Posts: 11
Joined: Thu Jan 31, 2019 11:37 am

Removed USB and DSI port from Pi3 A+... and I think I borked WiFi/BT?

Sat Feb 09, 2019 7:11 am

So I desoldered the USB port from my Pi3 A+ since I need that part of it to be very low-profile for a project. Simple enough, nice big vias to work with, badda boom. That seemed to go fine.

I also removed the DSI display ribbon cable connector, and that's where things went wrong. While I was heating the pins I applied some pressure... too much pressure. The connector popped off the board and took most of the pads with it. I don't see any traces pulled up, though. I booted it up with a fresh Raspbian Stretch Lite install and everything seemed to go fine except that Bluetooth failed to initialize during the boot-up sequence. WiFi worked fine. That's where I left off for the night.

Tonight I hard-soldered my USB hub's connection to the vias that were vacated by the USB port. Popped in a different fresh install of Stretch Lite and again, no Bluetooth. That's fine, I don't need BT for this project. But now WiFi doesn't work either.

The Pi doesn't think it has WiFi at all. raspi-config gives me a "No wireless interface found" error when I try to set my WiFi country or enter my SSID/passkey. Now I'm thinking I probably broke a connection somewhere that the Pi needed for network connectivity.

Does anyone have any idea what I might have done, and if it's fixable? I suppose I could just spend the $25 on a new Pi and start over, but obviously that's not ideal. Especially since it's possible it might happen again

Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Jan 20, 2020 6:04 pm

Re: Removed USB and DSI port from Pi3 A+... and I think I borked WiFi/BT?

Mon Jan 20, 2020 6:41 pm

Of course I found this post after removing my DSI port on a 3b+ and finding the WiFi / Bluetooth no longer detected... I'm guessing there's some sort of connection between the DSI pads and the pi 3's wireless chip, or if not, it's just awfully easy to damage some nearby circuitry or via.

If you are considering removing the DSI connector I would suggest that you don't desolder it.

Use a heatgun to soften the plastic of the DSI connector - don't use too much or the plastic will melt. Genetly wiggle it it up with a pliers from the sides until you can get a thin spudger underneath the edges and pry it up the rest of the way. Work from both sides. The pads are extremely fragile so do not use much force or you will lift a pad right off the PCB and that might be the end of your WiFi.

After this you can use a small nail clippers to remove the "teeth" of the pins leaving the pads connected. Be careful doing this as again, very little lateral force on the pins is required to pull up a pad. Make sure you don't leave any stray teeth loose on the PCB. Cover the surgery site with kapton tape.

With any luck your WiFi will still be working :)

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