Recycle Old PCB Components

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Introduction: Recycle Old PCB Components

About: Passionated by life; traveling though landscapes on my skateboard , hovering over sea on a surfboard, taking deep breaths of fresh air in a hammock and losing myself in the sky.

*Updated
This instructables will show you how to recycle, by desoldering, all your old PCB's (Printed Circuit Board) components. You can find PCB in almost every electronic devices (DVD, computer, camera , toys...).All you have to do is to disassemble them, and desolder the components you want. So here is how to do step by step!

*This Instructable has been feature on Hack-a-Day and in The Best of Instructables book !

Step 1: Find Things to Disasemble

First you have to find electronics devices like DVD,VHS,Camera,Computer,Clock... that you don't use anymore or that you found in the garbage or that doesn't work anymore.Then remove all the screws and get out the PCB's.(Green plate with components solder to it)

Step 2: Materials

Here what you need to disolder the components from the PCBs

  • PCB s (Of course!)
  • Set of pliers (For different size of components)
  • Soldering iron
  • Vice grip or third hand
  • Case for the desoldered components
  • Desoldering pump (Optional)

Step 3: Hold PCB With the Vice Grip

Hold a PCB horizontally with your vice grip or your third hand. Solder side facing you. If you have a regular vice grip, put the solder side , on the side of the hand you use to hold you soldering iron.

If you don't have this kind of vice grip, you can use another type of vice , to hold your pcb up (Pic 2)

You can also use third hand or helping hand to hold your PCB

Step 4: Start Removing the Components

Get your soldering iron hot and start to remove the components you want with your soldering iron.Put your soldering iron tip on the solder of the component you want, and with the other hand hold the component itself or one of it lead with a plier and get them out when the solder is melted hot. try not to take your time when the iron touch the lead because the component can become very hot very fast and there are risks to blow them up. If the leads are long enough, you can try putting an alligator clip between the component and the joint, the clip will take much of the heat generated by the iron. Check the video for more info.(Video coming soon)

Sometime , you will get to bigger components with bigger lead, to help, you can help you by using a desoldering tool like the one on the picture, its very not expensive, and can help you a lot getting bigger components out. To use it, heat up the lead, then  when the solder is melting, put the pump close and hit the button to suck up the solder. Then when you will cock the mechanism back, the sucked solder will come out. Be careful because solder pump have a plastic tip so try to avoid contact with your soldering iron 

Step 5: Continue to Remove the Components

Continue to remove the components with the same technique,and you will get a lot of them!

Step 6: Recycled Components

Here are the components that I recycled within half an hour of desoldering...

  • Capacitors
  • Switches
  • Audio sockets
  • TV plugs
  • Resistors
  • LEDs
  • Transistors
  • Motor
  • Screws
  • ...


Step 7: Recycling!

Don't forget to recycle the parts that you can! Like the metal cases and the plastic panel.But you can also keep them for further project like to make some case.. Recycling is important! Don't forget it !

Step 8: What to Do With Your Recycled Components? How to Identify

Now that you'v desolder some components you have to do something with them, like build some robots or like nnygamer did, build some computer's bugs with few resistors and capacitors.You can also look at the robotgames contest, there are many things to build with your new recycled components. Like the Jerome's instructables, he builts a bug robot with only few parts, and its very simple to do .Here is the link of his instructables if you want to take a look:
https://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Build-a-Robot-The-BeetleBot-v2-Revisite/

Here are some other link of project or your parts:
Here a link to a website that contain a lot of informations on electronics components , and
it can help you identify your salvaged components: * http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electronic_components


A good way to regognize your components, is to look at the symbols under the components, then you can refer to shematic symbols on the internet to know what you'v just took out. Look at pics 3 and 4.
We got a yellow copper'd wired thingy that we dont know, just look at its symbol, and you've just realized it was an inductor!

Hope this instructables help you and now go make something awsome!

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    165 Comments

    Hi This is an interesting article.  I have salvaged may  parts off of old boards.  I use a regular heat gun and it works great..

    The only problem I have is I end up with a batch of parts with little 1/4 inch wires..   The next part I need requires a wire long enough to reach across a two or three hole span in a PC Board.

    Has anybody found a neat way to extend those leads..

    HLM.

