Low cost PCB through-hole plating

in how-to by DP | 14 comments

Ricardo Trombetta shared a tutorial on how to plate the holes using copper hypophosphite pyrolysis to activate the holes:

This video shows how to activate a PCB holes surfaces before electroplating. The holes are activated using a low cost copper hypophosphite based solution and the electroplating is made using an acid bath that is copper sulfate based.

Via the forum.

This entry was posted in how-to and tagged , .

Comments

  1. Winston says:

    How about some mention about where exactly one is supposed to obtain copper hypophosphite. And for those of us living in the United States of Paranoia, does it have any nefarious uses? We wouldn’t want DP readers’ doors broken down in the middle of the night by their government “servants.”

    • Bandi says:

      You are not supposed to buy copper hypophosphite. The guy has another video where he shows how to make it from calcium hypophosphite.

      Basically, here are two problems with this method:

      1: Legal: US people might have a hard time obtaining calcium hypophosphite, as it’s designated as a List I chemical by the US DEA.

      2: Health: The method is better suited for lab use (as opposed to home tinkering), as hypophosphites tend to produce phosphine (the puffs of white smoke in the video suggest burning phosphine) when decomposing at high temperatures. Neither phosphine nor its combustion product (phosphorous pentoxide) are really healthy. So a respirator and a fume hood are really necessary (as the guy suggests in the warnings at the beginning of the video).

      Otherwise, great and informative video. Keep them coming!

      • Winston says:

        “US people might have a hard time obtaining calcium hypophosphite, as it’s designated as a List I chemical by the US DEA.”

        And _there you go_, showing precisely why I asked.

      • Winston says:

        “You are not supposed to buy copper hypophosphite. The guy has another video where he shows how to make it from calcium hypophosphite.”

        And the precursors are probably watched, too!

  2. Hello Guys!

    I shared this video because here in Brazil the calcium hypophosphite is not prohibited and here we don´t have many technological resources for the electronics enthusiasts use in your projects. This recipe is Russian and was developed shortly after the fall of the USSR as they needed a low cost solution for through hole plating.

    Here the federal police department has a list of chemicals used to do drugs too, but the concept is somewhat different. The products are prohibited only in certain quantities to avoid using them to produce drugs and at the same time do not disturb people who use them for other purposes like me.

    Here the 37% hydrochloric acid is banned in quantities greater than 1 liter per month and nitric acid or sodium nitrate is controlled by the army because people use it to make explosives.

    If you want to buy a larger quantity you will need a license. All of this is controlled by the distributors and supervised by the police. Here even the methanol is controlled by the civil police department, but this does not mean that I can´t bought to use in my drag car since I respect the quantities and make all necessary statements that are sent to the police department.

    All countries have their problems… Here the guys don´t use calcium hypophosphite to make drugs but use explosives to explode ATMs to steal the money that was inside. So if any of you come to the world cup, do not get too close to an ATM … lol

    • Winston says:

      “This recipe is Russian and was developed shortly after the fall of the USSR as they needed a low cost solution for through hole plating.”

      Well, most of the world, including Russia is no longer so hampered with respect to PC board manufacturing, so it’s foolish to relay PC manufacturing tips that rely on prohibited chemicals or their precursors, providing minimally useful information at great potential risk to anyone who tries it without knowing the details of the chemicals used.

  3. Winston, I completely agree with you, but in countries like the United States there are kits to make hole plating at home and can be purchased at farnell, mouser and other shops, while in other under developing countries like Brazil we does not have these features, limiting enough to make a complex prototype, which may help in our own development. I could use a conductive paint to activate the holes but it is extremely expensive. We can send the layout to a specialized company too, that makes the pcb in 24 hours, but I would spend about R$ 500,00 (about US$ 250.00) in two pcbs, which does not make it accessible to all people.
    So, in countries where there is no other way, this is still viable.

    • Winston says:

      Then you should post a big, bold warning about the chemicals involved at the very start of your text.

  4. nocalls says:

    Please stop complaining about your ability to procure and/or prepare chemicals and thank Mr. Trombetta for his educational video. The chemicals are only difficult to obtain for people not working in the industry.

    • nocalls says:

      OF MAKING DRUGS!!

      • Winston says:

        You intentionally miss my point and then follow it up with a post to prove it.

        In the US, thanks to the NSA and possible worse unknowns, even keywords in emails and Internet searches could be triggers, for absolute certainty in international communications, someone can easily be drawn to the unjust attention of Big Brother.

  5. dext0rb says:

    Don’t be so paranoid, Winston.

  6. Fernando says:

    Anyone knows where to get a circuit for a power supply like the one he uses in the eletroplating process?

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