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What is Going on Here....?

12/29/2016 2:53 PM

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#1

Re: What is going on here....?

12/29/2016 2:59 PM

Someone left the loading dock door open and a Crow got into the clean room.... I've seen it happen.

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#3
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Re: What is going on here....?

12/29/2016 3:13 PM

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#4
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Re: What is going on here....?

12/29/2016 3:26 PM

Surface-mount LEDs and crappy soldering job? What is your question, specifically? The LEDs? The stuff screened on top?

What is this board out of?

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#6
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Re: What is going on here....?

12/29/2016 3:37 PM

It's the board out of my remote control, and specifically a button that is not working....under magnification...

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#29
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Re: What is going on here....?

12/30/2016 5:10 AM

Have you tried a squirt of contact cleaner? Fixes many problems!

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#2

Re: What is going on here....?

12/29/2016 3:08 PM

Looks like a bad case of photonic worms. Best put it in the microwave for 15 minutes.

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#5

Re: What is going on here....?

12/29/2016 3:34 PM

Tin whiskers.

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#7
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Re: What is going on here....?

12/29/2016 3:39 PM

Sounds like a winner.

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#9
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Re: What is going on here....?

12/29/2016 3:45 PM

No I think that was dust from a paper towel I used to clean the surface of the board initially....

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#10
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Re: What is going on here....?

12/29/2016 3:49 PM

I thought one would use cloth instead of paper.

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#8

Re: What is going on here....?

12/29/2016 3:42 PM

It does look like a bad solder connection possibly, but don't know how I can solder this small of a connection...any tips?

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#11
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Re: What is going on here....?

12/29/2016 3:56 PM

What does the underside of the button itself look like compared to the others? Maybe it's worn or a drop of something got in between it and the contacts. That goopy-looking carbonaceous screened-on stuff on the board are the button contacts. Try wiping both the underside of the button and the contacts with a clean, damp, lint-free cloth.

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#12
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Re: What is going on here....?

12/29/2016 4:10 PM

Yes the LED lights up when the button is pushed and changes the device designation, at least when it's working...It's supposed to control 5 devices, and the one that's not working is the one that controls the cable box, really the only one I need....It hasn't been much of a problem because I never change it, but it accidentally got pushed to another device and I can't get it to change back now....I would just order another one, but they don't have them anymore....and the other device channels don't have the programming range for my cable box, just this one channel does....

The contacts don't look as shiny as the others, perhaps that's it....

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#13
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Re: What is going on here....?

12/29/2016 4:23 PM

Be careful! It's very easy to delaminate the trace from the board with too much heat.

Soldering and Desoldering Surface Mount Components - Instructables

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#14
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Re: What is going on here....?

12/29/2016 4:25 PM

I don't have any tips that small, LOL! You need an itsy bitsy one and a microscope for that job.

OR maybe you could focus sound intensity on just that one spot? Use your mind only.

Or run a propane torch past that switch really, really fast, and hope the button does not melt.

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#15
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Re: What is going on here....?

12/29/2016 4:43 PM

Tip. Invest in a new one.

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#18
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Re: What is going on here....?

12/29/2016 4:54 PM

Tried that some time ago, they don't make them anymore...they don't have anymore...This is the best system they have......Maybe things will change now that Spectrum has bought out this cable company....If anything better becomes available, I'll be having it....

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#19
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Re: What is going on here....?

12/29/2016 5:00 PM

Have you tried a Universal Remote, those things can sometimes work wonders...

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#26
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Re: What is going on here....?

12/29/2016 11:55 PM

Yes several times....they don't seem make one that will key to this box....

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#35
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Re: What is going on here....?

12/30/2016 11:51 AM

You might check the Logitech site for their smart remotes.

They're a little pricey, but I have yet to find something they don't cover.

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#37
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Re: What is going on here....?

12/30/2016 12:06 PM

I have an ICON IR34A that does all of my electronics, one of my air conditioners and is compatible with X10 Home Automation.

Their latest model can be found here.

It would probably do all of my air conditioners but I was happy to find it worked with one that was given to me sans remote.

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#17
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Re: What is going on here....?

12/29/2016 4:50 PM

The solder connection does look broken. Clean the area with electronic cleaner, scrape the trace with a small sharp blade, put on a small dab of liquid flux if you have some, regular flux otherwise, and touch it with a nice new sharp, tinned, solder iron tip. I think there's enough solder nearby to flow into the joint.

Those controls have a certain pattern of button pushes they want, try to find the original instructions. On ours, if we accidentally hit the 'source' button it won't work until the correct buttons are pushed in the correct order. Enough to drive you nuts.

After soldering the joint, a spray of electronic cleaner will remove those whiskers and such, I use a soft toothbrush to clean boards with the spray.

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#22
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Re: What is going on here....?

12/29/2016 10:05 PM

'...any tips?...'

.

Not just ant tip, you want one small enough to just hit the areas you need.

Kidding aside, this is a bit counter-intuitive, but it is far easier to avoid adding too much heat by using a high power soldering iron. You want to be able to touch it, add enough heat to melt the solder at the connections and what you add immediately and then remove heat.

