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Should I get a Soldapullt (Vacuum Desolderer)?

Discussion in 'General Electronics Discussion' started by TheLaw, Nov 18, 2010.

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  1. TheLaw

    TheLaw

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    Sep 27, 2010
    So I'm still relatively new to the electronics world. I have my basic commodities and I've done some basic projects, but I was wondering how useful one of these suction desolderers are.

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000PDNOZU/ref=ord_cart_shr?ie=UTF8&m=A2QE1R98UNI0YZ

    This is pretty much the best hand powered one of the market. Does anyone use one? Do they like it? Is it better than solder wick?

    Any ideas?

    Thanks.

    I'm sorry to bug everybody. One day I will be able to help you guys.
     
  2. LTX71CM

    LTX71CM

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    May 23, 2010
    When I was starting out (many, many) years ago I used a tool like the one linked. It worked well, or so I thought until I bought this -> http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2062731 It works much better in my opinion. It's cheap and has served me well over the years. With smaller components you need to be careful, it heats small components fast but if you have the bulb squeezed and let it go the as soon as the solder melts then pull it away you should be fine. I've never broken a part by using it. I've used mine for well over 100+hrs.

    In the interest of full disclosure though I should mention my first desoldering iron gave out just last week. Not bad though, it was ten years old, has been used, a lot, and cost the equivalent of $1.00/yr. It's saved me more than that in scavenged parts.
     
  3. (*steve*)

    (*steve*) ¡sǝpodᴉʇuɐ ǝɥʇ ɹɐǝɥd Moderator

    25,306
    2,738
    Jan 21, 2010
    I occasionally use a solder sucker like the one TheLaw linked to. I like the idea of the one that LTX71CM points out because it frees one of your hands (and even with three hands, you really wish you had four).

    I tend to use solder wick these days, but I don't have a lot of need for these devices. When I was scavenging some parts I found that solder wick reduced the need to put more solder on a joint before removing it. As such it meant I could get by with less hands.

    Everyone's experience and preference is different, so what's right for me may not be right for you.
     
  4. LTX71CM

    LTX71CM

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    May 23, 2010
    I would add that having solder wick on hand is always a good idea. Sometimes solder suckers are just to big and can't fit where needed. Also, as (*steve*) said sometimes you need to remove solder and there isn't enough there for sucking to work (not often a problem I have but it has been an issue a few times). I can recall a few times when a board needed repair and I used solder wick in conjunction with my desoldering iron to rapidly clean all excess solder from the traces and pads that needed work.

    (*steve*) lets face it, sometimes you need four hands, one for solder, a light, iron and finally to hold the part. At todays pace I'll need a fifth hand not too long from now, I'll need something to hold the magnifying glass.
     
  5. rob_croxford

    rob_croxford

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    Aug 3, 2010
    Solder suckers can damage the tracks and solder pads of the board under repair. This is mainly down to using the worng solder sucker for the job. This is where a solder wick outshines the "sucker". In my opionoin i would only use a solder sucker for relativly large solder joints, i would then use a wick to clean up and remove any solder that the sucker missed. however using a solder sucker like the one linked (and i have made this mistake!!) creates a relative probability of damaging the pads. this is done because it can be difficult to hold the heat and use the sucker (of this size) at the same time. Any removal of heat will allow solder to fix to the pads and therefore increases the risk that you will rip one off.
     
  6. LTX71CM

    LTX71CM

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    May 23, 2010
    I have lifted a few pads over the years but almost all of them were on really cheap (RadioShack PCB stock and Chinese Dollar Store Electronics) boards. Definitely make sure ALL pins are free before trying to remove a part. I've ripped off several pins off by rushing and not ensuring residual heat and solder didn't cause a pin to become attached again.
     
  7. Resqueline

    Resqueline

    2,848
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    Jul 31, 2009
    First of all I have to warn anyone about klicking on that amazon link...
    After I had closed the tab in question two new windows appeared presenting the product. They were non responsive and killed everything else I had open at the time. :(

    The sucker itself looked horrible btw.. It's nothing I'd recommend for the hobbyist. You need a low-recoil, small, lightweight sucker with a thin tip. All else have been said.
     
  8. TheLaw

    TheLaw

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    Sep 27, 2010
    So maybe...but maybe not. Solder wick seems less brutal. And not too hard to use.

