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'[EE]: Securing 1-Sided PCBs was Re: [OT]: Lifted P'
Many years ago (long, long ago and far, far away) I was a young engineer
tasked to strengthen single-sided PCBs from vibration and handling damage.
Found out an awesomely simple way to do make 1-sided PCBs as reliable as
thruhole boards. I thought it might help users of 1-sided PCBs IF done
BEFORE the damage is done:
1. When mounting components, make sure they are secured as close to the PCB
as possible. 1-sided solder joints have only holding strength, since the
thru-holes are not metal lined they can't resist from the component side down.
2. Once the PCB is finished, cleaned and inspected, coat the TOP side of
the board with clear acrylic spray. Several coats are better than one thick
coat. Make sure the spray runs into the cavities of the holes. Allow drying
between layers of at least 30 min. Finally, coat the bottom of the PCB.
Allow everything to dry, which will harden into a tough film. If you need
to strengthen large components, such as sockets, try superglue-ing them to
the PCB before spraying.
3. Acrylic spray is best; while there are other plastic sprays, acrylic is
easy to dissolve when you need to replace a component; acetone will remove
it in toto or on a spot basis. When done, replace the film with more
coatings. Also the coating is slightly flexible, so won't flake off.
Vibration tests indicated the method improved vibration resistance from 1G
to 4G and made the handling equivalent to plated thru-hole boards.
Incidentally, it improves moisture resistance, which is a serious problem
in many parts of the world (and in the SE USA).
The spray is available in the US from misc sources. I get mine from
Michael's, a craft store.
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