Need Help Reverse Engineering PCB

Thread Starter

theabbott1911

Joined Jan 4, 2024
3
Hello all! I am currently working on a little hobby project and yet I know little to nothing about PCBs. I have been purchasing these tiny ESCs for my hobby project but they are still taking up too much space in the unit. Instead of using wiring to connect them with the receiver, I would like to develop a single Small PCB using JST connectors.

Would anyone be willing to shed some light as to how I can go about reverse engineering this PCB in an effort to convert it to a single PCB? Any and all help is very much appreciated!

Thanks in advance to all who have taken their time to read/answer this!
- Jonathan-12529746861108964356.jpg20231231_184931.jpg20231231_184923.jpg
 

MrChips

Joined Oct 2, 2009
30,810
Rather than reverse engineer the board, why not design your own circuit to meet your specifications?
There are only four components on that PCB. It should not be difficult to construct your own.
Tell us what you are trying to do (as if you did not already have that PCB).
 

Thread Starter

theabbott1911

Joined Jan 4, 2024
3
Lol I am as inexperienced in PCB design as a potato lol. I just use these to connect to a RF receiver for a remote control car. They are connected to power, the receiver and the motors. I am hoping to combine 6 onto 1 narrow board and use 2 pin 1.0mm JST connectors to connect the motors to it. Thanks for the help!
 

Ya’akov

Joined Jan 27, 2019
9,165
One approach you could take is to attach the controllers directly to a PCB. There are a few ways you can go about it, but even just gluing them to a protoboard and soldering small jumpers from the pads to the board could work.

Other options depend on what is on the reverse of the board.
 

Thread Starter

theabbott1911

Joined Jan 4, 2024
3
One approach you could take is to attach the controllers directly to a PCB. There are a few ways you can go about it, but even just gluing them to a protoboard and soldering small jumpers from the pads to the board could work.

Other options depend on what is on the reverse of the board.
Thanks for the suggestion! Unfortunately, the space I have to work in is extremely extremely small. This is the primary reach I am hoping to eliminate the need for soldering pads altogether. I am also hoping to design a board to be able to use those micro JST connectors mentioned earlier.

Again, I appreciate the suggestion!
 

Ya’akov

Joined Jan 27, 2019
9,165
Thanks for the suggestion! Unfortunately, the space I have to work in is extremely extremely small. This is the primary reach I am hoping to eliminate the need for soldering pads altogether. I am also hoping to design a board to be able to use those micro JST connectors mentioned earlier.

Again, I appreciate the suggestion!
Right, so if you imagine the controllers as components (they aren’t much bigger than you could lay them out), that you use like you would surface mount devices, you would build a board where the small jumpers I mentioned are connected to the PCB, where traces take them to the connectors.

This is a very common practice with modules for wireless technologies like Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Because layout and materials are critical at microwave frequency, it is easier to simply solder a PCB to the main PCB to get that functionality. such modules usually provide castellated (half) holes directly adjacent to the normal ones that accept 2.54mm header pins (or, lately, 2mm or even smaller).

1704446071908.png 1704445967824.png
an Ethernet module with regular and castellated pads (L) and an RF module without the regular pads (R)

1704446376576.png
detail of the castellated pads

These pads are basically plated through holes cut in half so they can be soldered to pads place to accommodate them. This is one of the reasons that I said the reverse of your ESC matters. If has no components on it*, and there are no interfering traces, you could simulate the castellated holes by drilling existing pads strategically on 2.54mm centers which wold allow the same sort of direct mounting onto a protoboard with pads at 2.54mm intervals.

*even if there are SMD components on the reverse of the PCB it can still be mounted this way using single pins from break-away pin headers as standoffs, the plastic part that of the pin header will space the board off the surface, and if one doesn’t do it, you can add another—stealing it from another pin

This would give you a way to route to the connectors also on that board—no flying wires, and even the jumpers (not really a problem) eliminated.

Also, be careful to choose a connector type that can handle more than 1A, the rating of the ESC. This is so you don’t find melted connectors when things decide to go a bit wrong. If you are using 2.54mm centers you are already fairly safe since I don’t think any standard JST of that size is going to be dangerously underrated.

Keep in mind that you can get right angle connectors in most JST wire-to-board series for the board side if you have more room horizontally than vertically.

Good luck.
 
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