Found an exposed trace on Blazing Star cart + What you all cleaning your boards with?

greedostick

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I took apart my Blazing Star today, and found what I can best describe as an exposed trace. Unlike the other parts of the board, this one small part, maybe 1/2 mm wide, looked more brass colored. Upon further inspection, it looks like it is exposed.

Is this something that could lead to a burnt trace?

And is there a way to nip this before anything happen?

Or should I leave it alone?


Also, figured I would start the process of cleaning all my carts inside. It's been about 10 years. Because I opened this blazing star, and it was filty as hell. It looked like it had a spill in it at one time. It was brown and syurp like. Maybe there is some leaking somewhere from the solder joints. Some of this stuff had even collected on the part the two boards fit in, and there were wavy patterned spots all over the board on both sides.

I use to use Q-Tips, and strong alcohol. But i've been hearing lately that it's corrosive to the PCB and bad for it. Not sure if people are just being anal, but it doesn't seem to do the job well. It just seems to move dirt on the board from one part to another, and leave a sticky residue.

What would be the best option for not only cleaning the boards, but also the contacts?

I've heard about the #2 eraser trick, but I don't think that does well either.
 
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FilthyRear

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I use Isopropyl. Hasn't let me down yet - dries fast, so residue, but a slight alcohol smell that goes away after a day.
 

DecepticonZero

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I use Brasso on dirty contacts and follow it up with 71% rubbing alcohol. I've never had an issue with carts wearing out from cleaning in the almost 30 years I've been cleaning them.

For cleaning the inside of carts, ID stick to PCB cleaner. It's like $4.00 for a huge can at radio shack.
 

wyo

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WTH, another cleaning thread?!? ;)

For dirty boards, I wash them in a sink using a toothbrush. Some people use a dishwasher, which sounds fine but makes me nervous.

For badly corroded or oxidized contacts, I swear by Weiman's Glass Cook Top Cleaner. Lightly apply a thin coat with a q-tip, let it dry, then buff it out. Once cleaned off, you can repeat the process, use some contact cleaner, or call it good, depending on how anal you want to be.

For contacts in decent shape, contact cleaner alone does the job. Hold the board vertically and spray the contacts liberally. Let the excess drip off, then dry with a soft cloth.

I used to use isopropyl but contact cleaner is the better choice.
 

ballzdeepx

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Maybe someone could chime in but for the exposed trace maybe some clear nail Polish or glue to cover it?
 

Niko

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The exposed trace will be fine, no need to cover or worry.

For cleaning, I recently used WD-40 Electrical Contact Cleaner and the shit works extremely well. Just spray down the whole board over a sink and it washes the dirt and grime right off, I also like to follow up with a tooth brush.

http://wd40specialist.com/products/contact-cleaner/
 

Yrouel

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If you decide to wash the board with water rinse it with 99% isopropyl alchool afterwards to displace any water residue and to dry it quickly. To clean the contacts I normally just use a Q-tip and isopropyl alchool.
The exposed trace it's not an issue (as long as it's not actually broken of course)
 

DNSDies

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Soap, water and toothbrush followed by a rinse with iso if I'm in a hurry to use it., otherwise I just let it drip dry and hit it with a hair dryer to get into the nooks.

Iso and a toothbrush for sticky stuff or old flux.

Also, clear nail varnish will cover that trace just fine.
 

tacoguy

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I'm using Brasso, a pink eraser, and rubbing alchohol for mine.
So far following that method seems to be working great for me.
 

greedostick

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So the trace will be ok, does anyone not agree with that?


So you guys are serious about water, huh? That sounds scary. Especially this toothbrush talk. I would be scared I would break a trace. Maybe I will give it a go on a cheap cart, and pick up some of the brasso, and WD-40 electrical cleaner.
 

DecepticonZero

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So the trace will be ok, does anyone not agree with that?


So you guys are serious about water, huh? That sounds scary. Especially this toothbrush talk. I would be scared I would break a trace. Maybe I will give it a go on a cheap cart, and pick up some of the brasso, and WD-40 electrical cleaner.

You do realize to break a trace you need to cut into the PCB right? I think you'll be just fine if follow what folks said here and just let them dry good.
 

greedostick

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You do realize to break a trace you need to cut into the PCB right? I think you'll be just fine if follow what folks said here and just let them dry good.

Actually I don't. I just know a few years back I bumped my MVS to JAMMA converter on the wood part of my cab taking it out, and screwed it up bad. Had to reroute a trace to fix it. Since then, I am really careful with my PCB's.
 
