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Feature Article Index
How to Use a Solder Fountain
How to Use a Solder Fountain
A complicated, time-consuming procedure is transformed into a quick and easy fix. Rework departments regularly encounter large through-hole components on ...
Flash Memory Card Rescue
Flash Memory Card Rescue
What do you do when a Flash memory SD card containing photos of President George W. Bush and your client in the White House breaks into pieces, leaving you holding ...
Solder Mask Touch-Up At BGA Sites
Solder Mask Touch-Up At BGA Sites
Solder mask is delicate and easily damaged or dislodged during BGA rework. If it isn't repaired, the result is often more rework, or rework upon rework ...
Rework for Pad and Component Mismatch
Rework for Pad and Component Mismatch
It's a wonder pad to part size mismatch doesn't happen more often, considering the thousands and thousands of opportunities on assemblies. When it does happen, it's a big problem ...
Trimming Conductors In Very Tight Places
Trimming Conductors In Very Tight Places
Anyone familiar with high-frequency and microwave printed circuits understands the sensitive design considerations each requires. Occasionally, you may encounter the need to reduce a circuit or conductor width when ...
Base Board Burn Repair - How and Why
Base Board Burn Repair - How and Why
Cosmetic surgery is big business today, but our discussion here is not about facelifts or tummy tucks. We're concerned with the cosmetic touch ups we must often apply to circuit boards...
Solution for BGA Footprint Mismatch
Solution for BGA Footprint Mismatch
You have a new board and the BGA component doesn't fit the board footprint. Is this a nightmare of a problem? It is one we see every other month or so. It seems to ...
4 Techniques for Removing Solder Mask
4 Techniques for Removing Solder Mask
There are several safe and reliable ways to remove solder mask from the circuit board surface. They all have advantages and disadvantages and we'll review them in this ...
How Reliable Is Your Rework?
How Reliable Is Your Rework?
Can you fix a broken corner on a circuit board reliably? Do you consider re-balling ball grid array (BGA) components to be a reliable procedure? Your opinion and ...
Review of Hot Air Component Rework
Review of Hot Air Component Rework
When using hot air units, the proper nozzles must be selected, and the circuit assembly must be positioned properly...
Restoring Gold Edge Connectors
Restoring Gold Edge Connectors
From time to time, gold edge contacts become contaminated with solder. This most often occurs during reflow of an assembly, and may be caused by solder spatter, or solder paste contamination ...
Conductor Repair - When Appearance Counts
Conductor Repair - When Appearance Counts
Repairing a damaged circuit with a wire is commonplace, but the repair will shout out "Look at me, I've been repaired!." When you want to repair a damaged circuit but don't want ...
Ten Rules for Jumper Wires
Ten Rules for Jumper Wires
The procedures for attaching jumper wires are fairly extensive. However, there are a number of general rules that should be followed when attaching and working with jumper wires ...
A Solution for Broken Pin Repair
A Solution for Broken Pin Repair
While working with an extremely expensive prototype component, a tech broke off one of the pins at the base near the component body. While this tech was ...
Changing a Conductor Path at a BGA Site
Changing a Conductor Path at a  BGA Site
This feature describes how to rework a BGA site. The rework involved changing the circuit paths at the BGA sites, which required not only adding new circuits, but also severing the old circuits ...
Connector Removal and Replacement
Connector Removal and Replacement
Quickly removing and replacing a large multi-pin connector seems a daunting task, but it really isn't. Here's how it can be done ...
How to Fix Press-in Fastener Damage
How to Fix Press-in Fastener Damage
Press-in fasteners provide an elegant solution to various chassis, heat sink, stiffener, and other hardware mounting demands. The potential problem with press-in fasteners is in the nature of their mounting ...
Are Your BGA Rework Operators Competent?
Are Your BGA Rework Operators Competent?
Can every operator handle your BGA rework equally well? In real life, in all but just a few situations, the answer is no. Why is this so? Many factors come into play, including ...
Rework Option Eliminates Jumper Wires
Rework Option Eliminates Jumper Wires
A customer identified a design error involving two circuits that were incorrectly routed. Learn how this type of rework can be completed without the need for jumper wires ...
Tips for Rework of Large Scale BGA Components
Tips for Rework of Large Scale BGA Components
Can you imagine being confronted by this challenge? It's a dubious honor; being designated the company BGA rework guru, but it's your ...
Damaged Mounting Hole Repair
Damaged Mounting Hole Repair
Extra Strength! How often do you hear it in your everyday life? Extra strength medication, extra strength glue, extra strength (fill in the blanks)! It's ...
Tips and Tricks for Successful Rework
Tips and Tricks for Successful Rework
Although soldering is one of the oldest know joining techniques, manual or hand soldering is still a process highly dependent upon individual operator skill. And, while soldering and rework ...
BGA Conductor Path Re-design
BGA Conductor Path Re-design
This re-design centered around a 676 ball BGA component. A total of 23 of the balls on the BGA were not connected where they needed to be. It would have been easier if the pads ...
Options for Gold Contact Rework
Options for Gold Contact Rework
Gold edge contacts can become worn, damaged or contaminated by solder and must be either repaired and restored, or replaced. Generally, two options are available ...
3 Options for BGA Rework
3 Options for BGA Rework
No matter how much we attempt to streamline and automate the process, BGA rework has been, and will likely always be, a mixture of art and science. The need for a predictable...
Edge Milling to Reduce Board Thickness
Edge Milling to Reduce Board Thickness
It's not unusual for circuit boards that have been fabricated with a thickness greater than .062" to require additional milling to reduce that thickness on certain ...
Adding a Via Hole
Adding a Via Hole
We've all heard of via in pad, blind vias, even buried vias, but have you ever experienced the "Via to nowhere" phenomena? Well, here's how it goes ...
