Old 04-13-2017, 04:43 PM #1
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Default Best practices for cleaning thermal paste from diodes

Please excuse me if this has already been covered. I tried searching but I didn't come up with an answer.

What is the best and most efficient process to clean an "extracted" diode? I would like to remove all the thermal paste residue. I would like to try not to touch the diode window at all if possible. Has anyone tried cleaning a bunch of these?

Thanks for your time!


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Old 04-13-2017, 05:42 PM #2
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Default Re: Best practices for cleaning thermal paste from diodes

Not sure on the best method, but there are plenty of solvents out there that are good for removing thermal paste. I have some specifically for the job, although I use it to clean off things like CPUs and larger components like regulators/transistors etc. As for diodes ... given their small size and delicate nature, that may be more complicated.
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Old 04-13-2017, 06:58 PM #3
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Default Re: Best practices for cleaning thermal paste from diodes

I'm worried about using solvents as it may run on to the diode window and leave some film or residue causing reflection back in to the diode or simply reducing power. I suppose I could cover the window with a solvent resistant sticker or something...
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Old 04-13-2017, 07:15 PM #4
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Default Re: Best practices for cleaning thermal paste from diodes

I would be very careful not to let solvent get on the window, lots of reasons why, mostly that it could become contaminated with something from the heat sink compound, or god forbid, if not sealed well, or a solvent dissolving the seal, some gets inside. This thread has some ideas:

Ethanol for Cleaning Thermal Compound - Graphics Cards
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Old 04-13-2017, 07:52 PM #5
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Default Re: Best practices for cleaning thermal paste from diodes

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alaskan View Post
I would be very careful not to let solvent get on the window, lots of reasons why, mostly that it could become contaminated with something from the heat sink compound, or god forbid, if not sealed well, or a solvent dissolving the seal, some gets inside. This thread has some ideas:

Ethanol for Cleaning Thermal Compound - Graphics Cards

Some sort of covering for the window would be wise, though I'm not sure what would be suitable, you wouldn't want to get any sort of adhesive residue on the window either.
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Old 04-13-2017, 09:36 PM #6
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Default Re: Best practices for cleaning thermal paste from diodes

Try putting heat shrink over the can, heat quickly around 100 degrees and crimp the end of the heat shrink tube whilst still hot. Do quickly and don't heat to long. This will protect the window and can.

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Old 04-13-2017, 09:42 PM #7
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Default Re: Best practices for cleaning thermal paste from diodes

Quote:
Originally Posted by grainde View Post
Try putting heat shrink over the can, heat quickly around 100 degrees and crimp the end of the heat shrink tube whilst still hot. Do quickly and don't heat to long. This will protect the window and can.

Good suggestion!

Make sure not to use the shrink wrap that has glue on the inside though...
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Old 04-13-2017, 09:47 PM #8
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Default Re: Best practices for cleaning thermal paste from diodes

Quote:
Originally Posted by grainde View Post
Try putting heat shrink over the can, heat quickly around 100 degrees and crimp the end of the heat shrink tube whilst still hot. Do quickly and don't heat to long. This will protect the window and can.

Excellent! What type of solvent are you using? Is that ethanol?
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Old 04-13-2017, 09:47 PM #9
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Default Re: Best practices for cleaning thermal paste from diodes

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Originally Posted by diachi View Post
Good suggestion!

Make sure not to use the shrink wrap that has glue on the inside though...
Yeah, that would not be good!!!
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Old 04-13-2017, 09:49 PM #10
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Default Re: Best practices for cleaning thermal paste from diodes

If you use the proper tools, you can just scrape it off. This is how I have done it in the past. You don't have to worry about solvents or heat, it can be time consuming, though, depending on the amount of paste present.
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Old 04-14-2017, 12:31 AM #11
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Default Re: Best practices for cleaning thermal paste from diodes

I'm not sure about a 'best' method of going about it.

Personally i just wipe off the bulk of it with tissue paper, and whatever remains after that with tissue paper moistened by isopropanol - obviously taking care not to wipe any onto the diode window.

The approach using shrink tube seems interesting as well, certainly for getting the last bits off. I'm not really sure if thermal paste bonds better with shrink tube than with the metal it is already on, but it seems worth to try.

Why would you want it to be removed completely though? If you wipe it clean enough so that handing it will not make a mess that should be sufficient for most applications.
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