Jump to content
Search In
  • More options...
Find results that contain...
Find results in...
thechurchofcage

Can I soak a motherboard in alcohol?

Recommended Posts

Posted · Original PosterOP

So, I bought a used MacBook the other day for cheap hoping to play around with it for a bit, fix whatever's broken, and then sell it on. When I received it, I noticed that it had been enamel coated - the body of the MacBook feels like porcelain. However, when I opened it up I found that the internals were covered in chalk-like enamel dust:

image.png.ecd4069fbf2d206534282846d794846e.png

It might not come across too well in the image, but there is a LOT of this dust and it is caked on. I can scrub the hard drive and the inside of the case with an alcoholic cloth (NOT a cloth with a drinking problem), but what about the motherboard? I don't want to scrub it (and this stuff does take a quite a bit of scrubbing to remove) but could I soak it in an alcohol or vinegar bath for a few hours to dissolve the dust without damaging the board?

 

Thanks very much!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Isopropyl alcohol if you do. It won't "dissolve" the dust, but it can help to clean it off. Make sure it sits out for a few hours to ensure all of the alcohol (and water) has evaporated fully before re-connecting to any power sources.

 

Just get some canned air and blast the dust away. You can also use a soft bristled brush (think small paintbrush) to help loosen some stuff that's more caked in. I've also used Q-Tips with isopropyl alcohol to remove dust and remnants of spilled soda from electronics before.


Specs: CPU - Intel i7 8700K @ 5GHz | GPU - Gigabyte GTX 970 G1 Gaming | Motherboard - ASUS Strix Z370-G WIFI AC | RAM - XPG Gammix DDR4-3000MHz 32GB (2x16GB) | Main Drive - Samsung 850 Evo 500GB M.2 | Other Drives - 7TB/3 Drives | CPU Cooler - Corsair H100i Pro | Case - Fractal Design Define C Mini TG | Power Supply - EVGA G3 850W

Link to post
Share on other sites

It's liquid and motherboard is not metal, so I guessing - no. It's like everything else - small amount may be good, too much is not. And there is no 100% alcohol. Any alcohol contains small amount of water.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, you can. I will usually rinse major components in alcohol rather than using a brush or 15psi spray from a compressor. Make sure that you keep a grate to keep things from sitting at the bottom. 

 

Edit: You will have to replace all thermal pads and heatsinks if you're doing it this way. 


Cor Caeruleus Reborn v6

Spoiler

CPU: Intel - Core i7-8700K

CPU Cooler: be quiet! - PURE ROCK 
Thermal Compound: Arctic Silver - 5 High-Density Polysynthetic Silver 3.5g Thermal Paste 
Motherboard: ASRock Z370 Extreme4
Memory: G.Skill TridentZ RGB 2x8GB 3200/14
Storage: Samsung - 850 EVO-Series 500GB 2.5" Solid State Drive 
Storage: Samsung - 960 EVO 500GB M.2-2280 Solid State Drive
Storage: Western Digital - Blue 2TB 3.5" 5400RPM Internal Hard Drive
Storage: Western Digital - BLACK SERIES 3TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive
Video Card: EVGA - 970 SSC ACX (1080 is in RMA)
Case: Fractal Design - Define R5 w/Window (Black) ATX Mid Tower Case
Power Supply: EVGA - SuperNOVA P2 750W with CableMod blue/black Pro Series
Optical Drive: LG - WH16NS40 Blu-Ray/DVD/CD Writer 
Operating System: Microsoft - Windows 10 Pro OEM 64-bit and Linux Mint Serena
Keyboard: Logitech - G910 Orion Spectrum RGB Wired Gaming Keyboard
Mouse: Logitech - G502 Wired Optical Mouse
Headphones: Logitech - G430 7.1 Channel  Headset
Speakers: Logitech - Z506 155W 5.1ch Speakers

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Some of the plastics will get damaged with solvents like alcohol if you soak them for a while.


