(Topic ID: 248628)

Board Header Replacement - My Method


By PinJim

6 months ago



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  • 52 posts
  • 19 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 5 months ago by PinJim
  • Topic is favorited by 7 Pinsiders

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    There are 52 posts in this topic. You are on page 1 of 2.
    #1 6 months ago

    I wanted to share my method for replacing board headers. I’m sure others have their own techniques, but I’ve found this way to be safe. I’ve never removed a through hole eyelet with this technique. YMMV.

    First, a picture of my patient. It’s a WPC89 driver board from a STTNG. I have random resets, so I’m bulletproofing the 5V circuit. It’s a bit of a shotgun approach, aka replace everything relative to 5V. I’ve been doing board work for 20 years, so I’m comfortable with this approach.

    You’ll want to wear safety glasses when doing this. Header pins will go flying violently when you snip them off, as will plastic pieces when you remove the header plastic. I’m like every guy in the world and generally ignore safety notes. Trust me, you can take out an eye doing this. Take safety precautions!

    A0165801-0E0C-4BF5-91C3-CD306D265465 (resized).jpeg

    #2 6 months ago

    The first thing I do is use snippers to cut every pin flush with the connector. The snippers in the picture work great for this. Cut them as close to the connector as possible.

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    #3 6 months ago

    Next, I use a pry tool to remove the plastic portion of the board header. In the past I used a thin screwdriver for this, but it will scar the surface of the board. It works, but it’s not pretty. Today I’m using some car stereo removal pry tools. It can be tough to get the tool under the plastic part of the header, but with some persistence, it’ll get in there.

    As you can see, parts of the connector snapped off. I used the tool to pry the remaining plastic off of the header pins.

    There may be a better tool to do this, as my car stereo removal tools are now basically gouged and deformed. But, they got the job done. And I’m too old to replace car stereos - I’d rather be fixing a machine.

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    #4 6 months ago

    Now for the easy part. I heat each pin with my iron, one at a time, and use my snippers to pull the header pin out of the hole. They come out very easily. I couldn’t take pictures of this step, but it’s fairly obvious to anyone who can solder. After each pin is out, I used my solderpullt and some solder wick to clean up the front and back side of the board.

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    #5 6 months ago

    Last but not least, solder the new header onto the board, clean up the rosin with some alcohol, and snip off the keying pin.

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    #6 6 months ago

    Hopefully this helps someone. I’ve struggled to find a good way to do this over the years and am reluctant to admit that I’ve ruined a few boards in the past trying to remove headers. I’ve never ruined one using this method.

    #8 6 months ago

    I do similar except I skip the part where you cut the pins flush with the connector. I just grab them with needlenose and pull them right through. When they are hot enough to melt the solder, they come through the connector without issue.

    #9 6 months ago
    Quoted from John_I:

    I do similar except I skip the part where you cut the pins flush with the connector. I just grab them with needlenose and pull them right through. When they are hot enough to melt the solder, they come through the connector without issue.

    I do exactly the same thing.

    #10 6 months ago
    Quoted from John_I:

    I do similar except I skip the part where you cut the pins flush with the connector. I just grab them with needlenose and pull them right through. When they are hot enough to melt the solder, they come through the connector without issue.

    Do you heat the pin from the back of the board or front? I always assumed to do it that way you’re heating it from the back and pulling the pin from the front, which seems like it’d require holding the board vertically?

    Just finished the dreaded GI headers. Whoever replaced them last time should put down the iron. What a mess. It looks good now though...

    #11 6 months ago

    Yeah I heat from the back and pull from the front. I have a board vice, but for this I put the board at the edge of my workbench instead and just pull straight down as I heat the backside from the top.

    #12 6 months ago
    Quoted from John_I:

    Yeah I heat from the back and pull from the front. I have a board vice, but for this I put the board at the edge of my workbench instead and just pull straight down as I heat the backside from the top.

    Nice. I never did it as you describe because I don’t have a board vice. I like the “hold over the edge” method.

    Now where’s my drink....

    #13 6 months ago

    I use a heat gun and warm up the plastic. Then lift it up and off the pins. Then I remove the pins one at a time.

    #14 6 months ago

    I just use a Hakko 808 desoldering gun. Makes quick work of it.

