NOTE: even when unplugged some circuits can still release vast amounts of current, voltage, electricty!
Heres a onsite salvaging saftey instructable worthy on mentioning
Other sites about safety associated with electronics
Be sure you are aware of the risks involved with these types of circuits by going to the provided links and reading up before attempting to salvage compnents from PCB's!
I myself have never been shocked doing this kind of salvaging, but it is a real possibility especially when the circuits contain high powered capacitors that could dischage currents delivering a shock that will make you see god in the form of pure white light right inside your very own eyesockets!
Well its really not trust me!
Educate yourself about electrical saftey precautions and the dangers of electrical circuitry ect.. FIRST!
Statistcal info on electrocution related deaths:
(Most caused by 600 volts or less!)
Step 1: Tools and Techniques of the Trade
Mainly the whole trick here is to use the alligator clips as a FREE MOVING pair of "Helping Hands".
A medium sized pair of clips works well and you can change to smaller or larger clips depending on what the job calls for,
The clips grip smaller components easier than your big human fingers and they can withstand far more heat, the biggest reward of the clips is that they do little damage to components as opposed to needle nosed pliers or hemostats ect..
You may want to insulate your clips with electric tape on both sides for added protection against being burned from the heat of the solder iron that transfer through the iron to the board from the board to your clips from your clips to your fingers OUCH $%&%@!
This should also add some protection against electrocution.
Step 2: Removal of the Components
I personally hold them between my legs while wearing thick jeans or shorts, you could use a vise or a helping hands tool or even a heavy pair of vise grips if available.
Another method is to tie a piece of string to the clips and then anchor the string to a large object allowing you to hold and wriggle the solder board with one hand and work the solder gun with the other while the anchored down clip does the holding.
The trick to removing the used components is to hold them snugly and double check the grip before heating the solder with the solder gun and wriggling the components, if you don't have a good grip with the clips the clips themselves will likely wriggle and damage needed insulation and insulation coatings! Just be sure to secure the clips in the most secure and logical way possible before you heat the solder around the leads of a component!
Also be very careful not to slip the solder gun and cauterize yourself in the face or anywhere else for that matter!
Once the heat starts to transfer from the gun to the board and the sloder liquifies you can slowly wriggle the component out.
Try to run the solder guns tip back and forth between all of the leads of a particular component with the gun to heat the soldered leads evenly and prevent them from breaking!
Note: you may need to gently use pliers to remove larer components unless you have a massive pair of alligator clips!
I have included some pictures examples below of how to (and not to) hold different kinds of components.