High level instructions on how to replace connector on board?

  • Every now and then I'll snag a wire when working around my printer and break the plastic tab on the connector on the board. I know how to solder wires together, I don't have any specific knowledge about working with circuit boards other than using a solder sucker to remove the old/excess solder.

    Can someone give me the basic overview of how to replace the connectors on the board?

  • I would suggest you live with the damaged connector (I have a couple as well) rather than fiddle with the board. In theory you can do it but in practice it is so easy to screw up to not make it worthwhile.
    One thing I have not tried that may be worthwhile is to see if you can take a new connector and remove the pins. If that works I would CAREFULLY cut the old plastic away from the pins and once removed I would push the empty shell (without the pins) onto the remaining pins.
    I would wait and see if anyone has tried this before I would screw around with the board.
    It is very easy to lift a trace or a via if you heat the solder joint too long or too hot.

    If you absolutely HAVE to do it, I would suggest you proceed as follows:

    1. cut away old connector plastic shell
    2. with a temperature controlled solder iron, put a drop of solder on the underside of the pins that are to be removed. This gives a good heat connection between the iron and the solder.
    3. grasp a pin with needle nose pliers, touch the soldering iron to the fresh blob of solder on the pin you just grabbed and pull gently on the pliers.
      As soon as the solder has melted, the pin will be free to be pulled out. Remember - GENTLY!
    4. repeat on all pins
    5. Use solder wick to clean up all solder and make sure all through holes are clean
    6. insert replacement connector and solder pins.

  • I've definitely thought about the quick case, of just replacing the plastic. Thanks for the rest of the thorough explanation!!

    I have a couple of dead Maestro boards, I'll see if I can scavenge the parts I need.

  • administrators

    If you mean the Molex KK connectors, it is possible to pull the plastic shells off using pliers. It's easier to do if you heat the connector using hot air at 180C first. Then a new shell can be fitted, again easier if the pins are heated first.

  • i was able to slip an x-acto knife under each edge and walk it up about a mm and then was able to pluck it right off with my fingers

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