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Hints, Tips and Solutions (Do NOT post requests for help here) If you have any useful general hints and tips for vintage technology repair and restoration, please share them here. PLEASE DO NOT POST REQUESTS FOR HELP HERE!

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Old 11th Dec 2017, 3:14 pm   #1
Oldcodger
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Default Solder suckers (AKA desoldering tools).

Often we see posts where it's only too easy to go OT offering ideas on making these work better. So here's what I've found in my years on the bench and in the field.

Solder suckers work best with lubrication and some form of heat resistant oil works wonders. In one factory, I worked in we found a tin of gun oil and tried it out on ours. These days I use WD 40 or similar.

As for the tip deforming with heat - stick a Hellerman sleeve on it. Better suction and if it burns - cut the burnt bit off.

Tip a bit slow to heat up- dip it in a pot of flux.

Add some solder + flux to the joint to get it flowing.

And if all fails, and it's a small board- heat the solder up and flick off the excess on a waste surface.
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Old 11th Dec 2017, 8:20 pm   #2
m0cemdave
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Default Re: Solder suckers (AKA desoldering tools).

Yes, an H30 sleeve over the PTFE nozzle is the classic method of improving the small hand-pump types.
It's also worth noting that Hellerman silicone oil is ideal for lubricating the workings of the sucker after a strip-down and cleaning session.
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Old 11th Dec 2017, 8:49 pm   #3
The Philpott
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Default Re: Solder suckers (AKA desoldering tools).

I must admit i used red rubber grease as i knew it wouldn't attack the seal. (Normally used in assembly of hydraulic brakes)
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Old 11th Dec 2017, 8:51 pm   #4
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Default Re: Solder suckers (AKA desoldering tools).

I’ve entirely stopped using them now after about 20 years. Turns out lots of little blobs of solder make an appearance when you rearm it and then fall out on the board you are working on. This recently caused the magic smoke to come out of a TSSOP package for me. Took me a while to see it but a piece had actually got under the legs of the package.

Straight in the bin. Chemtronics wick only now.
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Old 11th Dec 2017, 9:14 pm   #5
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Default Re: Solder suckers (AKA desoldering tools).

Hi.

I like the idea of the sleeve over the nozzle, I'll give that a try.

I use both desoldering pumps and decent desoldering braid. The pump can be problematic on boards with small soldered joints and the obvious risk of short circuits fron stray solder from the nozzle. If the pump is used at a suitable angle then the risk is minimised. In any case the board has a thorough inspection and a good brushing before the power is applied.

For old equipment with large soldered joints I mostly use the pump and in some cases further clean the pads with the braid. For more modern equipment it's mostly the braid that's used. It's really horses for courses, so use both methods according to the job in hand.

Regards
Symon.
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Old 11th Dec 2017, 9:47 pm   #6
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Default Re: Solder suckers (AKA desoldering tools).

I'm always surprised that the suckers work as well as they do. I've never used a lubricant in one; is it possible that it will get bits of solder sticking to it which could impair the seal - hard to say, so worth trying.

The braid is wonderful... when it's new. I think someone on here recently suggested that the Servisol braid has a better than average lifespan?

B
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Old 11th Dec 2017, 10:04 pm   #7
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Default Re: Solder suckers (AKA desoldering tools).

Chemtronics stuff lasts a long time. I keep it in a zip lock bag:

https://uk.rs-online.com/web/p/desol...raids/7630709/

Comedy packaging you will find if you order it from RS. It usually comes in a massive cardboard box with a thick wodge of hazardous materials documentation.
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Old 11th Dec 2017, 10:29 pm   #8
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Default Re: Solder suckers (AKA desoldering tools).

My old AB /abeco solder sucker (RS green one) is rarely used these days. I wore my original one out, and after finding they dont do spare parts for them, bought a new one from RS, it dodnt work, had it replaced under warranty, that didnt work either, then another, then gave up. The tips didn't last, the springs broke, the little push buttons wore away and the central ejector pin used to get coated in solder that could only be melted off with a blowtorch. I discovered the design had been bought by a company in Malta.

Now I use a cheap CPC vacuum desolder station. It's streets ahead and doesn't fetch tracks off.
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Old 11th Dec 2017, 11:05 pm   #9
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Default Re: Solder suckers (AKA desoldering tools).

On vintage consumer equipment PCB's with wide tracks, I melt the solder with an ordinary iron then blow it away with a jet of compressed air, which has the advantage of cooling things down.

