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Re: Brontos Are Doin' It for Themselves

Posted: Sun Mar 19, 2017 12:45 am
by Thad
So, I mentioned a few months back that I set up an emulation box for my nephew for Christmas.

I bought him two 8bitdo NES30 Pro controllers, because I was impressed with the quality of the SNES30 I'd bought for myself a few months prior, which feels just like the real thing.

First thing I noticed was, the NES30 Pro was not as big as I thought it was from the photo.

(Note for anybody viewing the site via HTTPS: you probably won't be able to see any of the following images, since my site is plain ol' unencrypted HTTP.)

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So, they're smaller than I thought. Smaller D-pad, smaller buttons, closer together. I wouldn't buy them for me based on that. But hey, my nephew's 5; they're not too small for his hands.

But I wouldn't recommend giving one to a 5-year-old anyway, and here's why:

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That's the microUSB connector, broken clean off the board.

Now, the nice thing is, these controllers are really easy to take apart. Back pops right off, and it's got regular old Philips screws underneath. (One of them has those damn stickers over it that's supposed to void the warranty. Which is totally not a thing, by the way.)

If I plug a cable into the port and press the pins into the board, the controller lights up. So it looks like the parts still work, they just need to be reconnected. (I guess it's possible that only power is working and not data; I haven't checked.)

Now, as I've mentioned before, I don't have any experience with soldering. I've done a bit of reading on this and since the pins are so tiny, a soldering gun is not the right tool for this job. There's a good Q&A over at Stack Exchange where somebody recommends applying solder paste and then heating it using either a hot-air gun or an oven.

So I'm thinking I'll buy a syringe of paste and a cheap toaster oven and see if I can fix it. I found a nice guide over at freetronics.com.au.

But even assuming I fix it, there's still a problem:

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Just look at all that space around it. If I fix it back the way it was, "the way it was" is one good drop away from breaking.

So, a couple possibilities: I could just keep it. (My nephew doesn't need them back; his dad got him a couple cheapy USB controllers; they're not as nice as these but they're sturdier. I've already got plenty of game controllers, but I can't find my Wii Classic Controller, and apparently this'll pair with a Wii, so that'd be useful if I wanted to start playing Xenoblade again or something.)

Or, I could try and find a way to cushion it so it'll survive a drop. Carve a small piece of rubber or wood or foam (something nonconductive that can withstand whatever small amount of heat the port generates) to fit snugly around the port so it won't move if it gets dropped. (I may not know much about soldering, but I have a whole lot of experience in packing electronics, and it mostly boils down to "make sure the thing is in place tightly enough that it doesn't have anywhere to go when it gets dropped".)

Anyway, curious if anybody's got any ideas about it. I'm fighting a head cold this weekend but I might give it a shot next weekend.

Re: Brontos Are Doin' It for Themselves

Posted: Sun Mar 19, 2017 1:23 am
by Mazian
I have had the dubious fun of repairing a few of the exact same surface-mount microUSB jacks, on some gear where the cable was mounted at a right angle to the direction the cable was most likely to get yanked. It was not impressive design.

Assuming you can get it resoldered back down successfully (I used a fine-tip iron) and you're not planning to open it back up again, I'd try a big blob of epoxy that'll hold it against the opposite plate and fill in the gap around the edge. Small tubes of PC-7 are in every hardware store, it's nonconductive, and you inevitably find more uses for it later.

Re: Brontos Are Doin' It for Themselves

Posted: Wed Apr 19, 2017 4:37 pm
by Silversong
I have a Royal Belgian coffee maker, and I love it, but the threads broke attaching the metal filter head to the arm. The part that's inside the glass in the photo.

I can't find replacement parts and there is no customer service. Does anyone know of a _food safe_ way I could reattach it? Even if it was permanent, I might still be able to clean it well enough by flushing water through it. But it will be buried in very hot water and coffee grounds.

I don't really know what hardware stores sell, maybe there's some thing that would do the trick? Any suggestions?

Re: Brontos Are Doin' It for Themselves

Posted: Wed Apr 19, 2017 7:30 pm
by beatbandito
Holy crap is that fancy looking. If only the threads are damaged, and they are only (I'm assuming) stainless steel, then you could get a rethreader, or hand tap, with a small wrench to put new threads in. If threads on glass are broken my food safe alternatives start and end with turning marshmallow fluff into a paste.

Re: Brontos Are Doin' It for Themselves

Posted: Wed Apr 19, 2017 7:36 pm
by Joxam
Its not really a long term solution but teflon taping the threads every use wouldn't work?

Re: Brontos Are Doin' It for Themselves

Posted: Wed Apr 19, 2017 8:25 pm
by Mongrel
My buddy Ed, the old handyman, is a huge coffee enthusiast.

I'm going to see him on Friday, so I'll ask if he might have an idea.

Re: Brontos Are Doin' It for Themselves

Posted: Thu Apr 20, 2017 8:36 am
by Silversong
Beatbandit, I didn't know that was a thing, thanks. I found this, is this what you were talking about? https://www.kmstools.com/blog/hand-taps ... echniques/

Teflon tape is a real thing? I'll look into it. I'm guessing I don't want any adhesives in my coffee at all though.

Mongrel, I'd appreciate his advice!

Re: Brontos Are Doin' It for Themselves

Posted: Thu Apr 20, 2017 11:50 am
by beatbandito
That is what I was talking about. I can't imagine the opening is larger than 3/8th inch, or some fancy whole number in metric. The tool should only cost about 2 bucks and be available in any small hardware store, but is definitely capable of damaging a small opening, especially one housed in glass.

Teflon tape is by definition food safe, as it can be used on potable (safe to drink) water lines. I imagine if nothing else it would add some flavor if it's sitting in boiling, steeping liquids. It wont cause any damage to you or the brewer though.

Re: Brontos Are Doin' It for Themselves

Posted: Thu Apr 20, 2017 3:05 pm
by Joxam
Also its not an adhesive. Its called tape in the same way a measuring 'tape' is called tape. Its basically strips of teflon which are put on threading in order to cause a little extra grip so that it seals better.

Re: Brontos Are Doin' It for Themselves

Posted: Thu Apr 20, 2017 3:10 pm
by Mongrel
Just to confirm, is it the glass threads or the metal threads which are broken?

Re: Brontos Are Doin' It for Themselves

Posted: Thu Apr 20, 2017 4:39 pm
by Silversong
There's no glass (only the glass that the parts sit inside), and the metal part can be removed from the area entirely to work on it. It's a metal filter threaded onto a metal arm. I think maybe they're brass?

My bf likes the idea of being able to repair it, I'm not sure how likely it is he'll ruin it but we haven't been using it anyway. Worst case we buy an entire arm and filter from some other set and mismatch the whole bit.