Solder sucker?

Hello all.  I had a question about desoldering.  First thing is that I have desoldering wick.  I found out I was using it wrong.  I melted the solder and then placed the end of the wick in the melted solder.  But I watched a youtube video and according to that I should place the wick on the solder and then heat up the wick and solder as one.  But this still has not been working very well for me.  The wick is over a year old and I was wondering if this could be a problem.  But my other question is how well do those spring loaded solder suckers work?  I was thinking about perhaps ordering one off of e-bay.  Yes I know I might find one in a good hardware store but I have some paypal money I could use.  In case you do not know what I am talking is the spring loaded suckers where you cock it, put it next to the melted solder and then press a button and it forms a vacuum and sucks up the solder into it.  I think I can pick one up for a few bucks off-line, so if you people say they work well then I will give it a shot.

Also in case you want to know what I am working on.  This would be used for salvaging parts of of circuit boards.  Like right now I am trying to salvage a few capacitors and also a couple of flyback transformers from crt computer monitors.  Also tomorrow I am tearing apart a broken water cooler to see if there is anything I can take out of there.

I have also being having a problem getting solder to melt in the first place.  But that probably just has something to do with the 2 soldering irons I am using and I am trying my best to figure it all out.  I know my way around computers as far as building and repairing them.  But soldering and desoldering is something I really want to learn to be able to further my computer repair skills.  Sometimes it would save so much money being able to solder and desolder myself.  Especially those darn ac ports that are soldered right onto the boards sometimes.

I have not actually made anything from this site yet.  But this is a wonderful site and after cruzing the forums here I am pretty sure I will get some good replies.  Ok I will stop babbling and I look forward to your replies.  

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gmoon5 years ago
The spring-loaded suckers work pretty well, particularly if the solder is a big glob.

Try spreading out the mesh of the wick, right at the business end. Not a lot, but enough to open it up a bit. And yeah--it's made of copper, so the wick itself must be hot enough to melt solder, or the solder won't flow into it.

The best way to desolder a board? (of older through-hole parts, not SMD)--hit the solder side with a propane torch. It's especially useful for IC's or other multi-legged parts. The leads all heat up simultaneously, and very quickly. So quick, in fact, that very little heat is transferred to the part itself, if you're careful.

Some folks like the torch-and-whack method. Hold the board with one hand, heat the backside and whack it on the floor. I preferred to clamp the board in a vice, place a small vice grip on the IC (carefully, not too tight), heat the solder and pull the part away.
Goodhart gmoon5 years ago
A simple IC puller can work in place of a vicegrip in case one is too heavy handed with the tension :-)
gmoon Goodhart5 years ago
Good call, GH, I'll have to try that...
Goodhart gmoon5 years ago
TY The only problem is if one is not steady handed....the simple two prong pullers can be a bit to work with.


When buying one, test it in the store, and make sure that, when your finger is on the end, and you push the trigger that either the plunger doesn't spring back at all, or it only comes back slowly. This tests that the seals are OK.....

I love solder suckers! They work _great_. I spent like 2 hours not too long ago just desoldering old fried components off old fried boards. It's relaxing!
Goodhart5 years ago
The one (Radio Shack is one supplier) that has an attached iron is great for large amounts of solder. But if used a lot, like an iron, the tip will wear down fairly quickly and the bulb needs emptied frequently. I like wick with a tiny touch of flux on it, to remove small amounts pretty much completely.
Kiteman5 years ago
I've never used wick, but I have had mixed results with a spring-loaded solder-sucker.

If you can get good access to the solder, it works well, but if you can't get the end of the sucker square on to the solder, it won't work.
The wick (normally with a tiny touch of added flux) works GREAT for small amounts that need to be completely removed.
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