Bodge wire like a pro

I just finished recording a video for In The Lab With Jay Jay wherein I install some bodge wires using my recently learned techniques. Below is the finished result. It’s actually three bodge wires joined together. A small one (0.07mm, 0.003″) from 28A to 21B, a medium one (0.16mm, 0.006″) from 21B to 17A, and a big one (0.31mm, 0.012″) from 17A to 14B. The job was finished with some red solder mask. I will have the video up shortly!
John's bodge wires installed in circuit board

Bodge wire

Thanks to my mate Bruce from Branchus Creations and his wire size suggestions I got a bunch of bodge wire for doing PCB repairs, being 1KG Enameled Copper Winding Wire 0.05 0.06 0.1 0.13 0.2 0.4 0.8 0.5mm 0.65 1.0 1.4 1.3mm Cable Magnet Wire Winding Wire Coil red. I got:

  • 0.07mm (back)
  • 0.16mm (front left)
  • 0.31mm (front right)

It would have been more convenient for me if the 0.07mm wire had have been on a smaller roll like the other two, but we can’t have everything. I’ve been thinking I might get some sort of wire rack, but I’m not sure where I would keep it.

I wasn’t sure exactly how I would go about cleaning enamel off the wire for soldering, so I asked ChatGPT, which gave me a number of options:

  1. Mechanical stripping
  2. Thermal stripping
  3. Chemical stripping

I think what I will actually try is just tinning the ends with my soldering iron and some fresh solder and see if that will burn off just a little bit of enamel on the tips, leaving me with a tinned wire I can easily solder into place.

John's three rolls of bodge wire

Organizing the lab

I’ve made arrangements to hang my Xbox Torx drivers (you need T10, T15, and T20 drivers, I got this HORUSDY 12-Piece Magnetic Torx Screwdrivers Set, S2 Steel T5 – T40 Torx Star Screwdrivers with Demagnetizer and Storage Pouch) on the side of my table:
John's Torx drivers, distance shot
John's Torx drivers, close up

I used 30mm nails but they’re not quite long enough, so I got some 40mm ones which I will upgrade to when they arrive.

Also I moved my old laptop off the music stand to make room for my bodge wire and Kapton tape dispenser:
John's bodge wire rolls and tape dispenser on music stand

Lacquer thinner

In Electrolytic Capacitor Removal NO Desoldering Required Paul Carlson says he uses lacquer thinner to clean circuit boards. On the Wikipedia article for Lacquer thinner it says these are usually mostly acetone. Personally I would only crack out the acetone if the IPA wasn’t working for me. Acetone is serious business.

Making Xbox cables

This morning I was fooling with cables for my Xbox. I want to make some breakout boards with controllers and front-panel buttons and LEDs that I can install in my bench and simply plug in when I’m working on a board.

I had a play with what I had in stock and built the cable you can see below. In the bottom of the frame is the Xbox controller connectors for two controllers, and in the top of the frame is my 10 pin JST PHD connector which I wired up just to make sure I had the right components and everything was working.

John's work mat with Xbox controller and breakout board

It works, but I used 22 AWG gauge wire where I probably want 24 or 26 AWG instead, so I ordered some of that on AliExpress.

I also swung by Digi-Key and stocked up on JST PHD connectors. On an Xbox motherboard (I’ve only checked v1.6 so far, I’m just getting started) you will find a 10 pin JST PHD connector for the front LEDs and power/eject buttons, two 12 pin JST PHD connectors for the controllers, and a 14 pin JST PHD connector for the DVD ROM. I got all such things:

And because I seriously lack restraint I purchased a shitload of every type of USB Type A Female connector I could find on AliExpress:

Also I’ve set up some storage so I can work on multiple OGXbox projects at the same time:
John's shelf with storage for Xbox circuit boards

Game on!

I was at the thrift store the other day and I found this retro gaming system for AU$15 (US$10). Haven’t had a play with it yet, I’m saving it for when I have some time to do the unboxing. And I didn’t want to do that until I had my new HDMI recording setup installed, but that’s done now, so I AM READY BABY.

John's new retro gaming system