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Conductive Pens

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  • Conductive Pens

    I'm new to this, but as a hobbyist, find it relaxing. My first question is a simple one, I am working on an Ampeg V4 which has a couple of lifted traces. I know I can jumper them or add a small board, but was wondering about the conductive pens out there to repair lifted traces. Are these any good, does anyone have good or bad experiences with them. Thanks for the help, and I really enjoy this board.

  • #2
    hi, new to this board, I attempted to use one of those pens to repair a flexible keyboard trace and was completely unsuccessful, I ended up using this nickel based paint (might have GC brand). I tried putting a meter on the silver stuff and did'nt get a low resistance reading, IIRC I think it measured as as open connection, maybe it wasn't the best application.
    btw a wire is probably a better choice, I don't think I'd trust paint to carry much current. Enzo or Steve (the wizards) any thoughts?


    • #3
      The pens are best only for low voltage low current carry circuits. If your trace is a critical trace that carries any sort of power then a jumper is best.

      If you want to get really fancy you can go to Conductor Repair Kits and order a kit for repairing traces etc. the kits are expensive but last a long time.

      I purchased a kit for repairing plated through holes and man its a life saver! I also purchased some paste solder for working with SMD devices but it also comes in handy for fixing broken traces. I save component lead clippings and reuse them to fix burnt traces. scrap the traces clean at each end of the area to be repaired, apply a tiny bit of flux paste, apply a tiny bit of past solder, carefully lay a piece of cut component lead over the area to be repaired and with a soldering iron, heat the area by the past solder and it will liquefy allow it to cool and it will hold the lead in place. Or if you have a hot air system you can apply some gentle hot air.



      • #4
        I wonder if you could use the copper paint, that's used to repair opens in rear window defrost grids in automobiles. There is substantial current draw when energized, and the paint on stuff holds. (Approved by the manufactures as an accepted repair).


        • #5
          There are some of the things I don't like in electronics. One of them is paint-on conductors. Conductive paint is fine for shielding a guitar, and that's about it. PC boards require hard jumpers on broken corroded traces. I use either fine buss wire or wirewrap for jumpers, depending on the trace width. Circuit board trace repair kits? Fine if you have money to burn. Buss wire works fine.
          John R. Frondelli
          dBm Pro Audio Services, New York, NY

          "Mediocre is the new 'Good' "


          • #6
            Thanks for the quick replies. I believe I will stick to jumpers based on your opinions. Again, this is a great site.


            • #7
              Painting traces is really doing things the hard way. When a trace fails, put in a wire.

              Remember, the purpose is to restore the CIRCUIT to operation, not to make it look like it did before.
              Education is what you're left with after you have forgotten what you have learned.


              • #8
                When I worked as a mechanic I used a conductive pen to restore the traces on a high-end BMW radio that had something spilled in it (etching away some traces). It worked perfectly!

                That said...I wouldn't use it for anything other than a keyboard or ribbon cable or little pushbutton assembly. Wire is the best way to fix a PC board. I usually just use some 22-26 gauge solid core wire.



                • #9
                  REsistors and caps are usually soldered to a circuit board, so their leads are way longer than they need to be. When I trim off the excess leads, I save the little pieces of wire in a jar. That way I have a ready supply of little short pieces of solid wire to patch across cracked traces or to bend around the leg of a jack whose solder pad has disappeared.
                  Education is what you're left with after you have forgotten what you have learned.