Desoldering is a process used in the electronics industry to remove solder from a circuit board. This process is important for the reworking of old electrical circuit boards. The process of desoldering utilizes heat as it is applied to the soldered joint. Once the joint is heated the joints can be separated for repair, troubleshooting, component replacement, or salvage purposes.

Desoldering Company Links

  • Easy Braid Co. Minnesota: Manufacturer of desolder wick, innovative desoldering technology. A leader in the electronic rework/repair industry.

Advantages of Desoldering

Electronic equipment and circuits are often expensive and salvaging used equipment is desirable. Desoldering that does not damage the existing electronic circuit board helps to maintain integrity of expensive devices and electronic materials.

Desoldering Tools & Techniques

There are a number of different ways to remove solder from a circuit board, and a variety of specialized tools to perform this task. Tools and materials used in desoldering include: 

  • Desolder wick
  • Desolding pumps (or “solder suckers”)
  • Heat guns
  • Removal alloys and fluxes
  • Vacuum and pressure pumps
  • Rework stations

Desoldering is achieved by applying heat to solder joints and removing the liquefied solder, allowing the joint to be separated. Once the solder is heated (often by using a soldering gun or heat gun), a vacuum device of some kind can be used to suck up the molten solder, or desolder wick can be used to absorb it.

Depending on the construction of the circuit board being desoldered, special care may be required. Multiple lead devices, through hole mounted devices, and other similar circuit board designs necessitate precise temperature control that is best achieved through the use of a rework station specially designed for desoldering work.

In some instances, it is actually better and easier to destroy the part by cutting its leads and removing them individually, rather than risking damage to the circuit board to which the part is attached.

Ventilation is important during the desoldering process, as most desoldering techniques produce toxic fumes.

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