Need advice for soldering Dell Inspiron 1501 motherboard

By InstaMike
Aug 7, 2013
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  1. I am a novice to repairing hardware but have been expanding my skills recently... tried repairing a broken dc jack on my mom's Dell Inspiron 1501 laptop. I had no previous soldering experience but thought I'd done enough research and watched enough YouTube videos to get the gist... problem is I tried out 3 different soldering irons and couldn't really make a dent in getting the existing soldering off of the component and board! The 3rd iron I used was an Elenco 40-watt soldering station, temp turned to max. I tried soldering wick, Chipquick, adding new solder... you name it I tried it. Nothing would get this stuff to budge like in any video I'd watched. What am I missing? In doing research for a better iron I have only seen suggestions to NOT go over 40 watts... yet this didn't do the trick. What gives?

    I did eventually get the solder off and attempted to solder on a replacement jack, but when I plugged in the laptop it tripped the circuit on the AC adapter so obviously there's a bad connection. I threw in the towel and ordered a replacement board off of Ebay which ended up having a bad RAM socket (ARGH!!!). I'm now mustering the courage to attempt a repair of the original board (if it's even still good at this point) but I don't know where to go from here regarding the right soldering iron, solder, etc. Any tips or advice for working on this type of board? I did read something about motherboards with an Intel Pentium 4 CPU or after greatly affecting heat dissipation or something but I did see guys online successfully doing this like it was cake.
  2. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TechSpot Paladin Posts: 5,749   +1,421

    Can you post an photo of your soldering?I'm not sure if I can help, but an image might help us understand what you are looking at.

    I solder quite often, and have done repair work such as you are attempting. I do know it is easiest to when there is only one solder joint to contend with. One joint such as a wire you can pull the wire as you heat and once hot enough the wire will pull free. Several solder joints are a different ballgame. There are two choices, and one choice I've never had the equipment to do so. Heating every join at the same time, can be done by blowing hot air across the component. I've never had the equipment for it, so I've been left with the choice of cleaning each joint one at a time. I noticed this is how you were attempting solder removal.
    1. Solder tips must be clean and prepped for use. A trashy tip can cause an insulated barrier and prevent heating of the solder joint. Always tin your tips with a tad of solder before you ever use it the first time. If you don't tin your tip, you will always have trouble using it.
    2. Pre-heat the tip so you are not waiting and possibly causing damage to the solder joint and/or component. Spending too much time on a solder joint is never a good idea. You want to heat the joint as quickly as possible without heating everything else.
    3. On removal with the wick, the wick needs to be just as clean as the solder tip or it will not absorb any of the solder. A little bit of soldering flux may help the wick absorb. But if the wick has already been used, it is doubtful it will work again.
    4. Soldering flux is always helpful when soldering joints back in place anyway. Especially on surfaces that have not been soldered previously. It doesn't take much, a finger smear is plenty sufficient. however on multi-strand wire you will want enough flux to absorb into the strands of the wire.
    5. Don't bubble your joint, all you need is a slim joint connection. More solder will do nothing for the joint. Watch for solder beads, that can unexpectedly drop off your tip cause shorts.
    One last piece of advice, soldering is no different than welding metal. Solder will not stick unless both surfaces are heated. If you only heat one side of the joint, solder will not stick to the other side. It's usually a better to try and heat the larger surface first as the smaller heats up more quickly. It's the timing of both surfaces that you want heated at the same time.


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