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Repair information for the Sony Xperia X smartphone, announced in February 2016 and released in May 2016. This phone is part of the Xperia X series of phones by Sony.

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Is it good practice to soak PCBs in alcohol?

Hello all!

So I’m going to make a second attempt at repairing my Xperia X after removing the metal covers over the NAND, CPU, and some other components. I can’t see any corrosion, but I’ll clean it with alcohol just in case.

Over my experience of repairing this device, I’ve soaked the motherboard in isopropyl alcohol (90% alcohol by volume) multiple times for about 72 hours in total. I want to know if that soak can wear down the traces on the motherboard (which might be launching me into even more uh-oh). If it does wear the motherboard down, how much does it wear away? Given my current soaks, would it have worn away traces?

Thanks in advance!

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It shouldn't wear away but instead of soaking get an ultrasonic cleaner and you won't need to soak


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As Daniel as stated, IPA won’t degrade the condition of the logic board. Soaking a board in IPA will help displace the water but it’s not a magical cure-all for water damaged devices. When water gets inside a phone, there are two outcomes to consider:

  1. The first is that the water will cause short circuits while the phone is wet. Where they occur is anybody’s guess but it tends to occur on common areas depending on the phone model. In some cases, the short circuits damage easily identifiable and replaceable components. In others, it causes damage to large IC’s that can be difficult to troubleshoot or replace.
  2. The second is that the mineral deposits left over from the evaporated water will continue to cause short circuits, or in the case of salt water, literally eat away at the components and copper traces.

That’s why putting phones in rice doesn’t do anything. Sure, there are folks who swear that putting their phone in rice saved it but those phones would have survived no matter what was done to them, including leaving them on the counter (plus they wasted a perfectly good bag of rice ;>).

So in your case, the board has soaked enough. Let it air dry or put it in an oven at 150F or in a dehydrator if you have one and let all of the IPA evaporate. Beyond that, there’s not much you can do from a DIY perspective.

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Thanks! Is there a way I can simulate the effects of an ultrasonic cleaner at home? I'm too tight on budget to get a cleaner of decent size and quality. I guess it's time to obtain some schematics and practice microsoldering ;)


a toothbrush ;>)...


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I hoped I also had the logic board inner view, but that’s’s how it looked the iPad after a few seconds in sea water and 2 days in rice..

Block Image


Update (11/06/2018)

Unfortunately it seems I lost somewhere the pictures of an iPad Air 2 fallen in seawater last summer and let "dry" in rice for 2 days before an owner's friend handed him my phone number..well, that was something, a thick salt crust enclosing every component, rust and blackened parts all over..48hrs were enough to destroy everything beyond repair..

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@arbaman Salt water is the worst...


@arbaman & @refectio - Even IPA won't clean off the salt effectively. This is where you really need distilled water to do it right and a few changes of the water as well.

In both DW and IPA you are dissolving the salt into the water. Once you've hit the concentration the water can hold you need to refresh it. IPA doesn't have that much water so it won't hold as much as distilled water.

Prove it to your self! Take two containers of the same size fill both one with distilled water and the other isopropyl alcohol add even amounts of sea salt, cover and shake both containers. If needed add some more salt equally. Which one stopped absorbing the salt first or has more settled at the bottom?


@arbaman - Great pic BTW!

How about making a Guide for Rice! Using this image on why it shouldn't be used!


@danj Thank you, it's an interesting pic, I was a bit surprised myself when I first glanced at the iPad insides, the amount of salt is impressive! That one of the guide sounds like a very good idea, it might help in counterattacking the rice urban legend on its ground, I'll get at work on it.. if anyone has photographic material to add to it, the more the better :)


Nice Pic !!


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