    #15 6 months ago
    Quoted from PinJim:

    In the past I used a thin screwdriver for this, but it will scar the surface of the board. It works, but it’s not pretty.

    Place an old credit card between the screwdriver and the board. It'll protect the board.

    #16 6 months ago
    Quoted from KenLayton:

    I just use a Hakko 808 desoldering gun. Makes quick work of it.

    For 15 plus year I thought Why would I even need a Hakko desoldering gun until I finally broke down and bought one. Wow, almost made the job Fun! lol The right tool sure can make life easier. I do appreciate the OP taking the time to share the step by step process as it really Isn't that scary to do board work and with the knowledge base of Pinside (RGP) you can keep these games going with a little research and effort. Thanks.

    #17 6 months ago
    Quoted from Yelobird:

    For 15 plus year I thought Why would I even need a Hakko desoldering gun until I finally broke down and bought one. Wow, almost made the job Fun! lol The right tool sure can make life easier. I do appreciate the OP taking the time to share the step by step process as it really Isn't that scary to do board work and with the knowledge base of Pinside (RGP) you can keep these games going with a little research and effort. Thanks.

    I too dragged my feet, and recently picked up a Hakko desoldering gun, 808 used. I had been using a plastic solder sucker, which more often than not created a mess, and damage sometimes, not to mention a lot of time. With the gun, it’s literally a few seconds and the components fall right out.

    #18 6 months ago

    Thanks for all of the feedback. I was sure that others have their methods too, and I’m glad to hear them. In the past I couldn’t find a thread dedicated to this, and removing headers can be scary. Hence this thread. How many of us have tried the “suck off the old solder and rock the header out in one piece” method? I know that’s what I did years ago, and you could be assured that there would be board damage.

    #19 6 months ago
    Quoted from GRUMPY:

    I use a heat gun and warm up the plastic. Then lift it up and off the pins. Then I remove the pins one at a time.

    That's a new one to me, i like it. Someday I'm gonna break down and get the 808.

    #20 6 months ago

    I own a Hakko 808 and must have got a reject. I’ve tried to use it a half dozen times and it never got the job done. It’s been collecting dust for a long time now. Maybe there’s a rebuild kit somewhere that I can throw in it and give it another chance. Honestly through, my solderpullt seems to get it done, so I never put the time into figuring out why my 808 doesn’t work.

    #21 6 months ago
    Quoted from PinJim:

    I own a Hakko 808 and must have got a reject. I’ve tried to use it a half dozen times and it never got the job done. It’s been collecting dust for a long time now. Maybe there’s a rebuild kit somewhere that I can throw in it and give it another chance. Honestly through, my solderpullt seems to get it done, so I never put the time into figuring out why my 808 doesn’t work.

    Make sure it’s clean, has good suction and temp setting is correct. Make sure you tin the tip too.

    #22 6 months ago
    Quoted from PinJim:

    I own a Hakko 808 and must have got a reject. I’ve tried to use it a half dozen times and it never got the job done. It’s been collecting dust for a long time now. Maybe there’s a rebuild kit somewhere that I can throw in it and give it another chance. Honestly through, my solderpullt seems to get it done, so I never put the time into figuring out why my 808 doesn’t work.

    The mistake I see new people do is to pull the trigger to soon. When you are applying heat to a joint you have to let it fully melt all the way through before sucking it off. If you start sucking before it is fully melted you will not get all the solder out. Then if you force the header pin out without getting all the solder removed is when the PCB gets damaged.

    If you did not get a good desolder of a joint, add new fresh solder and try again. A half desoldered joint will not take desoldering again well unless you add new solder. Also hold the board vertical so you are pointing the desoldering gun... like a gun. Gravity helps.

    Gotta keep the tips clean with the hand drill and push rod. Rosin flux clogs things up quicker. If you are losing vacuum check the filters and catch tube. Still no vacuum check the pump stuff like gasket and hoses. The pump will need rebuilt after heavy use. A well preforming desoldering gun and some practice can take header pins off of boards intact.

    #23 6 months ago

    My 808 didn’t work straight out of the box. I let the solder melt, but there was no suction. I tried cleaning everything, new filters, etc. it just didn’t have any suction power. I assume something was bad in my pump. Maybe I’ll toy with it to see what’s wrong as everyone else seem to love theirs.

