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I'm using a water soluble flux when soldering headers to the Raspberry PI, apparently the flux should be washed off with water!

Is that likely to cause problems?

Update: I wouldn't solder whilst powered on, it stands to reason I wouldn't wash it with water whilst powered on.

  • This is not what you have asked for, but asking about water, one may interested in the question about waterproof cases – Jakob Oct 13 '12 at 18:55
  • Mods tag is for hw modification? Safety tag, what's that got to do with it? – Dog Ears Oct 13 '12 at 19:50
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It shouldn't be a problem, provided precautions are taken.

Make sure it is completely disconnected from everything, use de-ionised water as it is far less conductive then usual tap water, and allow it to dry somewhere warm for at least a week to be absolutely sure. While drying, pack it with silica gel or rice which will help to absorb moisture as it evaporates. The de-ionised water is more an extra precaution in case any moisture does manage to remain after this drying process.

This will invalidate the warranty and still does not guarantee success (disclaimer: don't blame me if it goes wrong) but it should significantly reduce the risk.

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  • I've tried to keep water away from the cpu, the thought of water getting between the ram and the cpu does concern me a bit :-$ – Dog Ears Oct 13 '12 at 19:33
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    I think if you remove the first sentence this answer would be more acceptable. Electricity and water doesn't mix but the vast majority of electronics products are washed with water after the soldering process, my question is specific to the RPi. Maybe I should update the question a bit. – Dog Ears Oct 14 '12 at 9:37
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    @DogEars I've updated this answer to better relate to your edited question. – Graham Wager Oct 15 '12 at 15:43
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    I'm not sure de-ionised water is used because if it's insulative properties but because of it's a more aggressive solvent and secondly it is less likely to leave mineral deposits, as soon as it starts dissolving away deposits it ceases to be de-ionized anyway! – Dog Ears Oct 15 '12 at 15:50
  • That may be why others may choose to use it and so they are welcome to update this answer or post their own (as are you), but personally my reason for using it would be to reduce risk of conduction. – Graham Wager Oct 19 '12 at 15:47
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Please do not submerge or wash your Pi with water. This is likely to both destroy you Pi and void your warranty. I would suggest changing the flux you are using, or if you have already done so leave the residue assuming it is non conductive. Is this flux even designed for electronics?

In general water and electronics do not go well together.

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  • Why should it cause problems as long as it drys completely? – Scolytus Oct 13 '12 at 19:16
  • The flux is corrosive (Kester 2331-zx) – Dog Ears Oct 13 '12 at 19:28
  • @Scolytus How can you be sure it dries completely? – Steve Robillard Oct 13 '12 at 19:30
  • @DogEars as the flux is corrosive and you have already used it on your Pi this question may be moot and you don't really have a choice. – Steve Robillard Oct 13 '12 at 19:32
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    Please don't post uninformed speculation. Clean water wash is routine in electronics manufacturing. – Chris Stratton Oct 15 '12 at 14:42

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