Cleaning mouse piss off a PCB?

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WhinyLittleRunt
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Cleaning mouse piss off a PCB?

Post by WhinyLittleRunt » Thu Dec 29, 2011 5:14 am

I got a Moog Opus 3 in for repair that has unfortunately been ravaged by mice at one point. I opened it up to find a huge mouse nest/mouse s**t/chewed wires/piss-covered PCB...

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So, it's pretty disgusting, but all in all it seems to be working minus some slider issues. I would really like to clean the one PCB that is covered in urine. I've seen Kevin Lightner hose down ARP Odyssey PCBs in the bathtub! Can I take the same approach providing I wash and rinse well with distilled water? Opinions? I would leave it alone if it didn't smell like death... :shock:
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Re: Cleaning mouse piss off a PCB?

Post by sequentialsoftshock » Thu Dec 29, 2011 7:55 am

Oh man... Good luck.
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Re: Cleaning mouse piss off a PCB?

Post by WhinyLittleRunt » Thu Dec 29, 2011 12:31 pm

Haha!
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Re: Cleaning mouse piss off a PCB?

Post by gearfixer » Thu Dec 29, 2011 1:45 pm

That is not as bad as the Ampeg V4B I had last month! It was full of turds and piss and huge nest it was gross. I washed my hands 30 times that morning. It was literally dripping off the power tubes and smelt like fish and I got some on my hands before I realized what it was. I told the customer that there was no way I was going to work on it ever.
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Re: Cleaning mouse piss off a PCB?

Post by pricklyrobot » Thu Dec 29, 2011 2:06 pm

WhinyLittleRunt wrote:I've seen Kevin Lightner hose down ARP Odyssey PCBs in the bathtub! Can I take the same approach providing I wash and rinse well with distilled water? Opinions? I would leave it alone if it didn't smell like death... :shock:
Yeah, washing them in water and perhaps a bit of dish-soap should be fine (alternately, you could use some acetone on stubborn/sticky areas). The trick is making sure everything is completely dry before you plug it back in. Just keep an eye out for places little bits of water could get stuck (underneath IC's and such) and hit them with some canned air or a hair dryer on low heat.
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Re: Cleaning mouse piss off a PCB?

Post by WhinyLittleRunt » Thu Dec 29, 2011 3:22 pm

gearfixer wrote:That is not as bad as the Ampeg V4B I had last month! It was full of turds and piss and huge nest it was gross. I washed my hands 30 times that morning. It was literally dripping off the power tubes and smelt like fish and I got some on my hands before I realized what it was. I told the customer that there was no way I was going to work on it ever.
That's nasty. I couldn't get a picture of the board with the piss on it because you can't tell in the photo, but it's like a sheen of guck across the entire board and smells like mouse piss, so that's definitely what it is...
pricklyrobot wrote:Yeah, washing them in water and perhaps a bit of dish-soap should be fine (alternately, you could use some acetone on stubborn/sticky areas). The trick is making sure everything is completely dry before you plug it back in. Just keep an eye out for places little bits of water could get stuck (underneath IC's and such) and hit them with some canned air or a hair dryer on low heat.
Ok, that's what I thought. I just want to be careful because it is the chorus board. Wouldn't it make any sense to remove the socketed ICs beforehand? Or does it really matter if I let it dry for a week...
I like vintage synths....

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Re: Cleaning mouse piss off a PCB?

Post by V301H » Thu Dec 29, 2011 5:04 pm

Leaving it out in the sun for a few hours might help. UV rays can break down dried urine crystals
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Re: Cleaning mouse piss off a PCB?

Post by Altitude » Fri Jan 06, 2012 5:41 pm

I had the same experience with a AX-60 (including a mummified mouse). I took everything apart and scrubbed the boards (gently) with a long bristle nail brush and simple green followed by a rinse in distilled water. Water wont hurt anything as long as it is 100% dried up but you should take care to keep it out of pots, trimmers, and mechanical parts (switches etc)

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Re: Cleaning mouse piss off a PCB?

