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best method for de-soldering?

Discussion in 'Electronic Repair' started by Robert Wolcott, Dec 31, 2004.

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  1. What is the best method for desoldering components on circuit boards? I
    know that there is the bulb method that sucks up the solder, and the braided
    copper wire that wicks it up. Which is generally preferred?

    Thanks,
    Bob
     
  2. Cubzilla

    Cubzilla Guest

    Depends on what you are desoldering,

    A solder sucker is generally used for component removal

    Braided copper for removing large amounts of solder


    make sure you pick the correct wattage iron , to low for large components
    wont help.


    Regards
     
  3. Roy Q.T.

    Roy Q.T. Guest

    My uncle used the wicks alot, I personally think it's a waste of good
    grounding material for shielded circuits, metal enclosures & devices.

    Better or like the old bulb remover, have not used that in years,
    crumbled up on me,., The SolderPult or similar Vacum Remover works well
    for me, one or several pulls fror bigger jobs leaves them components and
    board hole clean and good for removal.
     
  4. James Sweet

    James Sweet Guest

    Depends on what you're doing. I've found the Radio Shack desoldering iron to
    be the best cheap solution, desoldering braid (and a bottle of liquid flux)
    is handy to have around. Nothing else I've tried short of a $400 Hakko
    vacuum desoldering station has worked worth a darn.
     
  5. Art

    Art Guest

    Commercially we use both designs of the Hakko equipment, the Pistol type
    and the Base type. Both do a fair job but tend to plug us a lot,causing the
    user to constantly use the supplied cleaning rod to clean the debris out of
    the pickup tube, tips, and emptying the reservoirs. I have seen the PASS
    system installed in many rework facilities ant that system works remarkably
    well for production applications.
    For the average hobbyist, home user, etc IMHO the Teflon tipped solder
    sucker, bulb operated, is preferred in many applications, with the
    application of liquid flux when required. As stated, larger amounts of
    material can be more easily removed with the Copper Braid method. I
    personally use both depending on need. Also, the temperature of the iron has
    a lot to do with the physical functions, too much heat and you will damage
    the board, print,and/or components. Too little heat and the solder will not
    flow nor be removed efficiently, which also may cause damage to the
    connections, pads, etc.
    Best to try both methods and become proficient in their appropriate
    applications. Safe and Happy 2005 to all.
     
  6. eddumweer

    eddumweer Guest

    In the past I've also used the Hakko equipment, but they need much
    maintainance. The heatingelement in combination with the tip gives me lots
    off troubles that it wasn't easy to replace the tip while it was getting
    blocked in the threat for screwing in the tip.

    That was a shame because the desolderingequipment works very well for his
    job.

    Greetings Peter
     
  7. NSM

    NSM Guest

    | What is the best method for desoldering components on circuit boards? I
    | know that there is the bulb method that sucks up the solder, and the
    braided
    | copper wire that wicks it up. Which is generally preferred?

    After trying many methods, I generally prefer the Radio Shack iron with the
    bulb on top. Buy a couple when they're on sale.

    N
     
  8. Other folks have expressed their opinions of Hakko desoldering equipment,
    and I agree with them. They do require a fair amount of maintenance and
    care but they do the job better than just about anything else. I've seen
    complete pistol-grip versions (where the pump is located inside the gun
    itself) on sale at bigger electronics stores such as Fry's for a couple of
    hundred bucks, but that includes extra items such as filters and cleaning
    plungers.

    The problem, though, is replacing the tip. It will wear out with use and it
    can sometimes be difficult to find a replacement if the store you bought the
    gun from doesn't stock them. Perhaps they can order them.... tips come in
    different sizes. There are a couple of other items deep inside the pistol
    grip assembly that will require replacement at some point, and you'd better
    make careful notes of exactly which parts go where. Fortunately, the
    instructions are quite detailed and provide part numbers.

    I have never been a fan of those dinky Radio Shack red-bulb desolderers.
    All they do is clog up and frustrate you. For a small amount of work, you
    can use a soldering iron and desoldering braid, but the braid gets very hot
    and you don't want to burn your fingers. The downside is that it can take
    so long to heat up the solder that the components might get damaged.

