I have tried re-soldering the resistor on the circuit board. It worked temporarily, but started going dim again. If I press on the resistor with everything hooked up, it brightens up. But I can't seem to get it soldered down well enough. Any suggestions?
Might be better off just sending it out for a complete rebuilt. There are sites all over the internet that do them as they are a big problem for your year class truck. I think they are around $100-$150 rebuilt. Then you won't have to worry about it happening any more on that circuit or another display on your cluster.
Dim PRNDL is the least of your worries on that cluster, 2003 were plagued with problems. Best to send it out for a rebuild and have all the issues addressed at once. I would be leery of anyone that does it for $100-150, because they may or may not know of all the issues these have and may not do quality work. See the pic below for an example of horrible rework. That is why I recommend professionals like Circuit Board Medics, you get what you pay for.
You can't "get it soldered down well enough" because you aren't using the right process for surface mount components. First you have to remove the solder you added with solder wick. Then use a good liquid flux and the proper solder with a good temp controlled iron and not overdo it. Then clean with alcohol and a stiff brush. It should look like the part circled in yellow in the picture after you're done. (my rework) :mrgreen:
Be aware that too much heat from cheap irons will damage these boards very quickly.
The only issue I am having is with the upper middle resistor in that '7 gang' you have circled in red. I have had some experience with soldering in the past, mostly wiring and some other small jobs. I am willing to learn the proper way to do this on my own cluster, however, I have a hard time paying others to just flat out do the work for me. I would prefer to learn new things any time I get the chance.
I really appreciate the great info GMT604!! If you have any other specific advise (type of solder or flux, approximately how hot the iron should be), please let me know! By the way, your repairs looks superb, can't hardly tell that it's a repair! Beautiful work.
I only use Kester leaded solder, lead free is part of the problem on these. Any good liquid flux is good, like MG rosin flux. I have my soldering station set at about 595F for reflow work, and don't leave the tip on the traces for too long. For reflowing an unmolested board, a little flux, put a small amount of solder on the tip of the iron, and work it back and forth across the end of the resistor until it is all flowed cleanly. Make sure to hold the resistor in place with something in case the other end is cracked.
If it has big globs of solder there already, you should remove it with some solder wick before resoldering.
The biggest mistake people make is not using flux, it helps the solder flow properly and cleans any contaminants in the process. Cleanup is easy using a trimmed acid brush or small toothbrush and isopropyl alcohol, then dabbed off with lint free paper towels. A little practice and you will get the hang of it.
The picture of that board was one that failed shortly after repair. None of mine have ever come back yet.
Got it done last night. Working great right now. I did find some comparable products, although I could not find a solder wick anywhere. The flux made a HUGE difference!! The leaded solder also melted a lot quicker! Thank you so much for your help GMT604. We'll see if it holds up this time.
I had the issue with the prndl and reflowed the solder pads. When I plugged it back into my truck, it lit up real bright, but had 3 orange lines going across the display then the back light completely shut off. Did I ruin something?
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