Guide for HP Ipaq H5450 Connector Replacement

Having just recently performed surgery on a H5450 with broken sync connector, and unable to find much useful information on the web, I thought I’d better write up my experience. This guide is probably relevant to other Ipaqs, but I have only covered the H5450 here. There is an annotated tagset at Flickr.

Although it looks a bit difficult, the job is relatively straightforward for anyone with good soldering skills, patience, and the right tools.

The problem:

The HP H5450 has an extremely small and easily damaged docking connector. The device that I fixed would not charge or sync correctly, and required considerable fiddling to get a connection through either the cradle or the USB cable. I suspect that this is particularly a problem with devices that have been used extensively with the charging dongle or USB cable, rather than the docking cradle, as when using cable connection there is more tendency to wiggle the connector when un/plugging it.

Warning:

The connector in question is extremely small; it is shown below, with a 3.5mm audio jack for comparison. If you don’t think you can successfully solder this, consider sending it to a repair specialist. It is unlikely that such a repair is economic, however; but rather than just throwing the PDA out, try selling it on ebay, or send it to me – I’ll pay the postage, and I could certainly use a spare PocketPC 😉

HP H5450 disassembly 19

Parts:

Replacement connectors are available from http://ipaqrepair.co.uk though expensive, postage is reasonable and their service excellent – and they do ship overseas.

If you aren’t confident that you are able to replace the connector, it is possible to replace the whole switch board assembly, but this is not a cheap option; however, it is a good backup option if you do damage the switch board assembly or if the switches are not all working correctly.

I’d recommend ordering a replacement backup battery at the same time you order the connector, as these deteriorate with age and now is a good time to replace it.

Disassembly:

Remove all the loose components from the Ipaq – remove the stylus, battery, SIM card style placeholder, SD Card etc.

Remove the 4 screws that hold the main casing together; do not remove the two lower screws at this stage. You’ll need a T-6 (torx) screwdriver for all of the screws.

Prise the casing apart, it opens a little like an iPod. If possible use either soft plastic tools to do this, or a plastic credit card. You need to pull the two parts of the casing apart, at the same time stretching the back casing sideways away from the front casing so that it can unclip.

HP H5450 disassembly 15

Take normal anti-static precautions for the remainder of the disassembly.

Place the Ipaq face down on a suitable work surface, then remove the rear casing. Be careful not to lose the volume rocker switch when you remove the back. You should see the mainboard in position as shown below.

HP H5450 disassembly 13

Gently fold out the mainboard as shown below; be very careful. You’ll need to pull the mainboard free of the switch board connector – it should just snap free – and also pull the mainboard towards the top edge of the casing so the headphone connector is held free of its hole in the casing. Be very careful not to damage any stray wiring, and don’t strain the flexible ribbon connectors.

HP H5450 disassembly 10

Now remove the two screws on the lower part of the case, also unplug the blue and red wire that powers the vibrator. Note its routing and polarity for reassembly. The small connector on the edge of the switch board in the photo below is the mainboard/daughterboard connector. Remove the switch board assembly.

HP H5450 disassembly 11

The photo below shows the switch board assembly from it underside. Remove the black insulating tape strip visible in the photo, and note its position. You need to reuse or replace it when reassembling the Ipaq.

HP H5450 disassembly 01

The finger print reader is shown below. This clips on to the switch board assembly, and straddles the connector.

HP H5450 disassembly 03

The top side of the switch board, with the finger print reader removed. It is vital that the row of gold plated pads immediately behind the connector is not damaged or contaminated in any way, as the reader connects to this through a conductive plastic strip. The outline of the reader is shown in white on the board graphics. Also ensure the other contact pads are kept clean – the finger print reader also uses the two circular pads on the right. It is probably best to remove the chrome 5-way navigation button, this just pulls straight off the 5-way switch (in the foreground) – don’t twist it at all or you may damage the switch.

HP H5450 disassembly 02

Repair:

Wrap the entire switch board in foil, with an opening for the connector and the area immediately behind it where you’ll be working. The purpose of the foil is to protect the switch board and components from heat and contamination from fingers, soldering or grinding.

Use a Dremel or similar to grind/cut off the top face of the connector body; just cut along the two top corners. Other methods may work, but avoid putting any mechanical strain on the connector or the circuit board.

HP H5450 disassembly 04

HP H5450 disassembly 05

In my case, the connector had failed completely, with the connector core just falling out of the casing once the top was removed. All of the 22 solder connections to the board had failed due to fatigue; no wonder it wasn’t charging. In addition, there was a lot of dry solder dust and flakes in the connector area.

If it hadn’t already fallen free, I would have used a hot air gun and a heat shield to remove the connector core.

