How To: Desoldering

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About: My name is Randy and I am a Community Manager in these here parts. In a previous life I had founded and run the Instructables Design Studio (RIP) @ Autodesk's Pier 9 Technology Center. I'm also the author ...


Once you know how to solder, you are sooner or later going to need to know how to desolder (more likely sooner than later). Desoldering helps you undo all of those terrible soul-crushing soldering mistakes.

Desoldering becomes an important skill to possess, because you will need to be able to do it to remove the servo controller boards. Removing these boards is necessary in order to build most of the bots.

Fortunately, this is an easy skill to learn!

Step 1: Heat

Go get some desoldering braid and unwind a few inches from the packaging.

Place the exposed desoldering braid over the solder joint on the circuit board that you want to desolder.

Press down on top of the desoldering braid with your soldering iron until you see and/or feel the solder beneath the braid start to liquify and flow.

Step 2: Remove

As soon as the solder starts to liquify, count to two and then remove the soldering iron and lift away the braid by gripping its container (and not the exposed metal braid). The metal is hot, so be careful!

You should see, on the braid, a shiny solder blob. If all went well, the blob of solder on the circuit board is now gone and you can see the freed pin that you have successfully desoldered.

If all of the solder has not been removed and the pin is still attached to the circuit board, simply repeat the process until the pin is free from the solder.

This is the basics of desoldering, in a nutshell.

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    13 Discussions

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    Ryzler

    2 years ago

    Stripping some coaxial cable will get you some braided copper.

    1 reply
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    baslugRyzler

    Reply 1 year ago

    that's tip is so clutch! Thanks!

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    Darknessblade.BrockL

    Reply 3 years ago on Introduction

    that depends on wich model you use

    automated

    manual

    they work mostly like a pump that sucks away the tin

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    mikolynn

    6 years ago on Introduction

    I use desoldering skills more to find parts (in old/broken electronic gadgets) than to correct soldering mistakes. And One thing I learn to desolder industrial boards is to use a hot air gun.
    -1st: Hold the board with the pieces to desolder with a object like this (I do not know it's name in english) http://tinyurl.com/cw2kgzm with the piece to desolder upwards.
    -2nd: apply the hot air jet to the solder joint
    -3rd after 15 to 40 seconds, the soder joint has been liquidify and with a pliers pull of the piece you want to recycle.
    This technique is really useful for industrial soldered parts with this leadfree soder material, and for boards with SMD components.
    Hope is a clear explanation!

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    osbock

    6 years ago on Introduction

    Solder braid works much better with flux. Some come pre-impregnated, but if not, it's simple to dip.

    2 replies
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    Hansliphlfm

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    The greasy thing you use when soldering to make the tin flow

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    belletinker

    5 years ago on Step 2

    very informative where I will be confident in doing this myself. Thanks

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    elfarandulero

    6 years ago on Step 2

    Wow that is easy, I have to buy some of that braid wire

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    Jayefuu

    6 years ago on Introduction

    You should cover solder suckers too Randy :) They often clean the hole out more cleanly than braid will. Cheaper than miles of braid too.

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    randofoJayefuu

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    This was originally written for Simple Bots, just so people had the basic overview to desolder a servo controller board. I was keeping it short and to the point.