    I have heard one method of brute-force desoldering that involves a
    blowtorch, so you melt the whole board's solder joints all at once and knock
    the board down into a trash can to trap all the parts that come loose. I
    have not tried this myself, though, and cannot vouch for how well it works.
     
  9. NSM

    NSM Guest

    | Other folks have expressed their opinions of Hakko desoldering equipment,
    ....
    | I have never been a fan of those dinky Radio Shack red-bulb desolderers.
    | All they do is clog up and frustrate you.

    Never a problem for me, but solder is my favorite programming language.

    | For a small amount of work, you
    | can use a soldering iron and desoldering braid, but the braid gets very
    hot
    | and you don't want to burn your fingers. The downside is that it can take
    | so long to heat up the solder that the components might get damaged.

    Never liked that method. Slow and frustrating.

    | I have heard one method of brute-force desoldering that involves a
    | blowtorch, so you melt the whole board's solder joints all at once and
    knock
    | the board down into a trash can to trap all the parts that come loose. I
    | have not tried this myself, though, and cannot vouch for how well it
    works.

    I've done that - you can use a torch or a solder bath. If the bath is small
    you only get to do a section at a time.

    N
     
  10. budgie

    budgie Guest

    I've not tried the real vacuum desoldering stations. In the region below that
    (i.e. small service bench and hobby level activity) the "best" depends - as
    others have said - on the job.

    I find braid does require heat for too long before it wicks up the excess
    solder, and can cause board/component damage. the idea in desoldering is the
    same as soldering - the right amount of heat for the least required time. Braid
    also does lead to burned fingertips.

    Soldersuckers (one-shot types) are my tool of choice for working on single-sided
    boards. For double-sided plated-through boards, I use exclusively a desoldering
    iron which is really a solder-sucker with a heated tip. The only downside with
    these tools is that the release button is poorly located.
     
  11. James Sweet

    James Sweet Guest

    I've used a heat gun to do something like that before, works pretty well,
    though it's obviously only for salvage purposes.
     
  12. James Sweet

    James Sweet Guest

    Dip the braid in liquid flux and you'll be amazed at how much better it
    works, I know I was. I still like the solder sucker irons though, heat and
    suction applied simultaneously.
     
  13. Guest

    Bulbs and vaccuum plungers aren't very good except for removing a large
    amount of solder from a joint because it's hard to get their tips close
    enough to the solder with the iron in the way. It's safer to use braid
    and a hot iron, either 50W and temperature controlled or 40W for 1-2
    layer boards or 50W for 3+ layer boards -- too much heat is far safer
    than too little. The braid should be narrow, .050-.080", and the used
    part should be cut off right after each use or else the braid will
    absorb too much heat away from the joint.

    The Radio Shack 45W desoldering iron works well as long as you keep its
    tip clean and unclogged, but when it's new you should remove any
    flashing inside the hollow head between the tip and plunger for less
    air restriction. 2 different replacement tips are sold for this, one
    chromed, the other iron-plated, and the latter costs double but is
    worth it because it lasts so much longer. But check any tip because
    some have an off-center hole that will make the tip corrode through
    sooner. Some people replace the rubber suction bulb with a
    foot-operated tire pump with its check valve reversed, but if you try
    this use rubber hose, not vinyl, which will melt and clog with solder,
    and put a metal reservior and screen inline with the hose to catch the
    solder and rosin.
     
  14. David Gersic

    David Gersic Guest

    A desoldering iron is best. See section 2d. of this document:
    http://www.marvin3m.com/begin/index.htm
    for some descriptions, options, prices, and advice.

    I picked up a used Hakko desoldering station off eBay earlier this year.
    Got it for a good price, under $100, and put about $20 in parts in to
    it.
     
  15. David Gersic

    David Gersic Guest

    I have a Hakko, and haven't had any trouble with the tips or tubes clogging,
    but find that I do need to empty the filter tube often enough that it's worth
    having a second filter tube set up and ready to drop in place while the full
    one cools down.
    I wore out the cheap Radio Shack desolder iron before getting the Hakko.
    For being cheap (under $20), it works remarkably well. It's not as nice
    as having a real desolder station, but if you're only doing one or two
    board repairs a year, it's not a bad tool.
     
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