Icom W21AT pc board repair

I don't own a single piece of Icom equipment that worked when I acquired it. This handheld is no exception. I got this Icom W21AT handheld radio from friend of mine at a swapfest. He replaced the worn keypad with a new one, and in the process broke a ribbon connector. Icom's stupid++ design has this foil-on-plastic ribbon cable attached to the EDGE of the PC board with no release on either end. No slack in the middle, either. It was designed to break when the radio was opened. I'd have likely broken it similarly.

Anyway, I ended up using a 10x/30x stereo microscope to attach some bare 30ga wirewrap wires to the existing traces on the board, and then attached those back to the plastic ribbon cable. That's 18 wires in less than an inch of space. I use a Metcal rework station for everything. Don't go trying this with your Weller at home.

It works fine now. Now I have a radio for my office.

Sun Sep 13 13:07:51 CDT 2009

Another ham on the internet experienced the same problem with their Icom W21AT. They found this page, and after some back and forth via email, I offered to take a look for them.

As received -- I think the attempted repair would have succeeded if there was actually something to solder to.

This is the keypad board removed and cleaned up. The flexible board isn't at all damaged, so the repair will be slightly different than what I did for mine.

Here the solder pads on the board are mostly missing. What remains are the bottom pads and vias.

So what I did was to strip an inch or so of 24-ga silver-teflon wire, untwist the individual strands and solder those through the vias on the PC board.

Then cut the wires flush on the bottom and fold them to the edge of the PCB on top, cut flush to the edge. Now I have something to solder to.

Completed repair.

Thu Oct 22 20:33:06 CDT 2009

Almost. Now the repair is completed. Upon re-assembly there were several keys that were not working on the radio. I mean, if you can't hit the '2' button -- well, that's not good. I ended up again disassembling the radio. The rubber keypad, like most keypads, has some conductive spots on the back. Several were non-conductive. It's been my experience that a little isopropyl alcohol and a cotton swab fixes the problem. Here, the cleaned contacts actually got WORSE! I ended up using a product from MG Chemicals, #8339 Rubber Keypad Repair Kit to do the job. One kit contains enough fluid for almost one lifetime worth of repairs. Upon re-assembly, the radio is once again operational.

This page last modified Thu Oct 22 20:39:40 CDT 2009 by timc!