Easy SMT IC Removal

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Introduction: Easy SMT IC Removal

This is my first instructable so I hope it does not suck.
As you might have noticed most electronics these days are surface mount components and can be difficult to work with if you don't have a preheater and a hot air rework station. This can make troubleshooting a pain. Fortunately there is a solution. I will give you a quick introduction to low melt solder.

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Step 1: What You Will Need

1 Soldering iron with a small tip
2 Low Melt Solder
3 No clean paste flux
4 Tweezers or a vacuum pickup tool

Step 2: Flux It Up!

If you haven't worked with low melt solder before you don't know what you are missing. This is some cool stuff. At least I think so but I am kind of a geek.(go figure)
Lets go then.
1st we add no clean paste flux or the flux of your choice to all the pins on your IC or to your discreet SMT component.

Step 3: Add Low Melt Solder

Next we add some Low Melt Solder to the pins.
Put your soldering iron tip (set to around 700'F) onto a pin and add some low melt.
You don't need much, a little goes a long way. Now drag a bead of low melt down the whole side of the chip making sure each pin is covered. Touch up as needed. Repeat on the other side of the chip.

Step 4: Here Comes the Magic

Heat one side with your soldering iron until its molten and then the other side. This stuff stays molten for quite a while. Remove the IC from the board with tweezers or a vacuum pick up tool. Easy as pie!
If you don't have a vacuum pick no need to worry. I will post a vacuum pick instructable soon.

Step 5: Clean Your Pads

This step is very important!
You must completely remove the low melt solder from your pads before replacing your IC or discreet component. Solder Wick works perfect for this. If you don't it can be a pain in the neck getting your component to stay in place while you solder. Also, if your component is next to a chip that runs hot you run the risk of the solder melting and your chip sliding and causing havoc.
Good luck

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    20 Discussions

    0
    abell21
    abell21

    8 years ago on Introduction

    You are dead right about the flux, but if you can't afford low melt solder, the way I used to remove the chips was:
    1 Apply flux
    2 use desoldering wick/braid to suck up excess solder
    3 (tricky bit) apply the tip of the iron to one IC leg (and pad) at a time, when the solder is melted, lift up the leg just a fraction with a dentist spike or similar, remove iron, and let the leg go. Total time about 1.5 sec, just enough to melt the solder, break the bond, let the solder set.
    4 Repeat for all the other legs.
    The danger with this method is that the pads can be lifted if you heat too long, or lift the leg before the solder is melted - the solder goes from dull to shiny when melted and back to dull when set.
    5 double check all legs are free before lifting the IC away
    6 Flux and desolder the bare pads.
    Hot air is the best, but this way works fine, once you get the hang of it.

    0
    DominicL16
    DominicL16

    Reply 4 years ago

    Absolutely right! be sure to really try to put as little heat as possible into the board. Using a star/alternating pattern to prevent putting to much heat in any one area really helps to prevent damaging the board and its traces. Too much heat results in burnt areas and you are in a really bad spot after that happens.

    0
    DominicL16
    DominicL16

    Reply 4 years ago

    Absolutely right! be sure to really try to put as little heat as possible into the board. Using a star/alternating pattern to prevent putting to much heat in any one area really helps to prevent damaging the board and its traces. Too much heat results in burnt areas and you are in a really bad spot after that happens.

    0
    nerdtaco
    nerdtaco

    8 years ago on Step 4

    You can also heat one side and carefully bend it up then get the other. It takes practice, but it's the easiest way for me.

    0
    tanveerriaz
    tanveerriaz

    9 years ago on Introduction

    Low Melt Solder made form Mercury+solder it melt and after melt it can not hard but it's poisoning you can easy make "lowmelt solder form mix up mercury and solder wire but it bad for your helth http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mercury_poisoning

    0
    hore
    hore

    10 years ago on Introduction

    Hi, this is great instrucbles ,have you try on pc motherboard, what is the result.

    It'll be great when, some day, Chip-Quik doesn't cost almost as much per foot as a 500-foot roll of my SnAgCu RoHS solder. Until then, it's fairly useless to the hobbyist community... Nevertheless, nice write-up!

    darkmuskrat: A Cold Heat soldering iron will fry sensitive (Read: Basically anything other than a resistor or capacitor these days) electronics. Plain and simple. Unlike professional electronics soldering irons which feature 'zero-crossing' technology (No voltage or current used to heat the iron can leak into the tip) Cold Heat soldering irons specifically use voltage and current at the tip to induce heat.

    0
    billj
    billj

    11 years ago on Introduction

    I recall trying to counterfeit a nickel in high school chemistry with a metal that melts in boiling water.

    0
    juanangel
    juanangel

    12 years ago on Introduction

    Chip-Quick should only be used if the removed component is not to be used again. If you apply heat to a component for more than 3 seconds the component will be damaged and could remove the pads. Also take into consideration that if it is Lead-free solder it will require higher temperatures. Lead-free PCBs have an "e" at the corners or where the board information is located.

    0
    offlogic
    offlogic

    12 years ago on Introduction

    Great first Instructable! While opinions may differ on the "chip-quik" product, keep on pumping out Instructables!

    0
    offlogic
    offlogic

    Reply 12 years ago on Introduction

    Dark- throw your "cold heat" away. Cincerely-

    0
    darkmuskrat
    darkmuskrat

    12 years ago on Introduction

    Anyone know if low heat solder could be melted by those crappy "cold heat" soldering guns??? (It never melts anything)

    0
    electrotech
    electrotech

    Reply 12 years ago on Introduction

    No. It is a main board from a Panasonic camcorder

    0
    Nyanman
    Nyanman

    12 years ago on Introduction

    i remove chips with a paint removal gun set on high and some rubber-tipped pliers with adjustable jaws.

    0
    westfw
    westfw

    12 years ago on Introduction

    That chipquik low-melt solder is pretty magic stuff, but it's also priced that way! This sort of technique is great if your repairing that expensive PCB, and not so good if you were trying to save money by harvesting components from "trash."

    0
    andrewbee
    andrewbee

    12 years ago on Introduction

    Hi, Never heard of low heat solder before. I usually do basically the same thing but with regular solder, a bit of a pain. I'll look for some of it. Nice simple instructable, thanks.