How To Remove Solder From Circuit Board

Introduction

How to remove solder from circuit board? Circuit boards are a masterpiece of technology because they are the building blocks of any electronic device. Sometimes, it is needed to remove extra solder from the circuit board or to remove any electrical component from the circuit board by desoldering. This comprehensive guide will cover everything you need to know about removing solder from circuit boards, so, let’s get started!

Printed circuit board getting desoldered
Printed circuit board getting desoldered

 

What Is The Process Of Desoldering?

Desoldering is the best and most convenient process for eliminating melted solder from the electronic components of the circuit board, as it is the most professional method for the elimination of solder. The basic concept of desoldering is very easy, as the solder is heated through a soldering iron. Then it is removed from the circuit board. It is a very heat-intensive process that aims at completely clearing the solder joints from the printed circuit board.

 

Difference Between Desoldering And Soldering

Desoldering is known as the process of removing solder from the circuit board connection for changes in electrical components or repairs. On the other hand, soldering is known as the process of making a permanent electrical connection in the PCB. The electrical connection is usually created between two or more components of the PCB by melting the solder to make the joint on the printed circuit board.

 

A Best Step-By-Step Guide For Various Methods That Are Used For Desoldering A Circuit Board

Method Of Using Pump For Desoldering

Pump method for desoldering the printed circuit board
Pump method for desoldering the printed circuit board

 

  • It is the most convenient method ever.
  • Use a soldering iron to heat the solder.
  • Activate the pump by pressing down the pump plunger.
  • Bring the activated desoldering pump near the molten solder for sucking.
  • Take the desoldering pump away from the molten solder area.
  • Remove the solder components from the desoldering pump.
  • Repeat the above steps again to remove the leftover pieces of molten solder if any.
  • Pro Tip: If you are trying to remove remaining bits of solder, you can add more solder to the joint, as the solder stays liquid for a longer time when it is placed in larger “blobs”. So, it becomes much easier to remove them.
  • Pros: Desoldering pumps come in different styles. They vary from hand-held pumps to electronic pumps. Some pumps arrive with heated guns, so the need for soldering iron is eliminated. They are suitable for working again on the small parts and for removing the solder from the pin holes. The desoldered parts can be reused again.
  • Cons: Sometimes, the tip of the desoldering pump appears to be small for sucking the molten solder. In this scenario, it becomes hard to use the pump on large molten solders as it might become very tight and impossible for the pump to suck the solder.

Desoldering Braid Method

Desoldering braid method
Desoldering braid method

 

  • Select the size of the desoldering wick/ desoldering braid.
  • Utilize a soldering iron. For better results use high-quality desoldering wick.
  • Melt the solder joint with a soldering iron.
  • Join the molten solder joint by placing a braid on it.
  • Lift the soldering iron and soldering braid with molten debris from the circuit board.
  • Pro Tip: Use a pair of needle-nose pliers for holding and placing the braid easily so that it cannot be burnt.
  • Pros: The desoldering braid is cheap and easy to use, and it has different sizes depending on the size of the solder you want to remove. The desoldering braid is best for the removal of solder from the flat surfaces. Interestingly, the removed components can be reused again!
  • Cons: The desoldering braid is not reusable. You have to start with a clean segment of braid every time you are going to use it. The reason is that it gets so hot that it becomes very tough for repositioning. Hence, it cannot be reused.

 Method Of Desoldering Through Soldering Iron

Desoldering method through soldering iron
Desoldering method through soldering iron
  • Heat up the soldering iron to melt the solder.
  • Place the soldering iron on the pins to bring the whole solder far from the joint.
  • Use pliers to remove the components by gently removing them from the pin holes along with the molten solder.
  • Pro Tip: If you want to remove excess solder from the holes, try to stick a safety pin or needle to clear out the holes. You can also use the tip of the soldering iron. It will remove the copper plating from the PCB.
  • Pros: You only need a soldering iron and the components can be reused.
  • Cons: The board can be damaged if you leave the soldering iron on it for a long time.

Method of Desoldering Through Heat Gun

Heat gun desoldering method
Heat gun desoldering method

 

  • Turn on and heat the heat gun.
  • Hold the circuit board from the pliers above the air stream.
  • Use needle nose pliers to remove the component from the board by gently pulling it out.
  • Pro Tip: You will only need to heat the solder with the gun for a few seconds. Otherwise, the copper plating on the circuit board will melt which can further damage the board.
  • Pros: This method is very simple and fast to get a component out of a circuit board without the usage of soldering iron. The circuit board and molten solders can be reused depending on the damage done to them.
  • Cons: This method can make the circuit board very, very hot. The board gets heated quite easily. As a result, it can become damaged. Further, it can badly damage your fingers. In this method, the circuit board and its components cannot be used again.