If you don't have enough power, by the time things get hot enough to flow, other stuff is being damaged. In short, don't use the little 40 or 80 watt electric units. Sears has a 400 watt unit that would give you a decent shot at getting it right without cooking everything inside.

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#23
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Re: What is going on here....?

12/29/2016 10:40 PM

Very good point. I do a lot of soldering on model trains; wiring, scratch-built handrails, and even all-brass locomotive shells. I've found that the heat has to go in quickly with the right flux on the joint. For difficult jobs I use Tix Flux, which contains zinc chloride. Then I clean the item with alcohol. I have a nice powerful iron with a 3/8" wide tip that will deliver the heat when required. I don't care for my 'pistol' iron, find it unwieldy and it doesn't deliver the heat I need.

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#27
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Re: What is going on here....?

12/30/2016 12:48 AM

SE, contact mike k, or any nearby model railroader who specializes in HO or N gauge. They are used to tight spaces and usually have the equipment.

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#34
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Re: What is going on here....?

12/30/2016 11:08 AM

You may try tracing where that point ends or leads to at the board's edge connector, which normally has wider footprints... Once traced this is where you can safely do your soldering... As jumper points for that particular switched option?

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#16

Re: What is going on here....?

12/29/2016 4:45 PM

Well I tried cleaning it...that didn't work...I can't solder that small, I mean it's tiny, in fact it's teeny tiny....so I did try a smear of dielectric grease on both the contacts and the board...after some fiddling it's working!!! Thanks for all the help....

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#28
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Re: What is going on here....?

12/30/2016 4:06 AM

For soldering really tiny stuff (not an issue now that you've fixed it, but fyi), you can wrap a bit of solid copper wire on the tip with one end of the wire sticking out. This works quite well.

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#31
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Re: What is going on here....?

12/30/2016 9:10 AM

Nice tip, literally and figuratively!

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#38
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Re: What is going on here....?

12/30/2016 1:20 PM

Thanks. You do what you gotta do. They've heated tweezers and other specialised tools to work with this tiny stuff, but last I checked it was still pretty expensive and not worth the cost for that occasional repair job. I do have a couple of projects in the queue, though, which may make it worth purchasing, although in most of my projects I try to use parts that I can actually see (gone are the days when I could work with this stuff straight up without binocular magnifiers )

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#41
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Re: What is going on here....?

12/30/2016 1:55 PM

Yes, my bifocals do nothing for me on close work, so I take them off, and use a magnifier.

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#20

Re: What is going on here....?

12/29/2016 5:27 PM

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#30
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Re: What is going on here....?

12/30/2016 7:03 AM

Now that you have it working you can buy a learning remote. You point your existing remote at it and push a button to transfer that code to the new one's ascribed button. They can be programmed to run macros so that with the push of one button you can turn on multiple devices. Useless if you need to replace a dud remote. I have a dead TIVO remote that i replaced with a Harmony. They have a system where you connect the remote to your computer and through their website you can configure the remote as you wish. They have the codes for hundreds of devices. When i dismantled the TIVO remote i found a goop in between the switch contact disk and the tracks. I cleaned off the goop and it worked fine but as it was an often used button the tracks were also worn very thin so that is why i replaced it. Sorry about the lack of paragraphs. I use Firefox and i don't get ANY edit radio buttons and pushing enter for a new paragraph seems to work until it is posted, then no!

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#21

Re: What is going on here....?

12/29/2016 9:53 PM

Congrats on getting it working.

The fibres on the LED do look like cloth or even paper from initial cleaning technique.

As others have indicated the other stuff sreened onto the surface seem to be the contact zones for whatever is actually "switched" by the device.

It is probable that the LED is only an indicator and plays no part (other than operator feedback) that the circuit state is active. Personally, I'd not try to re-solder it due to risk of damage.

If you must try, then non-contact soldering would be best, using a heat gun. If you search "surface mount LED reflow profile" you should find some indication of the heat/timing sequence that these devices can handle. Practice on a scrap board and you will see the solder "shine" when it melts. Then allow to cool without blowing or accellerating that process so that the residual stresss is minimised for your available equipment.

Trouble is, that this could also "reform" your contact zones with the inherent risk.

BTW, We have some older devices. Local "OP shops" are a wonderful source of old controllers. (OP Shop in Aus means "opportunity shop" run by charities, selling donated second hand items to raise funds for those less well off in the community.)

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#44
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Re: What is going on here....?

12/30/2016 9:48 PM

This would have been my suggestion also. I fixed the kids PlayStation with a heat gun when it would not turn on. There are many videos online that explain this process step by step. I think the main thing is to keep the board horizontal and heat it slowly as well as letting it cool slowly. I am not sure if it will work on this controller board but it worked well on the PlayStation board.

Good luck!

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#24

Re: What is going on here....?

12/29/2016 10:54 PM

That looks just like my previous cable TV controller. One of the buttons wore out. I went to the local provider and got a new updated remote and followed the directions to reprogram it.

