Introduction: NI Maschine - Repair PCB Track After Dodgey USB Port Replacement

Picture of NI Maschine - Repair PCB Track After Dodgey USB Port Replacement

If during the replacement of the USB port you accidently damage or ‘peel up’ one or more of the traces, these can easily be fixed with the right tools and some careful handy work! I would highly recommend you have all of the below list of equipment as I had several failed attempts at this and it wasnt till I finally had all the right gear that I got mine to work! The Maschine costs AU$500+ to replace so buying all the below equipment is well worth it in my opinion plus you will learn some good skills from this project and probably want to do more soldering work in the future so good to have the stuff handy J

Step 1: What You Need....

Picture of What You Need....

• Soldering Iron with fine tip
• Solder
• Soldering Station with alligator clips and magnifying glass
• Wire (any guage as you will be extracting single strands of copper from inside the wire to match the trace size that you are patching)
• Sand Paper (medium grit)
• Tweezers
• Isopropyl alcohol ($12 from the hardware store. Jaycar will have this too..)
• Sharp knife (Craft knife or Stanley knife will do)

Step 2: Method

Picture of Method

1. Clean the area with isopropyl alcohol and use the magnifying glass in your solder station to identify which of the 4 main traces that run from the USB ports 4 terminals to various chips on the Mainboard if damaged. It could be more than one of them. There is 3 traces on the top and 1 on the bottom of the board.

**See Image of my damaged PCB tracks **   

2. Cut out the damaged section of trace using the sharp knife.
3. Cut a very small rectangle of sand paper and fold in half so you have a very small surface of sand paper. Using the magnifying glass to see what your doing, sand the green coating off the track to expose some clean copper to solder onto.
4. Strip a wire exposing the required length of copper wire and separate 2 of the strands. Twist them together and melt some solder up and down the length of them to seal them as one wire. Thanks to this guy for that tip!
5. Put a tiny blob of solder on the exposed section of track and hold the heat on it temporarily until the solder bonds nicely with the track. Remove excess solder.
6. You can now solder to patch wire in place. I had to do this with 3 of the 4 traces and managed to finally get it working solidly! See how dodgy mine looks but it works well! This was my first attempt so was trial and error (and a lot of Googling) but it worked a treat!

Comments

pfred2 (author)2012-12-24

One trick I was taught about de-soldering is to add some hand solder to the joint first, I know it doesn't sound like it makes much sense on the face of it, but trust me, flowing in fresh solder helps out a lot. Probably because the solder the boards are soldered with is slightly different than hand solder (how it is different is complicated but it is). Also, use the 3 second rule, if whatever you want to happen hasn't happened for you in less than 3 seconds remove the iron tip from the work and re-evaluate your technique. You probably need to clean more, or add flux, or something. Going beyond 3 seconds you're only going to foul stuff up so let it cool.

Finally in order to desolder a multi leaded part don't be shy about mechanically destroying the part so you can remove it a leg at a time. You're pulling garbage off the board anyways so it doesn't matter how it hits the trash can. One piece, or 10, all that matters is that you do not damage the board! Lots of folks think they're going to get some kind of a reward or something if they pull a part off a PCB intact. There are no style points awarded in this event past the condition you leave the board in.

It doesn't hurt to practice on scrap circuit boards first before you work on the main event either if you're not very experienced at board reworking.

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