Thermal paste on cpu pins

By jb444 ยท 23 replies
Oct 14, 2006
  1. Hi all,
    After I knocked my Zalman CNPS-9500AM2 while rewiring all the power cables in my new pc, the temps while idling went up by about 5 Celcius (Not really a problem as still idles at 33), So I took of the heatsink and wiped off the old thermal paste, Put some more on etc
    The problem is I accidentally wiped a tiny amount of the thermal paste onto the base of about 5 of the pins on the edge of the underside. I wiped all that I could off but it looks to me like theres enough there to short some of the pins (if the paste conducts).
    Will this cause a problem?
    Should I boot up and see what happens?
    Any idea for somthing small enough to clean between the pins?
    Thanks for any advice
    ps. thanks for putting up with my endless questions about my new pc
  2. DonNagual

    DonNagual TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 2,406

    Well, bit of a tough spot there. What kind of thermal paste did you use? As far as I know, they are all excellent conductors (especially arctic silver) and you do not want to try starting your system with that on your pins.

    Never had it happen, so I can't say for sure how to clean it out, but if it were me I would carefully try and wash it off with some solvent. You're going to need to be very careful not to damage any pins.... Good luck!
  3. agi_shi

    agi_shi TS Rookie Posts: 385

    Actually, I've heard that AS is the least conductive out of all of them:
    Though, they still recommend to keep it out of stuff like pins....
  4. jb444

    jb444 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 100

    It was the stuff that came with the heatsink...I got a resistance of 3500ohms across 1mm of it on a sheet of paper. It wasnt the most accurate experiment i've ever conducted though.
    Do all alcohols dissolve it or just propyl alcohols?

    btw any Antec P180 owners here, does it matter which way up you put the psu in?? (didnt think it was worth starting a new thread)
  5. wallabing

    wallabing TS Rookie Posts: 69


    You need an artic silver cleaning kit, and a paper towel.

    Take a paper towel and fold it until it fits perfectly in between the cpu pins. While the paper towel is inserted between the pins (in the place you intend to clean) gently drop 2 tabs of artic silver thermal material remover near the pins and paper towel and let it soaks the towel, so the liquid contacts the pins or dirty areas. then gently move the wet towel slowly back and forth between the pins to clean the thermal paste off

    Repeat the same way with artic silver surface purifier and it gets the job done. All liquids are safe for the cpu pins.

    I find that the super absorbant paper towels work best.

    I was in this situation myself.

    Hope this helps :)
  6. wallabing

    wallabing TS Rookie Posts: 69

    btw any Antec P180 owners here, does it matter which way up you put the psu in?? (didnt think it was worth starting a new thread)[/QUOTE]

    If you want to use the silent padded drive cage:

    1.If your PSU has normal 80mm fans, any way will work.

    2.If your PSU has 120mm fans underneath the PSU, you are forced to install it upside down.

    If you dont want to use the silent padded drive cage, you can install the PSU the regular way with screws and any way will work.

    Heres mine!
  7. douglas13

    douglas13 TS Rookie

    I cleaned a cpu a few months ago with just isoprople alchohol and a paper towel. Worked great.

  8. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 17,244   +234

    Denatured alcohol works best... It has much less water in it than Isopropyl alcohol
  9. F1N3ST

    F1N3ST TS Rookie Posts: 596

    Distilled water, impurities are what conducts, dust etc.
  10. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 17,244   +234

    Too much water can cause rusting and corrosion
  11. jb444

    jb444 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 100

    Cleared it off this morning and its worked fine.
    Thanks all, especially wallabing
  12. dmill89

    dmill89 TS Guru Posts: 475

    I personally prefer Acetone. I think it does a much better job of takeing off thermal compound and evaporates much quicker than alcohol.
  13. jb444

    jb444 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 100

    If you can find any...dimethylsulphoxide works brilliantly (what ive been using)
  14. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,742   +421

    In the US most drugstores carry 99% Isopropyl, you don't have to worry about water at that percentage, just regular Isopropyl is like 70%. So pay attention to percentages.

    Acetone will work fine too, but be careful with it. Isopropyl is much more tolerant of plastics than Acetone. For example you can clean cds with isopropyl, but acetone dissolves the plastic (at least on cdrs).
  15. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 17,244   +234

    I used acetone alot in the 70's for cleaning electronic circuit boards. It was outlawed for its toxic carcenogenic fumes in the early 80's. Denatured alcohol evaproates quickly too and a pint bottle costs about $5.50 at any drug store here in the USA. I also use this to clean video heads, metal and rubber parts and belts
  16. dmill89

    dmill89 TS Guru Posts: 475

    outlawed?? since when, here in PA I can buy it at any hardware store for about $4 a quart.
  17. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 17,244   +234

    Outlawed for industrial use in California... Denatured alcohol has less smelly fumes than acetone, even though you might not put your nose too close to an open bottle of denatured either :)
  18. javierislame

    javierislame TS Rookie

    First time poster here, but I just wanted to give thanks for this thread, as it helped me out greatly yesterday.

    Never again will I use so much thermal paste.
  19. CMH

    CMH TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,039   +9

    You shouldn't ever use too much thermal paste anyway, it doesn't help dissipate heat, just helps transferring heat. Its not a great heat conductor to start with, just a heck lot better than air (and this goes for AS5 as well).

    The less the better in this case.

    As for the initial problem, as long as they're not shorting the pins, I wouldn't worry about it. If it is, do as wallabing mentioned: fold a paper towel or something, and use it to wipe the stuff off. I'd personally use isopropyl alcohol to clean it, mainly cos it dries up real fast.
  20. iamcostas

    iamcostas TS Rookie

    i just clean my cpu pins with a old toothbrush and washing liquid. the pins are clean now and i let the cpu to get dry. i took the risk but i will wait to see what will happen next. at least the toothbrush did a very good job and cleaned all the cpu without damaging the pins. but of cource i will not use the same toothbrush to clean my teath! the old thermal paste was silver colour. i decided to clean the cpu pins because after i placed a new silicon thermal paste in the cpu the motherboard speaker was making continously a noise but the xp boot with no problem. i hope it was the old silver thermal paste between the cpu pins and not a motherboard problem.
  21. iamcostas

    iamcostas TS Rookie

    my story:
    as i said before i cleaned the old silver colour thermal paste on my pentium 4 cpu but accidentally some left between the cpu pins. i tried to clean it with just tissue paper and put it back. the computer boot, the xp operating system was fine but the motherboard speaker was making continuously noise.
    first i thought the noise was coming from the cpu, graphic card or power supply fan , but i realize that it was the speaker from the motherboard. after a while i thought maybe the cpu pins were not clean properly.also i believed that the thermal paste is not conductive. because i didn't have acetone or alcohol , i used common washing liquid , water and and old toothbrush. i don't know about rusting but anyway the all cpu was cleaned very well and i let it dry.
    after i applied carefully silicon based thermal paste and placed back the cpu on the motherboard . the computer boot fine and ther was no more noise from the motherboard speaker. So , the only thing i guess is that the silver thermal paste left between the cpu pins caused problems. and of course i am going to buy acetone or alcohol cleaning stuff.
  22. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +10

    Acetone is too dangerous. It can damage too many things. You don't want it around an open board... even the fumes are destructive unless you really know what you are doing.
    Q-Tips, a very soft cotton cloth, and denatured alcohol applied patiently, dried, repeated, until you see nothing with a magnifying glass... and you are home free.
  23. Tarkus

    Tarkus TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 621

    heh, I just wash mine under the tap with some dish soap and a toothbrush. Go gently on the pins.
  24. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 7,241   +10

    Yea, right.
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