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Desoldering the PPU on a famicom

clueless

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I ordered a nesrgb board for my original famicom from a uk based reseller (I'm EU based).
While I'm waiting for it to arrive, I'm gathering all the information that is needed in order to have a successful installation.
What bothers me the most, is the desoldering part. I don't have a fancy desoldering gun and/or a temperature controlled soldering station. I don't solder regularly and don't want to buy equipment that will collect dust most of the time.
What I have is a regular soldering iron, a manual desolder pump, braid and flux. Will these be enough to desolder the ppu?
 

darcagn

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I've been faced with the task of desoldering an NES PPU without a desoldering gun twice way back when doing a PC10 NES RGB mod and later the NESRGB mod.

I was successful both times but both times it took well over an hour and I damaged vias on the PCB and had trace damage I had to repair. This was when I was much more of an amateur with a soldering iron, but still.

After the second time I bought a Hakko 808 desoldering gun and can do the same task in literally under 5 mins tops with no damage. It mostly collects dust, as you say, but maybe once every 18 months I take it out and use it for something and I'm so glad that I have it regardless.
 

kartng

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My own famicom modding experience was far less invasive: I just did a composite video mod. So take this with a grain of salt, but I personally would not attempt this with equipment you have to hand. I tried to desolder the video transistor from the board with similar kit ( I do have a temperature controlled station, however) and was unsuccessful. Throwing flux at the joints did little to get wick to take up that 35 year old solder - it just didn't want to flow. I personally would not go after the PPU with anything less than a temperature controlled hot air station. That said, if you don't solder regularly, I would also give SERIOUS thought to whether a self install of the nesrgb is a good idea. I don't believe that's a particularly easy install, and I figure you are already in this for $200 or so - without the right equipment, this is one I'd personally send out.
 

waali

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I've completed 2 NES PPU removals for the RGB mod. One removal was with soldering iron and the other with a desoldering station.
The iron removal took forever and I finally had to cut a couple of pins and mend as nothing would remove the solder fully. The desoldering station took no time at all.
 

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You will certainly want a desoldering pump (gun would be even better) since the PPU has at least 3 pins connected to ground plane. Those absorb alot of heat and will be very tricky without proper tools. I've done the mod myself on various NES and Famicom systems and I'm glad to have a proper desoldering pump + soldering station with temperature setting.
 

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Proper tools are worth their weight in gold...
You either buy the equipment and hold on to it in case you have a future use for it - or buy it do the mod work and then sell it on...?
 

clueless

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Well I guess that my only option is to ask for help from someone who has proper desoldering equipment. My soldering iron won't be enough to provide proper heat as you say these boards are absorbing heat.
I managed although to desolder that transistor and do a proper composite mod some time ago without much trouble. Maybe I got lucky or that part of the board isn't that heat resistant
 

SaturnHST

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I watched this video:

Then I bought a Hakko FR-301 and have desoldered several NES CPU/PPU's. It was easy to do but I did get the nozzle clogged and had to buy 2 more nozzles. I would not try to desolder those with a regular soldering iron and pump as it would take too long and is not as effective in removing all of the solder.
 

clueless

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A status update on the project

I gave the board to a local electronics repair store, where the owner of the shop desoldered the ppu using a proper desoldering gun.
Later, I followed the guide and soldered everything in place. Had to do some troubleshooting though with a friend as the system glitched. It turned out an odd flux issue. The stuff I was using was so sticky that remained on the board even after cleaning it. My friend gave everything a really good scrub, and eventually we managed to get a fully working famicom :)
 

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Glad to hear!

Yea always clean left over flux. And avoid colophony at all cost. It's one of the stickiest and worst flux I've dealt with. Not to mention it actually starts leading electricity after a long time destroying your boards if not removed properly.
 

clueless

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I'm coming back to the thread.
I'm so spoiled by the superior picture quality of my RGB modded famicom, that I can't stand the composite image of my front-loading NES whenever I play on it. So, I'm going to RGB mod it too, but this time I'll do the desoldering part.

Quite recently, I discovered a cool diy store, where you have access to decent soldering/desoldering temp controlled equipment. Upon watching though some tutorials on how to RGB mod a front loader, I realized that the desoldering part is kinda tricky for someone that never used a desoldering gun.

So I'm wondering how hard is to mess up a NES board if you have zero experience in using proper tools?

PS In case you are wondering, the store uses this soldering station https://www.aoyue.eu/aoyue-int968a-repairing-station-hot-air-soldering-station-3in1-with-tweezer.html
 

Nully

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Going to be a pain without a gun, it's always doable but it's not even comparable to the process of the gun which is the purpose it was created for. Think using a phillips screwdriver to remove a torx screw... If it's a one-off then it's not worth buying a desoldering gun and you can likely eventually get away with a manual pump/braid but I would say on your first try the failure rate is quite high.

Buy a DIP puller and don't use a flathead screwdriver at least, few dollars from china. If it doesn't come out with little force then stop and check all the holes, don't just force it.
 

clueless

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Going to be a pain without a gun, it's always doable but it's not even comparable to the process of the gun which is the purpose it was created for. Think using a phillips screwdriver to remove a torx screw... If it's a one-off then it's not worth buying a desoldering gun and you can likely eventually get away with a manual pump/braid but I would say on your first try the failure rate is quite high.

Buy a DIP puller and don't use a flathead screwdriver at least, few dollars from china. If it doesn't come out with little force then stop and check all the holes, don't just force it.
Have you even read my last post? I'm asking how hard is to use a desoldering gun to remove the ppu of a front-loading NES :sneaky:
 

Nully

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The tool you linked is not a desoldering gun. If you have one then it is very easy, the worst thing that happens is you don't suck all the solder into it and have to reflow the joint and retry. You still need that $1 tool to remove the DIP, using a screwdriver or some other makeshift equivalent can easily destroy traces under the chip from scraping or not realizing that the other half of the chip isn't free as you pry up from one side. With this $1 tool you can feel the resistance much better.
 

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Removing DIP ICs like the PPU is really easy if you have a desoldering gun. Just bring the gun to temperature (I just use whatever the default setting on the Haako 808 is), put the nozzle down on the joint, wait 1-2 seconds, and pull the trigger. If the suction didn't clearly remove all of the solder from the joint, use a normal soldering iron to re-solder the joint with fresh solder, and repeat the process until the joint is clear.
 

rayik

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If the suction didn't clearly remove all of the solder from the joint, use a normal soldering iron to re-solder the joint with fresh solder, and repeat the process until the joint is clear.
That is excellent advice.

It seems counter intuitive but it is really effective in melting old solder. You may even want to apply a little fresh solder to each pin before you start desoldering.
 

clueless

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So, I've been doing some research on how to install this mod. Thing is that I want to keep this install as clean as possible, with the least amount of drill holes as possible. This means that I want to have sound on the din socket , not the extra jack, as well select the rgb pallete from the controller, not from the extra switch . Can't find any helpful info on that though.

All the info I actually want, is on a youtube video from a French guy (I think he is a member here too), but is covered in a way that is rather technical to comprehend from someone who hasn't rgb moded an nes before. Also, is there any way I can get a regular nintendo style av connector (like the one on the video) from a European seller? Customs in my country are rather harsh if I get stuff outside of the EU ..
 
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