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Electronics prep for hardware repairs

  1. Mar 14, 2017 #1
    So I am relatively new here, and find the best way to learn is by getting my hands on the physical model.

    One thing I do in my spare time is repair phones. I have done minor repairs and fault finding on iPhones but never had the confidence of repairing the Logic Board.

    I want to ask someone experienced on how to prepare for this so I can enjoy it as well have the best chance of repairing. more appropriately equipment prep: which tools I can buy cheap and which should be quality (Soldering iron, flux, desolder tape etc.)

    Your input is much appreciated.

  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 14, 2017 #2


    Staff: Mentor

    Here's a video on repairing a macbook motherboard where you can see the skills needed to fix soldered on devices and connectors.

    One issue that often comes up with soldering is to be careful about how much heat is transferred to the board. Another is to properly grounding your self and the board so as not to cause a static discharge that ruins a circuit.

    And here's something about the ZXWTOOL with schematics for phone repair:

    The video comments also mention a lot of other tools used by the presenter:

    Code (Text):

    Jessa’s Equipment Links:

    USB ammeter: [URL]http://amzn.to/2k2suZN[/URL]
    Bona fide MFI charging cables
    Anker: [URL]http://amzn.to/2h1ixtl[/URL]
    RavPower: [URL]http://amzn.to/2gB1iyr[/URL]

    Recommended microscope: [URL]http://amzn.to/2iqE9Rj[/URL]
    Light ring for microscope: [URL]http://amzn.to/2iRRdOt[/URL]
    0.5x Barlow lens--to increase working distance: [URL]http://amzn.to/2iuE3dG[/URL]

    My soldering station with standard iron: [URL]http://amzn.to/2hG656k[/URL]
    Primary soldering tool--mini hot tweezers [URL]http://amzn.to/2hY5DN5[/URL]
    Favorite tips for mini hot tweezer: [URL]http://amzn.to/2iSKF67[/URL]
    Favorite tip for standard iron: BC2 [URL]http://amzn.to/2hG6MMV[/URL]

    ›Ultrasonic cleaning:
    Crest iphone sized cleaner: [URL]http://amzn.to/2iuNPNa[/URL]
    Branson EC cleaning fluid: [URL]http://amzn.to/2iSVuFq[/URL]

    ›Hot Air:
    My hot air station: JBC TE-1QD not available on Amazon, $1500
    Recommended station: Quick861dw: http://www.primetechtools.com CODE JESSA

    ›Small supplies:
    My favorite tweezers--[URL]http://amzn.to/2iCwdfk[/URL]
    My favorite flux:[URL]http://amzn.to/2iCy5Vm[/URL]
    My favorite solder:[URL]http://amzn.to/2hY1gBA[/URL]
    Kapton tape: [URL]http://amzn.to/2iqxVAY[/URL]
    My blue mat: [URL]http://amzn.to/2jfAiKp[/URL]
    Cutting board I solder on: [URL]http://amzn.to/2kDO0XJ[/URL]
    Low melt alloy:[URL]http://amzn.to/2iqITGB[/URL]

    ›Diagnostic tools:
    DC Power supply: [URL]http://amzn.to/2iRN9hj[/URL]
    Multimeter: Fluke 115 [URL]http://amzn.to/2iqMmou[/URL]
    Fine point tips for multimeter: [URL]http://amzn.to/2iRPjgP[/URL]
    Freeze spray:[URL]http://amzn.to/2iuNZnE[/URL]
    Zxwtool: http://www.primetechtools.com/ Use code JESSA

    Last edited by a moderator: May 8, 2017
  4. Mar 14, 2017 #3
    - if you want to get some knowledge, then start with some basic electronic building instead. The tools for that are cheap and you can reach a decent level without insane investments.
    - if you just want to mess with modern phone electronics in depth, then get a job where the tools are available.
  5. Mar 14, 2017 #4
    Are you familiar with iFixit? https://www.ifixit.com

    They have well-written & documented repair guides for a huge assortment of computers, tablets, phones, etc. With the help of their guides, I've replaced parts (which is the major form of repair I'm familiar with) for a couple of different Macbooks, including a screen & associated rectifier; logic board; DVD player; hard drives; and other possibly some stuff I don't remember right now. I may be replacing the battery on an old iPod – I bought the kit to do so, but it's supposed to be a very ticklish repair so I'm holding off.

    The guides refer to specific tools which iFixit has a nice stock of; I've never regretted buying any of their tools. They also sell parts; sometimes I'll buy through them, sometimes elsewhere.

    Now, this is all for practical purposes. If you want to learn about what you're taking apart, that's a whole different ballgame & @Rive's suggestion would be a good one; anyone who's running a repair shop for consumer electronics, up to and including phones, would probably start by giving you the scut work (if you got lucky enough to get hired) but might eventually be willing to teach you a bit here & there. However I'm not sure how many such shops there are these days, since hypothetical repair cost for many electronic goods often exceeds replacement cost. A small shop might be more willing to take a flyer on an untrained person than a large shop.

