Lifting a pad or trace from a printed circuit board (PCB) is an annoying experience, but the repair is simple. The technique is the nearly identical for three common situations using different products. "Copperclad" is printed wiring including through holes and pads for surface mount devices, and it may be repaired with ordinary hand tools. It is strongly recommended to perform this work under magnification as it demands precision.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Binocular magnifiers
- Cotton swabs
- Dental pick
- Teflon tape
Repair most PCBs with industrial two part epoxy. Loctite Hysol 0151, for example, has a high bond strength when fully cured, but it can take 24 hours to reach 90 per cent of it, and fully 48 hours to cure completely. If it's heated to 140F, it will cure in two hours. Hysol 0151 withstands soldering heat well.
Clean the pad and circuit board with alcohol and a cotton swab. Mix the epoxy according to the manufacturer's instructions and use a dental pick to apply it to the board under the lifted pad. Apply a piece of Teflon tape to a penny other small weight and use it to hold the pad in place while the epoxy cures.
Use an epoxy with good thermal conductivity for any repairs that may be subjected to high temperatures like those found on power supply boards. Thermalbond is such an epoxy. It has similar expansion and contraction rates as the printed circuit board and traces, making it less likely to crack. Apply it similarly to the Loctite Hysol 0151 by putting small quantities under the loosened pad. Thermal epoxies may take several days to fully cure.
Use an electrically conductive epoxy where a pad or trace has been broken away from the board. This specialised epoxy adheres well to both metal and fibreglass, so it can fasten a part in place. It also has excellent electrical conductivity. Conductive epoxy works as well as a conventional pad or run repair, but it will not accept solder. Replacing a pad requires that a component be epoxied in place, making subsequent repairs more difficult.
Tips and warnings
- Always wear eye protection when working with any chemicals.
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