To free electrical components or dismember or repair a circuit board you will require a solder wick. This would allow you to take away each of the previously soldered components without damaging them or the board. This is evidently necessary if you are dismantling a board with the aim of re-using the several components in other boards. There are certainly other ways of removing solder but a lot of people prefer this way.
You could purchase a solder wick at any home depot store or electronics store. Alternatively there are also plenty of stores on the net that sell this, including some of the well-known shopping stores. For specialty stores can search the Internet for soldering or de-soldering equipment and you will find many sites that sell solder wicks and other equipment such as soldering irons.
What is Solder Wick?
Also identified as solder wick braid (because it looks like braided fabric) it is created from fine braided copper wire and can be purchased in a roll. The wire is normally of 18 to 42 AWG and is coated with rosin flux (a substance which prevents oxidation of the metals involved and assists in the solder removal). The solder flux is specially important in soldering processes as it prevents contamination of the metals either in the solder itself or the components.
Solder Wick Brands
As with all products there are several brands available on the market. One such is the chemtronics solder wick. This is available in several versions and over a range of six distinct sizes from 0.8mm (for use in micro-circuitry) up to 5.3 mm. It is safe and fast working, which prevents damage to components from overheating. The wick comes in a special bobbin which protects it from outside components and dissipates static electricity hence preventing damage.
How To Use Solder Wick
The process of removing solder using a wick is extremely simple. Firstly the heated soldering iron is applied to the solder to be able to heat it up. As soon as it begins melting you can then put the wick onto it and start heating this too.
Some people prefer to start straightaway by applying the wick to the solder and heating the two at the same time. The solder will slowly start seeping into the wick, by means of capillary action. This will be noticeably obvious as the braid will begin to change color.
As soon as all the solder has been removed the used piece of braid can then be cut off the roll and thrown away. As copper is such a great conductor of heat some people prefer to work with small pieces of braid already eliminated from the roll, as this prevents the heat becoming lost along the length of the braid.
As with soldering, de-soldering may also be dangerous and safety goggles should always be worn in case of any splashing by the hot metals.
Various components are mounted on a circuit board in different ways. One way is what is known as through-hole. This is where the component has one or two pins which go through holes in the board. It is fairly easy to remove a single pin component by melting and removing the solder behind and then pulling the pin through.
Two Pin Through-hole Soldering
The same method is used with a two pin component (or even multi-pin components). Melt and remove the solder from around every pin, in turn, and then pull the component off. This is the most effective way to do it if you want to preserve the component as well as the board, as it makes sure no damage to either.
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