    Last time I tried to use it the pump would not turn, it’d just hum. Time for a deeper dive into its guts I suppose...

    #24 6 months ago
    Quoted from Lermods:

    Make sure it’s clean, has good suction and temp setting is correct. Make sure you tin the tip too.

    And use the correct sized tip for the job at hand.

    #25 6 months ago
    Quoted from KenLayton:

    And use the correct sized tip for the job at hand.

    This is very very important

    #26 6 months ago
    Quoted from Mitch:

    This is very very important

    On my hakko desoldering stations (that I admittedly bought cheap after commercial use) I find the smaller size tips clog appreciably easier than the large one.

    That being said once you go desoldering gun or station, you never go back. Having to deal with a clog here or there is more than made up for by fast and easy work.

    #27 6 months ago
    Quoted from KenLayton:

    I just use a Hakko 808 desoldering gun. Makes quick work of it.

    My 808 always worked most of the way. I usually had to apply pressure and usually just cut the component off the board.

    Then a buddy used it and cranked the heat from 1.5 to 3. The component practically fell off the board. I use 3 on everything but heat stressed pads now.

    #28 6 months ago

    Here's my method. I only replace the problem pins. Many of the pins are not used and I hate to apply too much heat to the board with my cheap de-soldering tool. So I don't replace the entire header. Do I really need to de-solder all those unused pins? Can I get a uniform look without replacing the entire header? Let's see.

    First I remove the individual housings, using a razor blade to cut it from its neighbor and lift it off the pin. I could cut the pins, like the OP did, to make it easier to remove the housing. I didn't do that here, but may try that next time. I don't recall having any problems lifting the housings off the pins.

    IMG_2495 (resized).JPG

    Next, I de-solder the pins.

    IMG_2496 (resized).JPG

    In order to get a clean uniform look, I use Panduit header replacement parts. They are easy to cut from the longer strips using a razor blade. Trim them up a bit so they don't interfere with their neighbors. A single Panduit replacement header goes a long way when you only use a few pins for each repair.

    IMG_2494 (resized).JPG

    I use a spare Panduit IDC connector to hold the new pins in place for soldering.

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    Here's how it looked when I was done soldering the new pins in.

    IMG_2499 (resized).JPG

    #29 6 months ago

    Sometimes the header pins fit really tight into the holes, so I heat and pull each pin one at a time rather than going straight to the Hakko. This is just to make sure there is no remaining solder bridge that could damage the board on removal. By removing while heated I know that any extra resistance is just from being tight and not leftover solder. Once the pins are all out, I clean off the solder with my Hakko. Most other components, I go straight to the Hakko and just watch the parts fall out on their own.

    #30 6 months ago

    I tried the method of heating the pin without snipping it, and pulling it through the plastic connector. I found that I had to exert a fair amount of force to get it out of the board and worried that I was going to damage the eyelet. I don’t think that it caused any damage, but still, I prefer my method of snipping each pin, breaking away the plastic, and then removing the pin. When I do that, the pin slides out of the board without force.

    Again, to each their own. And I always appreciate,feedback as that’s how I learn and get better. Now where’s my drink...

    #31 6 months ago

    I have an 808. But you have to careful.

    I like what I’m seeing here.

    #32 6 months ago

    Here’s what I did tonight. No board damage. Took my time of course, but happy with the results. The black connectors are new.

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    #33 6 months ago
    Quoted from PinJim:

    Here’s what I did tonight. No board damage. Took my time of course, but happy with the results. The black connectors are new.[quoted image]

    Looks great.

