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Thread: Cleaning a heatsink plate

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    Cleaning a heatsink plate

    Hello all.

    I am currently building my new rig and have hit a stumbling block with my CPU heatsink (Thermaltake Big Typhoon 120 VX). Quite simply the contact plate has four incredibly grubby fingerprints on it. I can't see how they'd have got there unless it was me, so I guess I was just careless. I've searched my house and the most appropriate things I can find to attempt to clean it are acetone nail polish remover and cotton tip swab thingums (living with girls does have it's advantages ^_^). I know these are less than perfect, but can't decide whether to go ahead and attempt to clean it with them.

    So basically I'm asking people's opinions on whether I should try to clean the plate with these things, or wait til tomorrow so I can buy some proper cleaning alcohol and lint-free cloth... or even whether I should just go ahead and stick the damn thing on anyway.

    I'm an impatient man. If I have to wait another night after waiting three weeks for my wolfdale processor I'm probably going to grind my teeth down to powder in frustration overnight ¬_¬

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    Re: Cleaning a heatsink plate

    Or of course if anybody can suggest any other household cleaning fluids that may work better... contact lens solution had crossed my mind.

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    Re: Cleaning a heatsink plate

    If you have any Methylated sprits or white spirit then you can use that, if not then the acetone based nail varnish remover could be ok but without knowing what else is in it i couldn't say for sure.

    I use cotton buds and tissue for my paste cleaning so dont worry about that just make sure the are no stray fibres on the base before you use it.

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    Re: Cleaning a heatsink plate

    Unforunately the nail polish remover includes conditioner. The ingredients besides acetone and water are Lanolin oil and "Colour C.I. 17200", whatever that may be...

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    Re: Cleaning a heatsink plate

    Yeah don't use that the lanolin oil may leave a film which would be as bad if not worse than the finger prints already on the base.

    May be worth waiting until you can get some Isopropanol (IPA) and do it properly.

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    Re: Cleaning a heatsink plate

    You could use vodka (plain Vodka - nothing flavoured) as that is mainly ethanol and water if you are really impatient, or a tiny amount of washing up liquid diluted in a little water, then rinse it throughly afterwards.

    Or wait and get down to Maplins (or wherever) and buy a can of iso-propyl alcohol (IPA), or a (proper) parmacist and get surgical spirit. (Erthanol, wit sufficient methanol in it to render it undrinkable)

    IPA is probably the best option.
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    Re: Cleaning a heatsink plate

    Decided I'm just going to build the rest of the system then head off to Wilco's for some IPA tomorrow before fitting the heatsink. Tried using the nail varnish remover and after evaporating it's left some very visible residue behind that I'm not entirely comfortable with. I'm actually pretty sure the heatsink came with those fingerprints now, as I was definitely very careful not to touch the base.

    Not too impressed with Thermaltake on that...

    Thanks for you input guys ^_^

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    Re: Cleaning a heatsink plate

    Go to a chemist and get some pure alcohol, cost me about £1 - not Boots, a proper chemist! The higher the alcohol content the better as it evaporates quickly leaving (hopefully) nothing behind.

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    Re: Cleaning a heatsink plate

    Quote Originally Posted by noom View Post
    Decided I'm just going to build the rest of the system then head off to Wilco's for some IPA tomorrow before fitting the heatsink.

    Best thing to do

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    Re: Cleaning a heatsink plate

    get some 'Akasa Tim Clean'
    Does a really good job of cleaning Heatsinks and CPU's and even smells of lemon
    Heres a linkage> Untitled Document

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    Re: Cleaning a heatsink plate

    Quote Originally Posted by Ap0llo View Post
    get some 'Akasa Tim Clean'
    Does a really good job of cleaning Heatsinks and CPU's and even smells of lemon
    Heres a linkage> Untitled Document
    It does, but there are two schools of thought on that one. One says that the citrus turpenes (the stuff that cleans) can leave deposits in the micropits in the metal, which act as a barrier to the thermal paste. The other says that if Akasa sell it as a cleaner, it must be OK.

    Personally I play safe - I use the Akasa TIM (or similar citrus based cleaner to get the worst off it is very good!) but then finish off with a good wipe over with IPA to remove any residue.
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    Re: Cleaning a heatsink plate

    My thinking is that if you touched the contact part if its plain copper the acids in your sweat have reacted with the copper and alcohol or detergents will not shift the marks, you will need to use a metal polish very slightly abraisive as it removes a minute amount of the surface. I'm not a chemist but copper oxidises very quickly and an oxide film is on there almost instantly, its very very thin. So this is what I would do:

    1) Polish with small amount of brasso etc.
    2) Clean with Isopropyl Alcohol or what ever you like.
    3) Apply heatsink goop of choice.

    In reality I don't think the finger prints will make much difference to the temps you get but if they bother you the above will fix it.

    use chemicals as directed by the supplier heath and safety being the point.

    Hope this helps.

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    Re: Cleaning a heatsink plate

    I use 100% acetone (few quid for a little bottle in boots) to clean any really grubby hardened paste then isopropl alcohol (few quid for a HUGE can in maplins) to purify the surface. If the paste isnt a massive mess or anything then just use isopropyl on it. Try and get a microfibre cloth, these things tend not to give off loads of fibres. Just to be sure i think its a good idea to make sure everything evaporates then give it a blast with a can of compressed air.

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