My sound system costs more than my PC.        Check out my S340 build log "White Heaven"        The "LIGHTCANON" flashlight build log        Project AntiRoll (prototype)        Custom speaker project

Spoiler

Intel i7 4790k | ASUS GTX770 | ASUS Sabertooth Z97 Mark S | Corsair Vengeance Pro 32GB | NZXT S340 | Seasonic Platinum 760 | modded H100i | Ducky ONE White TKL RGB | Logitech MX Master 2S | 2x Samsung 850 Pro 512GB | WD Red 4TB Samsung 58" 4k TV | 2x Behringer NEKKST K8 | BIC Acoustech H-100II | Scarlett 2i4 | 2x AT2020

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted · Original PosterOP

Thanks for the response, I'll try the isopropyl. I've tried using alcohol on the end of a Q-tip just like that, but again, it takes more force than I'm comfortable applying to sensitive electronics...

9 minutes ago, TheKDub said:

Isopropyl alcohol if you do. It won't "dissolve" the dust, but it can help to clean it off. Make sure it sits out for a few hours to ensure all of the alcohol (and water) has evaporated fully before re-connecting to any power sources.

 

Just get some canned air and blast the dust away. You can also use a soft bristled brush (think small paintbrush) to help loosen some stuff that's more caked in. I've also used Q-Tips with isopropyl alcohol to remove dust and remnants of spilled soda from electronics before.

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted · Original PosterOP
2 minutes ago, ARikozuM said:

Yes, you can. I will usually rinse major components in alcohol rather than using a brush or 15psi spray from a compressor. Make sure that you keep a grate to keep things from sitting at the bottom. 

 

Edit: You will have to replace all thermal pads and heatsinks if you're doing it this way. 

Thanks for the reply. That's good to hear, I'll try that. I can remove the heatsink before soaking and I'll be reapplying thermal paste anyway.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted · Original PosterOP
4 minutes ago, Enderman said:

Some of the plastics will get damaged with solvents like alcohol if you soak them for a while.

Yeah, that's what I was concerned about... I reckon I'll try half an hour or an hour and see what happens. I'm perfectly happy to sacrifice a MacBook for science :D

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, thechurchofcage said:

Thanks for the reply. That's good to hear, I'll try that. I can remove the heatsink before soaking and I'll be reapplying thermal paste anyway.

It's not just your CPU that's a concern. It's every heatsink on that board. 


Cor Caeruleus Reborn v6

Spoiler

CPU: Intel - Core i7-8700K

CPU Cooler: be quiet! - PURE ROCK 
Thermal Compound: Arctic Silver - 5 High-Density Polysynthetic Silver 3.5g Thermal Paste 
Motherboard: ASRock Z370 Extreme4
Memory: G.Skill TridentZ RGB 2x8GB 3200/14
Storage: Samsung - 850 EVO-Series 500GB 2.5" Solid State Drive 
Storage: Samsung - 960 EVO 500GB M.2-2280 Solid State Drive
Storage: Western Digital - Blue 2TB 3.5" 5400RPM Internal Hard Drive
Storage: Western Digital - BLACK SERIES 3TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive
Video Card: EVGA - 970 SSC ACX (1080 is in RMA)
Case: Fractal Design - Define R5 w/Window (Black) ATX Mid Tower Case
Power Supply: EVGA - SuperNOVA P2 750W with CableMod blue/black Pro Series
Optical Drive: LG - WH16NS40 Blu-Ray/DVD/CD Writer 
Operating System: Microsoft - Windows 10 Pro OEM 64-bit and Linux Mint Serena
Keyboard: Logitech - G910 Orion Spectrum RGB Wired Gaming Keyboard
Mouse: Logitech - G502 Wired Optical Mouse
Headphones: Logitech - G430 7.1 Channel  Headset
Speakers: Logitech - Z506 155W 5.1ch Speakers

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, thechurchofcage said:

Yeah, that's what I was concerned about... I reckon I'll try half an hour or an hour and see what happens. I'm perfectly happy to sacrifice a MacBook for science :D

That's too long. 10 minutes is good enough to soften most dirt and dust. 