Method Of Using Compressed Air To Desolder (1st Method)

Method of using compressed air for desoldering (1st method)
Method of using compressed air for desoldering (1st method)

 

  • WARNING: You should wear safety glasses while performing this method. Because this method sends chunks of molten solder flying everywhere.
  • Heat up the soldering iron.
  • Melt the solder from the iron.
  • Once the solder is molted, bring the nose of the opened compressed air can or gun close to the joint where the solder is melted.
  • Blast the molten solder with compressed air in such a way that the nozzle is pointed away from you.
  • Pro Tip: The compressed air can is very powerful, you can heat up the solder stuck in the pin holes and blast it out.
  • Pros: It is a totally fun, messy, and quick method, and everyone loves to play with compressed air. Interestingly, the removed components can be reused.
  • Cons: It is messy, as solder may get all over your workspace and circuit. Due to this reason, you need safety glasses.

Method of Using Compressed Air To Desolder (2nd Method)

Method of using compressed air for desoldering (2nd method)
Method of using compressed air for desoldering (2nd method)

 

  • Turn the compressed air machine upside-down.
  • Spray the compressed air against the joints. Parts of the board might bend but after some time, it will return to normal.
  • Remove the molten components with pliers.
  • Pro Tip: If you don’t have pliers, you can remove the components by using the steel scale.
  • Pros: In this method, there is no need for a soldering iron, the compressed air can melt and remove the solders.
  • Cons: The board circuit and its components cannot always be utilized again.

Method Of Desoldering Through Hot-Air Rework Station

Method of desoldering through hot-air rework station
Method of desoldering through hot-air rework station

 

  • You will require a hot-air rework station to remove the solder.
  • Choose the nozzle for use depending on the available components.
  • Next, switch on the station to start the healing process and keep its nozzle at the solder surfaces.
  • The temperature and airflow can be adjusted according to the requirement by using the specially designated buttons.
  • Note that you will need a higher temperature as compared to the solder’s melting point.
  • Then, apply flux to the joint and point the station’s nozzle on the area you want for desoldering.
  • Use a pair of tweezers to pick up the melted solder.
  • Let the soldering station cool completely.
  • Finally, observe if the circuit board has some water-soluble solder left on it. If it is present then you can simply wash it.
  • Pro Tip: Use needle-pointed tweezers to remove the melted solder.
  • Pros: This method makes the whole desoldering process much easier than the other methods.
  • Cons: This method uses electrical machinery. When hot it can lead to accidents. So, it is mandatory to let the workstation cool down completely.

 

Conclusion

Desoldering or the removal of solders from the printed circuit boards is the process of eliminating melted solder from the electronic components of the circuit board. It is a heat-intensive process that aims at clearing the solder joints from the circuit board. There are seven methods for removing solders from the circuit board. Desoldering is considered a tricky business but the techniques mentioned in the article are very helpful in removing the solder from a circuit board.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is desoldering on a printed circuit board?

 

Desoldering is the opposite of the soldering process. In this process, solder is removed along with other components from the circuit boards. The solder joint is removed through melting. and forth for flat leads.

How to remove solder from the circuit board without desoldering tools?

The compressed air is considered the most efficient because it removes the solder from your component by simply blasting the molten solder away.

What are the requirements for desoldering?

Desoldering requires the usage of heat to the solder joint for the removal of the molten solder. In this way, the joint can be separated. Desoldering is urgently required for replacing a defective component, altering an existing circuit, and salvaging components for re-use.

What temperature should I desolder?

For desoldering, the temperature of the Soldering Iron should be set at 260°C. The exact temperature of the soldering iron depends on the mixture of solder, the amount of circuit board components, the number of layers in the circuit board, and the age of the printed circuit board.

What is desoldering wick used for?

Desoldering wick is also known as desoldering braid. It is usually used for removing unwanted solder by directly sucking it up. It is beneficial to remove solder from the flat surfaces of the PCB.

Why is a desoldering process utilized?

The desoldering process is used to remove unintentionally soldered metals and electrical components on the printed circuit board. The desoldering process is also used for removing and using the components for other purposes.  The desoldering process is also used for repairing a product or to remove or replace a faulty or damaged component from the printed circuit board.

How do you clean a desoldering iron?

The desoldering iron can be cleaned by using a damp cloth to clean the tip of the desoldering iron. This will be beneficial in removing the oxides and other wastes created from metals. A special dry cleaner can also be utilized that consists of soft metal shavings coated with flux to clean the tip of the soldering iron.

Should I wear a mask when soldering/desoldering?

 

Yes, it is necessary to wear a mask for protection while soldering. When a soldering/desoldering process is carried out, it releases dangerous toxic fumes that can irritate your skin and lead to painful irreversible damage. A special mask having a filtration unit to filter the toxic fumes should be utilized. It is the best suggestion to make an investment in purchasing a decent solder fumes extractor. You can also be prepared as a DIY Project.

How many solder joints can soldering gun tips do?

It varies according to the tip geometry, the thickness of the coating of the tip’s iron, the settings of temperatures, the flux, the solder used, and the professional skills of the operator. An excellent quality tip can perform up to 100,000 solder joints.

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