    #34 6 months ago
    Quoted from PinJim:

    Next, I use a pry tool to remove the plastic portion of the board header. In the past I used a thin screwdriver for this, but it will scar the surface of the board. It works, but it’s not pretty. Today I’m using some car stereo removal pry tools. It can be tough to get the tool under the plastic part of the header, but with some persistence, it’ll get in there.
    As you can see, parts of the connector snapped off. I used the tool to pry the remaining plastic off of the header pins.
    There may be a better tool to do this, as my car stereo removal tools are now basically gouged and deformed. But, they got the job done. And I’m too old to replace car stereos - I’d rather be fixing a machine.[quoted image][quoted image][quoted image]

    You might want to consider getting a chip lifter/puller for pulling the plastic parts. It looks like a screwdriver with a curved tip. The pic on Amazon is rather weak. I can take and post a pic of my lifter if you need.

    amazon.com link »

    #35 6 months ago
    Quoted from cottonm4:

    You might want to consider getting a chip lifter/puller for pulling the plastic parts. It looks like a screwdriver with a curved tip. The pic on Amazon is rather weak. I can take and post a pic of my lifter if you need.
    amazon.com link »

    Thanks for the tip, I just ordered one. Admittedly the most difficult part of the process is breaking away the plastic without gouging the board. I found that on the williams/bally headers, the plastic is very brittle (at least it was on my STTNG). I can use my snippers to get between the pins and snip the plastic. Often, almost always, the brittle plastic shatters away from the pins. Still though, the tool looks like it may make it even easier.

    All of my STTNG headers are working great, minus the GI one. Someone did previous work there and obviously damaged a through hole. So I had to put on one jumper, which I'm ok with. I plan to keep my STTNG indefinitely, so I don't care if there's a jumper on the back of the board. I upgraded the 5VDC and 12VDC regulators to the EZSBC units and it's working great. The real test will be tonight with all of my machines on - which was causing (I assume) low line voltage and random resets on my STTNG and TZ. I'll be anxious to fire up the games tonight to see if the EZSBC regulators fix that problem. =)

    #36 6 months ago

    Not familiar with this. Got link?

    #37 6 months ago
    Quoted from John_I:

    Not familiar with this. Got link?

    prob in here..........

    https://www.ezsbc.com/index.php/psu5.html#.XUxg_OhKiVo

    #38 6 months ago

    Correct. From what I understand, they are switching regulators. And going waaaaaay back to my college days, I think (if I recall correctly) that a switching regulator (power supply) is more tolerant of lowered input voltage. So in theory, my house voltage can drop to 110VAC and the game won't reset. In theory.

    That and the 5V regulator lets you adjust the output voltage. So I can set it to 5.1V if I want to help with resets. I don't think I'll need to as I've replaced the bridge/caps and headers. Next will be to re-pin the connectors. But I'm not sure if the caps, bridges, etc. will fix low input voltage resets (i.e., 110VAC house voltage). I'm hoping the EZSBC units do that the 5V one in particular, as the 12V circuit doesn't cause resets)

    pasted_image (resized).png
    #39 6 months ago

    You can also tune an LM323 if you isolate the ground and add a resistor.

    Some people say it's a hack - but if it's in the manufacturer's data sheet's example circuit, I'm good to go with it since it's part of the design.

    Boo on Williams for not having trimmer resistors on it themselves.

    #40 6 months ago
    Quoted from slochar:

    You can also tune an LM323 if you isolate the ground and add a resistor.
    Some people say it's a hack - but if it's in the manufacturer's data sheet's example circuit, I'm good to go with it since it's part of the design.
    Boo on Williams for not having trimmer resistors on it themselves.

    I’ve always assumed Williams did things so that the games would have a set lifespan. They didn’t want games to last 20 years or they’d never sell more games. They did some crappy stuff like snap caps on the board, IDC connectors, etc...

    With that being said, in theory the LM323 should be fine, right? If it worked from the factory, why would we have to adjust the voltage? Why does the load change with age? I always assume it’s failing connectors or maybe weak caps. Not sure. I guess the EZBSC is possibly masking another issue. I’m gonna replace all of the connectors anyhow, as I don’t want to mess with it for another 10 years.

    While I’m rambling, I bulletproofed a black knight almost 20 years ago and sold it a year ago. It never gave me a problem over the entire time I owned it. But I totally rebuilt the power supply and all critical connectors. Trifurcon is your friend.

    #41 6 months ago

    A little off topic, but I bought a bunch of parts for my hakko 808 tonight. I also took it apart for the first time in years and clearly the little tube that runs through the heater is plugged solid. I suppose that’s my first step to resurrecting it. Not sure if I can clean it without damaging the thing, it appears to be plugged end to end....

