How to De-Solder Surface Mount ICs




Introduction: How to De-Solder Surface Mount ICs

About: I'm currently studying at Massey University in New Zealand. I'm doing Computer and Electrical Engineering which is a fun course and already proving my skills to professors around the campus. I enjoy hacking...

Ever wanted to de-solder tiny Integrated Circuits but never knew how or those "Hot Air" rework stations are too expensive?

Well I have the (near) perfect solution for you!

Okay well, I have just started to get into SMD soldering and always wanted to scavenge components from other circuit board that I have lying around. recent I pulled apart an old printer and found that most of the ICs on it had their data sheets publicly available and thought to myself maybe I could use that in my next project.
The problem is that i had no way of removing the component without destroying the chip using conventional de-soldering techniques with my good and trusty soldering iron.

So after a while I decided to try and remove the component using a butane gas torch, and would you know it, it was a complete success!

So now I'm going to share with you what i found.

Note: Videos will be uploaded soon...

Step 1: Pre-cautions

Before we start, I want to give you a word of warning about the dangers involved in this instructable.

When using the Butane Gas Torch, the tip will be very, very hot. do not let your fingers any where near it and do not point it at living things as it will burn just about anything.
Make sure no plastic will be near where you are working as it will burn quite quickly or it could melt from the uncontrolled heat.

Always make sure your work area is clean and tidy to prevent any accidents from happening.

Step 2: Tools Needed

Okay to start off, gather your tools, not much is needed and is very cheap to obtane from your dairy and local hardware store.

1. Lighter - if it can light stuff, you're good :)
2. Butane Gas Torch - I got this from "Dick Smith Electronics" for $10 NZD
3. A Jewelers Screwdriver - mine is from a precise screw driver set i also got from "Dick Smith Electronics for about $30 NZD
4. Third Hand (optional) - this is used to hold the circuit board as you work on it, wise choice if your board keeps moving.
5. Butane Gas - you can get this from almost any Dairy just down the road or at your local hardware store.

Step 3: Filling the Butane Gas Torch

To fill the Butane Gas Torch, take the cap off of the can (no need for a valve adapter), shake up the can a bit and take the can and the torch outside. Point the can downwards and place the tip of the valve onto the bottom of the torch as shown in the image.

Next you will need to do a pumping action as you will the torch up with gas, it works best in my opinion. This is done by pushing the can into the torch and you will hear a hissing sound, then pulling the can away from the torch a bit, do this about 7-12 times until you think the torch is full.

You'll notice the torch at the bottom will be very cold and will have a lot of condensation (don't worry, this is normal :))

Step 4: Time to Start De-Soldering!

Connect your circuit board into your third hand (if you've got one). Light the Butane Gas Torch and grab your Jewelers Screwdriver.

sorry for the lack of images but i needed a fourth hand to have been able to take pictures while doing this.

position the screwdriver near the top of the IC where it is clear of pins so that way nothing is damaged in the process.

Hold the Torch about 7cm away from the board (i think its best for you to practice melting solder on some test boards before you try this as you may end up burning the board itself or you make take forever to melt tht solder because the torch is too far away) and move the torch around slowly up and down and possible in circular motions evenly heating up the IC's pins

When you heat up the IC, you want to use the screw driver to leaver the IC one side to lift one side of the IC off of the board.

The trick here is to heat up one side of the IC first, lift up that side from the Circuit board and then focus on the remain side(s) of the IC.

Step 5: Congratulations!


You have just successfully remove a surface mount IC from a circuit board without any damage to the IC or the board!

Thank you for reading this Instructable, it is my first and I hope it was worth it
Please comment on this and tell me what you think and what can be improved.

Roman V.

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    10 Discussions


    4 years ago on Introduction

    just put the board in the oven, 400 few minutes then tap the board on the counter. :) alot faster and you wont distroy the board or ic's


    6 years ago on Step 5

    thank you..this is just for ic?how about sensitive instruments like transistor?.. there is not much things I know.i just want to ask..


    7 years ago on Introduction

    How do you plan on putting the IC on your project? It would be very difficult if not impossible to make that many holes on a PCB. Interesting idea though.

    but what r u gonna do with all these complex ic's, making a circuit with one is impractical


    9 years ago on Introduction

    SMD integrated circuits are not intended to be re-used after being solderded once (except BGA, with the reballing technique), so de-soldered ICs could be useless after removing them, even with a hot air station, wich is ment to be used to save the PCB, not the IC.
    Despite that, I would consider your technique in an "emergency situation" (:


    9 years ago on Step 5

    This makes removal easy, but you do have to try and be careful if you want any other components near there so remove those first and then "Flame On".


    10 years ago on Step 5

    These types of butane torches are generally poorly regulated, if at all. So any realistic type of control (other than noticing the PCB burning) is not viable. If your PCB doesn't matter, and your components don't matter either, then I would suggest giving this a go. Practice on scrap PCBs first. However, if you want to give your components and board a better chance of survival, then spend the extra $80 on a cheap hot air rework station; prices have fallen considerably recently. Great article. Thanks.

    von rad
    von rad

    10 years ago on Step 5

    Tough subject to tackle for the first Go.  I liked it.  Thanks


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Well, the one i de-soldered in the tutorial is a 512Mbit ram and i might use that as extra ram for when doing image processing on a chip, who knows.