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Q&A

Cleaning flux out of USB connectors after soldering

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When soldering Micro-USB or USB-C connectors by hand, flux is applied generously. This sometimes results in flux getting inside the connector housing, making it sticky and creating high physical resistance when inserting and removing the cable. I have attempted using q-tips and small brushes with alcohol, but that does not seem to completely clean the housing. I also looked for compressed alcohol cans (similar to compressed air), but such a thing does not seem to exist.

What is a reliable way of cleaning this kind of connectors from flux residue?

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1 comment

Simply mask them before soldering? That is, put a piece of tape across the opening. Still, I don't quite understand how you can manage to get flux inside the connector. Use a flux pen or such, don't bathe the whole board in it straight from a bottle or something. Lundin‭ about 2 months ago

1 answer

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Direct answer

How to clean off flux depends on what type of flux was used. Most electronic parts can handle being washed in clean water. In fact, boards often go thru what amounts to an industrial dish washer after soldering. If water soluble flux was used, then this will probably work.

Check that all the parts can handle water first, though. Some parts have pull-off tabs that you leave in place until after the water rinse.

Other types of flux require solvents like alcohol, or other more nasty chemicals. Check the type of flux used, and what the various parts on the board can tolerate.

The real answer

There is no excuse for getting flux inside such a connector in the first place. You need to have a talk with you assembly house. I would seriously question their practices, and at the very least demand inspection so that I don't pay for incorrectly assembled boards.

If you are doing this by hand, be more careful. Some parts are really not meant for hand soldering, but most likely you're just being sloppy.

Without a detailed picture of the part and the problem, there is little more to say.

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