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PCB/PCBA knowledge
Ultimate Guide To PCB Repair- How To Cope With And How To Avoid

PCBs are designed with extensive care and to last forever. However, in some cases, your PCB might fail and would require attention. If your PCB ain’t performing as expected, it might need a repair. In this article, you’ll learn about common PCB faults, their diagnosis, repair, repair cost analysis, etc.; everything related to PCB repair. This is a total PCB repair guide.

Table of Contents

What’s PCB and PCBA?

PCB is the circuit board with all the copper plates, holes, and stacked layers., ready to house the components. When the components such as diodes, resistors, etc., are embedded on the PCB, it becomes PCBA, otherwise called Printed Circuit Board Assembly, which is ready to be fit in a gadget housing.

Benefits of PCB repair

What make PCB repair become necessary
What make PCB repair become necessary

●PCB repair can make it work like new.
●PCB repair can help reduce the cost of replacing the circuit board with a new one.
●PCB repair is faster than ordering a new PCB and getting it replaced.
●By repairing a PCB, you’re also contributing towards a green environment by reducing carbon emissions.

Why do PCBs fail?

●Physical abuse to the PCB can cause physical damage, resulting in PCB failure.
●Damage due to weather, moisture, dust, etc., is possible.
●Use of incorrect chargers can cause a short circuit and/or burnt PCB.
●Continuous use of gadgets can cause an overheating PCB, that can eventually fail.

Common faults in PCBs

Common fault types in PCB boards
Common fault types in PCB boards

1.Physical Damage
Physical damage can include damage to a PCB from physical damage (scratches, manually bending the PCB, etc.), water spillage, moisture, dust and dirt particles, etc. A Burnt PCB due to high power is also a part of physical damage. Damage to PCB by rodents, pests, etc., is also considered a physical damage.

Also read: Waterproof PCB – the ultimate guide

5 methods to teach you how to waterproof your PCBA boards

Diagnosis & Repair
●If the circuit board smells like burnt, perhaps the charging socket and/or component(s) have burnt. You need to visually check the burnt components and replace them with new ones by soldering them.
●If there are traces of rodent bites, or if the pins of any component has been damaged by rodents, you can resolder them with a new one. Visually check for physical damage.

2.Component Failure
Capacitors are among the commonly failing components in any PCB. Component failure means that a component embedded on PCB has stopped working and is causing trouble to the working of other components.

Diagnosis & Repair
●Check for swollen capacitors that’ll look like an inflated balloon. Solder a new one in place of it. Make sure to replace it with the same capacitance.
●Take a multimeter, and check for faulty components individually. Replace the faulty ones.
●Use a PCB test kit to further explore faulty components.

3.Trace Damage
The thin copper lines on the PCB are always visible from the naked eyes. Sometimes, these traces can get damaged and there can be several reasons for it. Perhaps due to physical damage, or perhaps due to manufacturing defects. Sometimes, the PCB repair engineer can accidentally damage the traces without knowing.

Diagnosis & Repair
Visually check for traces from one component to another. If you can find the damaged trace area, you can take a strip of wire, and solder it on the trace to complete the circuit. The objective is to facilitate the flow of electricity by patching the traces.

4.Poor Design
Poor design implies poorly designed PCB circuits. Sometimes, due to manufacturing defects, a well-designed PCB layout design might turn into a poor design, resulting in a faulty PCB. Poor design is common only among cheap PCB manufacturers, who don’t look for quality assurance.

Diagnosis & Repair
●Visually look for copper traces possibly running too close to the edges of the circuit board. The manufacturer needs to revise their design to make sure that the distance between copper traces and the edges are sufficient.
●Missing solder mask at one or more places is another example of poor design, and the manufacturer will have to revise their design and put the PCB back in the machine to put the missing solder mask on it.

5.Power Failure
Power failure implies insufficient or no power reaching to the circuit board and/or components. This can result in partial or total non-functioning of the PCB, which is a defect.

Diagnosis & Repair
●If the circuit board uses batteries, remove the batteries and put the correct power adapter to the circuit board and try charging it or powering it. If the PCB works perfectly, then the batteries are faulty.
●If there’s no power, check for faulty components, such as the power socket on the PCB. Replace the power socket if found faulty.

PCB repair steps

Steps of repairing PCB board
Steps of repairing PCB board

1.Visually check for burnt or swollen parts.
2.Make a list of parts that need to be replaced.
3.Once you’ve procured the replacement parts, please use a hot to melt the soldering mask over the damaged component. Use tweezers to take the component out from the circuit board once the soldering mask melts.
4.Align a fresh component in place of the burnt or damaged part, use the hot gun to melt the soldering mask, and use tweezers to press the component’s pins against the soldering mask.
5.Let the tweezers keep pushing the component and remove the hot gun.
6.Let the soldering mark solidify.
7.Remove the tweezers over the component and you’ve successfully repaired your PCB.
8.Power up your PCB to check if it’s working or not.

Factors to consider when repairing PCB board

●Always wear safety glasses and gloves and keep a jug field with cold water near you.
●Never be stingy on using proper tools. Several repair guys don’t bother using a soldering iron stand, which can result in unreasonable burns on their bodies.
●Only proceed with the PCB repair if you have the right knowledge and confidence.
●Avoid PCB repair while they’re still connected to a power source, such as chargers or batteries.

What impacts PCB repair cost?

What are the factors that affect the price of PCB repair
What are the factors that affect the price of PCB repair

Factors affecting a PCB repair cost include:
●The cost of component to be replaced.
●Number of components to be replaced.
●The complexity of repairing the circuit board.
●The amount of efforts needed in the PCB repair can influence its repair cost.
●If the PCB housing is tight and sealed, opening it securely can increase the cost.

Conclusion

After getting an exact idea of PCB repair, common faults, their solutions, and some useful tips and tricks related to PCB repairing, you might be wondering what to do next. If you’re facing any issue with your faulty PCB, you can contact IBE Electronics for assistance. Moreover, if you’re running a project, you can rely on IBE Electronics where there’s no scope of poor design or faulty PCB. All the PCBs manufactured here at IBE Electronics are of top-notch quality.

FAQ

●Physical abuse to the PCB can cause physical damage, resulting in PCB failure.
●Damage due to weather, moisture, dust, etc., is possible.
●Use of incorrect chargers can cause a short circuit and/or burnt PCB.
●Continuous use of gadgets can cause an overheating PCB, that can eventually fail.

1.Physical damage

2.Component failure

3.Trace damage

4.Poor design

5.Power failure

●The cost of component to be replaced.
●Number of components to be replaced.
●The complexity of repairing the PCB.
●The amount of efforts needed in the PCB repair can influence its repair cost.
●If the PCB housing is tight and sealed, opening it securely can increase the cost.

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