New to soldering, how to solder mini USB connector?

MrChips

Joined Oct 2, 2009
22,474
I hope you have been reading the previous posts where good advice has already been given.

1) Do no more than you need to otherwise you risk making matters worse.

2) Use a low wattage soldering iron with a fine tip or use a temperature controlled iron. Too much heat and pressure will damage more traces.

3) Remove the solder that is already on the board using solder wick. This will allow the connector to sit flush and avoid having this happening again. Go easy with this operation because you want to spend as little time as possible and little heat and pressure. The advice already given is to add more solder to the contacts. Add some solder to the solder wick. Heat up the solder wick first and gently swipe the heated joint with the wick. This does take some practice and experience. Practice on a scrap board first. After you have done that, remove excess solder from the USB connector also. Check that the connector sits flush on the board.

4) Scrape away the green solder mask from the via at the damaged trace.

5) Align the USB connector on the PCB and tack solder the mounting tabs by just applying heat to the tabs. Once one tab is holding and the connector is no longer movable, go around and solder all tabs and connections using the finest solder you can find.

6) Strip off a short piece of 30AWG wire-wrap wire. Insert one end into the via and bend the wire to meet the USB connector contact. Solder both ends of the wire. Clip the wire on the reverse side of the PCB.

Done.
 

dl324

Joined Mar 30, 2015
12,212
Is removing the solder necessary? because I would like to make the least amount of room for failure. And what's the best way to remove the solder?
Yes. The connector is surface mount and you need all of the contacts to make good contact with the board. You could try to bridge any gaps with solder. My personal opinion is that it would look like a repair made by someone with questionable knowledge and skill. It doesn't need to be perfect, but you don't want it to become a source of embarrassment.
 

dl324

Joined Mar 30, 2015
12,212
Something someone else recommended on another forum was to use copper magnetic wire, and by the looks of it, would be easier to find and easier to use, do you think this is true and would work?
It would work, but magnet wire has an enamel coating that needs to be removed. A strand of bare #30 wire wrap wire would be easier. I suggested it because anyone doing point to point wiring would likely have some wire wrap wire. If you don't have any, you could use just about any solid wire. Stranded would work too, but a single piece of solid wire would be cleaner and have less chance of causing shorts.
 

MrChips

Joined Oct 2, 2009
22,474
If you do not have 30AWG wire-wrap wire, take a piece of fine stranded wire, 24 or 26AWG and take a single strand from the bundle.
 

MrSoftware

Joined Oct 29, 2013
1,956
Flux is your friend, it makes solder flow like water instead of globbing up. Use lots of it, there's no such thing as too much. Put it all over the connector pads. When you're done, clean it off with alcohol and a small brush.

There is nothing wrong with using wire where the trace is missing, to connect that pin to the via. But I suspect trying to work with a piece of wire that small is going to give you fits. The solder on your iron tip is going to want to suck it up.

If it were me; the very first step would be slather it with flux, place a piece of solder wick down and gently rub it around with the tip of your iron. That will remove almost all of the solder. Clean up with alcohol and a brush and paper towel, add more flux, place that plug down on the pads, put a tiny dab of solder on your iron and while holding the plug down with tweezers touch the corners with the iron. Now the plug will stay in one place and you'll have a much easier time working with the pins. There are a dozen ways to do it, but this guy gives some pretty excellent examples. Notice his use of flux:

 
All of the advice is good. the problem is it's your first attempt.

Remember, this is your very first attempt and it's not a good first project. You could buy a few micro USB breakout boards to practice on.

I'm going to point you here: http://www.proto-advantage.com/store/advanced_search_result.php?keywords=usb+micro&x=0&y=0 primarily to introduce you to the technology.

http://www.proto-advantage.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=2210181

There are practice kits/ e.g. http://www.proto-advantage.com/store/index.php?cPath=4400

It's like my first C program was an operating system and instruction set emulator as part of a 2-person team. Everyone else had 4 or 5 people.

Or my very first FORTRAN program took two of us 9 months to write. it was a real time direct digital process control system with 7 PID loops and recipes back in the early 1980's.

It's not like sealing compounds under vacuum in an evacuated tube. I always needed to practice on an empty tube if I hadn't done one in about 6 weeks to get the "feel" again. really messed up once when putting both zinc and red phosforos in the tube and sealing it. It dropped about 2 feet while extremely hot.
 

Thread Starter

OneCircuitGuy

Joined Oct 14, 2020
17
If you do not have 30AWG wire-wrap wire, take a piece of fine stranded wire, 24 or 26AWG and take a single strand from the bundle.
unfortunately, I don't have any wire-wrap wire, is there any phone cable/common cables you think I would have that I could take apart to find useable strand of copper?
 

djsfantasi

Joined Apr 11, 2010
7,190
unfortunately, I don't have any wire-wrap wire, is there any phone cable/common cables you think I would have that I could take apart to find useable strand of copper?
A piece of light-duty electrical extension cord (14-16 ga.) has 30 ga. stranded wires. If you have an old lamp, you can get a piece of stranded wire from that.
 

Thread Starter

OneCircuitGuy

Joined Oct 14, 2020
17
A piece of light-duty electrical extension cord (14-16 ga.) has 30 ga. stranded wires. If you have an old lamp, you can get a piece of stranded wire from that.
I had cut open an old lightning cable for an iPhone that was defective, I found what looks to be copper strands in it, could I cut out one of these strands and use that? I should say that they are very small.
 

djsfantasi

Joined Apr 11, 2010
7,190
I had cut open an old lightning cable for an iPhone that was defective, I found what looks to be copper strands in it, could I cut out one of these strands and use that? I should say that they are very small.
Maybe too small. Can you find a light or appliance at a yard sale, and cut off its cord?
 

dl324

Joined Mar 30, 2015
12,212
unfortunately, I don't have any wire-wrap wire, is there any phone cable/common cables you think I would have that I could take apart to find useable strand of copper?
You can use solid wire from phone or network cable. It'll be around 24-26 AWG. Ideally, the wire would be thin enough to fit through the via hole.
 
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