STE V1.5 32MHz BOOSTER - STATUS

Help & information about the STE V1 series boosters.
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Re: STE V1.5 32MHz BOOSTER - STATUS

Post by exxos »

After resoldering 3 boards, 2 seems to be working the 3rd doesn't.. I soldered all the parts other than the pins, I checked continuity and shorts, and seemed fine.. Even resoldering the header pins alone didn't work. But this reminds me of issues I had before where I thought something was bad on the PCB's somehow..

I will investigate more tomorrow (out all day today) though I don't get why these things have such a high failure rate. I may get 10 pcs done with a much large copper fill gap in case the CPU is shorting out to gnd even though it shouldn't be possible.. but 60+ pins and a tiny bit missing off the mask would be all it takes..
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Re: STE V1.5 32MHz BOOSTER - STATUS

Post by PhilC »

You've more patience than me. Good luck.
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Re: STE V1.5 32MHz BOOSTER - STATUS

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Forgottenmyname wrote: Wed Oct 31, 2018 10:32 am You've more patience than me. Good luck.
Its got to the point or considering the copperfill bending the PCB enough as it cools to break some joints somewhere.. Of make them iffy enough to meter fine but not actually work... Really hate these mysteries.. Has been a problem right from the start.. :roll:
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Re: STE V1.5 32MHz BOOSTER - STATUS

Post by PhilC »

Just remind me where you soldering with a heat gun or putting them in the oven? Just wondered if the heating and cooling program was too harsh and that's exactly what's happening?
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Re: STE V1.5 32MHz BOOSTER - STATUS

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These are done in the oven. Profile is as gentle as it can be.. Cooler settings and solder doesn't melt, hotter and it burns the PCB. Not much room for error between the 2 either :(

Reheating the board tends to fix them a lot of the time... Its like bad soldering but I never found any breaks anywhere. But these boards have been sat a few weeks since soldering. I'm thinking the board is bending during soldering, then when its cooled down, its under strain and over the weeks things break.

I'm going to see if I can use larger vias and tracks to them when I get back home... I've removed the bulk copper parts and spaced things out a lot more as well.
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Re: STE V1.5 32MHz BOOSTER - STATUS

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I had to make the PCB a fraction larger so I could increase the isolation size on the copper... keeping it more away from everything.. also blocking it in the center as much as possible...

This gives a idea what I mean.. going to look into larger vias any anywhere I can improve strength of tracks...


new.jpg
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Re: STE V1.5 32MHz BOOSTER - STATUS

Post by PhilC »

Just looking at some of the solder pads for the caps and resistors on the right side of the board, is it possible that it could have bridged the component underneath, the pads do look close together at the sides, even zoomed in.

Also, when you bake the boards I take it the header pins are in already? Do you hold them in the correct place? It could be that when they cool you get a dry joint if allowed to flex?

Just thinking allowed and know you probably already tried it all.
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Re: STE V1.5 32MHz BOOSTER - STATUS

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Forgottenmyname wrote: Wed Oct 31, 2018 10:20 pm Just looking at some of the solder pads for the caps and resistors on the right side of the board, is it possible that it could have bridged the component underneath, the pads do look close together at the sides, even zoomed in.
They mostly for the CPU clock.. The clock is running fine on all the boards. I may see if I can space things out a little more...

Forgottenmyname wrote: Wed Oct 31, 2018 10:20 pm Also, when you bake the boards I take it the header pins are in already? Do you hold them in the correct place? It could be that when they cool you get a dry joint if allowed to flex?

Just thinking allowed and know you probably already tried it all.

I soldered the pins by hand, because the plastics was melting in the oven.. but when I reflowed them yesterday the pins were in place, I use 2 or 3 blank pcbs to hold them in place.. oddly the plastic didn't melt that time..

I've wrote loads about these issues if you look back though this thread.. one board worked for like 20 hour then died for no reason.. heated up in oven again.. then fine again for a couple hours.. then dead again..

While soldering has been a issue, it can't be on every board... my soldering isn't *that* bad... plus I got these pins soldered by someone else to rule out "me" issues...

There was some PCBs from some german company which didn't work at all.. I got these new pcbs from my regular PCB guy and these work "better".. and there are 3 ( I think ) of these boosters on test and have been for some months.. so it seems more like a PCB issue somehow..

I can only think the board is flexing during heating and cooling and some bad connection on a via is the result.. I never found any bad connections with meter, but this doesn't mean there are no bad connections.. running power in MHz speeds will fail on a bad connection, but on a meter on beep test, works fine...

I have wondered if the pins themselves are looking soldered, but actually not... pressing on them with a meter could make or break them I guess... so I may run some pins in the US cleaner before soldering..

I will keep beafing up the PCB meanwhile.. get 10 made and see how building those up goes...
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Re: STE V1.5 32MHz BOOSTER - STATUS

Post by exxos »

Tracks,gaps & vias all doubled up in sizes...

I have blocked a lot of copper fill around the CPU as well (also same on bottom layer ( not shown ))

I have also started to think the PLCC footprint is very close on the edges of the CPU... So will see if I can do something about that also...

ste2.JPG
ste2.JPG (170.99 KiB) Viewed 4152 times

EDIT..

Seems to be a lot of variation on pads for PLCC... new one I found has slightly smaller pads...

co.JPG
co.JPG (61.14 KiB) Viewed 4148 times
cn.JPG
cn.JPG (68.13 KiB) Viewed 4148 times
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Re: STE V1.5 32MHz BOOSTER - STATUS

Post by PhilC »

It is so difficult to check with those small pins whether they are soldered enough, even with a usb microscope and you might be on to something with the whole pressure on the pin thing as I've had that problem many times as am sure you have.

I don't suppose you could bend the pins on the cpu so there's more surface area to solder? I would ask about smt cpus but know you have a lot of the ones you've been using.

P.s. have been following this thread with interest from the start, who is it you use for the pcbs and who were the Germans we should avoid? I know you use Oshpark a lot.
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