Repair of damaged/corroded gold connector 'fingers'?

Mr Ian Primus ian_primus at yahoo.com
Thu Jan 29 08:34:22 CST 2009


--- On Thu, 1/29/09, Alexandre Souza <alexandre-listas at e-secure.com.br> wrote:

>    Use good quality solder and remove it with solder braid,
> it will look like hot-air-leveling.

Hmm, I hadn't thought of that. I know I've tried in the past on junk boards, and never was able to get the solder smooth and level enough to make it the same as the surrounding fingers. I usually don't use solder braid, so I didn't think of that. I'll have to try it when I get a chance, but I still would worry that it would make that connector finger too thick.

I like the other ideas about electroplating and small-scale plating kits. That might be an option if I really need to fix something that's worth that much time and effort.

With the arcade boards, I can tell you the solution I've seen used. It's ugly as hell, but it works. Basically, with some boards, like Pac-Man especially, the tin connector fingers get burnt and badly pitted. After that, even a new female connector won't mate well or work. Tinning them with solder makes them too thick and damages the connector, and sometimes there's not even enough of a contact left to re-tin. Basically, the solution there is to solder a female connector directly onto the male fingers of the board - so the board now sports a female socket that male fingers can be plugged into. Then you take a 'fingerboard' - a thin bit of circuit board with long fingers on it and nothing else, and plug it into the female socket - and now you can plug the arcade cabinet's female socket onto that. Again, ugly, but very functional, and sometimes the only way to save a badly damaged board.

This is totally unacceptable most times in computers - not only would finding the connectors be a pain, but this would make the board too long, and it wouldn't seat properly into a backplane, etc.

I'll definitely try using solder braid to remove solder on a finger, and see if I can get close to the same thickness. Maybe if you were to mask off the nearby fingers and carefully sand down the solder, you could get it even thinner? I'd be worried about burrs and bumps in the solder that could damage the female connector that it mates with.

And it's good to know that replating kits exist - I just wonder - has anyone ever actually used these to fix circuit board fingers? How does it work in this application? I'd be worried about the durability of the plating, and getting a consistent thickness.

-Ian



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