Using soldering wick?

Thread Starter

adamdc

Joined Oct 24, 2014
2
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
 

GopherT

Joined Nov 23, 2012
8,009
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.
 

Thread Starter

adamdc

Joined Oct 24, 2014
2
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.
 

Kermit2

Joined Feb 5, 2010
4,162
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.
 

MrChips

Joined Oct 2, 2009
27,723
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.
 

alfacliff

Joined Dec 13, 2013
2,458
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.
 

mcgyvr

Joined Oct 15, 2009
5,394
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.
 

ErnieM

Joined Apr 24, 2011
8,346
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.
 

GopherT

Joined Nov 23, 2012
8,009
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.
 

sirch2

Joined Jan 21, 2013
1,029
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
 

Dr.killjoy

Joined Apr 28, 2013
1,196
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...
 

adam555

Joined Aug 17, 2013
858
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.
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.
 

Stuntman

Joined Mar 28, 2011
221
+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.
 

crutschow

Joined Mar 14, 2008
31,149
....................................... the merest hint of plumbers flux on the wick (i.e. wipe it on and wipe it off) works wonders
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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