    0
    PapaJohn469
    PapaJohn469

    Reply 7 months ago

    You could extend with some aluminum wire, or put some flux spread across since aluminum foul and then twist the foil into new leads?applying heat may help to solidify and strengthen the foil. I've had some success with this method. How it helps.
    --PapaJohn469

    0
    goggomobil
    goggomobil

    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    This is a great Instructable!

    I've pulled thousands of components from scrapped electronics. Everyone should keep in mind that components weren't meant to be pulled out of a PC board.

    When you heat a lead enough to melt solder, you will likely destroy the part if you are pulling on the part itself and not the lead. If you can't do this because of a short lead, you have to push the lead through the board, but risk damaging the part with heat if you can't apply a heat sink. Electrolytic caps are easily damaged by pulling.

    Remember that many components (especially semiconductors) are intended to withstand molten solder for only a second or two. SMD parts should be removed without heat if possible. I chisel them out with a small sharpened screwdriver.

    Many parts are very specific to the circuit and others, like toroid cores, are not all alike. Toroids have different ferrite mixes and work over different bandwiths. Some will choke out all RF altogether. Ideally, having the schematic of the circuit explains the component's purpose and value.

    Remember to check the pulled part with a tester to ensure it is what you think it is and it's still good. Axial resistors look identical to axial capacitors!

    Most of all, wear safety glasses (a tiny blob of flying molten solder can permanently ruin your eye) and don't breathe that smoke!

    0
    Patented
    Patented

    Reply 12 years ago on Introduction

    I actually does.. I simply solder a metal lead taken from a paperclip ! unfold it, snip it and solder it to each of the component's lead. The only thing is that i'm not sure if it would work on a PCB, guess it would be to big in diameter

    0
    ARJOON
    ARJOON

    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    i use wires from network cables for rj 45 types it sticks very well to the components when extending the leads

    0
    beehard44
    beehard44

    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    yeah, cat5 cable is a very neat source for wires

    0
    ARJOON
    ARJOON

    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    and also very cheap and found everywhere. i got mine from a neighbor dumping it. it was about 2metres long. so i got 16m of wire for use for a lifetime hahahhah

    0
    HarrisCreekCentral
    HarrisCreekCentral

    Reply 12 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks,  Only fear if your soldering close to this join your first join will most likely come unsoldered..  Need a mini spot welder.

    0
    Patented
    Patented

    Reply 12 years ago on Introduction

    I didn't though of that.. maybe you could solve this by clipping sort of a heat sink to the lead so the conducted heat won't melt the first join.. i don't know

    0
    bears0
    bears0

    12 years ago on Step 4

     how do i get components off if they have 3 to 4 pins

    0
    PapaJohn469
    PapaJohn469

    Reply 7 months ago

    I just use a small torch and a water spray bottle. Waving the torch flame across the solider points until the solider became malleable and pull components out with pliers and the water spray bottle to cool off parts I don't want getting too hot. Hope this helps when you can't find tools. ;)
    ---PapaJohn469

    0
    naic98
    naic98

    Reply 7 years ago on Step 4

    Propane torch, heat quickly and pull part off board

    0
    Patented
    Patented

    Reply 12 years ago on Introduction

    I usualy remove component's lead one by one

    0
    vadipp
    vadipp

    Reply 10 years ago on Step 4

    And this is when the solder pump gets *really* useful :)

    0
    TrevorH73
    TrevorH73

    Question 3 years ago on Introduction

    What is this piece I need it for homwork and can not find out what it is

    image.jpg
    0
    iceng
    iceng

    Answer 3 years ago

    IF adjustable transformer..

    Shielded Intermediate Frequency tuneable radio signal stages..

    A metallic iron screw that you adjust with a non-metal screw driver that causes differing inductive coupling with the input coil to output coil and with added pico capacitors can change resonance frequency points.

    0
    TrevorH73
    TrevorH73

    Reply 3 years ago

    Thank you for the quick answer

    0
    VoidsMyth
    VoidsMyth

    6 years ago

    You should make an instructable on what you can do with each component. Like different projects each one can be used in.

    Hi, i need our help to search small switch SPDT. I check in printer, radio and computer. I saw big one in microwave but not with plate.

    Thank you

    Christine

    0
    derek.sipila
    derek.sipila

    7 years ago

    I have over 500 pounds of low grade circuit board that I can not seem to sell. But they contain valuable parts and scrap. I figure I have to break these down to make money. I know about tantalum capacitors and silver switches but what else do people buy that comes off the boards? Parts or scrap? Thanks