After Hours

TechRepublic members offer tips on removing a broken pin from a PS/2 port

When a PS/2 pin breaks off in the socket, one TechRepublic member turns to our Technical Q&A for removal advice. Members responded with suggestions on using tweezers and even solder.

Bent or broken pins in peripheral connectors are infrequent hazards associated with maintaining PCs, but they can create big headaches when they do occur. If you're unprepared for such problems, they can also be difficult to repair.

In a posting in our Technical Q&A forums,Choywg reported that a pin on a keyboard connector had broken and was stuck in the PS/2 port. Choywg requested information on how to remove the pin.

The suggestions TR members presented Choywg represent possible solutions you can employ if you're ever faced with a similar dilemma. The important point is that this problem can be corrected with a little patience and effort.

Member tips
Fixing this particular problem might involve employing tools you wouldn't normally associate with working on PCs. Member Djent, for example, suggested using a dental pick to repair the plastic keys in PS/2 plugs. Choywg's concern, however, was that the pin was jammed deep in the socket, making removal a difficult proposition.

TheChas of Smiths Aerospace offered the following steps for extracting the broken pin:
  • Switch the power off.
  • Put on a static ground strap.
  • Use fine electronic tweezers to grasp the pin and work it loose.
  • Once the pin protrudes far enough, use needle-nose pliers to pull it all the way out.

"If you cannot get a hold of the pin with the tweezers," wrote TheChas, "you might be able to work the pin out with two dental picks."

If these steps fail, TheChas also suggested another option: "Some PS/2 connectors have openings on the back side. If so, you may be able to push the end of the pin from inside the case."

Instead of pulling it out with tweezers or pliers, which may be too difficult, you might be able to actually push it through from the other side.

Another method TheChas suggested involved soldering a strand of wire to the end of the pin and then using it to pull the pin free.

TheChas also said that it's possible to replace the entire PS/2 connector. The only problem with the latter two options is that they require soldering tools and some level of skill in using them.

These suggestions illustrate that a number of options are available to solve the dilemma of a broken PS/2 pin. Extracting the pin with tweezers or needle nose pliers seems a logical step to take, but if the pin is embedded too deeply you may have to explore other avenues, including pushing the pin through from the back side, attaching a wire with solder to pull it free, or replacing the PS/2 connector altogether. Your situation may dictate which method works best, but these tips should offer a start before you decide to replace the motherboard.

Share your suggestions
If you have another method of removing broken pins from PC sockets we want to hear about it. Post your ideas and suggestions to this article or to Choywg's Technical Q&A posting.

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