Author Topic: Help with fixing a DROP ALT PCB I broke...  (Read 257 times)

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Offline timcruicky

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Help with fixing a DROP ALT PCB I broke...
« on: Sat, 20 February 2021, 10:30:24 »
Hey all!

I'm brand new to custom keyboards/soldering/general electronics hobby/all this stuff... I opted for a DROP ALT keyboard as my first so I wouldn't screw it up too bad. Turns out I did... I managed to push one off the receivers (Not sure what they are called) off the PCB when pushing a switch in. I think the pin was misaligned and I pushed too hard. Anyway, it came off the PCB (see first image), I figured I would try my hand at soldering to fix it. I noticed one of the actual conductive pads was pushed off (in red), but figured I could bond it back on with solder. Seems like it didn't work. I finished the job (2nd image) but the keyboard wouldn't 'turn on. I plugged it in to my PC (mistake... I think I shorted out 2 USB plugs on my I/O because of it...), the little orange light at the bottom of the PCB turned on, but then just flashed. It didn't go into it's usual boot sequence after that (no LED's came on etc), and it was unresponsive.
(backup https://photos.app.goo.gl/tzq8SbKSZA6WrN2e7)

(backup https://photos.app.goo.gl/qMnecrZMRmo8aju9A)


Any help here? I figure I have to do something special to actually bond the receiver bit back onto the PCB, but I'm not sure? Did I kill it? is it dead? Should I just get a replacement PCB?


Offline timcruicky

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Re: Help with fixing a DROP ALT PCB I broke...
« Reply #1 on: Sat, 20 February 2021, 12:14:28 »
UPDATE: Also tried just soldering the pins directly to the board. but that didn't work either. The keyboard now boots properly, but the key (U key) is unresponsive still... https://photos.app.goo.gl/Hdw4rUPinbrzmgN67


Offline Rico

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Re: Help with fixing a DROP ALT PCB I broke...
« Reply #2 on: Sat, 20 February 2021, 14:13:50 »
You have lifted the copper pads that were attached to tracks before.
To fix your problem you will have to check were the broken traces are starting from the pads and solder a wire from the hotswap socket connector to the first found component.
This should be another hotswap connector pad and a diode.

Your soldering job did nothing to reattach the socket to the PCB, the next time you'll apply some force to it it will pop up again.
Best would have been to glue it back to the PCB with 2 parts epoxy or super glue.
You also soldered the switch pins to the socket and this will prevent  the ability to swap it later on.
If you want to apply glue to the socket, I recommand doing it after the soldering process, glue does not like heat.

At least your PCB is still not dead so there is Hope ;)

Good Luck!

Offline timcruicky

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Re: Help with fixing a DROP ALT PCB I broke...
« Reply #3 on: Sat, 20 February 2021, 14:49:05 »
Thanks for the replay Rico.

I'll remove the solder I have on it now that has the switch directly mounted on the board, and try re-attach the socket connector.

So I've drawn over this image with my understanding of your instructions. The red line follows just above the trace I can see. It ends at the blue line with a dot. Is that the correct component to wire back to (A)? or do I then follow the blue line up/down and wire it to component B or C?

For wiring it, do I just do it to the end of the socket connector that is beside a little diode (2) or both (1 and 2)?

I'm assuming I should use a small insulated wire to connect the broken socket connector to the first in the trace, is there anything specific I should use for that?



Thanks!


Offline suicidal_orange

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Re: Help with fixing a DROP ALT PCB I broke...
« Reply #4 on: Sun, 21 February 2021, 00:52:38 »
I see no pic with a blue line so am assuming it still looks like the first pic where the pad connected to the diode is fine and the other one is broken.

The broken pad connects to a very short trace then to a via (hole) connected to the other side of the PCB.  I can see the diodes are connected across the row which means it should be connected to a switch above and below so take anything conductive and touch it between the left side of the socket for 7 and 8 and the right sidie of U - one of them should type a U (if not go wider to 6 and 9 and one surely will)  Then solder a wire between that left pad and the broken pad and it's good as new (or better if the socket is glued in firmly!)

Whatever wire you're thinking of using will be fine :)
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Offline timcruicky

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Re: Help with fixing a DROP ALT PCB I broke...
« Reply #5 on: Thu, 25 February 2021, 20:29:33 »
Thanks for your help!

It worked! I did a really bad job fixing it, but it works so I'm happy.




Offline suicidal_orange

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Re: Help with fixing a DROP ALT PCB I broke...
« Reply #6 on: Thu, 25 February 2021, 20:44:29 »
The good thing about fixing a PCB is that it gets hidden in a case so no-one has to look at it - it works and that's all that matters.

Was the cute bunny cap so you didn't want to poke a key which didn't work anyway, or is it a game of hide and seek for a dog who's very good at seeking?  So random :))
120/100g linear Zealio R1  
GMK Hyperfuse
'Split everything' perfection  
MX Clear
SA Hack'd by Geeks     
EasyAVR mod