QCX+ PCP Solder Mask Chipping - Options for fixing? #photo-notice #problem


Chris Jewell
 

Hello all,

I noticed a potential issue, and thought I'd reach out to see if you all has any ideas for the proper resolution.

I'm very early in the assembly of my new QCX+ 40m kit (about to solder on T1 transformer), and I realized that on the underside of the main PCB, there are a couple of spots where the green solder mask has chipped off leaving exposed copper (circled in the attached picture). It's also pretty easy to flake more off with my fingernail.



As the picture shows, the spots are not immediately on or near traces or solder pads, but I'm a bit concerned that continued chipping may lead to a short or some other issue down the line.

One thought I had is to carefully finish the assembly of the components in that area and then cover it with some hot glue, but not sure how that would hold up over time.

Any thoughts on the best way to go about fixing this?

Thanks in advance and 73!
Chris KC3RNE


Curt M.
 

Use some clear nail polish. 

Curt
WU3U


George Korper
 

Hi Chris,
I would write Hans, if he doesn't see this post. I would proceed with assembly and use clear nail polish
as a sealer where you are concerned that further peeling may occur. Should be ok, but as I say this 
is a customer service issue. Usually the final assembly will work fine as least it has on mine. Probably doing nothing
will also be okay, but I'm sure there are real experts in the group who have seen this before! Hot glue is pretty drastic. 
George 
K3GK


William Smith
 

This isn't actually a problem, as long as you don't solder anything to those spots.

Solder mask is important for wave soldering machines, but not really for hand-assembly, other than aesthetics.

73, Willie N1JBJ


On Jan 17, 2022, at 4:29 PM, chrisjames.jewell@... wrote:

 there are a couple of spots where the green solder mask has chipped off


Ian VK2GL
 

It’s not really a problem. The green layer is a solder mask designed to stop solder spreading to unwanted areas during automated soldering processes in production. If it peels off it will have no affect on anything as long as you’re not splashing solder around, especially considering the locations and small sizes of the areas concerned. 

Regards

Ian


On 19 Jan 2022, at 8:41 pm, chrisjames.jewell@... wrote:

Hello all,

I noticed a potential issue, and thought I'd reach out to see if you all has any ideas for the proper resolution.

I'm very early in the assembly of my new QCX+ 40m kit (about to solder on T1 transformer), and I realized that on the underside of the main PCB, there are a couple of spots where the green solder mask has chipped off leaving exposed copper (circled in the attached picture). It's also pretty easy to flake more off with my fingernail.



As the picture shows, the spots are not immediately on or near traces or solder pads, but I'm a bit concerned that continued chipping may lead to a short or some other issue down the line.

One thought I had is to carefully finish the assembly of the components in that area and then cover it with some hot glue, but not sure how that would hold up over time.

Any thoughts on the best way to go about fixing this?

Thanks in advance and 73!
Chris KC3RNE


Hans Summers
 

Yes it is not a problem. It's a manufacturing defect, sure. But a minor irrelevant one. So proceed regardless, ignore it. 

73 Hans G0UPL
http://qrp-labs.com

On Wed, Jan 19, 2022 at 3:59 PM Ian VK2GL <lindquist.ian@...> wrote:
It’s not really a problem. The green layer is a solder mask designed to stop solder spreading to unwanted areas during automated soldering processes in production. If it peels off it will have no affect on anything as long as you’re not splashing solder around, especially considering the locations and small sizes of the areas concerned. 

Regards

Ian


On 19 Jan 2022, at 8:41 pm, chrisjames.jewell@... wrote:

Hello all,

I noticed a potential issue, and thought I'd reach out to see if you all has any ideas for the proper resolution.

I'm very early in the assembly of my new QCX+ 40m kit (about to solder on T1 transformer), and I realized that on the underside of the main PCB, there are a couple of spots where the green solder mask has chipped off leaving exposed copper (circled in the attached picture). It's also pretty easy to flake more off with my fingernail.



As the picture shows, the spots are not immediately on or near traces or solder pads, but I'm a bit concerned that continued chipping may lead to a short or some other issue down the line.

One thought I had is to carefully finish the assembly of the components in that area and then cover it with some hot glue, but not sure how that would hold up over time.

Any thoughts on the best way to go about fixing this?

Thanks in advance and 73!
Chris KC3RNE


Chris Jewell
 

Perfect, thanks all! This is more or less what I had figured, but I appreciate the input. Also don't know why I hadn't thought of the nail polish before, that's a great easy solution.

We can consider this (non-)problem solved!

73,
Chris


Shirley Dulcey KE1L
 

The solder mask is also important for some of the techniques for hand-soldering small SMD parts with multiple leads. Getting those on without solder bridges is challenging as it is; it would be even more difficult without the mask.

Missing solder mask in unoccupied areas of the board, like the large ground plane areas with chipped mask shown in the pictures in this post, are not a problem at all so long as you don't short those areas to something. That shouldn't be an issue unless you put a powered-up board on a conductive surface (bad idea), and even then the solder blobs and clipped-off component leads will probably come in contact with that surface long before those areas of ground plane with missing mask will.

Stabilizing the mask with clear nail polish will work, so long as you are careful not to get it on areas that you actually want to solder. But unless the mask is peeling off the board en masse there isn't any actual problem that needs to be solved.

On Wed, Jan 19, 2022 at 7:10 AM William Smith <w_smith@...> wrote:
This isn't actually a problem, as long as you don't solder anything to those spots.

Solder mask is important for wave soldering machines, but not really for hand-assembly, other than aesthetics.

73, Willie N1JBJ


On Jan 17, 2022, at 4:29 PM, chrisjames.jewell@... wrote:

 there are a couple of spots where the green solder mask has chipped off


M Carroll
 

Chris,

I don't know if Hans would agree but, after you finish assembly and alignment, consider applying a product like Krylon Crystal Clear. It can be sprayed into a small plastic container, or even into the product cap, and then applied to the trouble spots using something like a toothpick dipped into the liquid.

73, Mike W4AEE

On Wed, Jan 19, 2022, 3:40 AM <chrisjames.jewell@...> wrote:
Hello all,

I noticed a potential issue, and thought I'd reach out to see if you all has any ideas for the proper resolution.

I'm very early in the assembly of my new QCX+ 40m kit (about to solder on T1 transformer), and I realized that on the underside of the main PCB, there are a couple of spots where the green solder mask has chipped off leaving exposed copper (circled in the attached picture). It's also pretty easy to flake more off with my fingernail.



As the picture shows, the spots are not immediately on or near traces or solder pads, but I'm a bit concerned that continued chipping may lead to a short or some other issue down the line.

One thought I had is to carefully finish the assembly of the components in that area and then cover it with some hot glue, but not sure how that would hold up over time.

Any thoughts on the best way to go about fixing this?

Thanks in advance and 73!
Chris KC3RNE


ajparent1/kb1gmx
 

Since I built protos without solder mask at all generally its someones 
overly concerned over nothing.

If you going to coat the board, first clean it very well and verify it works.
Krylon or other clear coats are common.  However if you have to replace
a part that coating is in the way.  That can also be a source of misery.

Allison
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Barry VA7GEM
 

Chris
Finish assembly then paint with green fingernail polish.
GL de Barry