SDS100: Cold Solder Joint

ArloG

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The traces and pins look ok, the soldering less so. Keep in mind the pins are spaced about 0.5mm center-to-center, and it's not easy to make a nice-looking joint that small. My rework is a little prettier, but not much.

Regardless, I'm not so much concerned with the aesthetics of the soldering as with the reliability and longevity of the connections. And at the moment, that seems to be a fail all around.
No disrespect intended. But that repair looks like a CB shop did it instead of a an experienced shop with good techs.
If the repair was in the RF section, yes you should be concerned. As far as close pin spacing and neatness of work, look on the 'tube at some of the Louis Rossman repair videos. That's how I roll too.
 

jonwienke

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Here's a YouTube link showing what the symptoms look like:
 

iMONITOR

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I don't understand why everything today has to be smaller and even smaller than before! We sacrifice usability and especially reliability! It causes over heating problems. Displays are difficult to read, keypads are awkward to manipulate, USB ports are too delicate, speakers sound like crap, battery life is too short. Antenna jacks are weak, volume & squelch controls are fragile. Internal repairs require special skills and equipment and even then they're next to impossible! Remember Motorola's ruggedized Saber hand held radios?

I'd gladly sacrifice compactness for usability and reliability any day!
 

jonwienke

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I don't understand why everything today has to be smaller and even smaller than before!
It's the reason today's handheld electronics have more storage and computing power than the building-sized computers of the 1960s.
 

pro106import

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Jon,
Check out the 5th pin from the right. It looks like pin #4 and 5 are soldered to the same landing, but #5 looks like #3 to me. A little dark and not soldered. I blew up your photo and at least to me, it might be worth investigating. It is kind of hidden by the terrible solder blob they made around pin 4.
Bob
 

iMONITOR

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It's the reason today's handheld electronics have more storage and computing power than the building-sized computers of the 1960s.
I agree and appreciate it if it's not a trade off. Memory cards as an example. I don't recall having all the problems we have with Micro SD cards vs the earlier generation SD memory cards.
 

eorange

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Micro SD cards aren't the problem. It's Uniden basing the heart of their scanning design on them.

I can't recall the last time I've had a Micro SD failure on, you name it, phones, raspberry Pis logging tons of data for years, my GPS, and more. Too early to tell on my R30 but Icom makes quality gear, so I'm not anticipating a problem there either. And these are Microcenter brand cards.
 

iMONITOR

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Micro SD cards aren't the problem. It's Uniden basing the heart of their scanning design on them.

I can't recall the last time I've had a Micro SD failure on, you name it, phones, raspberry Pis logging tons of data for years, my GPS, and more. Too early to tell on my R30 but Icom makes quality gear, so I'm not anticipating a problem there either. And these are Microcenter brand cards.
What should Uniden be using instead if you think they shouldn't be basing the design of their scanners on Micro SD cards and why?

Isn't that saying the same thing? Had Uniden designed their scanners design based on the larger SD card are you agreeing that they would be more reliable?

I had brand name so called quality Micro SD cards fail twice in two different smart phones in the last few years. I also had one fail in my ROKU streamer box. My sister had three fail in her digital camera. My buddy is replacing them frequently in his security cameras. It seems higher end gear are using SD instead of Micro SD.
 

KO4IPV

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The traces and pins look ok, the soldering less so. Keep in mind the pins are spaced about 0.5mm center-to-center, and it's not easy to make a nice-looking joint that small. My rework is a little prettier, but not much.

Regardless, I'm not so much concerned with the aesthetics of the soldering as with the reliability and longevity of the connections. And at the moment, that seems to be a fail all around.
Upon reading these reply’s and concerns , I have SDS100, mine is working fine as far as I know !!! I did catch in a reply that there would be a pulsating static , would this be something I would notice right away upon every channel or every once in a wile ? And is this a defect in the manufacturing of this product?
 

jonwienke

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Upon reading these reply’s and concerns , I have SDS100, mine is working fine as far as I know !!! I did catch in a reply that there would be a pulsating static , would this be something I would notice right away upon every channel or every once in a wile ? And is this a defect in the manufacturing of this product?
Watch the video linked in my previous post. It shows the problem.

Micro SD cards aren't the problem. It's Uniden basing the heart of their scanning design on them.
No. Not using flash cards would be extremely stupid. Flash has a limited number of write cycles before it fails. Recording and replay require that the flash memory be written to every transmission. If the flash isn't removable, the scanner is bricked when it fails. With a removable card, a flash memory failure takes less than a minute to resolve if you have a spare (which you should).
 
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Ubbe

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And is this a defect in the manufacturing of this product?
It looks like the pins are elevated from the circuit board and the solder are bridging the gap and probably it's not enough solder to reach all the way up to the pin or not enough heat are applied to keep the plastic from melting.

Include that mechanical problem with the circuit board being pulled at one direction when the antenna connector are tighten, then it is two manufacturing faults that the quality inspection have missed at the vietnamese plant.

/Ubbe
 

eorange

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Not using flash cards would be extremely stupid. [...] If the flash isn't removable, the scanner is bricked when it fails.
Unication chose not to use memory cards for call recording, and I have yet to hear about a radio fault due to failed memory. The Icom R-30 accepts the same memory cards that everyone else is likely using, and again no reports of radio failures.

The flaw with the SDS is the scanner can be bricked or otherwise rendered non-functional soley due to the SD card. That's not a good design.
 

kruser

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Unication chose not to use memory cards for call recording, and I have yet to hear about a radio fault due to failed memory. The Icom R-30 accepts the same memory cards that everyone else is likely using, and again no reports of radio failures.