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Yrouel

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Letting a washed board just dry out naturally is not a good idea. First some things might rust, second you will likely leave residue on the board when using regular tap water and third unless you really wait a long time some moisture might actually remain trapped in some nooks and crannies and cause corrosion once power is applied.
The best course is to wash the board and immediately remove any water with isopropyl alchool which is great at displacing any moisture from even small receptacles. If that isn't feasible the board should be at least immediately dried out with some gentle heat. An hair drier is fine but remember to move it constantly and to be even more careful around plastic parts if any.

In any case if you are uncomfortable doing that, just blowing the bulk of the dirt with air goes a long way, however flux residue should be cleaned off because over time it might cause corrosion. Isopropyl alchool is great for that and acetone might be useful for the particularly stubborn cases.

Finally if you care about original labels/stickers IPA and even more acetone must be kept away from those.
 

bustedstr8

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The dishwasher has never failed me yet after 100+ pcbs. I like to spray them with distilled water after the cycle to displace any residue. Then air dry for 48 hours or use the hair dryer if I want to work on it immediately.
 

DNSDies

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I have a reverse osmosis filter on my main tap, so residue and whatnot isn't a problem.

It also makes delicious water for drinking.
 

Xian Xi

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If the copper of the trace is exposed, first remove any corrosion with a fiberglass pen then cover it using a non-metallic nail polish.
 

GadgetUK

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If the copper of the trace is exposed, first remove any corrosion with a fiberglass pen then cover it using a non-metallic nail polish.
This ^

I know some people leave them exposed but with time it can corrode if left exposed, and nail polish is a nice quick way of covering it.
 

Niko

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How is an expsed trace any different from the pins on the cart edge? or the legs of the IC? I really see no need in covering it.

@greedostick, be careful with the fiberglass pin. It will easily remove the solder mask from a PCB, also avoid the ones from Radioshack as there not really fiberglass pins.
 

DNSDies

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How is an expsed trace any different from the pins on the cart edge? or the legs of the IC? I really see no need in covering it.

@greedostick, be careful with the fiberglass pin. It will easily remove the solder mask from a PCB, also avoid the ones from Radioshack as there not really fiberglass pins.

Exposed cart pins/chip legs are usually gold or tin alloy plated. Gold and Tin are both very resistant to corrosion. They can be left in the open for many many years before ambient moisture can do anything significant to them.

Copper, on the other hand, is HIGHLY reactive to moisture and oxygen.
For an example of what that does, go look at the Statue of Liberty.

The exterior was originally copper.
Now it's copper oxide.

Copper oxide is very resistive, and not good material for PCB traces.
It will also spread to other traces over time, and eventually be destroyed.
 

DecepticonZero

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I'd recommend that greedo posts a picture of this "exposed trace" before doing anything to it.
 

FilthyRear

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I'd recommend that greedo posts a picture of this "exposed trace" before doing anything to it.

I found a picture of an "exposed trace":

51E4M99YYCL.jpg

...He EXPOSES his soul in his lyrics.

What an odd thing to find in a Blazing Star cart.
 

Niko

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Exposed cart pins/chip legs are usually gold or tin alloy plated. Gold and Tin are both very resistant to corrosion. They can be left in the open for many many years before ambient moisture can do anything significant to them.

Copper, on the other hand, is HIGHLY reactive to moisture and oxygen.
For an example of what that does, go look at the Statue of Liberty.

The exterior was originally copper.
Now it's copper oxide.

Copper oxide is very resistive, and not good material for PCB traces.
It will also spread to other traces over time, and eventually be destroyed.

The statue of liberty is a bad example as it's exposed to the elements. I don't think OPs cart is being rained/snowed on or having drastic temperature changes.

The wiring in your house is copper and often exposed behind wallplates and it's not corroded.
 

Xian Xi

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The statue of liberty is a bad example as it's exposed to the elements. I don't think OPs cart is being rained/snowed on or having drastic temperature changes.

The wiring in your house is copper and often exposed behind wallplates and it's not corroded.

You're forgetting that the amount of the copper used for the trace is very small that any corrosion that starts on it can eat it away in little time when you aren't actively watching it. What is so wrong about preventative maintenance? Would you rather not take the time to prevent it from happening with just a few minutes out of your day?
 

Niko

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You're forgetting that the amount of the copper used for the trace is very small that any corrosion that starts on it can eat it away in little time when you aren't actively watching it. What is so wrong about preventative maintenance? Would you rather not take the time to prevent it from happening with just a few minutes out of your day?

I dont see anything wrong with it. I just dont think its necessary to go popping open all your carts and pcbs and covering every bare trace. If OP wants to cover it cool, but as someone who opens and cleans every MVS game ( cart and shell ) that has passed through my hands. I can easily say its not necessarily rare to find bare traces. Especially when you have idiots who decide to take sandpaper to the cart edges.
 
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