Feb 28, 2011

Desoldering? How about drilling those vias out?

I have to admit I'm not very good at desoldering filled in vias on circuit boards. I have a success ratio of about 50% so far. Sometimes these are adjacent to ground planes which make them especially difficult to desolder. The last major fail I had, I applied too much heat and actually ruined the solder pad hole so that no solder would adhere to it.
One tip I found on a forum was to use a mini drill, also known as a pin vise, to drill out these kinds of holes. This is about the same labor effort as desoldering, but I find I have much more control, especially if I use the smallest possible drill bit in the set to start and work up as needed.
The mini drill I use is a cheap ($4.99 as of this writing) Harbor Freight model. I've used it successfully on three desoldering projects and haven't failed yet.
Here's a picture of the Harbor Freight 6 piece mini drill set:

Feb 23, 2011

AVG and Microsoft Security Essentials

On an XP machine, had AVG Free installed and decided to change to Microsoft Security Essentials (MSSE). Uninstalled AVG with Add/Remove Programs and installed MSSE. That worked for awhile, until the first MSSE upgrade (not update) failed. Uninstalled MSSE, installed AVG 2011. AVG started throwing an error related to avgrsx.exe and MSVCR80.DLL.
Found out that AVG has become similar to Norton in that you need a removal tool (http://www.avg.com/us-en/download-tools) to completely uninstall it. In my case, the removal tool triggered a restart, then continued on to good finish after the reboot. I remembered one of the fixes for the MSSE problem was to completely uninstall any previously-installed anti-virus software and then try an MSSE install again. So I did.
Worked fine, running the AVG removal tool was the fix.

Sent from my iPhone

Feb 8, 2011

DD-WRT Wireless Slow? Try these out...

-Channel width to 40MHz
-Frame burst to enable
-Preamble to short
-Shortslot override to short
-WMM to enable
-No acknowledgement to disable
-CTS protection to auto
-Left/right antenna to auto
-Network mode to NG-Mixed
-ACK timing to 0 or 300
-Make sure security stays at WPA2-AES
-Select wireless channel manually picking the least used one