In some cases it may be necessary to remove a broken probe. If a plunger comes out or is broken off and leaves the probe tube and spring behind in a socket, it can be removed without damaging the socket or termination pin. We have three suggested methods.
QA has designed a TERX tool which will help to remove a broken probe tube without damaging the fixture. The TERX tool is comprised of a tapered steel pin that is designed to lock into the probe tube ID. If the broken probe is in the center of a group of probes, the surrounding probes may have to be removed first, so that you can gain access.
If necessary, remove any of the remaining components (i.e. spring or plunger) of the broken probe using tweezers or needle-nose pliers.
Insert the appropriate sized TERX tool into the broken probe tube. If the probe tube ID has been damaged the pointed nose of the tool can be used to reform the tube.
Push the tool firmly into the probe tube. Do not push the tool too hard so as to move the socket or termination pin.
Pull straight up on the tool. The portion of the broken probe tube will be removed as the tool is pulled out. The use of tweezers or needle-nose pliers may be required to slide the probe tube off of the nose of the tool. In situations where a tool is not on hand, there are two alternate methods that could help to remove a broken probe. The first method is to solder a piece of buss wire or a plunger into the broken probe tube and pull it out with tweezers. A second method is to use a pin vise and appropriately sized drill bit.
Insert a plunger point end first into the end of the broken off probe tube.
Solder the plunger or buss wire into the broken off probe tube. Care must be taken to not solder the probe tube into the socket. In some cases where the tube does not allow a plunger to be installed, a pointed awl or needle can be used to reform the hole.
Pull the damaged probe from the fixture plate with tweezers or needle-nose pliers.
Inspect the hole or socket for damage and clean up by hand with an appropriate sized drill mounted in a pin vise, or replace the socket if necessary.
Remove any remaining components of the broken probe using tweezers or needle nose pliers.
Using a small pin vise and the appropriate size drill bit*, insert the drill bit straight down into the broken off probe tube and twist.
After a few rotations with the pin vise and drill bit pull straight up. The drill bit will grab the ID of the
damaged tube so that it can be pulled straight out of its hole.
* Drill Bit Sizes:
039/X31 = Method #3 is not recommended as standard drill bits are not readily available
050/X39 = #70 Drill bit (.0280) [0.71]
075/X50 = #66 Drill bit (.0330) [0.84]
100/X75 = #57 Drill bit (.0430) [1.09]