I figure the only way to solder it correctly would be to go to the factory where it was made and see how they do it. Just tell them your an engineer and they might give you a tour of the factory.

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#36
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Re: What is going on here....?

12/30/2016 11:54 AM

My brother was in electronics manufacturing for many years, I've seen these type of boards made, it's all by machine, really expensive machines....the parts are so small you can barely see them, and are stamped in at great speed, too small to do by hand...

I remember when they first got these machines for micro-electronics, I wired them...that was many years ago....

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#39
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Re: What is going on here....?

12/30/2016 1:21 PM

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#40
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Re: What is going on here....?

12/30/2016 1:28 PM

What's that light at the beginning? (in the first video)

Are the parts attached using solder paste which will then be re-flowed using IR or hot air? It's not actually soldering them at that point is it? I noticed at the end how he was careful how he touched the board. Was it hot?

Sorry about all the questions. I know there are different techniques and generally how they work in principle; I've just never seen one of these in action before. Pretty impressive!

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#42
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Re: What is going on here....?

12/30/2016 1:57 PM

I could never figure it out...and wasn't curious enough to ask at the time....

I found this video on micro-soldering though....just what I need...

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#43
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Re: What is going on here....?

12/30/2016 2:26 PM

GENERALLY, solder paste is screened onto the lands the then the boards are fed into the chip shooter and after that the solder paste is reflowed.

Here's one:

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#47
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Re: What is going on here....?

12/31/2016 9:51 PM

The light at the beginning is the machine vision system "looking" at the fiducial markings on the panel. These are like surveyors marks that the machine uses to calculate the true position of the board.

The machine then compensates for skewness, rotation, absolute "z" position and thermal expansion for that specific panel.

This machine is placing thte components into screen printed solder paste (Screen printer also use "lights" to get best alignment for the stencil.)

Once all components are placed, the panel then progresses to be soldered.

You would not notice, but most modern machines also verify the components "on the fly" and adjust their placement onto the panel. The components are not gripped, but held by suction. The machines also have programmed "overtravel" to make sure the components contact the solder paste. If only one end gets "wet", then you get what are called tombstone components where the solder surface tension stands them on end.

I managed a department that used similar machines for assembly/soldering that also had capability for mouting through hole LEDs on the same panels.

I could rework down to what were known as 0603's (.06"x.03", usually around .01" thick) but the smaller ones were a real challenge.

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#49
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Re: What is going on here....?

01/03/2017 3:31 PM

I used to work with a tech who was a Dutch immigrant. He had no problem soldering chip caps & resistors as small as 0402. He did all of our prototype assembly. We called him the Dutch Pick & Place Machine.

'Twas a bit amusing when he & I took a field trip to the assembly house that did the production board assembly. He stared open mouthed at the pick & place machine as it buzzed through a board placing dozens of parts per second. Finally he looked over to me and said, "kinda makes me obsolete, doesn't it?"

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#25

Re: What is going on here....?

12/29/2016 11:38 PM

Is the button still firmly attached and you just need to get the connections fixed, or is the button also loose?

If it is loose, then a bit of superglue gel under it should fix that problem.

To avoid soldering, and the resultant heat problems, I use a product called Leitsilber L100. It's a conducting Silver liquid that can be applied in multiple layers to build up required thickness, and works well to repair broken circuit boards. You can also mix a bit of the superglue gel with the silver for a thicker repair, and then a final coat of the silver to finish.

I repair CPAP machines as a sideline and find that it also works very effectively to rehabilitate those carbon impregnated push buttons when they stop working.

A bit of superglue gel on the carbon surface and then, while it's still wet, a liberal dose of the conducting Silver. The button will work better than new, and will last even longer than the original.

Another advantage of superglue gel is that, unlike its liquid cousin, it doesn't run all over the place and doesn't dry out in the tube after opening. I can still use the stuff 12 months after opening. I have no affiliation with a brand but have found that the Selleys is better than the Loktite.

Hope this is helpful.

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#32

Re: What is Going on Here....?

12/30/2016 10:55 AM

It looks like someone tried to fix it using old plumbing solder with acid flux.

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#33
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Re: What is Going on Here....?

12/30/2016 11:02 AM

Well, it did appear to be somewhat gloppy! It was those cheap laborers in California.

Just kidding.

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#45

Re: What is Going on Here....?

12/31/2016 9:16 AM

Glad you solved the problem. When I "fix" something like this it usually ends up looking like this...just ask my wife!

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#46

Re: What is Going on Here....?

12/31/2016 7:11 PM

Found this today......mini micro led strips....pretty cool...

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#50
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Re: What is Going on Here....?

01/03/2017 7:23 PM

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#51
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Re: What is Going on Here....?

01/04/2017 10:05 AM

how much current is required, probably next to nothing, right?

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#52
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Re: What is Going on Here....?

01/04/2017 4:26 PM

Yeah like a watt and a half...

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#48

Re: What is Going on Here....?

01/01/2017 10:26 PM

Cupriavidus metallidurans, perhaps or some specie unknown.

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