[FIXED] anyone here know how to fix/replace a SFF-8643 female connector?

Discussion in 'RAID Controllers and Host Bus Adapters' started by BLinux, Dec 5, 2018.

  1. BLinux

    BLinux Well-Known Member

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    I got some motherboards that came with damaged onboard SFF-8643:

    IMG_20181204_094606.jpg

    They seem to be "press fit" and held on to the PCB with tiny screws (3 of them) from the back. I think they are like these:



    So, I'm wondering if I might be able to buy a new connector, unscrew them, and replace them? Anyone have experience with this? From the backside, there doesn't appear to be any through hole pins that are soldered.
     
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  2. BLinux

    BLinux Well-Known Member

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    I couldn't sleep, and then i remembered i had a M1215 HBA card that wasn't working (firmware crashes when drives are detected, re-flash didn't help). I dug it out of my box of dead/broken PCI-E cards and it had the same type of pressfit 8643 connector that was secured by 3 screws. Cool, something I can play with to figure this out for myself.

    Removed the 3 screws, but the connector was still very securely attached to the board. Started slowly prying with a flat screwdriver and it eventually pulled out. So, indeed, these are not soldered at all and only "pressed" into the 36x2=72 holes in the PCB board, which means they are actually pretty easy to replace. The pins look like the eye of a sewing needle, just a lot smaller. I guess the "eye" part gets compressed as they are pressed into the holes on the PCB and secured mostly by the resulting friction of the "eye" applying pressure against the insides of the holes.

    IMG_20181206_010807.jpg

    So, now i have a dual 1x2 SFF-8643 female right angle connector. Looking at the hole pattern, the board above can accommodate this right angle version, which actually might work great for me as I actually prefer the cable going out horizontally rather than vertically. I will have to see what this means for fitment in chassis though, as it does stick out beyond the dimensions of the board by maybe a 1cm.
     
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  3. BLinux

    BLinux Well-Known Member

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  4. Terry Kennedy

    Terry Kennedy Well-Known Member

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    The square pin / round hold relies on the pins digging into the thru plating on the hole to form an air-tight connection. You may not get a reliable connection when re-using the connectors, as both the pins on the connectors and the plating on the holes has deformed somewhat from previous usage. Just keep this in mind if you run into problems later on. You might need to solder the pins in that case, but bear in mind that the connector was not designed for soldering.
     
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  5. BLinux

    BLinux Well-Known Member

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    Good news. So, I ended up ordering this part instead:

    2227640-1 TE Connectivity / AMP | Mouser

    As I needed a few other things and mouser had them in stock. The part arrived today, and I removed the broken connector:

    IMG_20181219_172022.jpg

    I decided not to use the right angle connector because it would not have worked well in the chassis. The new connector by TE Connectivity/AMP looks more robust than the original as the area around the latch is thicker than the original. The original however, had gold plated pins, while the AMP connector had silver colored pins.

    Removal of the original connector involved removing 3 screws from the backside, and slowly prying and pulling it out as straight as possible. Once I could get the flat edge of a thin screw driver in the middle, the rest was pretty easy to get it out the rest of the way.

    Installation of the new connector was more challenging. It takes a lot of pressure to press the new connector in. I first made sure all the pins aligned correctly with the holes. Then I placed a thick piece of leather I had laying around underneath the motherboard as backing to push on, and pressed down on the connector with my thumbs, but it did not go in all the way. it did go in enough that it was holding on to the board; you could hold the connector and pull up and the board would come up with it. I then got the head of a plastic dead blow hammer and used that to press down on the connector with the weight of my body; i had to lean in a few times to finally get the connector seated in. Then attached the 3 screws from the back of the board.

    After that, I installed the board into a chassis with SFF-8643 connectors to test it out and fortunately, everything worked! Created a few test zpools, generated some data, ran a few scrubs, exported/imported, scrub a few more times, etc. worked without any issues.

    IMG_20181219_172156.jpg

    Now, if only I can find v3/v4 CPUs and DDR4 cheaply, I might actually have some use for this motherboard....
     
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  6. pricklypunter

    pricklypunter Well-Known Member

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    Well done on the fix! Last time I done something similar, I used an empty head shell, a wooden block behind to support the area of the mainboard and a small vice to apply positive pressure. Of course, that only works when the connector is along an edge and can be got at. If it were to be in the middle of a board, I have a 20ton press I can threaten it with instead :p:D
     
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  7. nthu9280

    nthu9280 Well-Known Member

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    That's great to hear on replacing broken connector.

    If you are ok with es/qs, search for E5-4655 V3. There is one that popped on my saved search for about $125 & 10% eBay Bucks offsets shipping.

    DDR4 is a whole another story. You have to get lucky on auctions. I picked up one 16gb / 2666 today for just under $75.
     
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