What Is LLCR?


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Low Level Component Repair, Is It Still A Viable Solution?

Low Level Component Repair may not be the solution to your problem, maybe a replacement instead?

When a device fails do you buy another one and toss the failed one in the trash?

Or do you attempt to fix the component part that has failed?

Have you ever done Low Level Component Repair (LLCR)?

Do you know what it is?

Basically LLCR is removing a failed component such as a resistor, diode, transistor (yup those are still around), capacitor, or some other part that has failed from either material flaws or some other condition.

How do you go about replacing a failed component?

Today's circuitry is very small and compact, in some instances all the circuitry is packaged in what is called a chip set.

This image is magnified 5 times to show the individual components that you can replace with Low Level Component Repair.
1 - Crystal     

2 - Resistors

3- Capacitor

A chip set is some what like a processor in that all the individual parts are etched in to a silicon wafer then encased in a high impact heat absorbing material, normally a type of plastic, some however are in 'metal cans' such as crystals.

One of the problems of LLCR with micro circuitry is the size, as in very small.

Another is that the size of the components doesn't lend it self very well to markings, it is hard to print on such a small surface.

Add to those problems the effect of heat on other components in the area of the failed part when you use a soldering iron to remove and replace the failed part.

Larger components such as capacitors, coils, crystals, and diodes are easier to replace. One of the reasons these items are easy to replace is the size and the fact that most have mounting points that go through the PCB. There are some surface mount parts that are also large enough to remove and replace, these are getting rarer as time goes on.

As you can see from the image (5x normal size) the resistors are still very small, and the capacitor is also very small. The crystal is surface mount and the actual size is about 1/16th of an inch long.

With a lighted magnifying glass, a pair of self closing tweezers you could take the parts off the PCB and replace them with new parts.

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But with out the schematic to tell you the value of the capacitor or resistors you would be guessing their values and that would either lead to burning out more components or the device  working erratically or not at all.

See this page for a short tutorial on Low Level Component Repair

Other than a switch on the front panel of a computer and the AC power adapter for a laptop the only other soldering I have done lately is the wiring in our RV.

For more information on LLCR see page 61 in the Self Computer Repair Unleashed 2nd Edition Manual.

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