Post by WhinyLittleRunt » Tue Jan 17, 2012 3:19 pm

Yeah I scrubbed the boards with some distilled water and spent the better half of a day drying them with an air compressor (not oil based) before leaving them to dry on their own the remainder of the day. Everything is back in place and functional. There are some minor issues but they were present before the cleaning so, nothing gained from the cleaning other than it doesn't reek of piss anymore...

I also replaced the chewed cables, cleaned all the sliders and pots. It's a fun synth but I had trouble trying to find a place to fit the sound in any of my music - really the strings and chorus are its high point, but I think I like the ARP/Solina-type strings better personally.
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Re: Cleaning mouse piss off a PCB?

Post by cartesia » Wed Nov 07, 2012 8:40 am

I would say use isopropyl alcohol because it just evaporates almost instantly so you dont have to worry about any of it not drying properly, but I'm not sure if the alcohol could react chemically with the concentrated piss residue...

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Re: Cleaning mouse piss off a PCB?

Post by tallowwaters » Fri Nov 09, 2012 1:05 am

Mostly been covered, but don't clean any component with DI water; it's corrosive.
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Re: Cleaning mouse piss off a PCB?

Post by synthroom » Sat Nov 10, 2012 7:36 pm

Can you elaborate on DI water and how it's corrosive? I'm an analytical chemist and DI is certainly not considered corrosive in our world.
I once cleaned old mouse urine and droppings from a lab instrument with a DI water bath and gentle scrubbing with a soft bottle brush and then rinsed it with acetone to remove the water. This proceedure was recommended to me by the tech support for the instrument. It worked great and no harm to the circuit boards.
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Re: Cleaning mouse piss off a PCB?

Post by rschnier » Sun Nov 11, 2012 3:06 am

synthroom wrote:Can you elaborate on DI water and how it's corrosive? I'm an analytical chemist and DI is certainly not considered corrosive in our world.
I wasn't aware of this either but googling "di water corrosion" yielded quite a few links. Apparently the water is so "clean" that it aggressively dissolves many types of metals into it, among them being copper. When I was in college studying integrated circuit fabrication we used quite a bit of DI water and were cautioned never to try drinking it or we'd get a serious tummyache :? now I know why.
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Re: Cleaning mouse piss off a PCB?

Post by Altitude » Mon Nov 12, 2012 1:40 pm

I've never heard of the DI thing either, in fact its recommend for cleaning off organic flux by the manufactures (I use Kester 331 and the spec sheet says to use DI). The whole point of DI is the "De-ionized" property which makes it LESS reactive by removing sodium, calcium, copper and iron ions commonly found in tap water. The reason you were told no to drink it is its not technically pure water, the DI process is done chemically so even if the water is de-ionized, it can still have residual chemicals there from the process that you probably dont want to drink

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Re: Cleaning mouse piss off a PCB?

Post by tallowwaters » Mon Nov 12, 2012 6:25 pm

synthroom wrote:I'm an analytical chemist
Me too! Good to see you.
synthroom wrote:I once cleaned old mouse urine and droppings from a lab instrument with a DI water bath and gentle scrubbing with a soft bottle brush and then rinsed it with acetone to remove the water. This proceedure was recommended to me by the tech support for the instrument. It worked great and no harm to the circuit boards.
DI water is corrosive to both tungsten (of which there is probably little on your PCB) and copper (of which there is plenty) and will leech halogens from some plastic materials (if I recall). I should have clarified that in my post. Sorry about that.

I should also note that acetone will attack some polymers (ABS especially), so I would avoid any plastic chips/ICs.
rschnier wrote: I wasn't aware of this either but googling "di water corrosion" yielded quite a few links. Apparently the water is so "clean" that it aggressively dissolves many types of metals into it, among them being copper. When I was in college studying integrated circuit fabrication we used quite a bit of DI water and were cautioned never to try drinking it or we'd get a serious tummyache :? now I know why.
Exactly, DI water is very 'hungry' because it is de-ionized and therefore too pure to maintain a stable chemistry, and quickly becomes a solvent in applications in which it is allowed to interact with the ions on other surfaces. As Altitude said, it isn't pure water by any means, it simply has the salts removed chemically, so drinking lab level DI water would be a mistake.
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