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Old 03-13-2006, 11:55 AM   #1
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Default Repairing frayed servo leads

Wasn't sure where to put this question, but I assumed the electric on-road guys would know considering there are probably more electric on-road guys than electric off-road. I have a servo that is in great shape, but the servo lead isn't. I opened up the servo thinking it was an easy fix (I don't like spliced wires) but the three leads are soldered very close together and I doubt that I could do such detailed work with my 80watt weller and gi-normous wedge tip. How do you guys do it? I have a station that allows me to adjust the temp., although I'll have to use my temp gun since it isn't a digital readout. What temp. should I set my iron at to do this kind of work? What kind of iron or tip do you use to solder onto small circuit boards? What is the rubbery substance covering the three soldered leads on the circuit board? Shoegoo? Is all of this not worth my time and effort and I should just send it in to be repaired for some fee? Any help would be greatly appreciated. Sorry if this question is in the wrong forum, please direct me elsewhere if this is in an inappropriate place.
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Old 03-13-2006, 12:09 PM   #2
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Where is it frayed? If it's near or in the connector, you can buy a new connector that comes with the plugs un-cripped. I think the kit I got had 6 -8 connectors with pins. I can't remember the name of the company that sells them at my LHS, but I can check for you tonight. I bought a special crimper that does the job from RadioShack for $8. I found the exact same one at the LHS for $26.

I usually dedicate a servo to each ride so I never have to worry about swapping to much equipment. So I cut the wires down to the exact length and every car is has clean wire layouts.

If you do need to solder internally. All I can say is, don't load up on caffine before operating. Also, try to brace the servo in a vise or between some heavy books to keep it from moving. And keep your elbows on the table or rest your wrists on something (table edge) for stability. Trust yourself. After you do one, the next time it'll be a cake walk.
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Old 03-13-2006, 12:44 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kidDynomite
Where is it frayed? If it's near or in the connector, you can buy a new connector that comes with the plugs un-cripped. I think the kit I got had 6 -8 connectors with pins. I can't remember the name of the company that sells them at my LHS, but I can check for you tonight. I bought a special crimper that does the job from RadioShack for $8. I found the exact same one at the LHS for $26.

I usually dedicate a servo to each ride so I never have to worry about swapping to much equipment. So I cut the wires down to the exact length and every car is has clean wire layouts.

If you do need to solder internally. All I can say is, don't load up on caffine before operating. Also, try to brace the servo in a vise or between some heavy books to keep it from moving. And keep your elbows on the table or rest your wrists on something (table edge) for stability. Trust yourself. After you do one, the next time it'll be a cake walk.
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Old 03-13-2006, 12:45 PM   #4
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That gooey stuff is just Shoe Goo, you can usually rip it off without any damage, just watch the wires it may be encasing. If it's just the lead wires, no problem. I've had to redo servo and receiver antenna leads, it's all the same, just need a steady hand, lots of light, and a stable working area.

I've just used a 20W $10 soldering iron for the small stuff, has a fine tip, you don't need a powerful one to solder those small points. Just make sure it's well heated first, tip tinned, and make only as much contact as you need to melt the solder. I use a small pair of pliers to keep a minimal amount of pressure on the wire, so when it starts to come off, I know it's enough heat.

Like kD said, Just keep your arm steady, and use only the pivoting of your wrist to apply the tip. I find the harder you grip the iron, the shakier you will get, so just relax, it's not so bad..

..and remember which colour wire went with what solder point.. I once took the old wires out, and forgot to remember which way they went back on..hah..
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Old 03-13-2006, 01:29 PM   #5
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gotta love this forum. I really appreciate the help guys. kidynomite, unfortunately, the leads are all nice and frayed 1" from the servo. Even if I were to swap it out with another servo, 1" isn't enough for just about anything... let alone the cars I use. Good idea though. I hadn't thought about it that way. If I do fray my wires later on where I still have plenty of good wire left, I'll crimp on a new connector. Thanks for the heads up.

