Learn How to Disconnect Electronic Components from Circuits Quickly and Safely

November 25, 2022 4 min read

Electrical circuits are an important part of today’s tech space. They form the foundations of pretty much every device there is, and they can be programmed to do so much.

When these circuit boards are assembled, the process is usually called soldering. Here, electrical components in a circuit board or any other application are joined together, creating reliable and resilient joints. Soldering is usually done with the help of spade connectors, which help to create electrical connections seamlessly and without stress. By using spade connectors, electricians and engineers can easily get their work done without having to go through some manual processes.

What are spade connectors? In a nutshell, a spade connector is a component that helps to provide a reliable and quick solderless electrical connection. Also known as a spade terminal kit (or a spade terminal for short), these single-conductor connectors are built to connect with a predefined screw size, and they usually come either insulated or uninsulated. You can check out the color of a connector to find out its accepted wire gauge.

As for how to use spade connectors, there are different methods - all of which will depend primarily on the type of connector you have. However, the bottom line is that spade connectors have become an important part of how we connect and solder electrical components to circuit boards today.

Still, soldering isn’t always a perfect process - and when you solder incorrectly or you find that there’s a problem with an electrical component, you would need to rectify this.

The easiest and quickest way to handle this problem will be to desolder. As its name suggests, desoldering is essentially the opposite of soldering. You melt the solder, removing the joints that connect two materials. Below, we’ll look at some of the best ways to desolder an electrical circuit:

Desoldering with a soldering iron

One of the easiest and most reliable ways to desolder is to do so with a soldering iron. Besides the soldering iron itself, the only other tools you’d need are a pair of tweezers and pliers.

Using this process to disolder, here are the steps to follow:

  1. Heat the solder with the soldering iron
  2. Use the iron to try moving the solder away from pins and joints
  3. Pull the components you’d like to remove with pliers. To avoid damaging components, apply pressure at the plier tips - not their bodies
  4. If you’re trying to pull a component from a hole, then you can try sticking a safety pin within the hole.

Desoldering with a soldering wick/braid

A soldering braid is a tool that is made of braided copper wires that are usually covered with flux. In collaboration with a soldering iron, it helps to remove solder from joints and holes.

A desoldering braid is a solid tool for cleaning up extra solder pads - or if you’d like to take out solder from pins of a through-hole component. However, it has some challenges with surface mount (SMD) components because they might not be able to reach the solder between the lead and the circuit board.

When handling a solder wick, remember not to touch it with your hands. Get a pair of pliers to hold it and keep it in position. Try the following:
  • Dip the braid’s end into some flux and put the wick on the joint that you’d like to desolder
  • Place your soldering iron over the solder wick’s tip and the pin you’d like to remove
  • As soon as the solder melts, it will be drawn into the wick. You can use the wick to remove the part that has solder on it.

- Repeat this process until all of the unwanted solders has been taken out.

When the braid is filled with solder, cut that portion and move it onto a fresh braid. Also, remember to remove the braid and iron at the same time so you don’t solder the wire to the board.

Desoldering with a soldapullt pump and iron

Another tool you can use to take out solder from a circuit board hole is a desoldering pump. The tool acts like a suction cup, and to work with it, you can follow these steps:

  • Preheat the board and the soldered component until the entire solder is molten\
  • Squeeze the handle and place the pump’s tip against the solder
  • Release the handle, and the solder will automatically be sucked up from the hole in the circuit board

Desoldering with a power desoldering station

Another effective desoldering method will be to use a temperature-controlled power desoldering station. These stations offer much better control than what you’d get with the manual methods, and they’re primarily used for bulkier desoldering assignments.

So, if you have hundreds of electrical components and would like to remove them all at once, a power desoldering station is a perfect tool for you to use.

Power desoldering stations come in different types, all of which are used in different ways. Some prominent types include:

  • Thru-Hole Desoldering Stations, which help with the hole components
  • Hot Air Stations: These pens bloc between 800-1000°F air onto SMT component pads, thus melting the solder with hot air and making it easier to desolder the components
  • Hot tweezer stations, which take out any surface mount components from pads.

As explained earlier, we have different types of desoldering stations and different usage methods. So, be sure to read the instructions on a station before you make use of it.


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