Big Time Damaged Conductor Repair
Big Time Damaged Conductor Repair
A batch of multi-layer circuit boards with a large hole drilled completely through by mistake. This can be a tough error to recover from when applied to today's complex ...
Challenging Gold Contact Repair
Challenging Gold Contact Repair
In the electronics industry, gold plating is ancient technology and the problems encountered in plating are just as ancient. Unfortunately that doesn't ...
X-Ray System Eye Opener
X-Ray System Eye Opener
Some time ago we had the good fortune to obtain a Dage X-Ray machine. For years we had been using an older machine that has been an absolutely reliable workhorse ...
Case of the Missing SMT Pads
Case of the Missing SMT Pads
Everyone loves a good mystery, unless, of course, that mystery has to do with something important that's missing from your valuable circuit boards! We often discuss ...
Questions to Ask When Salvaging Components
Questions to Ask When Salvaging Components
Have you heard this one before? A manager walks into a meeting and is told that there is one million dollars worth of circuit assemblies that are scrap because of... fill in the blank ...
Agilent Adapter Rework
Agilent Adapter Rework
This procedure provides an overview of the process for installing Agilent DDR2 DRAM BGA Probes onto circuit board assemblies ...
Preventing BGA Component Warp During Rework
Preventing BGA Component Warp During Rework
This article deals the occasional tendency of larger (and thinner) BGA components to warp during rework causing bridging and shorts at ...
Isolating a Plated Hole From Ground
Isolating a Plated Hole From Ground
Once involved in rework and repair, you quickly realize that all the tools you need to get the job done are just not always available. It occurs to you that unless you're prepared to ...
How to Select the Right Eyelet for Hole Repair
How to Select the Right Eyelet for Hole Repair
One of my favorite circuit board repair procedures is Plated Hole Repair. Even in today's high tech world there are still thousands of circuit boards being used made with through hole ...
6 Common Mistakes of BGA Rework
6 Common Mistakes of BGA Rework
Ball Grid Array rework is one of the most challenging procedures performed at assembly facilities and repair depots. Let's look at the 6 most common mistakes in BGA rework and how you ...
Converting Tin/Lead BGA Pads to Gold Plated
Converting Tin/Lead BGA Pads to Gold Plated
Flexibility, the ability to change, is a valuable asset. Anyone can tell you it's easier conceived than executed. Take BGA devices for example. When engineers are developing ...
Scrapes and Breaks Repaired
Scrapes and Breaks Repaired
Millions of dollars are spent each year on the care and handling of circuit assemblies. Nevertheless, inevitably - and to the frustration of everyone involved - handling ...
11 Rules for Circuit Board Mods
11 Rules for Circuit Board Mods
Some of the odd twists and turns occasionally needed to modify assembled circuit boards can be surprising. This feature includes 11 common rules for circuit board modifications ...
Solder Mask Rework at a BGA Site
Solder Mask Rework at a BGA Site
What happens when a BGA socket is phased out, but the solder mask is not updated. Solder mask is not needed for sockets, but essential when soldering BGA components directly ...
X-Ray Finds Shorts in Drilled Holes
X-Ray Finds Shorts in Drilled Holes
Drilling boards in the post-production environment is tricky work. Certainly if the board is populated with components and other hardware the setup alone can be time consuming...
Beyond Repair... Think Again
Beyond Repair... Think Again
All too often, valuable circuit boards are scrapped due to base material damage. Actually, boards with base material damage can be reliably repaired. Now that ...
Inner Layer Conductor Modification
Inner Layer Conductor Modification
In every industry there is a gap between conception and execution. It doesn't take much time in the business to learn that ideas are very important, but they are usually the ...
The Most Essential Tool for Repair Techs
The Most Essential Tool for Repair Techs
Microscopes have become essential tools in the rework and repair department. While there have been (and still are) many applications for other types of manually-operated vision systems, such as ...
Jumper Wire Nightmare
Jumper Wire Nightmare
Oops! Somebody goofed. Happens all the time. Surface mount connectors' connections were accidentally swapped. How in the world can that be corrected?
Exploding Solder Balls
Exploding Solder Balls
Could such a thing occur? People are soldering tens of thousands of BGA components a day. Most of this activity occurs in the flow of manufacturing and some during ...
Cutting Circuits and Conductors
Cutting Circuits and Conductors
Quite often, a rework department is confronted with the task of cutting, rather than establishing, connections. Often called etch cuts, such procedures involve breaking connections ...
Alternative to Dead Bug Rework
Alternative to Dead Bug Rework
This is an example of a project where the solution was more reliable, less labor intensive and much more elegant that the alternative... dead bugging.
Unique Ground Plane Transplant Repair
Unique Ground Plane Transplant Repair
In the world of rework and repair there can never be a standard procedure for every emergency. Things can happen too quickly and "on-the-spot" there can be an urgent ...
BGA Component Site Modification
BGA Component Site Modification
BGA rework is a topic about which volumes have been written, and in most cases the focus has been on component removal and replacement. However, equally important ...
Soldering Long Gold Plated Pins
Soldering Long Gold Plated Pins
Soldering to gold has never been a flawless exercise. Concerns about the quality and quantity of gold finishes buzz around the soldering process like annoying ...
Backplane X-ray Analysis
Backplane X-ray Analysis
This is one of those things that drive people in this business mad. A very expensive and difficult board, which once on the job has to endure in a harsh environment, was manufactured successfully. All the ...
Rework for Missing Ground Connections
Rework for Missing Ground Connections
This problem deals with a circuit board with a series of plated through holes that are not connected to ground. It would seem easy enough to ...
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