    One great, fairly large repair shop for Apple products used to be TekServe, in NYC; but they had to close due rent being way too high: http://appleinsider.com/articles/16...nity-staple-tekserve-to-close-manhattan-store

    On their notice of closure page, they list other repair services; so this is an example of such shops still being around in the NYC area, which means they should be in other metro areas as well: http://www.tekserve.com/repairs-and-services/ [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 8, 2017
  6. Mar 14, 2017 #5

    Very handy videos, thank you.

    Also does the quality of flux play a big part?

    Another question I have is how is the old solder being removed and new solder being applied?
  7. Mar 14, 2017 #6


    Staff: Mentor

  8. Mar 14, 2017 #7
    - yes. There are various flux types for different jobs.
    - to remove solder, the 'solder wick' or 'desoldering wire' is your friend.
    - the way to apply new solder will depend on the component, but experience has a big part in it.
  9. Mar 14, 2017 #8
    Well the interest came after fixing random iPhones with minor repairs (screen change, new headphone jack, ribbon cable replacement etc.) so this naturally lead me to consider repairing the logic board as this was something I didn't want to touch initially.

    I do currently work in a Motorsport/Mechanical Engineering field so its not feasible to consider a career change. But your recommendation is appreciated as I know it is a great place to better my knowledge for logic board repairs

    They are very good indeed. But I am confident with those sort of repairs now. Since I have a few logic boards lying around with various issues (capacitor missing, sim card reader bodged on etc.) I feel the urge to have a go.

    I did think about this but to find spare time to go to a shop is a bit difficult at the moment. I am happy to try it but after seeking advice and preparing i.e. buying suitable equipment to get started.
  10. Mar 14, 2017 #9
    That sounds good.

    In terms of applying, I only know about feeding the solder off a reel but never seen this for small things like phone logic boards. I was wondering if they (people in repair videos) apply a tiny bit to the iron?? The camera is always on the board so you never see what else they do in the background
  11. Mar 14, 2017 #10
    I work as kind of electronics/repair/all-in engineer for some 10+ years and I never could cry enough to my boss to get the necessary equipment needed to touch those boards for real. We rather scrap anything what we can't repair with the basic stuff, and keep our designs clean of BGAs and special components.

    For small resistors and such, you apply some flux first. The flux will help transfer heat from the iron to the original solder, and once it melts it will attach to the iron.
    Sometimes we apply small amount of solder directly to the component with a solder wire. It's matter of experience that at the end of the soldering there should be no excess solder or flux remaining.
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2017
  12. Mar 14, 2017 #11
    I speak out of ignorance, but I have pretty much assumed that most components for boards, and for a lot of consumer electronics in general these days, would be surface mount. And if so, would it make more sense to bake (or re-bake) rather than use an iron? I have done a little SMD replacement with an iron plus low-temp solder, but not much.

    I have a hazy memory of seeing low-cost setups for hot air. But I guess you can use an iron with other tools; this page seems to have some good tips (pardon the pun).: http://store.curiousinventor.com/guides/Surface_Mount_Soldering/Tools
  13. Mar 14, 2017 #12
    I understand. for me I have a few phones and when swapping the logic board out I find everything on the phone works fine to identify the logic board is faulty. I feel its a shame to bin it without trying to repair it. But for a business I guess it makes sense to invest your time appropriately.

    So how do you get rid of the flux? is this a cleaning fluid? and would it be like brake cleaner?
  14. Mar 14, 2017 #13
    It's a bit tricky, because there are cleaning fluids which are used to clean circuit boards after manufacturing, but those are not for general use.
    You will need to get some isopropyl alcohol, but be sure that it's applied only on the circuit board.
  15. Mar 14, 2017 #14
    That's good to know. Thanks.

    I guess for now I am going to look at equipment available and all other necessary tools & consumables.

    Do you use ebay often? for consumables? Flux, cleaning fluid etc.
  16. Mar 14, 2017 #15

    jim hardy

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    Gold Member

  17. Mar 15, 2017 #16
    I actually have the same laptop as you and weirdly I tried fixing that a year or two ago. The same little black locking connector thing has broken on my socket the plugs the mouse pad into the mother board. Still not fixed but am used to using an USB plug in mouse now. Will try and fix it some time hopefully

    But it was good to see you managed to fix it!
  18. Mar 15, 2017 #17

    jim hardy

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    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I just went through the kitchen hunting for plastic about right thickness.

    Recyclable containers have a small marking on the bottom that tells you the type of plastic.
    The cottage cheese container i just now looked at is 5 PP, polypropylene . Polypropylene makes a great capacitor dielectric so i figure it's good enough for a mechanical wedge in electronic stuff.
    Mine's still doing great, typed this on it.

    Congratulations on your fix. Hope above helps you with your touchpad connector.

    I had to down load the Synaptics touchpad driver and replace Microsoft's to recover from Windows 10 . MIcrosoft driver cant disable touchpad tapping so it's unusable.

    Good Luck !
    and thanks for the feedback.

    old jim
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2017
  19. Mar 16, 2017 #18
    Really appreciate the advice on selecting a feasible wedging option.

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