Using soldering wick?

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by adamdc, Oct 24, 2014.

  1. adamdc

    Thread Starter New Member

    Oct 24, 2014
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    I am relatively new to soldering and I am in the process of fixing the PCB of an old guitar effects pedal. I have to remove some of the components. When using a soldering wick should I dip the wick in flux first?

    Thx
    Adam
     
  2. Lestraveled

    Well-Known Member

    May 19, 2014
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    Solder wick normally has flux in it. I have never added additional flux. Also, if you can, turn your temperature up ten degrees when you use wick.
     
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  3. GopherT

    AAC Fanatic!

    Nov 23, 2012
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    There is already a bit of flux-like material in good solder wick. The way I do it is, put the wick on top of the solder bead, then put your iron on top of the wick. The solder will melt into the wick. Lift both as soon after it flows. The solder won't flow far so you have to clip off the solder filled wick and repeat until the component can be wiggled free.

    Your iron should have more than the 10 - 15 watts of a soldering iron. A 25 watt is nice to have. A cheap one can be bought for $15 at radioShacks. You need a bit more power otherwise it takes too long to heat up and time kills just like temperature kills so balance what you are doing on transistors and chips.
     
  4. adamdc

    Thread Starter New Member

    Oct 24, 2014
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    Thanks for the quick replies!I think I need to start turning the heat up in my iron. I've been able to remove the solder but only a little at a time.
     
  5. Kermit2

    AAC Fanatic!

    Feb 5, 2010
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    soldet wick can be tricky. The flux moves/evaporates from an area past the point where the wicked up old solder appears to stop. clip off an extra 1/2 inch past that point so you have a fresh piece on the end.
     
  6. MrChips

    Moderator

    Oct 2, 2009
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    I only use solder wick as a second resort. For thru-hole components on single or double sided PCB I find a solder sucker usually works better.
     
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  7. alfacliff

    Well-Known Member

    Dec 13, 2013
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    if you have trouble getting soloder out of plated through holes, get your self a stainless steel dental pick, the kind with a long slender needle. just melt the solder, and stick the oick through the hole. solder will not stick to stanless.
     
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  8. mcgyvr

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 15, 2009
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    Sometimes I will actually add a bit more solder to the joint or hole and it makes it easier to remove with a wick..

    be very careful not to overheat and lift a pad.. Work it short bursts.
     
  9. ErnieM

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 24, 2011
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    Solder wick comes both fluxed and unfluxed, but the fluxed variety can have a very small amount of flux, so adding a bit more cannot hurt, as long as you don't mind cleaning it up later. I keep some denatured alcohol and a brush about to do this.

    I also find it oft useful to add a bit of solder between the iron tip and the flux. This greatly enhances heat transfer from the tip to the braid. If the liquid solder "leaks" thru to the bottom then the connections to be desoldered also get the enhanced transfer.

    As the braid becomes filled with solder I pull it along the joint to use a fresh section, but slowly so the hot solder is still part of the process.

    I'm not a fan of solder suckers. I've had many but always wind up using wick at the end. Big globs can be heated and then tap the whole board to make the blob fly off.

    Ultimately, you will find a way that works best for you as there is as much art as there is science in the soldering process.
     
  10. GopherT

    AAC Fanatic!

    Nov 23, 2012
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    Just a note that some stranded wire twisted fairly tight and poked into a flux pot works very well as desoldering wick. Especially nice for big wires / solder joints.
     
  11. sirch2

    Well-Known Member

    Jan 21, 2013
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    I use a solder sucker more than wick, but each to his own. However I agree with what EarnieM says regarding wick. I have found that adding a bit of flux really helps and for those jobs where you can thoroughly clean the board afterwards the merest hint of plumbers flux on the wick (i.e. wipe it on and wipe it off) works wonders
     
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  12. mcgyvr

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    Oct 15, 2009
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    Not in the "professional" world.. Thats a no-no
     
  13. Dr.killjoy

    Well-Known Member

    Apr 28, 2013
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    I use good quality solder wick and I find if I tin the tip of the wick with fresh solder and then start using the wick to remove solder then it makes life really easy.. Also with old solder joint I have a brass wire that I use to clean the joint to better help heat transfer...
     
  14. adam555

    Active Member

    Aug 17, 2013
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    You might have the same problem as me: I just bought a cheap Chinese soldering wick, and it's completely useless -even with added flux-.

    Never had any problems with good brands.
     
  15. Stuntman

    Active Member

    Mar 28, 2011
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    +1 solder sucker

    I use the wick too. Often what I will do is this, make sure I have fresh wick or add a little flux to the joint I"m desoldering (you should have a clean tinned tip to start the operation). If it is a large joint, I start using the wick about 1" (use good judgement) away from the previously used section, then after I see the solder start to flow, I actually begin slowly pulling the wick, sliding "new" wick between the solder tip and the joint. This allows the joint to continuously relinquish solder, without removing the iron. It's a little hard to explain in words, and seems difficult, but after you do it a few times, you pull a lot of solder very fast.

    If it's a small joint or light cleanup, you obviously don't need to do the sliding technique.

    Side Note: I generally don't use wick to actually REMOVE the part. If it's a two terminal through-hole, I will generally heat each termination with the soldering iron and wiggle the part out terminal by terminal. Almost the same with 2-terminal SMD. If it is >2 terminals, I use a pair of tweezers and a hot air gun, or the air-gun and an IC popper. The reason I mention this is I generally find that solder wick still leaves a light coating of solder and this will keep you from completely "desoldering" the part from the board. My iron-wiggle, and hot air gun techniques have salvaged hundreds (thousands?) of components over the years.
     
  16. crutschow

    Expert

    Mar 14, 2008
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    Plumbers flux is typically acid flux and that's a no-no for electronics work. :eek: It should be a rosin flux or other non-corrosive flux.
     
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  17. alfacliff

    Well-Known Member

    Dec 13, 2013
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    watch the heat, it takes a little more heat to use solder wick, but too much will cause the pads to lift off the bard.
     
  18. ErnieM

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 24, 2011
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    In the professional world big globs of excess solder do not exist.

    However it is common in the prototype or hobby areas where the rules are much looser.
     
  19. MaxHeadRoom

    Expert

    Jul 18, 2013
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    +1 for me also, it's years since I used solder wick.
    Max.
     
  20. mcgyvr

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 15, 2009
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    Oh yes they do..
     
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