This problem of course will need soldering attention. I don't have a vise, but I have plenty of heavy books. My current soldering iron is just too big for this job. I'll go look at a hardware store for a cheapo 20watt iron. I guess that also kinda answered my temperature question as well considering I don't think a 20watt iron will get all that hot. I've already purchased a new servo lead. I picked up one from servo city that is actually a bit thicker gauge wire than the standard wire that comes with servos. This particular one is my work horse for my 1/8 buggy. Steering these lead bricks takes a lot and I figured the thicker gauge wire can only help. Thanks also for confirming the shoegoo question as well. I figured I could easily remove it and of course just re-apply a dab once I finish. How long should I allow the shoegoo to cure? I usually give shoegoo a good 12 hours or so for lexan body repair and other small items, but I wouldn't want to cause a short circuit do to the shoegoo not being completely dry. What do you guys suggest? Again, thanks to all that gave me good honest answers to save this poor racer from spending too much time and money for a do-it-yourself job.
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Old 03-13-2006, 01:45 PM   #6
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Why not just put a dab of Shoe Goo on the wires where they're frayed?

Shoe Goo won't hurt anything, isn't a conductor, and if you don't apply a boatload it'll be a near invisible cheap fix.
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Old 03-13-2006, 02:46 PM   #7
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I have done it on an airtronics servo and it was a pain in the rear. Depending on the servo manufacturer and your level of soldering expertise it may be best left up to sending it in. Being an electronics tech by trade even, it was a difficult task for me. So weigh the risk of damage to the servo with your ability to get in there and solder fine contact points in a tight environment and make your decision from there.
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Old 03-13-2006, 07:09 PM   #8
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ko propo servos are really easy to change the leads on .
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Old 03-13-2006, 07:35 PM   #9
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I've done it before to shorten my leads. It's not the hardest thing in the world, but it will make you wonder if you've got the skills to do it. Small and tight. I just send mine in to airtronics now to get maintenance. They will go thru the thing and replace the lead even if it is good. Never cost me more than 15 bux shipped. And I'll never shorten my leads again, servos swap chassis to often.
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Old 03-13-2006, 08:34 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Laterilus
Wasn't sure where to put this question, but I assumed the electric on-road guys would know considering there are probably more electric on-road guys than electric off-road. I have a servo that is in great shape, but the servo lead isn't. I opened up the servo thinking it was an easy fix (I don't like spliced wires) but the three leads are soldered very close together and I doubt that I could do such detailed work with my 80watt weller and gi-normous wedge tip. How do you guys do it? I have a station that allows me to adjust the temp., although I'll have to use my temp gun since it isn't a digital readout. What temp. should I set my iron at to do this kind of work? What kind of iron or tip do you use to solder onto small circuit boards? What is the rubbery substance covering the three soldered leads on the circuit board? Shoegoo? Is all of this not worth my time and effort and I should just send it in to be repaired for some fee? Any help would be greatly appreciated. Sorry if this question is in the wrong forum, please direct me elsewhere if this is in an inappropriate place.
The rubbery thing is some sort of a glue that protects the circuitry from shorting. I've done a few servos using an ordinary 60W soldering iron. I usually make the wires shorter to fit the cars perfectly and make it look neat on installing the electronics on the car. No harm done on soldering. Having it reapared is ok but trying it yourself would be better. It will also help you learn how to repair such small things that not need to be sent to factories or service centers.

Here's a tip on how:

1. Remove the rubbery substance from the board using a cutter or Xacto knife.
2. Unsolder all the leads from the board one at a time. Just be careful not to fry the wires because they are small and can easily burn the coats if your iron is to hot. Blow some air on the part being unsoldered during the process to cool it from frying.
3. Remeber not to forget or better yet, write down the color codes (left, center, right) of the wires for you not to short the circuits upon soldering back to the board.
4. Cut the leads in your desired length and splice the edges. Solder the wires back to the board one by one and make sure you solder all the wires to the right color codes. Blow with air during soldering all three wires, again to cool off and prevent the coats from frying.
5. Run the Xacto knife on each side of the wires on the board to remove the unneccessary leads especially in between the three wires.
6. Aside from shoe goo, you can also use Elmer's glue or something equivalent to it. Apply it to the soldered edges of the wires on the board to protect it from short circuit.

Your servo should be ready for use again after these procedures.

Another tip, you can also wrap all three servo wires from connector to the edges with shrinking tube for added protection against stripping the wire coats off. Do this before soldering the wires back to the board.

To do all these, all you need are guts and confidence. I hope it helps. Good luck!!!

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