How to Repair Circuit Board Traces

I’m sure you have encountered issues with electronic products malfunctioning, where they sometimes function properly and other times fail to work. This greatly affects our user experience. Many users may complain about product problems. In reality, such issues could be due to wiring faults within circuit boards. In many cases, we can perform repairs ourselves without the need to spend a significant amount on purchasing new electronic equipment. This article,  TechSparks will offer a guide on repairing PCB traces, helping you enhance your ability to fix it. It’s worth mentioning that these methods apply not only to industrial production but also to enthusiasts looking to repair their boards.

Conventional PCB Trace Repair

Step 1: Assess the Severity of Trace Damage​

In this case, we are dealing with a computer motherboard where there are evident burn marks around the memory slot area. The damage could be attributed to either inadequate circuit design or excessive current causing overheating and leading to a PCB short circuit in the memory module, resulting in broken.

We can clearly see that both ends of the trace have been completely burnt, and if not remedied promptly, the damage will continue to expand. Two issues need to be considered here: firstly, using very thin wire for repair might result in an unsightly appearance; secondly, if the mended wire differs from the original, it could potentially lead to secondary burnouts.

Computer motherboard wiring in need of repair

 

Step 2: Remove the Burnt Wire

Due to the significant damage in the burnt area and the aging of the trace, we need to cut away the burned section and then rewire it.

pcb board trace repair

Step 3: Apply Solder

Begin by scraping off the varnish from the two ends that require connection. Then, expose the trace’s position and apply solder using a soldering iron. This will facilitate the soldering after rewiring, so remember to control the amount of solder used during this process.

pcb trace repair wire

Step 4: Soldering Repair Traces

As I mentioned earlier, ensure to use materials with the same trace width and length. Here’s a nifty trick: you can directly salvage a segment from a discarded circuit board and solder it onto the trace that needs repair. But how to solder?

Step 1: Measure the length and width of the trace, ensuring it matches the repair area.

repair broken pcb trace

Step 2: Scrape off a bit of varnish from both ends of the wire.

repair pcb trace

Step 3: Place a piece of high-temperature tape on your worktable to prevent damage during soldering. Then apply solder to the scraped areas, being mindful of the amount.

circuit board trace repair

Step 4: Apply insulating varnish to the groove area, taking care not to get it on the solder. It serves two purposes: anchoring the wire to prevent movement during soldering and safeguarding against temperature-induced short circuits.

repair circuit board trace

Step 5: Flatten the wire and align the wire and solder the surface using a soldering iron.

pcb track repair

Step 6: Apply varnish to both ends of the soldered wire and measure.

pcb trace repair wire

Step 7: Add a small amount of insulating varnish to the weld.

pcb repair wire

The PCB board trace repair process is now complete, and it can function smoothly within the device. It’s worth mentioning that, for better visibility, we used green insulating varnish. If aesthetics are a concern, you could opt for brown varnish to conceal the repair marks.

Repairing PCB Traces Near Holes

In cases of trace faults, we may encounter a slightly more challenging situation where the trace needing repair is located close to a hole. While the process shares similarities with traditional trace repair, there are subtle variations to consider. Here, we will briefly discuss the repair process.

repairing broken traces on a circuit board

Step 1: Begin by gently scraping the surface of the circuit board to expose the section of copper.

repair broken traces pcb

Step 2: Apply flux to the area that needs repair, then apply a small amount of solder and melt it.

how to fix broken pcb traces

Step 3: Insert a wire through the hole using a braided fabric, bend it, and solder to secure it.

how to repair pcb tracehow to repair circuit board tracecircuit board trace repair

Step 4: Insert the wire into another hole without the need for it to be connected to the copper surface. However, for aesthetic purposes, you can align the wire according to the trace’s placement, and then solder the other end of the wire to the hole.

how to repair a printed circuit board trace

Step 5: On the backside of the circuit board, take a short section of the excess wire and solder it onto the copper surface to ensure a stable connection. Then, perform the same operation on the other hole.

fix pcb trace

With this, the fixed PCB trace process comes to an end. Your next step is to clean the board’s surface to prevent any secondary damage to the circuit.

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