Tools and Equipment for Setting Up a Service Center
This article is mainly targeted at those willing to start a service center from scratch. We intend to clarify and systematize the information about all the equipment needed, the process of its selection and the specifics of its use. All equipment is divided into certain categories according to its functions.
To be able to repair different devices and ensure their proper functionality you will need the following items:
- Soldering equipment
- Measuring equipment
- Hand tools
- Power supply units
- Optical equipment
Soldering is one of the most significant aspects in servicing your equipment.
You should choose a soldering station model based on your needs and demands. For example, you will need semi-automatic BGA rework systems while working with laptops and motherboards. There is a wide variety of such stations: however, some of them really stand out. We recommend ACHI IR-PRO-SC & Jovy Systems RE-8500.
If you need to solder large-area PCBs, these two stations are just perfect for the task. They have a number of features which will make the soldering process much easier. The stations allow to create a number of individual thermal profiles. If you choose correctly, they prevent your chip from being overheated. A multizone temperature monitoring guarantees that the temperature in the soldering zone corresponds to the selected thermal profile. Large bottom preheaters help to significantly decrease the risk of textolite getting damaged.
In comparison with the previous two stations, the bottom heater area of Jovy Systems RE-7500 is smaller. However, it is designed in such a way that it suits perfectly if you need to repair cellphones or, say, video cards.
Since the reparation works are not limited to BGA only, you may also need such tools as a soldering iron and a heat gun to repair other devices.
The manufacturers always try to suit every customer’s taste and to come up with the most reasonable solutions. For example, combining a hot air soldering station with a traditional contact soldering iron is aimed at making it occupy the least space possible, and therefore economize your working space, thus rationalizing your working area and saving the working space, which is one of the crucial factors in making your work comfortable and, more importantly, safe. Lukey 852D+ is a bright representative of such equipment.
When it comes to add-ons, AOYUE 2702A+ shows just how many useful functions the soldering iron can perform. For instance, it helps you to get rid of smoke by means of a special smoke absorber. Another advantage of this device is having a desoldering gun. It is worth mentioning that this iron enables working with different alloys, both lead-containing and lead-free.
Measuring equipment is an essential element of all service centers. It includes:
- battery analyzer
There are versatile kinds of multimeters with different fuctional ranges and accuracy levels. You should choose your measuring device according to these two criteria. Practically every multimeter allows to measure voltage and resistance, but we recommend to pay special attention to those able to measure also capacity and temperature. The best ones belong to the middle and to high accuracy classes. UNI-T UT70C is multifunctional and has a high measuring accuracy. In addition, it is capable of selecting the range automatically, so that you do not have to do it yourself.
BOKAR Smart Tweezers, a full-resistance meter, is a perfect choice if you need to perform SMD components testing. If you wish to have a simpler version for more trivial tasks, then consider using UNI-T UT10A, a simple pocket multimeter. It is cheaper and is the most reasonable option for ordinary tasks like continuity tests.
When it comes to oscillographs, their prices depend on the bandwidth. The functional range of all models is more or less the same. Models with frequency 50-300 MHz are most suitable for service centers. RIGOL DS1102E is a best seller among this range of products.
The power source is a frequent reason for device failures. So different types of battery analyzers really come in handy in such cases and are in great demand at service centers. A battery analyzer can check the characteristics of your power source, define whether it is safe to continue using it and how to restore its full serviceability.
When choosing the battery analyzer, pay attention to its output power. As a rule, low-cost devices have the output power up to 2500 mAh (Smart 2500). The more powerful models cost more, but also possess a wider range of additional features. Vencon UBA5 is a multifunctional and advanced tool. Its maximum output reaches 120 Ah and it can work with any battery of your choice: cell phone batteries, laptop batteries or even uninterruptible power supply units (UPS). What’s more, it is equipped with built-in temperature sensors, ensuring both your safety and preventing the damage to the devices you are working with. Its special software gives you the opportunity to choose one of the individual testing and repairing modes.
The variety of screws creates a need for a sufficient number of additional screwing/unscrewing tools. Therefore, we highly recommend you to purchase a screwdriver containing a set of bits in a package. For example, Pro'sKit SD-9803 is a screwdriver set that includes almost every bit you may possibly need. Pro'sKit SD-9326M is another set of this type, invaluable while working with electronics. Please note that for working with many modern cellphones and Apple products, you will have to turn to specialized sets such as Pro'sKit SD-9314 or BAKU BK-6332A.
When choosing tweezers take into consideration the components you will use them for:
- Pro'sKit 1PK-TZ004 is for SMD
- Pro'sKit TZ-100C or Pro'sKit TZ-100A are optimal for digital elements
- Pro'sKit TZ-300A is anti-static and can be used for sensitive components
Concerning the cutting pliers, their types are as follows:
- micro cutting pliers - Pro'sKit 8PK-101D - for small components
- middle-size pliers - Pro'sKit 1PK-037S - for most applications
- large cutting pliers - Pro'sKit 1PK-067DS - for wire cutting
And here are the soldering aid tools you can make use of:
POWER SUPPLY UNITS
While buying the power supply unit, choose those, whose characteristics are higher than the required ones by 30-40%. It will significantly increase the life span of your PSU and provide its uninterrupted operation, preventing all possible failures.
Models, most often chosen by our clients:
In order to perform many delicate and accurate types of work a microscope is a must-have for you. You will definitely need it while dealing with modern PCBs, as some of their elements are tiny, reaching only 1mm in length. The repair microscopes are used specifically for soldering and checking components like these. The main difference between this microscope and a biological one is that the repair microscope has a much bigger distance between the observed surface and the objective (up to 15-17 cm), which is essential for soldering, because the soldering iron, fan or any other tools can fit more easily. It is even better if they are armed with a rotating objective and the regulated zoom factor equaling 20~40x. The necessity for upper illumination here is also crucial. You may choose among the best-selling models:
The popularity of USB microscopes has now grown to a considerable extent. More and more technicians tend to prefer USB-microscopes to the optical ones. You can find a video review of one of them just below.
In case you do not need such a strong magnification, a desktop magnifying lamp may be sufficient for you. For repair work you won’t need a magnification of more than 3 diopters. The lamp can also serve as an additional light source. Try Quick 228L.
Of course, this is not the full list of tools required for a proper fully-equipped service station. Should you need any additional help or advice, feel free to contact our technical support experts, who will willingly resolve all your questions.