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Are there specific considerations to quality of traces/pcb for data? I want to desolder the ports on the Pi4, replace them with pins and mount the Pi to a dumb board that extends the lines to put the ports in a desired footprint. There would be no extra logic, components or io, just a simple relocation of the ports. They wouldn't be that far either, 10cm max. I would want to desolder the USB, ethernet, mini-HDMI and audio ports.

P.S. This would only be a temporary solution until the CM4 (fingers crossed).

  • Hello and welcome to Raspberry Pi! Please take the tour and visit the helpcenter to see how things work here. Are you talking about the GPIO header or the USB sockets? – Ghanima Jun 2 at 6:55
  • @Ghanima Thanks! I am talking about the USB, Ethernet & Mini HDMI ports. I know that I could just use male-female cables to allow the ports to fit the footprint I want but that's a plan B if the 'lane-extender' board doesn't work out. – dotDone Jun 2 at 7:00
  • Please make those specifics an edit to your question as it is of relevance to potential answerers. Thanks. – Ghanima Jun 2 at 7:37
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    Buy several, as the first few Pis you try to de-solder you will ruin. There should be youtube videos if you search. – joan Jun 2 at 9:29
  • Have you seen how the Argon One case relocates ports --- " a daughterboard which snaps into a Raspberry Pi 3B or 3B+ to shift its HDMI and analogue audio-visual (AV) ports to the rear." – RedGrittyBrick Jun 2 at 18:35
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I would want to desolder the USB, ethernet, mini-HDMI and audio ports.

Unless you have extensive professional experience with surface-mount soldering, forget about the micro-HDMI ports. Everything else seems doable though.

As mentioned before, get several Pies, since you are bound to destroy several before you get the hang of it.

Preparation:

Maximize your chances with a good quality, variable temperature soldering iron. (With good rosin core leaded solder that was intended for circuit boards. Must be the "no clean" type!)
It's smart to use good lighting and a big adjustable magnifying glass. And a clamp of sorts to hold the Pi & wires still.
Buy some solid-core, thin insulated wire (to solder in the holes), and get started.

Desoldering:

To desolder the large ports (like ethernet and usb), you can't easily melt all the connections at once for the plug to fall straight out. Instead you have to melt one side, rock (tilt) the connector a little bit, then melt the other side, rock the connector out a little bit more, and repeat as long as necessary.
After you desolder a connector, melt all those pcb pads again, one at a time, to stick in your wires.
On the other end of the wires, solder them all to the respective pins of your connectors.
Don't cross your wires. If you do, you may fry a usb device or router! It may be a good idea to test the continuity of all your connections before powering on your Pi.

To conclude:

This will take you days of hand-cramping work, having to start over every time you damage even one solder pad on the Pi.
You will probably have several minor burns on your fingers.
The equipment will cost you hundreds of dollars, and you'll end up with a pile of damaged of Pies at the end. Last but not least: You may pull this one off, but don't even think about mass-producing such a thing. Quality control would be a nightmare.

Good luck!

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