Bending Right Angle Headers

Discussion in 'The Projects Forum' started by djsfantasi, Apr 23, 2016.

  1. djsfantasi

    Thread Starter AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 11, 2010
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    How risky is it to bend the pins on a right angle header, to convert it to a straight header? Should I try it, or go right to buying a de-soldering iron and replacing the header? It is a wireless RF module, that fits my project case, etc... better if the header was straight in.

    A good pair of needle nose pliers and gentle bending is how I would approach it. I could also drill the end of s chop stick and use it to gain leverage, maybe? or a piece of brass tubing, but I no longer have a source locally for this
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    1096-05.png

    I dislike de-soldering with wick. I am successful at it, after a few attempts. It seems like a lot of work, that a de-soldering iron would eliminate. I have the straight header...
     
  2. MaxHeadRoom

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    Jul 18, 2013
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    The ones I have bent with needle nose bend nice and sharp with just the single pair, it seemed harder copper/alloy than I would have expected.
    But that was bending not straitening!
    I suspect If I tried straitening it might kink?
    Max.
     
  3. jpanhalt

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    I have done that many times, usually just to get the longer pins, but not always. Needle nose pliers will work; however, I use a small drill press vise like this:
    upload_2016-4-23_12-53-30.png

    Remember, the bend in the pin is probably work hardened, so bending it back to straight may not work as well as you want it to. Putting it in the vise and squeezing on the bend and long leg will give a nice, controller "unbending." As an alternative, vise grips (smooth jaw preferred) should also work for pressing the bend.

    John
     
  4. SLK001

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    Nov 29, 2011
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    The pins aren't work hardened, but just hardened. If you bend them the 90° required to straighten them, you will most likely fracture them. Best to go the "buy the right part" route.

    One more thing: Put the board in a holder/vice and try putting a lot of solder on the pins on the back (bridge all the pins), then use your soldering iron to slide back and forth through the solder while you pull the header out from the other side. Once the header is out, clean out the holes with your wick.
     
  5. Alec_t

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    Possibly, but you've nothing to lose by trying.
     
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  6. jpanhalt

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    NOT! I have bent many pins and have never broke or even stress fractured a single one. Are you writing from real experience or theory?

    John
     
  7. MaxHeadRoom

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    I took a file to one old one I have here and they appear to be brass, not hardened copper as I first suspected, hence the apparent hardness.
    Max.
     
  8. Lestraveled

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    May 19, 2014
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    Like what Alec t said, you have nothing to lose. If they straighten then great. If they break then you get to remove and replace them.
     
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  9. MaxHeadRoom

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    In a case like the ones in the pic, it may be tricky when unable to grasp both sides of the bend?
    Unless as john said, you get the whole bend in the vise.
    The act of bending, work hardens.
    Max.
     
  10. GopherT

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    Bend them slowly and get them right the first time (or consider them to be right enough after the first attempt). Cracking happens when you bend them back or get too anal about getting them perfectly straight. I've done it a dozen times and we even relied on a row of straightened pins for a robotics competition. The bot is still running today. You'll be fine. If you are not fine, you just remove broken pins instead of right-angle pins before you install new straight pins.
     
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  11. djsfantasi

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    "Just the single pair" means...? If I attempt to bend one pin at a time, is the greater than 50% chance that it will work? 75%?

    Thanks to those who reminded me that I have naught to lose by trying...
     
  12. jpanhalt

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    If you squeeze with a vise or vise grips, your success rate will be approximately 100%. If you use pliers and press on the bends, maybe a little less. If you use long nose pliers, you may end up with an S-bend or destroy the plastic. I am guessing your success rate will be 95% or better, depending on how much of a perfectionist you are.

    John
     
  13. Marcus2012

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    Feb 22, 2015
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    Try using a piece of unused stripboard. Place the whole header into a row on the edge of the stripboard and use the board to gently lever it along its bend radius. It'll help retain it's correct pitch that way.
     
  14. Marcus2012

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    I would advice against using a vice for a small PCB like this. The vice jaws can mangle brass and you won't be able to get the piece far enough inside the jaws without damaging adjacent components.
     
  15. jpanhalt

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    The example of vise I gave has smooth, ground jaws and is only about 2" wide. I have straightened many pins with it. And, when I am out of headers with long pins on both sides, i.e., for coupling female connectors, I take a right-angle header and straighten its pins. Never had a failure.

    Of course, nothing is fool proof.

    John
     
  16. GopherT

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    Just get a big-ass linemens pliers and put the whole angled connector in the jaws and squeeze. If it feels right, it's working. Metal is like a young kid - mailable, and does what you tell him if you are firm and concise.
     
  17. tracecom

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    Apr 16, 2010
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    You don't have to have a desoldering iron. Take your smallest wire cutters and snip the plastic between each pin. Then, heat the pins one at a time and pull them out. Use the solder sucker to vacuum the holes. Solder the straight header in place. Easier to do than to describe.
     
  18. MaxHeadRoom

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    The single pair of needle nose!
    Max.
     
  19. SLK001

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    Depends on the construction. Some are made of phospher bronze, which once set, is extremely resistant to bending. Lesser quality headers have pins made out of brass. Brass, on the other hand, will bend quite easily.
     
  20. djsfantasi

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    As this is a Chinese module, I suspect they are made of brass.

    As Max and others noted, straightening is likely but there may be a kink.

    A kink is ok. As long as there is sufficient length for the female socket to grab on too, I'm not worried about a kink. My goal is not so much about straightening them as it is changing their orientation or direction.
     
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