HP H5450 disassembly 06

Remove the remaining parts of the casing with a soldering iron, they are located in holes on the board and soldered to pads but not mechanically connected; once they are heated sufficiently they should just pull free with very little resistance.

HP H5450 disassembly 07

Use solder wick to remove as much of the remaining solder as possible, and if necessary pick the through holes clear. Make sure there is no solder bridging the extremely small spacing between the connection pads.

HP H5450 disassembly 08

Place the new connector precisely in position, clamp it lightly and solder the case into position. Check carefully and correct if necessary before proceeding.

Once you are 100% happy with the connector placement, solder the 22 connection pads. This is extremely difficult; you will need the bare minimum of solder, a very fine soldering iron, a steady hand and good magnification. Take your time, and avoid getting solder between adjacent connectors. If you do get any in the wrong place, use solder wick to remove it before proceeding further.

Check the finished result under high magnification and correct any bridging or poor soldering, also pick out any loose flakes of solder or contamination. Once everything is cleaned up, remove the foil protection and check the rest of the board for damage or contamination.

The finished job is shown below; while nowhere near as good as the original factory solder job, it is good enough for a repair.

HP H5450 disassembly 09

Assembly:

Assembly is the reverse of disassembly; clip the finger print reader in place over the connector, screw the switch board assembly in place. Remember to connect the vibrator, and take care as the vibrator only clips into its place in the front cover, it can fall loose during assembly if you are not careful. Screw the small cover in place with the two torx screws.

Fold the mainboard back into place, taking care that the headphone connector fits correctly into the case. Push the mainboard/daughterboard connector home as shown below, you will feel it snap into place.

HP H5450 disassembly 12

Clip the rear cover into place, taking care that the volume rocker is correctly placed and that no wiring is trapped between the casing. There is an extremely small battery sensor microswitch that passes through a hole in the back cover (see below), be careful with this.

HP H5450 disassembly 16

The casings may not seat correctly in the corner by the antenna, there is a spring connection here that tends to force the two casings apart. Carefully push the casings together, then fit the remaining 4 torx screws.

Finish up:

Replace the battery, and restart the device. You’ll be greeted with the setup screen, and you’ll have to reinstall your data and software.

HP H5450 disassembly 17

HP H5450 disassembly 18

If you are properly organised, you’ll just restore from your backups 🙂

If this guide helped you in any way, please leave a comment. Thanks.

12 thoughts on “Guide for HP Ipaq H5450 Connector Replacement

  1. Pingback: links for 2007-05-23 « B I T Z

  2. Pingback: TamsPPC-The PocketPC blog - The PocketPC news and oppinion source » hp ipaq h5450 connector repair

  3. Fantanstic article. I had the exact same problem 6 months ago. I ultimately decided to send it back to HP for repair. Repair cost $125 Plus shipping but at least it works.

  4. Many thanks for an excellent article which was very helpful in my H5450 repair.
    I have a few comments that may be helpful to others.
    1. I think that its best to completely separate the two circuit boards by unclipping the ribbon connectors. These two connectors have a simple swinging latch which can be opened with tweezers and the connector then eased out.
    2. Reconnecting rather than resoldering the failed connector is an option – its worked for me. Under magnification clean the exposed connector feet and adjacent pads with a fine blade. Apply solder paste (the sort used for soldering surface mount components) to the ends of the feet of the connector using a needle and then touch with a fine hot soldering iron. Any solder bridges should be removed with fine solder wick.

  5. Dropped my h5550 and later discovered it wouldn’t charge. Took it apart with the help of your instructions, couldn’t see anything wrong, tested all the connetions, put all back together and still didn’t work.

    I wondered if there was a problem with the contact between the motherboard and the switchboard and pressed firmly on the bottom part of the screen where there’s the clip contact between the two boards. Hey presto it started charging again. I guess the drop nudged loose the contact between the two boards. I’m surprised there are no screws to keep the two fixed together.

    In any case now it works, thanks for the instructions.

  6. Hello!

    I’m looking for the pinconfiguration on the battery for the Ipaq h5450

    does anyone happen to have that??

    thanks
    /Mike

  7. After removing the connector i damaged one of the 22 connection pads on the board. i really have no clue how to repair this now? can i solder it with a wire?

    Sorry wrong email adress

  8. How did you find the connector that fits it. I am looking for a docking connector for HP business Model Laptops. The model for the docking station is VB043AA. I need the connector that resides on the Docking station that the laptop rests on when docked.

    Any help would be very appreciated. Thanks to all who help!

  9. This guide was extremely helpful. The photographs are superb and the procedure has been explained in easy understandable language. However, since I have my iPaq which is of 1900 series (1945, to be specific) I wonder you have any experience with that model.

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