[PDP8-Lovers] how to clean a PDP8/A, dishwasher?

From: Matthew Sell <msell_at_ontimesupport.com>
Date: Sat Dec 15 01:32:50 2001


This argument always comes up every few months on the video game collecting
newsgroups that I'm a member of.

Here we go....

How do you think the boards were cleaned by the manufacturer?

Boardwashers!!!!! (big versions of dishwashers - usually with conveyors for
constant operation)

I've been employed by two different electronic test equipment
manufacturers, and have consulted a bunch more regarding quality control
and calibration of electronic test equipment.


No shit.

Depending on the type of equipment that is being produced, some may use
distilled water, others filtered water, some use "deionized" water.

But it's still water. Hot water.

I clean all of my computers, upright video games, and all of the boards
from my two 11/780's and one PDP-11/34A in the dishwasher. No damage yet,
after several YEARS of doing this. I've put high-voltage power supplies,
low voltage power supplies, floppy disk drives, CPU boards and everything
else in the wash. What doesn't fit in the dishwasher gets blasted with 409
and hot water in the tub.

Here's the secrets to doing this right:

1) Do not use any detergents. NONE.
2) Turn off the plate warming and drying cycles. The heating elements in
the washer can distort or damage plastics.
3) Remove soon after cycle is complete. Do not let items sit overnight.
Shake off water.
4) Stand up or hang to dry.
5) Let items dry inside the house for several days. I usually don't touch
washed items for at least 3-4 days.
6) Don't plug the item in to power of any form until step #5 has completed.

For delicate items, I use water from the sink at a low flow rate, and spray
a mixture of 409 and water onto the item and allow it to soak for a few
minutes before rinsing. I may use a soft paintbrush to clean stubborn dirt
if necessary. Rinse and repeat.

I know that a good percentage of you are skeptical. Every one of my games
in my arcade collection had at least the CPU boardset in the dishwasher.
Several others had every single board through the wash. All of them work,
and did so before going into the dishwasher and immediately after drying.
Others had the monitors powerwashed. I took an entire 11/780 out into my
driveway and I powerwashed the chassis AND backplane!

Don't take my word for it; take a board that you know is operational, of
little value to you, test it out, and run it through the dishwasher using
the steps outlined above. After a few days of drying, test it out. It'll
work. And - I severely doubt that you get it any cleaner using any other

Of course, don't wash the boards with your regular load of plates and
pots..... : )

         - Matt

At 10:25 PM 12/14/2001 -0800, you wrote:
>On Fri, 14 Dec 2001, Gunther Schadow wrote:
> > But first I need to give this thing a good cleaning.
> > A friend
> > has assured me that there's nothing better than the dishwasher,
> > with the exception of big capacitors and, what about magnetic
> > core memory?
>I am appalled that anyone would seriously consider putting any electronic
>equipment, much less antiques, in a dishwasher.
>It may be alright to (gently!) vaccuum away dust and deteriorated foam
>rubber, although a feather duster may be more appropriate. I would not
>risk anything else, and certainly not insert anything (including water or
>alcohol) under the plexiglass shield protecting the core.
>A damp cloth with perhaps a bit of soap to the exterior surfaces of the
>case is probably all you really need, but be sure not to let any liquid
>seep into the inerior.
>-- Mark --
>Science does not emerge from voting, party politics, or public debate.

Matthew Sell
On Time Support, Inc.
(281) 296-6066

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Received on Sat Dec 15 2001 - 01:32:50 GMT

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