Additional Information

Site Information

 Loading... Please wait...


Refurbishing Laptops with an Ultrasonic Cleaner

Laptop computers, also referred to as laptops or notebooks are portable computers that typically weigh two to 12 pounds. Battery or AC-powered, laptops operate with dual core or quad-core processors, an LCD screen display, and integrated features, including USB ports, built-in cameras, memory (RAM,) wireless connectivity, and various drives. Used for personal and office work, laptop units need to be maintained regularly to ensure smooth and optimal operation. Cleaning your unit's printed circuit board (PCB) with an ultrasonic cleaner is one of the best ways to do this.

Laptop units can take a lot of abuse including being left out in the rain, water damage or otherwise rendered inoperable. Unless your laptop is irreparably damaged, it can most likely be restored to operation in an ultrasonic printed circuit board cleaner. With the same technology used by printed circuit board manufacturers, ultrasonic circuit board cleaning quickly and safely removes contaminants from the delicate components in your laptop.

Here you will learn:

  • How an Ultrasonic PCB Cleaner Works
  • How to Select and Set Up your Circuit Board Cleaner
  • How to Disassemble, Clean and Reassemble your laptop

How Ultrasonic PCB Cleaners Work to Restore Your Laptop

Ultrasonic cleaners are used in a wide range of applications to remove virtually any soil or contamination by using the power of cavitation action. This is the term used to describe the implosion of billions of minute bubbles contacting Laptop PCB components and surfaces. The bubbles are created by generator-powered ultrasonic transducers bonded to an ultrasonic tank and typically operate at an ultrasonic frequency of 37 to 42 kHz (37,000 to 42,000 cycles per second).

When the bubbles implode contaminants are quickly and safely removed from PCB surfaces without damaging delicate parts. So tiny are the bubbles that they penetrate minute cracks, crevices and blind holes that might lodge dried residue, dust and dirt particles. The ultrasonic PCB cleaning system will complete the job in as little as 10 to 15 minutes. And it will do it in an environmentally friendly manner because the ultrasonic circuit board cleaning solution formula is a biodegradable concentrate that minimizes disposal problems.

How to Select and Set Up your Laptop Circuit Board Ultrasonic PCB Cleaner

Ultrasonic PCB cleaners come in a variety of sizes from benchtop ultrasonic cleaners to a floor-mounted industrial ultrasonic cleaning machine, so you can select any size you need. Our most popular models for cleaning Laptop circuit boards are the ¾ gallon Elma EH075EL and 1½ gallon Elma EH150EL. You should select an ultrasonic PCB cleaner equipped with a frequency sweep function, such as an Elma model, to prevent damage to sensitive components during cleaning. Choose a model also equipped with a heater to improve the ultrasonic cleaning process.

Whatever the model and size of ultrasonic circuit board cleaner you use there are steps to take before cleaning begins.

  1. Fill the ultrasonic cleaner tankto the fill line (or approximately 2/3 full) with ultrasonic cleaning solution such as Elma tec clean A1 diluted 1:20 with water.
  2. Turn on the ultrasonic cleaner, set the heater to approximately 50?C, and operate for about 30 minutes to drive off cavitation inhibiting entrained air. Degassing is complete when bubbles stop coming to the surface and must be performed every time the tank is filled with fresh circuit board cleaning solution.

How to Disassemble, Clean and Reassemble your Laptop

Step 1: Disassembling your Laptop

First, you will need to turn your unit upside down. Remove the screws securing the CPU cover, modem cover, memory cover, hard drive cover and wireless card cover. Remove all covers as well as the memory card and the wireless card. Remove the battery. There is one screw securing the hard drive. Once this screw is removed, the hard drive can now be separated.

Remove the two screws securing the fan assembly. You will now have to disconnect the fan cable from the system board. Lift the fan out of the base and remove the four screws. These screws secure a plate located directly above the cooling module. Remove this plate and carefully lift the cooling module off the CPU. The old grease covering the CPU must be removed as well. Also, you will have to remove all marked screws on the bottom of the notebook.