I've been warned that the displaced solder will form conductive bridges all other the place. This doesn't seem to happen though. The solder kind of granulates and is easily brushed off with an old tooth brush.
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Old 11th Dec 2017, 11:28 pm   #10
The Philpott
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Default Re: Solder suckers (AKA desoldering tools).

My cheap one is badged as Silverline, which means it could originate pretty much anywhere in the world. It's OK bearing in mind the price.
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Old 12th Dec 2017, 12:25 am   #11
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Default Re: Solder suckers (AKA desoldering tools).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Station X View Post
On vintage consumer equipment PCB's with wide tracks, I melt the solder with an ordinary iron then blow it away with a jet of compressed air, which has the advantage of cooling things down.
I do this sometimes as well, but I blow the air through an old ballpoint pen case held in the mouth. You do have to be careful to clean up afterwards though, as you can cause bridged tracks.
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Old 12th Dec 2017, 12:30 am   #12
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Default Re: Solder suckers (AKA desoldering tools).

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Originally Posted by paulsherwin View Post
I do this sometimes as well, but I blow the air through an old ballpoint pen case held in the mouth. You do have to be careful to clean up afterwards though, as you can cause bridged tracks.
Maybe a syringe might be worth a try as a blowing tool? Probably need some heat-shrink on the tip to stop melting.

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Old 12th Dec 2017, 8:18 am   #13
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Default Re: Solder suckers (AKA desoldering tools).

On my cheapy the nozzle gets blocked with solder which needs un-blocking by pushing a rat tailed file down it; it works ok though.

I have a heated one, cheap ebay jobbie, which is good for de capping PCB's and other big stuff, though the tip gets very hot.

I've found braid sometimes needs a lot of heat and is a bit fiddly.

For tag board I heat the solder up with an iron and a sharp tap on the edge of the bench gets rid of excess solder. Component leads can then be unwound with the joint cold. I don't wrap the new component leads round the tags, just a 90 degree bend does the job.

Andy.
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Old 12th Dec 2017, 9:36 am   #14
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Default Re: Solder suckers (AKA desoldering tools).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bazz4CQJ View Post
The braid is wonderful... when it's new. I think someone on here recently suggested that the Servisol braid has a better than average lifespan?
Get one of those flux felt tip pens. Run a few inches of old wick (or any copper braid) under the tip and it works like new.
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Old 12th Dec 2017, 1:08 pm   #15
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Default Re: Solder suckers (AKA desoldering tools).

Still using the two I "acquired" . One I know is from GEC and it's possibly 80's in origin. I still empty mine into a bin after every operation as per a tip I learned from the reworkers at MSDS.
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Old 12th Dec 2017, 2:32 pm   #16
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Default Re: Solder suckers (AKA desoldering tools).

I take the heavy stuff off with a sucker but for unsoldering through holes I find that old co-ax outter screen dipped in flux can't be beaten and is far cheaper than commercial desoldering wick.
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Old 12th Dec 2017, 3:14 pm   #17
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Default Re: Solder suckers (AKA desoldering tools).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Philips210 View Post
It's really horses for courses, so use both methods according to the job in hand.
As with most things, the right tool for the job in hand.
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Old 12th Dec 2017, 8:35 pm   #18
Oldcodger
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Default Re: Solder suckers (AKA desoldering tools).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Boom View Post
I take the heavy stuff off with a sucker but for unsoldering through holes I find that old co-ax outter screen dipped in flux can't be beaten and is far cheaper than commercial desoldering wick.
What was prefered in MSDS (Clansman RT 353 production) was slimline coax sheath dipped in flux.
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Old 13th Dec 2017, 7:37 pm   #19
Philips210
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Default Re: Solder suckers (AKA desoldering tools).

Quote:
Originally Posted by MrBungle View Post
Comedy packaging you will find if you order it from RS. It usually comes in a massive cardboard box with a thick wodge of hazardous materials documentation.
Hi

CPC are usually good at comedy packaging as we know!
Their cheap aluminium desoldering pump http://cpc.farnell.com/duratool/zd-1...ing/dp/SD01154 works surprisingly well and is easy to dismantle for cleaning. They're so cheap I keep a few in stock.
I also found the green aluminium RS pump to be poor compared to the one I used back in the 1980's. The new one blocked far too easily for my liking even on quite small soldered joints. There is a subtle difference in appearance between the two pumps. I'll try to find them and check the differences.

Regards
Symon.
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