Tools and Equipment for Setting up a Service Center

03.04.2013 24.10.18

In this article we will try to help you establish a workshop for servicing electronics from the very beginning. Besides, we will structure the data for selecting the required equipment.

So, what should we start with? First of all we need to make a list of categories for our equipment.

To have a fully functional service center we need:

Soldering equipment

Probably the most important component of any service center is its soldering basis. For full-fledged works and in order to feel confident in all repair situations, the service center should have several types of soldering stations and systems.

For instance, repairing laptops and motherboards will be mainly carried out using a semi-automatic BGA rework systems.

We should note two models out of the whole range of such equipment, these are ACHI IR-PRO-SC & Jovy Systems RE-8500. These rework systems perfectly match the task of BGA soldering on large area PCBs. Large bottom preheaters allow minimizing the risk of textolite thermal damage, and multizone temperature monitoring prevents from chip overheating when the thermal profile is chosen correctly.

Jovy Systems RE-7550 Rework System has no advantage of a large bottom heater area, but its size and design allow its comfortable use for repairing video cards and cell phones.

Obviously, the repair works are not restricted to BGA only. That is why the working place should also be equipped with a soldering iron, as well as with a heat gun.

Nowadays most of the manufacturers offer combined solutions in this market segment. Usually the hot air soldering station is equipped with a traditional contact soldering iron. Such a design helps saving the working space, which is very important. A very popular model Lukey 852D+ is an example of such a station.

Recently the high-quality rework stations of the Ukrainian brand Accta are becoming more and more popular on the market of soldering equipment. These are hot air rework stations equipped with a hot air gun and a soldering iron. There two main models of these stations – Accta 301 (the soldering iron is compatible with all Hakko 900M type soldering tips) and Accta 401 (the soldering iron is compatible with Hakko T12 type soldering tips). The stations are characterized by small size, real time temperature display and a protection system.

The manufacturers did not limit their products to adding the soldering iron, but also started equipping their soldering stations with other add-ons. For instance, AOYUE 2702A+ Soldering Station became very popular, as it is equipped with a smoke absorber and a desoldering gun. The soldering iron of this station is designed for soldering with both lead-containing and lead-free solder alloys.

You may find information concerning what you need for BGA reballing in one of our previous articles. However, soldering equipment is not the only equipment you need for a repair workshop.

Measuring equipment

For troubleshooting cellphones, tablets, laptops and conducting measurements during the repair process you need measuring equipment.

A set of measuring equipment in a service center should include the following:

  • multimeter,
  • oscilloscope,
  • battery analyzer.

You should choose a multimeter from the models of middle a high accuracy class. The multimeter is required to be characterized by the functions of measuring capacity and temperature. UNI-T UT61E multimeter is a good choice, as it is a multi-functional device with automatic range selection and high measuring accuracy.

We recommend using BOKAR Smart Tweezers, full resistance meter, for SMD components testing. You may also make use of a simple pocket multimeter UNI-T UT33C for trivial tasks like continuity test.

While choosing the oscilloscope you should note that the models of low-cost and middle class allow diagnostics of so to say "analogue" part only. And for monitoring of high-frequency signals you need the model with a bandwidth higher than 1 GHz. We recommend using the devices with a bandwidth up to 100 MHz, which are also characterized by a large memory depth. The most popular and bestselling model in this segment is RIGOL DS1102E.

One of the leaders in the class of low-price oscilloscopes is SIGLENT SDS1202X-E. Technical specifications of this device correspond to those of high-end expensive oscilloscopes.

As the reason for portable device failures often lies in the power source, battery analyzer will always be one of the most needed devices in the service center. Battery analyzers allow checking all the parameters of the power source, the possibility of its further use, as well as restoring its operability.

The most important parameter in choosing the analyzer is its output power. Low-cost models are limited to a power of 2500 mAh (Smart 2500). The higher is a price, the higher is a maximal power and the more additional features it has. Vencon UBA5 is considered the most advanced and multi-function analyzer on the market. Its maximal output power is 120 Ah, that allows testing almost any battery: starting from the cell phone batteries and up to laptop batteries and uninterruptible power supply units. Besides, due to the built-in temperature sensors the testing process is completely safe for both the battery and the technician. Special software allows creating the individual testing and repairing modes.

Hand tools

A great variety of screws used in the devices by different manufacturers requires proper amount of tools for screwing/unscrewing them. The most reasonable solution to this issue is buying a screwdriver with a set of bits. You may find almost every bit that is used nowadays in Pro'sKit SD-9803 screwdriver set. However, for disassembling modern cell phones and Apple products you will need specialized sets, such as Pro'sKit SD-9314 and Pro'sKit SD-9322M.

You should choose several types of tweezers for different components:

You will also require cutting pliers of the following types:

You will also need soldering aid tools:

Power supply units

Among the great variety of power supply units you should choose the most multi-purpose model with the parameters exceeding the required ones by 30-40%. This may significantly increase the PSU lifetime and ensures its operation without failure.

The most popular models are:

Optical equipment

And finally we will try to get our eyes ready. It is not a secret that you can not do without a microscope while repairing modern PCBs, some of the SMD components may be only 1 mm long. Repair microscopes were created for soldering and checking such components. They differ from, say, biological microscopes, because they have a larger distance between the objective and the observed surface. It may equal up to 15-17 cm. This parameter is very important, as the larger is the distance, the more convenient it is to use soldering iron/fan/other tool under the microscope. Usually they are equipped with a rotation objective with the regulated zoom factor that equals 20~40x. Upper illumination is a must.

We should mention the most popular models:

USB microscopes are getting more and more popular. A lot of technicians use them instead of optical ones, as it is shown in the video.

For the tasks requiring less magnification than the microscope may provide it is reasonable to use a desktop magnifying lamp. It may be also used as a light source. For repair works we recommend the lamps with no more than 3 dioptres magnification, like this one – AOYUE 929.

That was our short review of the most needed equipment for setting up a service center. No doubt that we managed to mention not all the required equipment, but the complete list depends on the service peculiarities. You may contact our technical support experts for more detailed information.

Yuriy Stakhniak,
Technical expert of ToolBoom Online Store

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