It is now time to turn the computer right side up. You will need to insert a thin object under the securing strip found on the upper part of the laptop. Be careful when lifting it as it may be very tight. Remove the securing strip and the three screws in the center. There is also a keyboard lock found in the center, that needs to be removed. Lift the keyboard and place it upside down. Remove one screw securing a metal plate. The plate can now be removed. Disconnect the keyboard cable on the system board and gently remove the keyboard.

Remove the screw found at the back of the computer. Once this is done, remove the screw securing the DVD drive and remove the DVD drive as well. Disconnect the LCD cable and the speaker cables on the system board. Make sure you pull the wireless LAN cables through the opening. You may now lift the upper cover and display assembly off the base. Remove these and disconnect the touchpad cable from the system board. The screw securing the touchpad can now be removed and the touchpad can now be lifted.

Remove the two screws securing the plastic frame then remove the plastic frame. Turn the unit upside down once more and remove the two screws securing the modem board. Disconnect the cable and remove the modem board. For the last step, turn the computer right side up and remove the two screws securing the system board to the base. You may now lift your laptop’s circuit board.

You now hold in your hand, your laptop circuit board.

Congratulations! You have successfully removed your circuit board from your laptop! You may now proceed with the next step.

Step 2: Cleaning the Printed Circuit Board

Set the PCB ultrasonic cleaner’s thermostat to 50°C and activate the Sweep mode. While the solution is heating, place your PCB in the basket. If you are cleaning more than one at a time take care that they do not touch each other. Once the operating temperature is reached lower the basket into the cleaning solution and set the timer for 10 minutes. Cleaning time depends on the condition of the PCBs and may have to be adjusted.

At the end of the cycle remove the components from the bath. If they are not clean replace them in the bath until the cleaning is complete. Then rinse them in distilled or deionized water to remove all traces of the cleaning solution and avoid water spotting. Dry them with an air blower or warm air dryer.

Safety note: DO NOT reach into an operating ultrasonic cleaning bath. Instead remove the basket if you want to inspect or rearrange the parts.

Step 3: Reassembling your Laptop

Turn your computer right side up and return your laptop circuit board to its original position. Return the two screws back. Put back the modem board making sure to screw it in place. Don’t forget to reconnect the cable. Turn the unit upside down and return the plastic frame. Secure it with the two screws.

Screw the touchpad back on. Reconnect the touchpad cable to the system board. Return the upper cover and display assembly to the base. Your wireless LAN cables must also be returned. Make sure that they are pushed through their respective opening. Reconnect the LCD cable and speaker cables on the system board. The DVD drive must be returned and secured with its original screws. Return the screw located at the back of the computer.

Reconnect the keyboard cable on the system board and return the keyboard gently. Put the metal plate back and screw it on. Return the keyboard lock to ensure that the keyboard stays put. Using you screwdriver, tighten the three screws in the center and return the securing strip gently. Turn you computer right side up.

Return all marked screws at the bottom of the notebook. The grease covering the CPU must also be returned. Return the plate directly above the cooling module and screw in place. Put back four screws and return the fan to the base. Reconnect the fan cable to the system board and tighten the two screws securing the fan assembly.

It is now time to return the hard drive to its original position and screw it in place. Return the battery as well as the memory card and wireless card, if your laptop has one. Screw back all the covers making sure that no part is missing from the assembly.

Admire the piece of work you just put back together.

Voila! Start your device and your laptop should be good to go.

More Operating Tips

Contaminants that rise to the surface of the ultrasonic baths should be skimmed off and disposed of properly. When the circuit board cleaning solution becomes discolored or cleaning takes longer it is time to replace it. Drain the tank and dispose of the spent solution according to local regulations. Take the time to remove any material that settled to the bottom of the tank. Clean the tank using a cleaning process recommended by the manufacturer.

Questions: Contact the ultrasonic cleaning experts at 973 821-4400

Disclaimer: This advice is not provided by a licensed technician. Follow at your own risk. We assume no liability for any damages caused by following the advice in this article.


Your information is secure and will not be shared with a third party or spammed