How to Remove a Capacitor Soldered to a Circuit Board

Written by tom becker
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How to Remove a Capacitor Soldered to a Circuit Board
Capacitors and other components on a computer circuit board. (circuit board image by Michael Shake from

Capacitors are an integral part of a circuit board. They store up and release an electrical charge as well as prevent the flow of certain currents while allowing others to pass. They can occasionally malfunction, even bursting and spilling their electrolyte contents over the circuit board. When this happens, it is crucial to know how to properly remove soldered capacitors for easy circuit-board cleaning and replacement. With the right tools and technique, you can remove a capacitor soldered to a circuit board.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Soldering iron
  • Solder braid
  • Capacitor discharge tool
  • Grounding clip

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  1. 1

    Plug in a soldering iron and rest it in its cradle, allowing it to heat up for at least 15 minutes.

  2. 2

    Discharge the capacitors fully if they are high voltage, using a capacitor discharge tool. Normal voltage capacitors do not need to be discharged. Refer to the device's instruction manual before attempting to remove the capacitors.

  3. 3

    Remove the circuit board from the device. Some circuit boards can be removed by flipping a locking tab and sliding out, others are held in place by screws and can be removed with a screwdriver. Make sure to use a grounding clip when using metal screwdrivers on circuit boards. If the circuit board cannot be removed, clear away as much of the wires and other components as possible from the capacitor area.

  4. 4

    Apply soldering braid to the base of the capacitor where the leads are soldered to the circuit board.

  5. 5

    Press the fully heated soldering iron against the braid so that the solder heats up and is drawn into the braid. Continue this process until the solder is removed from the capacitor leads.

  6. 6

    Pull the capacitor free from the circuit board.

  7. 7

    Remove any remaining solder from the contact points on the circuit board with the soldering braid and soldering iron.

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