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Is there a possibility to get a Model B where the RJ45 and USB connectors aren't soldered to the board yet? It would be nice if I could use a pinheader to place them freely - this would allow neat cases. I don't really like the idea of desoldering those parts...

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Just a thought - if you move the LAN connector to the other side of the board, it will be wired differently and will no longer work. Looking at my own Pi, the connector will not physically fit from the other side, since the two rows of pins are shifted with respect so each other. –  Frepa Feb 11 '13 at 12:08
    
Thanks for your comment Frepa, that was not clear enough. I don't want to place it on the backside, I just want to use some wire and place it somewhere on the same side (edge?) as e.g. the HDMI port. I don't want to mount it on the board. –  Scolytus Feb 11 '13 at 13:51

2 Answers 2

up vote 3 down vote accepted

This will void your warranty.

Well if you want to start messing around with the PCB there is a kit that will make your life so easy that you will wish you knew about this earlier.

enter image description here

Chipquick kit and CPC - This stuff is really special. The solder is only used sparingly becasue it has special properties. I use this for complex part removals and I follow these steps, even on 0603 SMD's!

Tools you SHOULD have.

  • De-soldering sucker enter image description here
  • Some kind of tweezers

Steps I take (though hole - like LAN PORT)

  1. With my soldering iron I first try to remove as much solder from the points of your component.
  2. It is important not to overheat the PCB - If it is layered you will ruin it. So keeping your soldering iron longer than 30seconds wihtin in area is not recommended. Do it in short bursts and do not let the PCB get hot. This is only requires spot heat.
  3. Use normal solder to help you remove factory solder. Apply your solderin iron to the point and apply new solder. THis will help melt the factory high heat resistant solder.
  4. Let it melt a bit. 5 seconds and use the sucker and suck the solder out.
  5. It does not need to be perfect as long as the original solder is mostly gone.
  6. Do this to all the pins.
  7. Apply quick chip flux. not allot just smear it on the area.
  8. Now apply chip quick solder. It does not have to be allot.
  9. Chip quick solder will stay liquid for about 15-20 seconds after you take your iron away.
  10. Use you soldering iron to spread the chip quick solder to all point. Again- you do not need allot. do not go crazy because it is waster. you cannot reuse it later.
  11. You can then put down your soldering iron and wiggle the (in this case LAN PORT) out. side to side.
  12. If you do not get it the first time. Apply a bit more flux and reheat the quick chip solder. Wiggle wiggle wiggle wiggle.

Then just clean the solder off and you have a nice clean un populate port. I would suggest using a new LAN port. but if you managed to get yours out without hassle then re use it.

For SMD's you can skip applying the normal solder. Just apply Flux and Chipquick solder using the drag technique across all pins.

Chip quick cannot be used to remove BGA/LGA (where the pins are under the IC)

--Notes

  • Here is a YouTube movie on how a pro uses chipquick
  • This will void your warranty. But if you practice enough and manage to put everything back as it was using the same technique ... well you know- If you cannot notice the difference then who will?
  • If you have some soldering experience this will be mega easy for you!
  • If you do not have experience go and find some broken PCB in old decoders, broken power blocks, old motherboards, graphics cards, any thing electrical. And practice desoldering without chip quick! This will teach you endurance and patience that will be worth it when using chip quick!
  • Rememberer - Chip quick if for desoldering. DO not use it to solder any thing back!
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Solid answer dude! Thanks! Always wondered how to unsolder, such a pain in the arse when you make a mistake. –  Impulss Feb 9 '13 at 0:18

You are probably going to get your best answer from official RPI web site. There are hints in their FAQ section that kind of give clues to what your chances are:

Will you sell a self-assembly kit?

No. It would be too expensive for us to provide kits alongside finished boards, which would mean introducing another step in manufacturing; and a kit would be impossible to hand solder. We use special equipment (robots!) to solder on the BGA package and other tiny components.

So I don't think you are going to get this from them - they are running a robotized production and getting one custom item for you may be outside of their interest.

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Sorry for sounding newbie, but, wouldnt it be possible to "copy" the setup from the board? I mean, buy all the parts seperately and reconstruct a new printboard? or am I missing something important? I've heard that the length between certain components can have an impact too. But I am a software guy. I dont know about soldering. –  BerggreenDK Feb 27 '13 at 8:55
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The board's schematics aren't available yet but RPI people seem to be planning to share these in the future. You should be able to reverse engineer the board's layout and solder your own setup of it - please share when done :) –  abolotnov Feb 27 '13 at 12:51
    
You might wanna check ODROID-W (hardkernel.com/main/products/prdt_info.php?g_code=G140610189490). It has no connectors and might be what you are looking for. The board seems to have some controversy around it and want be available later. –  AdnanG Oct 8 at 14:05

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