We are in COVID lockdown in New Zealand so needs must, and I am reduced to ‘recovering’ some components off the trash PCBs I have had sitting around. For instance, the board below – pulled out of a replaced PIR alarm motion sensor in our house.
Previously I have used my soldering iron and (im)patiently jiggling the component out while vacuuming up the molten solder with a desoldering pump. This gets boring quickly: you can only heat one leg at a time and you need eight hands to coordinate the exercise.
A new method occurred to me – I am sure it has been done before:
- Hold corner of the board in a cast iron vice and use a heat gun to heat the solder side of PCB local to the thing you want off the board
- With other hand applying a gentle prying force to the component with something that to not going to melt (I have used long screwdrivers, steel pliers and a knitting needle).
The component of interest slips off as soon as solder melts.
Now scavenge away!
Now, putting this kind of uncontrolled heat into the circuit might do some damage, I suppose, so I would just stick to trash PCBs where you want to ‘recover’ something interesting and are not too precious.
🦺 Safety first
- Apply heat in well-ventilated space and/or wearing a mask. Who knows what fumes are driven off board and solder.
- Things (the board, the component, the prying tool etc) will be 🔥HOT🔥. Do I need to point this out? Well, I burnt myself so there you are.