Desoldering?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by leper messiah, Oct 5, 2008.

  1. leper messiah

    leper messiah Member

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    What's the best way to desolder pots, pickups and switches?

    I've got a 25 Watt soldering iron that can heat up to 750, but it doesn't seem to be doing much.
     
  2. syxxstring

    syxxstring Member

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    Get a hotter iron, sometimes it will help to add a little new solder to the joint to help things flow.
     
  3. Groovey Records

    Groovey Records Member

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    serious tin the irons point with fresh solder and clean it
     
  4. TRW

    TRW Member

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    solder wick... cleans out most all of the old solder.

    I wouldn't be without it.
     
  5. leper messiah

    leper messiah Member

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    So 750 degrees isn't hot enough then?
     
  6. Dave C

    Dave C Gold Supporting Member

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    750 degrees is way more than adequate...I set mine at 700. It's the tip size that's important. A small tip can't "carry" enough heat momentum to unsolder a large joint such as ground on the back of a pot. Try a larger tip if one is available.
     
  7. leper messiah

    leper messiah Member

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    Ahhh, thanks. I do have one of the big wedge ones, I'll try that.

    Is the soldering wick absolutely necessary? Can't I just scrape the melted solder off with something?

    Thanks for the advice, guys...I've never done this before but want to learn.
     
  8. Dave C

    Dave C Gold Supporting Member

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    yeah, you can get away without solder wick....in a pinch I've used popsicle sticks wadded up clean,dry rag, old screwdriver whatever implement looked like it would work, but solder wick or a desoldering vac pump are made to do this and they do work well. A piece of stranded wire stripped of insulation can make a passable substitute for solder wick too.
     
  9. leper messiah

    leper messiah Member

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    Great. Thanks, Dave, I'll give it a try. :D
     
  10. reeced

    reeced Member

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    Your 25W iron may be OK for switch and pot lugs, but it's a little low for desoldering the backs of pots. It's not the actual temperature it can reach, but it's maintaining that temperature in the presence of an initially large cold object. Yes you will eventually heat up the back of the pot sufficient to melt the solder, but by this time you've destroyed the internals. Ideally you want to heat up the back of the pot quickly before the heat transfers to the inside of the pot, and for this 30-50W would be better (same goes for soldering)



    Personally, I rarely use desoldering braid. I find it too fiddly, takes too long, and on PCBs there's the danger of lifting the track. A much better solution is a desoldering pump - they are not expensive



    It's not easy to scrape off melted solder - it'll usually run onto somewhere you really don't want it to !!!
     
  11. Tone_Terrific

    Tone_Terrific Member

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    If your iron is hot enough to liquify the solder you are OK, but you MUST use the braid or pump to finish the job halfway neatly.
     
  12. syxxstring

    syxxstring Member

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    Exactly my thoughts...
     
  13. drfrankencopter

    drfrankencopter Member

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    Add a blob of fresh solder to your iron...then try to desolder. This will help transfer the heat to the old solder better.

    Use a 'solder-sucker' to draw up the solder you want to get rid of (or use some scrap wire to draw it up). I agree with the others who say that it's not the temperature or the iron that counts, but the wattage!

    Cheers

    Kris
     
  14. TAVD

    TAVD Guitar Player Gold Supporting Member

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    $10 Radio Shack desoldering tool (basically an iron w/ a onboard pump). I've used one for countless audio repairs and upgrades.

    Regarding the iron, make sure the tip is not only clean, but also tight.
     
  15. Nolatone Ampworks

    Nolatone Ampworks Silver Supporting Member

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    Clean tip is important. Use the wet sponge to thermal shock the tip, and a napkit to brush off debris.

    And, yes, adding solder to get it flowing helps so you don't have to keep heat applied for too long to get the old joint to flow. It's the flux in the solder core that does it.

    Wicking material is good, but I usually just use a solder sucker. Works great.
     

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