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Solvent to remove RAM heat spreaders?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
When I put my watercooled X99 build together, I had a memory related issue on POST and one of my modules was not appearing at all. Everything ran just fine when I did the test build on air, so something went wrong in between.

I highly suspect that I damaged the one module when removing the stock heatspreaders. I didn't really know what I was doing with the first and I scratched the module with my screwdriver, near the base where the connections are. I had hoped that I only exposed a bit of copper but it would seem that I killed the stick.

Because I used rigid tubing, I need to re-do some of the loop so I can get at least the CPU under water while I test each stick just to confirm. If the stick is in fact dead, I will be forced to buy a new kit, which brings me to the question which has been bothering me for the last day or so.

Do I take the risk of watercooling the next set of RAM? I had initially decided that it wasn't worth risking the much higher price for the same kit, but after taking out my RAM blocks, I saw how much I liked their aethetics and that was kind of the point of this build to begin with.


I would like to take a less brute-force approach to removing the heatsinks. I was considering using some kind of solvent to attack the troublesome sticky pads on the side of the stick that has no chips.

Has anyone ever tried submerging the RAM in some kind of solvent before? Would off-the-shelf rubbing alcohol be safe for the RAM?
post #2 of 8
To remove the heat spreaders, you need to heat them. Hair dryer and heat gun would be ideal to with this application.
post #3 of 8
Do NOT pry between the heatsink and circuit board or the chips may come off the circuit board and even pull off copper traces.

3M Adhesive Remover should work and not hurt the epoxy circuit board and chip package material, but I don't know about Goo Gone.

Water cooling RAM is absolutely silly, even more so than having heatsinks on RAM.
post #4 of 8
heat them to 135-140 on both sides at the same, also make sure both sides are loose before you remove either of the sides

its no issue if you get them hot enough
post #5 of 8
Never tried it, but Mineral Spirits might work.

I use them for Oil Painting, and its a relatively strong solvent (less then Oil of Spike Lavender)

according to this article: http://www.crazykong.com/tech/CleaningPCBsFAQ.txt

it can be used to clean paint off a PCB, which to me means it wont dissolve the PCB, or effect the components.



I don't know that I would use a heater on any PCB. I hate using a Soldering Iron on the actual board.

might cause micro fracturing, and start runaway positive thermal feedback.

If I wasn't so busy, I'd probably try this on a old DDR2 DIMM, cause I'm curious now.

just my 2 cents
post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 
Well, now that I know I have a confirmed-dead stick, there isn't anything stopping me from trying things out on at least one of the remaining ones since I rather expect that the non-enthusiast platforms will be dual channel.

I might cook the stick in the oven at 200 for a half-hour or something and see if that damages it permanently. I used a hair dryer last time but the proper heatgun I got in the meantime might get me high enough to really loosen the adhesive as long as I don't damage the sticks, which I shouldn't. The method in the video applies even but mild pressure and adds heat until it pops off, which ought to be fine.
post #7 of 8
A lighter and Popsicle stick will get them off in seconds, if you don't mind ruining any labels on the heatspreaders. Otherwise you want a heatgun, or a hair dryer (for weaker adhesives, like thermal tapes).

Depending on the adhesive getting them off with just a solvent will either take forever (days of soaking), or will require something strong enough to strip the lacquer from the PCB.
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post #8 of 8
You can't fix solder without enough temperature to melt it, or roughly 200 Celsius for lead-free solder, Soldering will not cause micro fracturing because the materials are specifically designed for soldering.

Did you examine the copper traces with a magnifying glass? You can often find a lot more that way.

You may want to test the module by clamping clothespins over the heatsinks, one clothespin per chip. Try to make each clothespin clamp in the center of each chip. If the memory works even the slightest bit better, than you have a broken solder joint.
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