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Monday, September 20, 2021

How to repair broken PCB trace

Printed circuit boards (PCBs) are forged from layers of fiberglass and copper that are glued. Once you expose the glue to the heat, they tend to get damaged. Therefore, the PCB designs use large tracks and pads to prevent overheating. Once the PCB gets overheated, the most likely outcome will be that the copper layer will get eliminated from the fiberglass board and this usually breaks the joints and a non-working circuit. 

However, printed circuit boards have changed the way the electric industry works but their only disadvantage is that they lack the strength of previous hardwired, steel-chassis devices. You have to be very cautious when it comes to handling the printed circuit boards. 

You can repair the printed circuit board. But the repair process involves lots of complications. One of the most complicated phases of repairing is to find broken copper traces on the circuit board and make a circuit board trace repair.

Here are a few steps that you can use to repair the broken printed circuit boards: 

Step-1 You need to mix the epoxy as per the instructions of the manufacture. Then, you have to put epoxy into one side of the PCB. take two parts of the broken board and press them together. You have to hold them until the applied epoxy is set in and the broken board is fixed properly. It will take a few seconds for the epoxy to set in. Still, you should give it a time of 30 minutes before moving to the next step. 

(Note: if you have the two-sided board, the same steps mentioned above will apply, however, if you have the multilayered board, then these steps can not apply and you will have to replace the board with the new one.)

Step-2 Now remove all the broken copper traces on the board using the sharp knife and if you see any loose traces and remove them instantly and now you have to take the help of the emery cloth to sand the traces from which you eliminated the loose sections. You have to cut through the last of these traces until the bright copper is visible and make sure to avoid touching any of the traces that did not damage when the board was damaged. 

Step-3 Put the soldering pencil into a 110-volt receptacle and let it heat. Then wipe the hot soldering tip with a wet soldering sponge. Remove all the dirt and oxidation from the tip. 

Step-4 Apply a fresh coating of rosin-core solder to the soldering pencil tip and a good tip will have a bright silver color. if the tip has a dull color it means that it has not been cleaned properly and you are required to repeat the 3rd step again until you get the tinned tip. This is important for the efficient transfer of heat during the soldering process. 

Step-5 Use the rosin-core solder to the drilled shiny copper traces on the printed circuit board. Then apply with caution only the heat required to melt the solder. If there is more heat then it will break apart the copper traces from the board. 

Step-6 Get the hold of 18 gauge copper wire that has sufficient length to cover the cut traces and tin these short wires with rosin-core solder. 

Step-7 Now you have to get the tinned wire with tweezers and put it carefully across one of the traces where you uncovered a loose section. With the piece of wire laying across the gap, apply the soldering pencil’s tip to the top of the wire until it fuses to a copper trace on the board. You have to repeat this process with the remaining wires.  It will get done properly. 

Step-8 Cover all the parts and resemble the device and test to see whether it functions properly or not. If it does not work properly then, you need to check your repair job by taking meter readings from the next point on the circuit breaker on each side of the repair. This will show if there is any fault in the solder connections. 

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