    Well, maybe somewhere down the line I will experiment with it for now. For now, I still have to work on my soldering because my last endeavors have been disasters. :mad:
     
  9. (*steve*)

    (*steve*) ¡sǝpodᴉʇuɐ ǝɥʇ ɹɐǝɥd Moderator

    25,306
    2,738
    Jan 21, 2010
    Learning how to solder properly (I took a course) was one of the best things I ever did.
     
  10. Resqueline

    Resqueline

    2,848
    2
    Jul 31, 2009
    I like using & find the low-recoil suckers to be quicker & gentler than a wick, but most others I know prefer the wick. Maybe it's a combination of device & technique.
    I've found it important to add fresh solder to the tip for at least every 3-5 points desoldered or else the tip will get "dry" and becomes hard to solder with.
    Oh yes, it takes practice and many disasters to learn..
     
  11. TheLaw

    TheLaw

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    Sep 27, 2010
    Yeah maybe I shouldn't have been soldering up $3 Nichicon caps...hmm....
     
  12. TheLaw

    TheLaw

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    Sep 27, 2010
    Maybe I should have figured this out a couple of months ago, but I just realized that my solder isn't No-Clean solder. I don't even know what this means. What have I been doing wrong?

    Shucks...

    So how do I "clean" the solder?
     
  13. Resqueline

    Resqueline

    2,848
    2
    Jul 31, 2009
    The "no-clean" term refers to the flux residue, being so clear, non-corrosive, & non-conductive that it can be left behind on the board after soldering.
    Isopropyl alcohol is otherwise often used to wash away the flux residue, at home with the aid of cotton buds &/or a brush.

    If you're forced to learn to solder using non-leaded solder as the only thing being available nowadays; know that it's a lot harder to solder with that than with leaded solder.
    The allowable temperature range is higher and narrower, stressing the boards & parts.
    The time frame is also tighter; heating 1 second too much and you'll need to remove the old solder and start again.

    Do you know the brand & type # of the solder you're using?
     
  14. rob_croxford

    rob_croxford

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    Aug 3, 2010
    RS and Farnell are still selling leaded solder. If you are working on hoby projects i would suggest getting a few reals of leaded to use on your projects. This will help you get a good understanding of soldering techniques. It also means you are less likely to damage the boards and componenets with higher heating requirements. If you use a Weller soldering iron i would suggest 6-7 temp tips.
     
  15. TheLaw

    TheLaw

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    Sep 27, 2010
    Yes I am using 0.031" Kester 44 63/37. I have like 2 pounds of it so I doubt I will run out any time soon.

    I think it is pretty good solder,

    And thanks for clearing up the cleaning thing. So just wipe the board down with alcohol after you are done soldering?
     
  16. TheLaw

    TheLaw

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    Sep 27, 2010
    Temp tips? I am using a Weller WLC100 which is classified by them as a "Consumer Soldering Station". It's a good iron for the money. It has variable temperature control, but lacks things like a grounded tip and such. But for the money, you can't really beat it.

    I only have 2 tips right now. One is a tiny 0.031 tip and the other is the one that came with it.
     
  17. Resqueline

    Resqueline

    2,848
    2
    Jul 31, 2009
    Rob; good to hear leaded solder can still be had! Stock up everyone before it's gone for good.. : I miss the good old plastic glue with toluene, it's not in shops anymore..

    Sn63Pb37 is a nice eutectic alloy. Kester recommends a tip temperature of 750°F.
    Normally you won't need to clean off the 44 flux, but it turns conductive over 160°F so if any parts can get this hot you'll need to wipe the board down after soldering.
    Rubbing alcohol is isopropyl alcohol. I'm not sure which other's are safe. Ethanol might be used in a pinch but it's harder on plastics etc. and I won't recommend it.
     
  18. TheLaw

    TheLaw

    119
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    Sep 27, 2010
    I don't think leaded solder is necessarily going anywhere. I'm pretty sure its still legal to manufacture electronics in the US with leaded solder, and with the economy gone kaput, I doubt they'd make an already struggling business in the US use something like lead-free solder.

    1lb of 63/37 is like $25. Not terribly much. It's funny how like 4 ounces of 63/37 is like $12 on Amazon and a whole pound is only $25. So buy in large quanitities. By the way 1lb of solder is a lot more than I expected.
     
  19. Lenp

    Lenp

    24
    0
    Sep 8, 2009
    Add a supply of round toothpicks to your desoldering arsenal. They are great for cleaning flux and solder out of holes when they are still hot. A thin metal pick probe or sewing needle also works but the toothpicks may may cause less damage.
     
  20. TheLaw

    TheLaw

    119
    0
    Sep 27, 2010
    Thanks for the tip!
     
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