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.
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.
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.
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.
Step 2: Scrape off a bit of varnish from both ends of the wire.
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.
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.
Step 5: Flatten the wire and align the wire and solder the surface using a soldering iron.
Step 6: Apply varnish to both ends of the soldered wire and measure.
Step 7: Add a small amount of insulating varnish to the weld.
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.
Step 1: Begin by gently scraping the surface of the circuit board to expose the section of copper.
Step 2: Apply flux to the area that needs repair, then apply a small amount of solder and melt it.
Step 3: Insert a wire through the hole using a braided fabric, bend it, and solder to secure it.
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.
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.
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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