Dirty PCBs Can Affect System Performance
Unless you place your PCB in a vacuum environment or a completely sealed enclosure, dust and dirt will inevitably accumulate on the PCB over time. This is especially true for electronic printed circuit boards, which are commonly used in dusty industrial environments.
Dirty PCBs can cause problems for the machine or system it controls if they are not cleaned on a regular maintenance schedule. Although dust and dirt may not cause physical damage to the PCB, water moisture in the dust may cause the electronic components to short-circuit.
Dirty PCBs may also attract insects to nest on the PCB. Insects like acidic ants can eventually corrode PCBs. This usually causes irreparable damage to the tracks and component pads.
Downtime in operation indirectly caused by dirty PCBs can be easily prevented by active and passive precautions. Here are three useful instructions.
Use an appropriate enclosure
If your PCB needs to work in a dusty environment, it is prudent to place it in a tightly sealed enclosure. If your PCB needs to be ventilated, install an appropriate filter mat at the opening to prevent dust from entering the enclosure.
Electronic PCBs require regular preventative maintenance when placed in harsh environments. This is necessary to eliminate dust on the PCB before it accumulates and damages the PCB. Suitable cleaning solution can also be used to remove dust and dirt on the PCB, especially between tiny pitches of the components.
If you want your PCB to be used in a polluted environment, the assembled PCB can be coated with a conformal coating. This coating prevents moisture and dust from contacting the conductive elements of the circuit.