Desoldering takes some practice and
I will also give you the information you need to know
to start practicing, the patience is up to you.
On this page, I will teach you how to remove solder and clean up the circuit
I don't claim to be an expert, but I have
taken several classes throughout my 30+ years in the field of
electronics and I've had a lot of practice, and patience too.
It's kind of like an art but anyone can learn it and do it well with
some practice, as long as you know the fundamentals.
This is pretty straight forward and
simple. You want to remove as much solder as you can without
destroying the components or the PCB. Too much heat can be an enemy
so read on to see how to desolder safely and efficiently.
The Tools Of The Trade
There are several "tools" that you
will need to desolder. Here is a list of some of the more important
A good soldering station or stand alone soldering iron. Something
between 15 and 40 watts is best for desoldering.
A small wire brush for cleaning the soldering iron tip.
Solder. It used to be that a 60/40 Tin/Lead mix type of solder with
rosin flux mixed in was the way to go. But due to concerns over
atmospheric pollution and hazardous waste disposal, the electronics
industry has been gradually shifting from rosin flux to
water-soluble flux, which can be removed with de-ionized water and
detergent, instead of hydrocarbon solvents. A smart choice if you
are concerned about the environment. I personally prefer .025"
diameter solder. In my opinion, it's just the right size for most
Solder-Wick or a solder sucker for desoldering.
acid brush for cleaning flux off the circuit board.
Flux remover, whether it be for the old style flux or the water
* A helping hands tool. This handy tool
will help you by holding the PCB while you are holding the soldering
iron in one hand and the desoldering tool in the other.
* A magnifying swing arm light. While
this may not be necessary for all, for an old guy like me, it's a
* A small fan is a good idea. Melting solder
creates some nasty smoke that you really don't want to breathe too
* Eye protection is very important.
seen first hand what can happen when 400 degree solder flips up into
the eye. A fellow student in college ended up in the hospital. It
wasn't pretty so use eye protection, please.
How To Desolder
There are basically three methods
used to remove solder. The easiest is to use a solder removal tool
which uses a soldering iron with a hole in the tip and a vacuum to
suck the solder off the joint. These can be expensive and are
usually used in electronic manufacturing facilities where they are
One much cheaper method is to use Solder Wick, a braided wire which
is usually lightly coated with flux. The braid is laid on top of the
joint to be desoldered and the soldering iron is set on top of the
braid. When the solder melts it is drawn into the braid and removed
from the joint.
Another inexpensive method is to use a manual
solder sucker. This is a tube with a plunger and a small tip. I'm
holding one at the top of the page.
The tip is held near the
joint while the solder is melted. Once the solder is liquid, a
button is pushed and the plunger releases causing the solder to be
sucked into the tube.
A good method of desoldering involves both of the above methods.
Most of the solder can be removed with the desoldering pump and any
remaining can be removed with desoldering braid. Both of these
methods are pretty inexpensive and the supplies can be found at
Well that pretty much covers it. As I think of
other tips I'll add them. If you seasoned vets or even you newbie's
have any ideas you would like to share, please go to my contact page
and send me a message.
One Last Thing
All of the information on this and any other
page on this website is to be done at your own risk. Soldering irons
are very hot and can cause severe burns. Melted solder can easily
fly and get into places you don't want it, so be careful. ALWAYS USE
EYE PROTECTION. It's just a good idea. If you get hurt or damage
anything, IT'S NOT MY FAULT. Please use good judgment when
performing these tasks. BE SAFE AND SMART. Thank you.