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This is a relatively easy modification to make - and it works great!  It should also be able to be adapted to other rework stations that have a dedicated air inlet on their internal pump.

Materials needed:

3 - 3/16" barb x 1/4" MIP hose barb adapters
1 - 1/4" FIP coupling
6' - 7/32" vacuum hose
1 - piece steel wool
? - epoxy/glue as needed

Originally, the air pump had a short hose attached that was not connected to anything.  I drilled a 1/2" hole in the front of the case, and mounted the hose barb | coupling | hose barb combo, then used a short piece of the hose to connect the inside barb to the pump.  This step could be eliminated and the hose attached to the pump and run out of the case however, doing it this way allows the hose to be disconnected and out of the way when not in use.

For the solder pickup I modified a manual desoldering pump.  The thumb piece and the spring were discarded; save the plunger though - it can be used to keep the tip clean and unclogged.  I epoxied the third hose barb connector into the space where the thumb piece was - the tape in the pictures is there only there to make a more comfortable grip - not for structural reasons.  Put a small piece of steel wool in the tube - otherwise the solder will be sucked into the tube.

IMPORTANT: If you don't COMPLETELY understand what you are doing, skip the following and just turn on the hot air side of the unit when you want suction.

I didn't want to run the hot air portion of the unit just to get suction, so I added a DPDT switch to change between normal operation and manually turning the pump on.  To do this, cut the 2 wires running between the PCB and the pump.  Connect the wires from the pump to the center contacts of the switch; connect the ones from the PCB to one end of the switch.  Splice into the power wires coming from the IEC connector and connect this to the other end of the switch.  You'll probably have to extend several of them to reach, depending on where you put the switch.

Well, that's it.  I've used it to desolder 40 or 50 parts so far, and I couldn't be more pleased with how it works - good luck with yours!


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