How To Decide If Your Circuit Board is Repairable

printed circuit board repairsGot a stack of damaged circuit boards gathering dust in your plant?  If so, you are in some good company.

Instead of waiting for someone else to figure out what to do with these, go ahead and grab the bull by the proverbial horns…or rather the circuit board by its electronic components.

There’s likely something useful in that dusty pile of circuit boards, at the very least, scrap value.  Not to mention you will reduce clutter which, in some plants, that alone could make you a hero.

Grab two empty boxes and start by sorting the pile into a “potential repair” box and a “scrap” box.  (Can’t tell one from the other?  Send your damaged circuit boards to our techs and we can sort them for you and repair the circuit boards that are repairable.)  While today’s board assemblies have become very complex, they are still generally repairable and too valuable NOT to repair.

There are generally three types of printed circuit boards:

  • Single-sided boards which are straightforward with components on only one side
  • Double-sided boards with components on both sides that are electrically connected by holes in the board
  • Multi-layer boards with layers of printed circuits separated by layers of insulation and connected by plated holes.

All of these types of boards are usually repairable with the more complex boards requiring a higher level of technician expertise.

The following types of damage are often repairable:

  • Broken corners?  Usually  this is repairable even on an assembled circuit board by using thermoset epoxy and matching color agents
  • Bad or missing surface mount components?  Yes, this is usually repairable
  • Damaged circuitry, traces or plated holes?  Usually repairable
  • Blown capacitors?  Usually replaceable
  • Water damaged boards?  Sometimes repairable
  • Fire damaged boards?  Possibly repairable.  Use common sense here – minor damage can be repaired; a melted glob of plastic and metal, not so much.

If you decide the best option is to scrap your boards research the best options in your area.  If you still aren’t sure where to go, contact your local department of public works to see if they can recommend reputable companies that pay a fair price and dispose of any waste properly.  Some possibilities include metal refineries and electronics recyclers.

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