In some cases, replacing a defective integrated circuit (IC) can resurrect a malfunctioning piece of electronic equipment. In other cases, a broken computer card or other piece of electronics can be harvested for components for other projects. With care and the proper tools, removing an IC is not difficult.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Challenging
Things you need
- Soldering iron
- Heat sink
- Desoldering wick or pump
Heat up your soldering iron. The hotter the iron, the better.
Clip a heat sink to the IC or to the lead to be first desoldered. The heat sink will draw heat away from the potentially sensitive internal IC components.
Coat the lead to be desoldered with plenty of flux. Using a lot of flux will help the solder flow from the joint into the wick or pump.
Place the wick on the joint to be desoldered. If you are using a desoldering pump, skip this step.
Apply your hot iron to the wick until the solder melts and is drawn up into the wick. If you are using a pump, apply the soldering iron to the solder until it melts. Once melted, activate the pump to remove the solder. Repeat this until each pin on the IC has been desoldered.
Close your tweezers and slip them between the IC and the board. Make sure the tension on the tweezers is oriented so it is exerting pressure to separate the chip from the board.
Quickly heat the pins to release bits of remaining solder. The tension on the tweezers should lift the IC from the board.
Tips and warnings
- Using a hot iron will minimise the amount of time the iron is in contact with the solder pads and IC pins, thus minimising damage.
- In some cases, an IC will release quickly, and the tweezers may cause it to shoot across the room. Orient the board so you can easily find the IC if this happens.
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