Just to share my experience, I have modest experience with soldering (and probably a little too much confidence ) and I just replaced all three encoders on my Norns. The first encoder was a bit of a struggle, but after that it went quite smoothly. Some advice for the adventurous:
- Gain some experience in desoldering before you start.
- Start with E1, the encoder above the screen, if that needs replacement. It doesn’t have any other components nearby, so you’ll have some more space to practice (at least on the black PCB, this may be different for the green one).
- This is very basic soldering advice, but make sure your soldering iron tip is tinned. If you have a somewhat decent soldering iron which gets hot, but for some reason the desoldering wick doesn’t seem to do its job, this may very well be the cause. For me it made all the difference between a long struggle and the smooth working flow from the video above.
- If you have some solder stuck in the PCB holes, sometimes it helps to add a bit of solder. Then the wick can absorb everything in one go.
- Sometimes I had a leg of the old encoder break off when trying to remove it. This resulted in a tiny piece of leg remaining stuck in the PCB. It was quite tricky to remove this, so try not to break it off. Alternatively you could maybe cut it in advance, so you have more grip on the remaining piece.
I did make a few light scratches on the PCB, so I hope that won’t give problems on the long run, but no components or electric lines were crossed, and I tried not to overheat the PCB too much. In the end I’m really happy to have them replaced. They were very jumpy before, also when rotating them slowly, and for a long while I just lived with the bits of chaos. But now the Norns feels super reliable and solid, reflecting the careful design that went into it!