Introduction: How to Desolder Large Difficult Components
This is a mini-instructable on a method of de-soldering that makes it easy to remove large, delicate or otherwise difficult components without damaging them, as long as you don't mind destroying the PCB in the process. This makes parts harvesting from old electronics much easier and with a greater success rate.
This method is useful when the object you are trying to desolder has a lot of pins, especially with a through-hole-plated PCB which can be notoriously difficult to suck the solder out of using a pump or braid. Heat guns aren't always an option either if the part is made of plastic. In my case, these ZIF sockets have the metal pins going right into the plastic body, and applying heat for more than a few seconds will melt the body of the socket and ruin these very expensive items.
Tools required are:
- Soldering iron
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Step 1: Saw Through the PCB
Put the PCB in a vise or hold it down to a table. Use the hacksaw to cut into the board and separate the component you want from the rest of the board. The fiberglass should be quick work with a standard metal-cutting blade.
Place the board in the vise as firmly as possible to allow you to use the saw to cut through the bottom of the PCB and separate the pins into groups, as shown in the picture below. Keep the blade level and go slowly so you only cut the PCB and not the component itself. This will allow de-soldering the pins in small groups of two or three pins. Cut gently and try to feel when the saw falls through the board so you don't cut into your component.
Step 2: De-solder
Grasp a piece of PCB using pliers and hold the board upside-down. Hold the board a couple inches off the table. Apply heat to all the pins simultaneously with the side of a soldering iron until the weight of the component causes it to fall off. Repeat until all the sections of PCB have been removed.
Clean up the legs with some braid or a solder pump to remove excess solder. Your component should be ready to use!
Although time-consuming, this method is much safer than heat gun or blowtorch methods. I imagine you could even de-solder an old Pentium ZIF socket this way!