Printed Circuit Boards are the basic component of most of the electronic devices we use every day. From large screen televisions to small mobile phones, all devices use printed circuit boards. If you are an electrical engineer then chances are that you deal with printed circuit boards on a daily basis. You might need them for a new device or for updating an existing circuit.
The printed circuit boards can get damaged for many different reasons. Sometimes the PCB can be damaged beyond repair but other times the damage is quite repairable. Printed circuit boards are a very important component which is why it is crucial for you to repair them as perfectly as possible. A bad repair can result in electrical short circuit.
It is ideal to get the PCB fixed from a professional however if you want to learn ways to repair a printed circuit board then we are here to help.
Repairing Printed Circuit Boards
Repairing printed circuit boards can be a very challenging task. To repair a printed circuit board, you need to have proper knowledge and skills about the subject. Let’s take a look at ways you can repair a printed circuit board.
Identify The Problem
The first thing you need to do while repairing a printed circuit board is to diagnose the issue. You have to identify what part of the printed circuit board is causing the problem. Once you identify the malfunctioning part, you have to see if you can replace it with a similar component of if you need to find the exact same part. Some component on a printed circuit board can be replaced with a similar component. However defective parts that play a specific function have to be replaced with the same type of component.
Choose A Setting
Printed circuit boards are full of many different small components. In order to repair the board you have to be very vigilant. You need to have proper tools to repair the board but before everything else you need to find a proper platform to put your PCB on. A smooth desk surface can be an ideal platform. You can either tape the circuit to the table or use specific clippers to hold the circuit board while you work on it. This will stop the circuit from moving while you are working on it. In addition to that you need to have all the required tools and accessories with you on the desk as well.
Remove The Defective Component
You need a hot air gun to remove the defective component from the printed circuit board. Once the hot air gun is turned on, you can then hold it a few inches above the part that needs to be replaced. This will loosen the defective component. You can then pull the loosened component out with the help of tweezers.
Time To Solder The Components
Take a specific length of copper braids and put them on the pad on the PCB. They should be put on the same place from where the defective component was taken out. Once you have put copper braid on the pad, you can then use the tip of the soldering iron to heat the copper braid. The copper braids will absorb all the extra solder present on the PCB pad. Once you are done, use clean alcohol swabs to clean the pads. Do not use wet cloth or any other type of cloth material. Alcohol swabs are the best option when it comes to cleaning the pads on the printed circuit board.
Join The New And 100% Working Component On The Pad Of The PCB
The next step in printed circuit board repairing is to connect the new component with the pads on the printed circuit board. This is a very important part and should be performed with great care. There are two things you have to keep in mind while joining the new component to the pad on the printed circuit board. The first thing to keep in mind is the positioning and orientation of the component. You have to place it in the exact same position as the old component. Changing the position and orientation of the new product may cause the printed circuit board to short circuit. The printed circuit board will not work if the connections aren’t done in the right way. Use solder and soldering iron to connect leads of all the components with the corresponding links on the pad.
When Are PCBs Un-Repairable
Like all other products in the world, the printed circuit boards also have a lifetime. After which the pcb becomes weak and defective. In such cases it is better to buy a new pcb instead of repairing the old one. There are many other scenarios as well where getting a new printed circuit board makes more sense that repairing the older one. Some examples of un-repairable pcb issues are given below.
· Burned Printed Circuit Boards
· Exposed Copper
· Lifted Pads
· When other parts of the PCB have already been replaced multiple times
· Experts believe that 5 years is the maximum time that a printed circuit board can work to its optimum level. After that it is highly recommended to replace the PCB with a new one.
There are different types of printed circuit boards found in the market. Two of the major printed circuit boards are rigid pcb and flexible pcb. Some circuits are even built by combining both rigid pcb and flexible pcb. No matter the type of printed circuit board, it can be repaired using a similar process mentioned above. The repairing process mentioned above is a somewhat general process and can be used to replace components on all types of printed circuit boards. It is very important to be highly skilled and knowledgeable about the repairing of PCB. If you are not sure about the repairing process then it is best to take it to a professional. A professional can carefully replace the defective part with a working one without damaging the pad or other parts of the circuit.