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topic 642

Cleaning contaminated nickel plated pads on PCBs


We have a lot PC boards which need rework because the plated nickel pads were contaminated with either copper or nickel oxide. The two-sided boards also have solder plated in different areas. I used 15% HCl down to 1% by volume to remove the oxides and it also dull the reflowed solder to certain degree. Those soldered pads will be solder pasted later for surface mount components and reflowed. Is there any better chemical or solution? I also have a lot boards plated with hard gold which was contaminated with roller streak or fingerprints. Is there any cleaning method other than mechanical abrasion?

Jerry Fang

As far as the Ni pads,was the contamination due to after plating or co-deposited during plating? The gold pads can be rubbed with white scotchbrite and or later brush plated. We make this type of repair quite frequently to bare and loaded boards.

Tom Sivula
plating shop - Harbor City, California

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