How to desolder electronics

Thursday, November 13, 2014

How to desolder electronics


Taking apart soldered connections is a handy skill for a maker. In this episode, we look at three techniques to do this.

For a written transcript, go to How to make desolder electronics

Music under Creative Commons License By Attribution 3.0.
Intro/Exit: "Hot Swing" by Kevin MacLeod at
Incidental: "Mining by Moonlight" by Kevin MacLeod at

Associate links

Paladin Tools 1700 Desoldering Tool With Standard Tip
Aven 17542 Desoldering Wick, 2.5mm Width, 5' Length


Today at the House of Hacks we're going to look at how to take apart electronics.

Hi Makers, Builders and Do-It-Yourselfers. Harley here. When working on electronics, a time will come when you have to take apart a solder joint. There are three main ways of doing this that we'll look at in this episode.

The first is to simply apply some heat and gently pull the connection apart. If you're just disassembling something without the need to put it back together and there's no mechanical connection, this works well. Like for scavenging these diodes and capacitors.

But this does leave a lot of solder on the connection so it may not work if you need to reassemble the joint. Also, if there's a mechanical connection, like wires that are twisted together, this may not work too well.

The other two ways physically remove most of the solder from the joint: the desolder pump, also known as a solder sucker, and solder wick or solder braid. Both these work well for connections that also have a mechanical component to them. Or electrical components with multiple points that all have to have their solder removed becoming apart. Like this LED sensor.

The desolder pump essentially vacuums up the liquid solder. There are a couple different designs, this one is spring activated, but they all basically work the same way. You push down the plunger, melt the solder, put the tip next to the connection and press the release button. This causes a vacuum in the tip and just pulls the solder right up.

Sometimes you have to do this a couple times to get all the solder out. Fancy solder stations may have a tip for the iron that has the suction mechanism built into it.

The desolder wick, or braid, works with capillary action on the melted solder. To use it, just put the braid over the connection and then heat it with the soldering iron. The braid will heat up, melting the solder and then capillary action will pull the solder up into the braid.

Depending on the size of the connection and the amount of solder on it, you may have to move to an unused spot on the braid a couple times to get all the solder out. It is a one time use tool. Once a spot of braid is full of solder, you trim it off and throw it away.

I originally learned with a solder sucker but recently started using the braid and I think it's becoming my preferred method of removing solder.

Thanks for watching and until next time, go make something. It doesn't have to be perfect, just have fun.