Dipping your wick…

I mentioned about the troubles desoldering the GPIO pins when tailoring it for the new case. I’d done loads of soldering a decade ago, and used solder pumps, solder wick and a decent Weller 65W iron successfully. Seems these days though, most solders are now lead free, and that seems to have made it much harder than I remember; the melting point is seems hotter and the flux in the desoldering wick seems to vaporize at a much lower temperature than the solder melting.

In the end, to remove the A/V and GPIO pins, this is what I did:

  • The A/V connector just needed an iron with umph. I just about managed it with my existing Weller 65W combined with wick and solder pump.
  • Getting the GPIO pins out was a different matter altogether – it probably took me several hours spread across several days to get this right.
    • First I tried my old desoldering pump but the tip was too thick, and the suction too light
    • Then I tried desoldering wick (15 years old mind you!) and that just got stuck on to the pins!
    • Not one to be defeated, in the end, I bought myself a new soldering station, new wick, new solder, new tip tinner – with this lot I finally got 90% of the solder off
    • The last step was to put a tiny flat-head screwdriver (like the ones that seems to pop out of Christmas crackers!) between
      the board and the black plastic housing holding the GPIO pins; I used the screwdriver to to gently lever off the plastic, meaning then the pins could be removed one by one – a hot iron and a pair of tweezers finished up the jobs. A bit of tidying up with the new wick and the holds were ready for their new GPIO connector.

I suggest if you want to try this, first, lever the black plastic holder for the pins off first, then melt the solder on each pin individually and pull the pin out from the other side with tweezers / pliers, and finally use wick just to open up the holes again to take in the new pins / connector / whatever.

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