    My original tip is tiny so I bought a few more sizes. I also bought some more replacement valves and filters. Anxious to get it running and try it for board work.

    #42 6 months ago
    Quoted from PinJim:

    A little off topic, but I bought a bunch of parts for my hakko 808 tonight. I also took it apart for the first time in years and clearly the little tube that runs through the heater is plugged solid. I suppose that’s my first step to resurrecting it. Not sure if I can clean it without damaging the thing, it appears to be plugged end to end....
    My original tip is tiny so I bought a few more sizes. I also bought some more replacement valves and filters. Anxious to get it running and try it for board work.

    Are you talking about the tube that gets hot to touch and takes the tips? Or are you talking something deeper inside your 808?

    #43 6 months ago

    The tube on the end of the gun, left side of the picture.

    E9F97FAE-D8F5-4F88-8EA8-0D7E7CEEE550 (resized).jpeg
    #44 6 months ago

    My Hakko kit came with a long rod. I don't know exactly what it is for but I use it as a plunger. If you have a drill bit that fits inside the hole it might come in handy.

    I would put in a new filter and turn on the heat all the way. Once the gun is hot then turn on the vacuum and see if the tube will clear on its own. As long as you are not horsing anything around I don't see how you can damage anything.

    The tube you are talking about is an open tube that opens into the vacuum chamber. I think heat and vacuum will clean it out. Or even a piece of stiff wire might help.

    I had one of my tips get clogged up with solder. I discovered it does not take too much to clogged the filter. I also discovered I can peel a small layer of material from the filter to extend its useful life. And also came to understand that the filter has to remain clean and have good vacuum or I am going to be digging out clogged solder.

    #45 6 months ago

    following.

    #46 6 months ago

    I finally had time to get back to my Hakko 808 tonight, attempting to clear the heater tube. I did as suggested and let it full heat up. The I used to small pushrod, and to my surprise, I cleared the tube fairly easily.

    The tip below, on the other had, is plugged. I let it heat up fully and still couldn’t clear it. So I took a propane torch to it until it was glowing red hot. Still no dice, it won’t clear. Next a small drill bit. Nope. I give up on that tip. Luckily I have 3 more tips set to arrive this Thursday.

    I need to find an old board to practice on, as I don’t want to have a WPC ram removal be must first test using the Hakko in 5 years...

    41CCF649-665A-4BDE-96CD-829FE37447EA (resized).jpeg
    #47 6 months ago
    Quoted from PinJim:

    I finally had time to get back to my Hakko 808 tonight, attempting to clear the heater tube. I did as suggested and let it full heat up. The I used to small pushrod, and to my surprise, I cleared the tube fairly easily.
    The tip below, on the other had, is plugged. I let it heat up fully and still couldn’t clear it. So I took a propane torch to it until it was glowing red hot. Still no dice, it won’t clear. Next a small drill bit. Nope. I give up on that tip. Luckily I have 3 more tips set to arrive this Thursday.
    I need to find an old board to practice on, as I don’t want to have a WPC ram removal be must first test using the Hakko in 5 years...[quoted image]

    One of my tips got clogged with what looked like a peanut's worth of solder. I had to take a little larger drill bit and drill that stuff out. Once most of it was gone, the heat took care of what was left.

    #48 6 months ago
    Quoted from PinJim:

    I need to find an old board to practice on

    Old PCs or your old Betamax would be great practice fodder!

    #49 6 months ago

    I bet the old betamax players are worth more than the hakko! I was shocked at how much VHS players command these days.

    I think I have an old IGT motherboard somewhere, it may get sacrificed. I have a very nice System 7 CPU too, guess I won't experiment on that! I should put it up for sale, as (from what I remember) it's an unhacked original. And I don't foresee me ever owning another System 7 game...

    #50 6 months ago

    Off topic, but I got my Hakko 808 parts today. Installed them and did some DCS board work. All I can say is wow. Capacitors and resistors just fall out of the board. Hard to believe I’ve been doing board work for 20 years without one.

    I’m going to tackle WPC nvram soon. Hesitant to use the Hakko, I know that cutting the chip out, removing each lead and then sucking away the solder is safe. How much success do people have with Hakko chip removal?

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