Cor Caeruleus Reborn v6

Spoiler

CPU: Intel - Core i7-8700K

CPU Cooler: be quiet! - PURE ROCK 
Thermal Compound: Arctic Silver - 5 High-Density Polysynthetic Silver 3.5g Thermal Paste 
Motherboard: ASRock Z370 Extreme4
Memory: G.Skill TridentZ RGB 2x8GB 3200/14
Storage: Samsung - 850 EVO-Series 500GB 2.5" Solid State Drive 
Storage: Samsung - 960 EVO 500GB M.2-2280 Solid State Drive
Storage: Western Digital - Blue 2TB 3.5" 5400RPM Internal Hard Drive
Storage: Western Digital - BLACK SERIES 3TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive
Video Card: EVGA - 970 SSC ACX (1080 is in RMA)
Case: Fractal Design - Define R5 w/Window (Black) ATX Mid Tower Case
Power Supply: EVGA - SuperNOVA P2 750W with CableMod blue/black Pro Series
Optical Drive: LG - WH16NS40 Blu-Ray/DVD/CD Writer 
Operating System: Microsoft - Windows 10 Pro OEM 64-bit and Linux Mint Serena
Keyboard: Logitech - G910 Orion Spectrum RGB Wired Gaming Keyboard
Mouse: Logitech - G502 Wired Optical Mouse
Headphones: Logitech - G430 7.1 Channel  Headset
Speakers: Logitech - Z506 155W 5.1ch Speakers

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
37 minutes ago, thechurchofcage said:

Thanks for the response, I'll try the isopropyl. I've tried using alcohol on the end of a Q-tip just like that, but again, it takes more force than I'm comfortable applying to sensitive electronics...

 

It shouldn't take much force. Maybe as much as you'd use when writing with a pen or pencil, if that.


Specs: CPU - Intel i7 8700K @ 5GHz | GPU - Gigabyte GTX 970 G1 Gaming | Motherboard - ASUS Strix Z370-G WIFI AC | RAM - XPG Gammix DDR4-3000MHz 32GB (2x16GB) | Main Drive - Samsung 850 Evo 500GB M.2 | Other Drives - 7TB/3 Drives | CPU Cooler - Corsair H100i Pro | Case - Fractal Design Define C Mini TG | Power Supply - EVGA G3 850W

Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted · Original PosterOP
15 minutes ago, TheKDub said:

It shouldn't take much force. Maybe as much as you'd use when writing with a pen or pencil, if that.

This stuff is some sort of enamel coating - it takes A LOT of force. Already ordered my big jug of isopropyl booze though!

Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, thechurchofcage said:

This stuff is some sort of enamel coating - it takes A LOT of force. Already ordered my big jug of isopropyl booze though!

What if it's supposed to be there to protect the circuitry? I wouldn't just go scrubbing/scraping off things without much reason (such as cleaning a specific area to fix it, or cleaning corrosion.)


Specs: CPU - Intel i7 8700K @ 5GHz | GPU - Gigabyte GTX 970 G1 Gaming | Motherboard - ASUS Strix Z370-G WIFI AC | RAM - XPG Gammix DDR4-3000MHz 32GB (2x16GB) | Main Drive - Samsung 850 Evo 500GB M.2 | Other Drives - 7TB/3 Drives | CPU Cooler - Corsair H100i Pro | Case - Fractal Design Define C Mini TG | Power Supply - EVGA G3 850W

Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted · Original PosterOP
1 minute ago, TheKDub said:

What if it's supposed to be there to protect the circuitry? I wouldn't just go scrubbing/scraping off things without much reason (such as cleaning a specific area to fix it, or cleaning corrosion.)

If you look at the photo, you can see the white residue on the edge of an otherwise black motherboard. That stuff is NOT supposed to be there. It's on the screws, it's in the fan, it's left a coating on the inside of the case and it may have contributed to the fact that the mic and optical drive don't work. I don't feel comfortable leaving it on, especially since I intend to sell it.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now


×