solder wick

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by electronis whiz, Feb 15, 2013.

  1. electronis whiz

    Thread Starter Well-Known Member

    Jul 29, 2010
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    I have known about DE solder wick for a while now, but never used it. seems kind of odd to me. it's just a bunch of small wires basically just stranded or braided wire. so why don't people just use scraps of stranded wire instead? I don't see how one could absorb solder when basically just wire, would think have something like sponge or something inside the braid. I have been considering getting some for repairs where a de solder pump won't work. but not real sure on usage. I assume just melt joint then put end of wick in molten solder and somehow it absorbs it.
     
  2. strantor

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 3, 2010
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    it absorbs it good. I've used it and the solder sucker. I prefer the solder sucker.. but it's not a really strong preference. both are good.
     
  3. tracecom

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 16, 2010
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    Google solder + capillary action.

    You don't put the braid in the molten solder. You heat the braid and the solder at the same time. The molten solder is pulled into the braid by capillary action, the same way an absorbent cloth can lift water against gravity out of puddle.
     
  4. GopherT

    AAC Fanatic!

    Nov 23, 2012
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    Strip the insulation off Some stranded wire and dip it into some flux. it works the same way and much cheaper.
     
  5. thatoneguy

    AAC Fanatic!

    Feb 19, 2009
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    Solder wick works through a combination of huge surface area for size (same reason lungs aren't empty balloons, for example), and each strand is saturated in flux, which "persuades" capillary action as mentioned above.
     
  6. #12

    Expert

    Nov 30, 2010
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    Sometimes the braid gets old. I refresh it by scraping with my pocket knife. Dip in liquid flux and use immediately. Water based flux doesn't work if you let it dry.
     
  7. BReeves

    Member

    Nov 24, 2012
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    Was working as an R&D tech for Hughes Aircraft in 1966 when one of the rework girls showed me a trick. She stripped the shield off a piece of coax cable and dipped it in flux. This was way before Solder Wick became commercially available.

    Another product we can thank the aerospace industry for.
     
  8. sheldons

    Active Member

    Oct 26, 2011
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    use of a desoldering pump can in some cases remove the pad from the track on the board,plus sometimes its a bit messy using a desoldering pump if you havnt bothered to empty it for a while where a bit of desolder braid is most of the time better and quicker to use.....i go for the desolder braid most of the time dependant on the component i need to remove from the pcb
     
  9. crutschow

    Expert

    Mar 14, 2008
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    The solder wick I've seen is not tinned, so it will likely absorb more solder than stranded wire but stranded wire will still work.

    The braid from shielded wire is generally finer than stranded wire so also would work better for that purpose.
     
  10. nigelwright7557

    Senior Member

    May 10, 2008
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    I find solder wick works great on SMD. If I blob across two or more pads the wick really gets rid of the excess very quickly.
     
  11. #12

    Expert

    Nov 30, 2010
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    and I can remove the pad very nicely with solder wick and too much heat!

    Once upon a time, I saw a solder sucker that actually worked. It used a can of vacuum and a foot pedal (available from Graingers). The business end was a heated steel tube attached to a glass vial, then to the vacuum hose. The re-work girl kept it meticulously clean and I am sure that was part of the success story. She replaced parts in plated through holes several hundred times a day and always returned the board looking as perfect as if she had never touched it. Good equipment makes good products, but it can be expensive.
     
  12. killivolt

    Active Member

    Jan 10, 2010
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    I work for a while in R&D, designs that failed needed to be repaired. If it was through hole, one trick I learn that works for me is use a little solder on the area. Heat it a little and Gently tap horizontally on the edge of your workbench. We usually had soft static matt on the bench, solders liquid state and weight, just falls out of the hole, as if you had a bubble maker and blew it out.

    If I had a DIP processor that was bad and I wanted to remove from a board. I would take it to the solder pot, heat it on all the pins and tap in the direction it was installed. This of course only if the surrounding components leads wear bent to prevent them from falling out too and if the Chips leads were straight, not bent over. It just drops right out including the solder from the holes.

    Another is if I had a bad chip in sensitive area's that I didn't want to disturb other components around it, was to take my pointed ended cutters and cut the leads off at the chip itself one by one, not at the board. Then at the 90deg angle, where the leads went into the chip, I hook it with my Solder Iron tip and pull it out.

    I only use solder wick for surface mount processors to clean the surface, before installing the new one. I also removed them the same as the above, I used the solder wick to aid removal of cut leads from the processor. You cut the leads off gently with a Razor at the Processors edge, this is "not recommended for noobs" You'll cut through your traces, experiment with old "used boards" first, requires a lot of hand eye quardination and Strength. Cut several light slices, first from one side then the other back and forth till you have cut them through, then move to the next row, until you make it around the entire chip. I could remove a 128 pin processor in less than 3 minutes including cleaning the leads off the board.
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2013
  13. DerStrom8

    Well-Known Member

    Feb 20, 2011
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    The braid design is really the only advantage over using regular stranded wire. It allows for better capillary action to draw the solder in.

    When a section of the braid is used up, it is intended to be snipped off.

    Personally, I prefer the solder sucker :p
     
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  14. killivolt

    Active Member

    Jan 10, 2010
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    Yes. get rid of the old stuff. If you can't afford new, follow other peoples cost effective methods.

    I didn't like the "Mechanical Vacuum Solder Suckers attached to the Soldering Iron" They seemed to clog quickly.
     
  15. ErnieM

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 24, 2011
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    My vote is for solder wick over a solder sucker, though I've only owned mechanical suckers (several types). Wick leaves a cleaner surface for me. My preferred brand is Chemtronics 5-25L or 5-100L (difference is length).

    In stick situations adding MORE solder can help, either on the board especially to clean out a stubborn thru hole, or on the braid itself to make a liquid metal connection from the braid to the board and prime the capillary action.
     
  16. DerStrom8

    Well-Known Member

    Feb 20, 2011
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    I agree, I've never been a fan of the vacuum type. I've always used a desoldering bulb. It's cheap ($3-$4) and you can easily adjust how much solder you want it to suck up by changing the pressure. It's also easy to unclog.

    [​IMG]
     
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  17. killivolt

    Active Member

    Jan 10, 2010
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    I've never seen one of these before. It's time to get one:)

    The spring loaded types, if your not carful, as #12 said, can detach the pads from the board, if repeatedly removing the same component.


    I've never thought of this, I'm probably to clumsy, most likely I would not be fast enough and stick it to the pad and pull it off:p
     
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