Instructables
I shall tell you how I rescue components from old circuit boards and store them for reuse. A board from an old (relatively new, that is) hard disk drive shall be shown for an example. The photo (taken using my scanner) shows one such board, after I removed the IDE connector.
 
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Step 1: Desoldering

I have a movie showing my process. I am attacking a tantalum capacitor in the video, but the same process works for all other components too.

First bend a piece of thick copper (or other solderable metal) wire to fit around the component, and contact all its solder pads. Solder it in place. This is done to make thermal contact.

Then heat the wire at a central place with your soldering iron, and lift the component away with tweezers. Or push it away using a wooden toothpick. Only don't be too enthusiastic with the push or it will fly across the room and be lost forever in the crud that covers the (in my case anyway) floor.

These are best stored inside foam cutouts in a suitcase. Miniature, of course.

Step 2: Tantalum capacitors

These are the electrolytic capacitors usually found on surface mounted boards. They have to be connected the right way round. The positive terminal is marked with a band. If there are two numbers on it, one is the rated voltage and the other is the capacitance.

I'm sorry, I do not have further info on identifying them other than checking them in a multimeter which has a capacitance range.

They usually look like little bricks with metal strips issuing from their ends, folded over the bottom.

On the left of the picture are ceramic capacitors - MLCs - short for Multi Layer Ceramic - usually they are this brown colour, though I have seen black and white, and the ends look as if dipped in metal. There are usually no markings at all, so measurement is the only way to classify them.
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neelandan (author) 3 years ago
This the method to use when you need to extract just one component from a circuit board. It complements the "Bulk extraction" methods of using hot air or a toaster oven, because extracted components are a bit fiddly to handle and store for later use.
jparis11 year ago
try sticking the small resistors to a piece of elec. tape or duct tape right side up. no more hunting, when u want one jus use tweezers to get it off the tape. jus a lil tip, might help u guys.
eric m5 years ago
IC's are such a waste. I wanted an led display and chip but you know the chip is impossible to figure out. just a waste. Ofcourse component makers don't want a used market undercutting them.
The main consumer of parts in not hobbyists anyway, but factories. The reason the ICs can be so difficult to work with is either because they are cheaper to make that way, or the particular pinout order was easier to connect to some other specific chip without crossing races or stuff.
What about sub-ohm resistance values?
tanmanknex5 years ago
isn't the one you want always going to be the one you turn over last? why would you keep looking after that? jk ;D
So that you can find the one you don't want.
Just google search "capacitance markings" for more tables than you could ever possibly need.
TzarIgor1 year ago
To find more information about coding SMD-components read the book Turuta E., Turuta M. C. SMD-codes. Active SMD semiconductor components marking codes.
And then you can download apropriate datasheet from  http://www.datasheet4u.com
I use thise steps and save a lot of money while making a lot of gadjets from old electronics! 
zaphar2 years ago
I'm interested in salvaging ICs and whatever I can for educational projects, however, which parts are worth saving. The ICs seem like a no-brainer (at least the ones that have datasheets) but what about other components? I think I read somewhere that some SMD components are not worth salvaging due to lack of information on them (no datasheets or info). Could any knowledgeable individuals chime in on this?
so how do you remove those IC's with 5000 pins?
You can use a paint stripping heat-gun if you don't have access to a solder reflow workstation. It worked fine for me until I got mine a few months ago :)
what about a toaster oven, i have removed components off a board with one (accidentally) but it is reliable? and what it a solder reflow workstation?
sorry for very delayed response,
its a hot air gun for working with surface mount components.
Terrean3 years ago
A correction needs to be made in your Instructable.
A 564 resistor is actually 560,000 ohms(560 Kohms) and NOT "five hundred and sixty thousand Kilohms".
neelandan (author)  Terrean3 years ago
Edited to "560 Kilohms".

Thanks.
robonut6257 years ago
The Iron Is Genius!
thanks for the clothes iron video! i just have a crappy soldering iron and i think the clothes iron trick will do nicely!
That clothes iron video is amazing. Thanks for sharing it.
Genius!
SinAmos3 years ago
I love you. Good work.
zack2473 years ago
ive found a partially successful way to remove SMD leds with no chance of melting them and a small chance of breaking/losing them is not with a soldering iron, but a small exacto knife.

just slce under the LED and it will slide off the board with the knife, but dont put too much pressure on the knife or else you will either hurt yourself, other components on the board, or the surface you are working on.

i used this technique and out of 14 blue leds from a cell phone board, i got 10.
the other 4 were lost among the floor that happens to match their color.

i lost a few while learning to solder them, but it was a learning experience for getting them off, and it does wirk with patience.

i usually store my smd components in a small plastic bag (like you get those perfboards in @ radioshack), but a better storage method will have to be in order since the bag has a few holes in it.
The easiest way is to lock the board on a vice. Use a heat gun at high speed on the backside. Slowly remove the components with tweezer or needle nose pliers. Store components on an aluminum surface to cool fast. 99% of the components are good and reusable. Use google to look up datsheets for IC's. Then organize components by type and size. I can strip a motherboard in 3 minutes this way.
zack2474 years ago
how to do leds??? wont it melt from the heat?
aha! so that is an old harddrive board!
"so that is an old fujitsu harddrive board!"
zack247 Derin4 years ago
ahh... i have 2 dead fujitsus, they were very good quality if you ask  me...
eric m5 years ago
nicde. marx generator
eric m5 years ago
nice
altomic5 years ago
-big pot -cooking oil -stove -scooping net thing. put pot on stove add oil turn on stove when it it super hot throw in your pcb. stuff will melt off. IC are made to withstand hightemperatures. solder will melt before there is damage to the IC. scoop out IC with skimmer thing. party on.
Are there any noxious fumes from doing this? Will I still be able to get regular resistors from this or willt hey melt? Will anything bad melt? Do an instructable on this please!
plastics might melt
geeklord5 years ago
I'm so proud of myself, I desoldered some 8 pin SOIC's with a $16 40 watt soldering iron! They didn't even melt(I lifted half the pad on a couple pins, though)! My iron has a nice tiny tip, and i keep it cleen. That helped a lot!
Sandisk1duo6 years ago
wow... i thought the brown capacitors were resistors, and the capacitors with stripes were diodes
1up6 years ago
Awesome! Great method for desoldering them! I may use this sometime.
Excellent! I bought a few SMD LED laden gift cards for a $1.50. I figured at a dozen leds per card it was worth seeing if I could harvest them off the pcbs. Now I know how! Gracias!
fingers6 years ago
I do thr same as a hobby and keep the bad stuff out of the landfills..It also makes good art stuff..
Sawbones7 years ago
check this link for storage

http://www.engineeringlab.com/supkiten.html

or you can do it on the cheap like me and get those small plastic coin holders for dimes....
This is a great technique. Complements the hot-air stripper gun method perfectly. (Like, when you really just want one piece out of a given area.) Thanks.
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