What Two Methods Are Commonly Used to Desolder?

When you are working on soldering circuit joints on any devices or equipment, there will be moments when you will want to fix a mistake or redo those joints you soldered.

For times like these, desoldering needs to be done. There are numerous ways to desolder and many tools you can use to perform this desoldering.

Among the various methods, we will tell you about what two methods are commonly used for desoldering joints that have been incorrectly soldered.

Once you understand these methods and can handle doing it by yourself, you will never need to hire someone to fix the errors for you.

Commonly Used Methods to Desolder

It is important for you to know how to desolder accidental soldering situations so that you can fix the incorrectly soldered pins by redoing it again correctly afterward. We will now talk about two of the most popular methods for desoldering:

Method 1: Desoldering Braid

The first popular method we will start with is the one where you can use desoldering soldered circuits with the use of a desoldering braid. And the desoldering braid is also known as the solder wick.

In this method, the solders that you do not want anymore can be soaked up and removed. The desoldering braid basically looks like a collection of wires coiled together into a braided structure.

And the wires are made of copper so that they can conduct heat quickly. The advantage here comes from the fact that solders are generally attracted to heat.

So, when you heat up this braid of copper wires, the solder will get attached to the body of the braid and come right off the circuit board. The steps to this desoldering technique are given below:

  • Step 1: Choosing The Braid

Among the different desoldering braids you will find in electronics shops, you should look for a thin, small and narrow braid.

As long as the desoldering braid is smaller and narrower than the solder pad itself, or even if it is about the same size as the solder pad on the circuit board, then it should be good enough. You also need to make sure the braid is a bit wider than the tip of the iron meant for soldering.

The reason why these measurements are necessary is that the braid being bigger than the soldering pad would mean there is an issue of it taking more time to heat up; or worse. It could possibly burn the circuit board.

  • Step 2: Adding Flux

There is some flux available inside some specific kinds of desoldering braids. Having this flux inside your braid will help you get the unwanted solders off cleaner and smoother. The desoldering braids that already have this usually have powdered flux in all the wires.

But if you want to add flux to your desoldering braid that does not have any, then you can just brush on some liquid flux all over the wires and its ends. To do this properly, you need to unwind the braid a bit from the coil.

Since the wires or wicks on your desoldering braid have no flux and aren't habituated to having any, you should only add the flux to the areas of the wires that you will be using.

  • Step 3: Desoldering

Now that your desoldering braid is prepared, you can begin fixing the bad solders you made on your circuit board.

All you need to do is gently place the desoldering braid onto the solder joint, which you intend on removing. Make sure you wear gloves for safety since you will be dealing with heated wires in this step.

Take a soldering iron and heat it up. Once it is hot, gently place it against the braid that is attached to the solder you want to remove.

After a few seconds with the contact of heat, you will notice that the solder is getting peeled off the circuit board and is latching on to the desoldering braid itself.

  • Step 4: Removing

Once you notice that the unwanted soldering is completely detached from the circuit board, then you can remove the desoldering braid.

Since the braid will be extra hot right now, you need to be careful where you touch the braid. It is best for you to only touch the spool and not the braided part.

You can use the pliers to hold down the braid or position it in any way and still avoid getting burnt.

Take the little soldered bits and pieces off the braid once it's cooled down. Keep repeating this process for any other soldered bits you want off your circuit board. Don’t forget to keep cleaning them off the desoldering braid every time as well.

Method 2: Desoldering Pump

The desoldering pump technique is more popular than the desoldering braid technique. It is also a lot easier to maneuver. If you can desolder with a pump flawlessly, then it will end up being the quickest and cleanest way to desolder parts.

Moreover, the desoldering pump sort of looks like a small vacuum with high pressure. Its job is to basically suck up the solder bits right off the circuit board. Below we explained how the desoldering pump works:

  • Step 1: Choosing the Solders You Want to Be Removed

You first need to check and see which solders you want to remove from the circuit board. Once you identify and isolate each solder spot, then vacuuming them out from the components they are attached to will be easier since you only have to zero-in your desoldering pump on those spots alone.

The reason this step is important is that the desoldering pump could ruin the entire circuit board by cracking the layers of the board. Pinpointing each solder pin and aiming the vacuum pump only on those will protect the rest of the board.

  • Step 2: Making Preparations

You need to clean all the terminals with cleaning solvents like alcohol that has Isopropyl. Wet a toothbrush in some of the solvents and carefully brush through all the terminals on the circuit board.

Focus more around the spots where the unwanted soldered pins are. It is best to avoid any side on the board that does not consist of solders.

  • Step 3: Heat Sink

Before you start desoldering, you should clip on a metal alligator clip in the gap between the unwanted solder areas and the components.

This protects the other components on the circuit board, which are fragile and can get damaged from the heat coming from the soldering iron or the desoldering pump.

  • Step 4: Desoldering

Some desoldering pumps have irons attached to them. Use your soldering iron and heat up the solder you want to remove. Then take your desoldering pump and squeeze down on the plunger or the bulb, depending on which one your pump has.

Since the solder has melted by now, it will get sucked into the pump when you aim the pump at that molten solder. Let go of the plunger or bulb and let it come clean off the board and get sucked in.

Use this same process for every little solder you want to get rid of. After you are done, you can just empty out your desoldering pump by squeezing and letting go of the plunger or bulb repeatedly.

Final Words

There are many situations in which you can make errors when soldering your equipment’s circuits. Some of the common errors or mistakes are when the soldering is low in quality, when you had not cleaned the circuit board before you began soldering, etc.

Any of these reasons could cause your equipment's electrical circuit board to fail at work. That is why knowing about the above methods commonly used to desolder will come in handy during these situations.

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