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Figure 2 - A higher heat setting is best for unsoldering larger components
Figure 2 - A higher heat setting is best for unsoldering larger components

If your soldering system includes a dial to set the heat (amperage), then this will come in handy when working with the larger through-hole components and board mounted hardware such as switches, heat sinks, connectors, and large pin devices. You don't have to worry too much about damaging a component with a soldering iron as it has been designed to withstand a lot more heat during the manufacturing process than you will be subjecting it to here. When I am unsoldering, I always crank up my station to the highest setting, as this releases the part faster, subjecting it to less time under the gun.



Figure 3 - Get used to arming and aiming the solder sucker with accuracy
Figure 3 - Get used to arming and aiming the solder sucker with accuracy

Once you become proficient at arming, aiming, and snapping the desoldering tool, you will be able to lift a 40 pin IC from a circuit board in about 60 seconds flat. This tool will allow you to cleanly rip up just about any component from a board in such a way that the pins look almost brand new again, ready to be inserted into a solderless breadboard. It does take some practice to get the rhythm down though, and there is a split second where the solder sucker must be positioned right over the pin just as the solder pools in order to completely evacuate a hole. If you are too slow or fail to aim the top over the hole, you will only pull up part of the solder, and this will require you to actually use new solder to fill the hole back in again so you can try a second time. Proficiency will come with practice, and after your 10th TV circuit board, you will be able to wield the soldering gun and desoldering toll with Jedi reflexes. Oh, and your thumb muscles will ache for a while as you get used to pressing down that button.

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