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...
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.
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
- Some kind of tweezers
Steps I take (though hole - like LAN PORT)
- With my soldering iron I first try to remove as much solder from the points of your component.
- 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.
- 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.
- Let it melt a bit. 5 seconds and use the sucker and suck the solder out.
- It does not need to be perfect as long as the original solder is mostly gone.
- Do this to all the pins.
- Apply quick chip flux. not allot just smear it on the area.
- Now apply chip quick solder. It does not have to be allot.
- Chip quick solder will stay liquid for about 15-20 seconds after you take your iron away.
- 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.
- You can then put down your soldering iron and wiggle the (in this case LAN PORT) out. side to side.
- 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)
- 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!
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.