Advice needed for a headphone jack repair gone wrong

Discussion in 'Palm' started by ian54, Oct 8, 2011.

  1. ian54

    ian54 Newbie

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    I own several Palm T5 and TX and one of the most common faults is the headphone jack starts going awry, I've repaired with a soldering iron about half a dozen times but on this instance something has gone badly wrong, this was on a unit I'd yet to repair before.

    I was re-soldering the connections on a jack when I noticed it was still loose afterwards, I didn't apply much pressure but the entire jack has come away from the circuit board very easily, but, the strange things is there does not seem to be any contacts on the board, almost as if the square contact points themselves have lifted off the board with the contacts on the jack, and consequently nothing to solder back on.

    No amount of solder heat will re-attach any of the contacts on the jack now.

    Any advice from seasoned Palm repairers appreciated.
     
  2. RickAgresta

    RickAgresta General Peanut, leader of the Peanutty Forces

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    Welcome to Brighthand, ian54

    From what little I know, it sounds as though a motherboard replacement is in order, unless you can somehow bridge the normal solder contact points to the printed circuit. Good luck; those are 2 very good models, in many ways.
     
  3. raspabalsa

    raspabalsa Brain stuck BogoMipping

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    Welcome to Brighthand, ian54

    I'm afraid Rick is probably right, once the solder pads break off the mainboard it is very hard to fix them. It can sometimes be done, but you will need a very fine point soldering iron, magnifying glass, a very steady hand, good quality solder, and most important of all, the printed circuit should have enough accessible area so you can scrape off the insulation varnish and solder a bridge to the pad. I don't mean to make you feel worse, but often the pads will come off if too much heat is applied while soldering. I've been soldering for years, and still I sometimes damage printed boards by heating them too much and breaking the pads. To prevent this I use a low power (15 watt) iron when working on small electronics, and a good quality solder wire to avoid applying heat for too long.

    I just checked a TX mainboard with a magnifying glass, and it seems that the 5 contact points of the jack are accessible, meaning it probably could be fixed with patience and skill. Check the attached image of the TX's jack, I highlighted in red the "bridges" you must solder to reconnect the jack. Of course you have to scrape off the varnish and expose the copper to solder. Be sure to compare the image to your actual mainboard to locate the points.

    The problem is that the bridge areas are really tiny, and soldering there is very hard without the proper specialized soldering stations. I've soldered on similar areas by means of a trick of former BH'er junglemike: get a length of stiff copper wire (a strand from a UTP wire is perfect for this), remove the insulation from this wire, and wrap it around the iron's tip, leaving a short (about 1cm) length of wire protruding from the tip of the iron. This way you have an extra fine soldering tip, which will conduct the heat from the iron and with this it is possible to solder in tiny places. But still will be hard to fix. If you suceed in fixing this, I recommend you to glue the jack to the mainboard with some epoxy compound (we call them "liquid steel" down here) to make sure the electrical contacts do not bear any mechanical stress when inserting or removing the headphones.

    Perhaps it will be easier to contact Chris Short at palmdr.com, decribe the problem and ask for a cost estimate to repair the mainboard. He has the right tools and the skill for this kind of job.

    Good luck, and let us know what you decide to do.
     

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  4. reb1

    reb1 Mobile Deity

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  5. ian54

    ian54 Newbie

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    Thanks for excellent replies, fortunately I can get a replacement TX on eBay or a reasonable price, but repair is a nice project, I shall certainly have a go at this one, failing that the unit works fine and is a good backup. I'll also investigate some BT headphones.
     
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