborate) Asus-made products.

You'd probably have to identify every component on the entire motherboard yourself. Or commission an expensive teardown.
"All opinions are not equal. Some are a very great deal more robust, sophisticated and well supported in logic and argument than others." - Douglas Adams


I would say simply, one will break ones warranty and I myself wouldn't do anything but an UV cleaning of my motherboard if it wouldn't have gone south already. Was going to answer to this thread earlier already, with about the same info as Korth. Korth's answer was much better and knowledgeable though! 🙂
Saw the last reply was from 03-05-2015.
Marius Titulescu, it isn't safe.

So anyone even thinking about this method, think TWICE!

If there's residue or any dampness left your motherboard could end up looking like this:


Well, not really. Maybe like this though:


Not my pictures, but when I was responsible for the service and RMA's at a company I did see lots of these in phones. People had just had them in their pockets while it was raining. However, dampness, water, moisture and ready made PCB's with components on them ain't a good idea.