How to Identify and Prevent Overheating Damage to Circuit Boards

Circuit boards experience a great deal of wear and tear, and their performance and functionality deteriorate over time. That is why it is important to protect your electronic devices from factors such as weather, humidity, and dust as they ultimately affect the condition of a circuit board. Besides the preventive care, carrying out regular maintenance can extend the life of a circuit board, putting off the need for repairs for a little longer.

One of the main causes of wear and tear in circuit boards is overheating. Overheating in circuit boards can have a detrimental impact on the functioning of the equipment, components, and the board itself. The effect of increased temperatures may be minimal in many applications, but it can be substantial in high-performance systems.

Signs of Overheating on Your Circuit Board

  • Charred components: If you notice some burnt down or blackened components, that is a sign that your circuit board is exposed to high temperatures.
  • Delamination of the board. Delamination occurs when the layers of your PCB base materials partially separate. This will result in blister-like spaces or bubbles. Delamination often happens when there is excessive heat or humidity. 
  • Burnt electrical smell: If you smell a burning smell from your circuit board, chances are that your circuit board is overheating.
  • Broken traces
  • Burn Marks on the board substrate.
  • Subtle differences in the shades of grey of a solder joint.

How to Prevent Overheating in Your Equipment 

There are various measures you can carry out to prevent your circuit board from overheating. These measures include:

Keeping the electronics clean always

The coils, cables, and fans of your electronics are frequently overlooked. These items must be cleaned because they become dusty or greasy, which might cause overheating of your electronics. Simply clean the coils and cables of your electronics with a clean towel. As for the fans, use a can of air duster to clean and clear off dust.  

Proper ventilation

Often, some electronic pieces of equipment are placed in enclosed cabinets, which trap heat thus preventing air to circulate and cool the device. Take an industrial dryer, for instance. If the vent is plugged and there is nowhere it can exhaust, hot air will stay inside making it hard to dry clothes. It is therefore important to have a proper air conditioning system to keep electronic equipment operating at normal temperatures.

Avoid sunlight, direct or reflected, on your equipment

Keeping your gadgets away from other heat sources is one of the greatest methods to protect them. Direct sunlight from windows, heating ducts, radiators, baseboard heaters, space heaters, and kitchen electronics are all potential sources of heat.

Keep your equipment in good repair

Keeping your equipment in good condition is one of the most effective ways of protecting it from overheating. Always ensure that there are no loose connections, the equipment is free from dust, and it is insulated properly. 

Do not operate your equipment above the recommended limits

As your equipment works harder or under unusual loads, heat will be the inevitable by-product, leading to the failure of your equipment. 

Sealing the enclosures

As mentioned earlier, some factors such as moisture and dust can cause the equipment to overheat. To protect internal components from the environment, electrical enclosures may need to be sealed. Typical examples of this might be:

  • Dirt & dust: If the enclosure is in an extremely dusty area, dirt can contaminate the equipment surfaces and cause overheating.
  • Water splashing: For health and hygiene reasons, some equipment must be cleaned down. It is likely that the operation will result in water splashes, necessitating the sealing of the enclosure.

Contact ACS Industrial for All Your Electronic Repairs

If you find signs of overheating on your circuit boards, chances are pretty good that your equipment has already stopped functioning properly, or at all. Unless you have in-house electronic repair capabilities, your best course of action is to properly shut down your equipment and remove the unit for repairs. Check your warranty to see if the OEM will handle the repairs.

If the unit is out of warranty, repairs of this kind should be sent to a professional electronic repair service company. ACS Industrial Repair Services will handle all your electronic repair needs. We offer free evaluations and a good warranty on our repairs.  Contact us today at 800-605-6419 to talk to an experienced technician for help.