Guide: Replacing capacitors in the EPoX 8RDA+ - Page 2
Written by Gizmo   
Sunday, 12 June 2005 15:27
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Guide: Replacing capacitors in the EPoX 8RDA+
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Let's fix my board, already!


So, okay, you now know more about capacitors than you ever really wanted to.  How does this help you fix your board?  Simple, silly!  You've got to have the right parts for the job!  Fortunately for you, I've done the necessary research.  The part numbers and where to get them can be found at the end of this article.

In addition to the parts, you are going to need some basic tools, so let's get to it:


The tools


First off, you need a minimum of a 35W temperature controlled soldering iron.  These two requirements are necessary, or you will most likely be greeted with failure.  The capacitors we are going to be removing are attached to very large power and ground planes on the board (which is a fancy way of saying they are soldered to really big chunks of metal).  Oddly enough, these planes act like huge heat sinks, taking the heat of the soldering iron away from the area that you are trying to heat up enough to melt the solder.  This means you need an iron capable of generating a lot of heat.  However, you need for it to be able to control the temperature of its tip, because it is possible to actually burn up the board if you get it too hot.  You should also use a reasonably large chisel-point tip instead of the more common conical tip.  The chisel-point will allow you to achieve a more efficient heat transfer to the work area.

Here is a picture of the unit that I use:

There are many other units available out there, but expect to pay around $75 or so for even a low end unit.

In addition, you will need a way of removing solding from the existing components.  There are a lot of different ways to do this:  desoldering wick is the cheapest, but can also be a major pain in the posterior to use.  Desoldering wick is basically just copper braid that has been soaked in solder flux.  You use it by simply placing it over the area to be desoldered and heating it with the soldering iron.  When the solder gets hot enough to flow, it 'wicks' into the desoldering braid.  It is very useful in situations where you are dealing with highly shock sensitive circuits, but that is about all (and I generally prefer to use a true desolding station for those).  My personal prefered method is a device known as a 'solder sucker'.  This is basically a spring-loaded vacuum pump, which provides a powerfull sucking action to remove molten solder.  Chose whatever method works best for you and is within your budget.  A true desoldering station is very nice to have, but they can be pricey (more than a good soldering station).


You will, of course, also need solder.  Regular 60/40 (60% lead, 40% tin) will work just fine, but I personally prefer to use silver-solder for things like this because it produces a good, strong joint, and once I get this work done I don't want to have to rip the computer back apart again.  There are very good lead-free solders out there as well.

Lastly, but arguably the most critical:  USE A STATIC MAT AND FOLLOW STATIC PROTOCOL!  The last thing you want to do is to go through the trouble of reparing this board, only to discover that you destroyed it through careless exposure to static.

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