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Broken USB jack PR3 xtra

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Broken USB jack PR3 xtra
Posted by Lonnie Utah on Tuesday, May 14, 2019 12:28 PM

Good day everyone, 

The USB jack on our PR3 has broken and become unsoldered. It's out of warranty. The tabs of the USB jack have physically broken and my meager attempts to repair it on my own have been unsuccessful. I feel I could easily fix it myself, if I had the right part. Can anyone point me in the right direction? 

The broken part is the silver box on the lower right side of the photo. 

Thanks in advance. 

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Posted by mbinsewi on Tuesday, May 14, 2019 3:27 PM

Get ahold of Digitrax, they are recovering from an earlier devastating hurricane, but it wouldn't hurt to try and contact them.

http://www.digitrax.com/products/retired/computer-control/pr3/

Good luck,

Mike.

  • Member since
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  • From: From Golden, CO living in Puyallup (Seattle), WA
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Posted by Renegade1c on Tuesday, May 14, 2019 5:40 PM


Colorado Front Range Railroad: 
http://www.coloradofrontrangerr.com/

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Posted by gmpullman on Tuesday, May 14, 2019 7:43 PM

I haven't looked at my PR-3 to see how the USB plug is soldered on, surface or through the board.

Would you be able to eliminate the plug and strip and tin the wires in the cord and come up with a strain-relief so you simply have a USB pigtail permanently attached? I have used micro USB plugs and sockets as connectors between loco and tender when making DCC installs.

 IMG_9725_fix_w by Edmund, on Flickr

Amazon has quite a few USB sockets available.

 

https://tinyurl.com/y2qeqbk6

 

The tin shield is probably a separate piece soldered on.

 IMG_9655_fix_w by Edmund, on Flickr

 Good Luck, Ed

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Posted by Stevert on Tuesday, May 14, 2019 9:21 PM

According to the Digitrax repair page, the PR3 is repairable for a flat rate of $17 USD, which includes return shipping.

They are still recovering from Hurricane Michael so repair times may be elongated, but as you go through the four-step repair process you can ask and make your decision.

http://www.digitrax.com/support/returns/

  • Member since
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  • From: Reading, PA
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Posted by rrinker on Wednesday, May 15, 2019 8:28 PM

 Those are not easily solderable unless you have decent experience - they are surface mount and not through hole. I still avoid surface mount soldering. If the lead wires got ripped off, which would be the only reason you'd need an actual new jack, then you need to clean off the pads without causing the traces to lift befoe soldering on a new one.

 Easy way to judge - have you installed any decoders where you had to solder wires to pads on teh decoder to add more functions or add a keep alive? If you aren't comfortable doing that, then just send the PR3 in to Digitrax for repair. If you are comfortable doing that sort of fine soldering, go ahead and give it a go. You'll probbaly find it cheaper to buy a pack of USB sockets on Amazon or eBay even though you only need one, rather than deal with the handling fee imposed by most of the electronic warehouses just to get only one.

                                        --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

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Posted by gmpullman on Thursday, May 16, 2019 4:47 AM

rrinker
Those are not easily solderable unless you have decent experience - they are surface mount and not through hole.

Maybe mine is an older PR-3? Mine is through hole. Maybe they redesigned it:

 Digi_PR-3 by Edmund, on Flickr

You want a USB-B shielded socket, or, again, if it happened to my PR-3, I would just permanently solder the cord in place and be done with it. You could pass the cord through that hole and add a tie-wrap as a strain relief. You would have to drill out the plastic backing plate of the housing. As Randy says, if you can solder to a decoder this job would be a cinch. Plenty of room to work here.

 Digi_PR-3a by Edmund, on Flickr

The socket is mounted in a poor location and the plug sticks out from the housing just asking to get pulled off. Here is the kind of socket you need:

 USB-b-large by Edmund, on Flickr

Or, as suggested, just send it to Digitrax.

Cheers, Ed

  • Member since
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  • From: Reading, PA
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Posted by rrinker on Thursday, May 16, 2019 9:08 PM

 Well I'm some 1000+ miles from my PR3 so I can't look, but it looked like surface mount. If it's through hole, not hard to repalce, but you would need a solder sucker to get the solder out of those two suport peg holes to be able to bend those out to remove the old one. Still a possibility of delaminating the PCB traces, but if you work carefully it's not terribly difficult to achieve success. ANd soldering a new one back in is cake.

                                         --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

  • Member since
    August, 2003
  • From: Collinwood, Ohio, USA
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Posted by gmpullman on Friday, May 17, 2019 2:35 AM

rrinker
Still a possibility of delaminating the PCB traces, but if you work carefully it's not terribly difficult to achieve success.

Or, as you mentioned about a DCC decoder with function pads — there are four test pads right there on the traces (top photo). Strip and tin the USB wires. Ring out the pin assignments*. Solder wire to pads, shield to one of the larger prongs. Come up with a strain relief and you're back in business.

As long as the old socket isn't shorting anything just leave it on the board.

https://www.lammertbies.nl/comm/cable/USB-connector.html

      Ed

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Posted by Lonnie Utah on Friday, May 17, 2019 8:29 AM

Thanks everyone for the replies. A lot to think about. 

I'm most seriously thinking about replacing the USB jack with a USB micro. We have a lot of usb to micro cable at our house, so that's a plus. I might even have an existing usb micro port laying around somewhere. 

As for the installation, I've been doing a lot of work with arduino's lately so the solder job shouldn't be too much. 

 

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Posted by Lonnie Utah on Monday, May 20, 2019 7:41 AM

gmpullman

 

Ours is a thru hole just like the one in the photo. I ordered 10 sockets off e-bay for less than $5, and I'm just going do it myself. In reality, it's an outdated connector, and (IMHO, and as others have said) the unit is poorly designed with the cable putting too much stress on the connector (going to put in strain relief on the cable on the reinstall). But if it ever breaks again, or if I screw it up, I've got lots of backups. lol. 


Thanks for all the help everyone. Smile

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Posted by mbinsewi on Monday, May 20, 2019 7:45 AM

I have the PR4, and all connections seem to be mounted firmly with in the plastic case enclosure, on the back of the unit, and not "out in the open".

Good luck with your fix.

Mike.

  • Member since
    November, 2016
  • 172 posts
Posted by Lonnie Utah on Tuesday, May 21, 2019 7:11 AM

^^^ Thank you Mike. 

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