The flaw with the SDS is the scanner can be bricked or otherwise rendered non-functional soley due to the SD card. That's not a good design.
Bricked and non-functional are two totally different things. Non-functional is like trying to boot a computer with no disk. Easily fixed. Bricked on the other hand is when something like the BIOS contents have been erased from a bad firmware flash that wiped out the boot info. Uniden and GRE models both have fairly robust boot sectors within their firmware chips that will still allow them to boot into a firmware recovery mode which allows you to attempt writing the firmware again. A bricked device would not get that far, it would just stop dead in its tracks not knowing what to do. Recovering a bricked device usually involves hooking up a JTAG interface and writing the code via that method. Not for the faint of heart.

I'd much rather be able to replace an SD card if the flash memory starts failing and it will. No flash memory has an infinite amount of writes, at least not yet. Once your flash memory cells start failing and enough of them fail, it no longer works.

I have a couple GRE PSR600's that both had failed internal flash memory. It was from the constant writes for the built in hit counter. Don Starr confirmed this with me and also gave me some tips on the flash chip used. I was able to purchase new flash chips and replace the failed surface mount chips in the radios but it's not something many people could do.
Both of those old scanners still work to this day.

Flash memory is getting better as technology advances but it still has a finite amount of writes per cell before the cells simply cannot store a write any longer. It's the nature of the beast.
 

K4RBT

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Just came to the Uniden forum.
The proper way to fix the cold/no solder joint is hot air reflow. Liquid flux the contacts. Put some solder paste across the terminals, use a hot air rework handle, blows hot air from different tips. Look for solder flows, remove heat. I attended the Pace school on SMT board repair. At Virginia Tech, I had them purchase one of the rework stations, about $2000. Now that the shop is closed, it sits in the room where I had it set up. It could not be transferred to another department as it was bought with special funds from the state and that was a requirement. They can surplus it after ten years. Of course, it will be obsolete, no parts available, by then.
One of the big problems and my reluctance to buy any expensive electronic equipment, is lead free solder. It is so bad, the federal government requires lead solder for mission critical systems. Lead free does not like high temperature cycles, it weakens it and then pulls free. Not sure if China requires lead free, but if the product goes to Europe, it has to be certified lead-free. By the appearance of the joints, not shinny, I expect it to be lead-free.
I built a device that went to a research facility in a mountain along the French/Italian border. I had to fill out a form saying it was lead free. I lied. At that time it was really hard to hand solder a board, especially one with over 600 joints. If they wanted to get me, come on big boys!
 

werinshades

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After reading through this thread, I'm wondering how many have had cold solder joint issues after attaching the sma/bnc adapter and then attaching a "non-stock" antenna or connected via an mobile/base antenna with cable?

As I've posted previously, I've owned my SDS100 since June 2018, had one of the originals with the smaller battery. I've been using the stock antenna and never used the adapter and never had any of the issues plaguing others. Could it be the added stress causing these cold solder joint issues to occur? I'm sure I don't have a specially made scanner...or do I? :unsure:
 

K4RBT

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I do not know what possess manufacturers to use connectors that were not meant to be used in their fashion. A SMA is a microwave connector, good to 18 GHz. Not on and off like they are used. The life is 5000 connects/disconnects. For radios, the stronger ones are stainless steel, not gold plated brass. Also, maximum torque is 6 to 8 inch pounds. That is just above finger tight, not tightening until it goes "Bink!".And, you are supposed to hold the body stationary and only turn the coupling nut. Cannot do this with a potted antenna base. I do not like to use them because of their frangibility. The are probably not from a reputable manufacturer, either. Should have stayed with BNC. Same life, but more robust. Unless you have a mil-spec crimper and the FULL directions for installation, you are asking for trouble with cable mounted plugs.
Motorola had a problem with the hand held radios with a BNC, the lead from the connector to the board would break. Simple fix was use a piece of Teflon covered stranded wire and make a small loop in it. Saved a lot of field calls.
 

jonwienke

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After reading through this thread, I'm wondering how many have had cold solder joint issues after attaching the sma/bnc adapter and then attaching a "non-stock" antenna or connected via an mobile/base antenna with cable?
I do not know what possess manufacturers to use connectors that were not meant to be used in their fashion. A SMA is a microwave connector, good to 18 GHz. Not on and off like they are used.
I don't think there's a connection (pun intended). The 40-pin connector between the boards is on the opposite end of the rear/RF board from the antenna connector. The solder joints connecting the SMA connector to the board aren't what's failing, it's connections on the opposite end of the board.
 

KO4IPV

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I don't think there's a connection (pun intended). The 40-pin connector between the boards is on the opposite end of the rear/RF board from the antenna connector. The solder joints connecting the SMA connector to the board aren't what's failing, it's connections on the opposite end of the board.
A excellent observation!!
 

jonwienke

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Update:

I got the microscope linked earlier, and it's not perfect, but good enough to be useful. It locks up when I try to use it to record video, but otherwise works as advertised. I was able to identify bad joints by poking pins with the tip of a dental pick and looking for movement. I identified 6 additional bad joints and repaired them, and now the scanner is working like new. The joints Uniden touched up, as ugly as the soldering may have been, all tested good. They just didn't to a complete/thorough job of identifying all of the bad joints and repairing them. I'm doing some runtime tests in the 85F house ( the A/C quit again), and will put it in the truck again later.
 
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