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Solder sucker? Answered

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 about....it 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.  

16 Replies

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gmoon (author)2012-07-12

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.

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Goodhart (author)gmoon2012-07-12

A simple IC puller can work in place of a vicegrip in case one is too heavy handed with the tension :-)

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gmoon (author)Goodhart2012-07-12

Good call, GH, I'll have to try that...

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Goodhart (author)gmoon2012-07-13

TY The only problem is if one is not steady handed....the simple two prong pullers can be a bit to work with.

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steveastrouk (author)2012-07-13

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.....

Steve

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Lithium Rain (author)2012-07-12

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!

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Goodhart (author)2012-07-12

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.

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Kiteman (author)2012-07-10

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.

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Goodhart (author)Kiteman2012-07-12

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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caitlinsdad (author)2012-07-10

You might better spend the money on a good soldering iron. The solder needs to be sufficiently melted in order for the suckers to work well. Sometimes you need to even add more solder to the joint so it has something to pull. Think of jabbing a nozzle the size of a ball point pen in order to extract the solder. Depending on the quality of the sucker, it may not have a good enough suction. There are some of those rubber bulb aspirators instead of the spring pump action. Sections of solder wick cannot be reused when it has solder on it. They are also rosin coated to help the solder flow to the wick away from the joint. Maybe you need to add some additional rosin paste or liquid, heat the wick over the joint to pull the solder away. Maybe the tip on the soldering iron is too big or the iron cannot heat a corroded tip. 30 watts is a good size for using on circuit boards and electronics.

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jcaresheets (author)caitlinsdad2012-07-11

Add more rosin? I wondered about that. Here is the thing though, my budget is tight as tight can be and I scavenge almost everything I work on or with. So I was sitting here last night during one my lovely insomnia driven madness and came up with a question. I am not sure how the rosin works but I was wondering if it was the same rosin that you would use on your hands to get rid of moisture while bowling. I think that if I dug out my bowling bag then I would have a rosin bag in there. So if it was the same thing then perhaps I could cut open the bag and dump some of the rosin into small container. Then maybe add something like rubbing alcohol to form a paste and then apply that to the wick and let it dry. Maybe I am way off here. But it was worth asking. When your budget is this tight you have to get very creative sometimes.

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jcaresheets (author)caitlinsdad2012-07-10

Than you for your reply and tips. The most useful information I found in there was when you said that the iron needs to be 30 watts to work well. I will check in the morning to see what I have. I remember when I was a kid I had a really nice soldering iron from somewhere that had a trigger and a light on it. Wish I still have that but it is long long gone.

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jcaresheets (author)2012-07-10

Well I caqn pick one up on e-bay for under $2 so it looks like i may give it a try.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Antistatic-Desoldering-Pump-Sucker-Solder-Removal-Tool-/330752497083?pt=BI_Welding_Supplies&hash=item4d026295bb

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zaronas (author)2012-07-10

i have found the spring loaded suckers to work very well the few times i have used them but they are all ive ever used ive never used a wick ill have to find one of those to try

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