Desoldering help

Hello. I’m doing a project where I have a second hand keyboard that I need to desolder to fix a stabilizer and the bottom row layout. I’ll have to desolder all the switches to get to the stabilizer and it’s a big board.

I do have an iron but I have no tools and no experience in desoldering and soldering. I can’t solder before I desolder.

What tools do people here reccomend for desoldering? I’ve heard that pumps are ineficcient and solder wick can burn the pads and they can lift it off. I’m not sure where in Newcastle one can go to use some of these tools. Ideally a dedicated desoldering gun. Any advice or help is appreciated.

Hey Ursula,

First off, have a read through our intro soldering tutorial, and of course, remember to use safety glasses and an extractor!

In regards to desoldering tools, we have this desoldering pump which does have some great reviews, and, depending on your budget this desoldering tool available.

If you want to get the hang of desoldering before you get to desoldering on the keyboard, you might be best to start off with something you aren’t too worried about damaging, like a PCB out of some old equipment (remember to make sure any parts are safely discharged prior to working on any board though!

A couple of tips I would give are:

  • Taking care not to heat up the pads too much (i.e. holding the soldering iron there for too long) as this can cause the pads to lift up when you use the solder sucker (this is more of an issue with older PCBs).
  • If you’re trying to remove a component with a lot of legs attached to the PCB, it can be helpful to flow some extra solder over the joins, that way you can keep all of the joins liquid at the same time and pull the component out more easily, then just suck up the extra solder.

Hope this helps get you started, good luck with your project!

I have a few old dead PC motherboards lying around to practice on. Should I even bother discharging the capacitors on those. They’re more than a decade old surely there’s no issues?

Also I got myself a cheap $10 desoldering pump (what could go wrong??) it seems that it’s all in the technique according to youtube tutorial videos. I also have a flux pen. That $600 desoldering pump would be good but I’m not about to drop some dough on that.

Speaking of expensive tools beginners shouldn’t buy. Is there anywhere in Newcastle one could use these types of tools? Even breifly for a project they don’t want to mess up by lacking such equipment? I can’t find any electronics hobby places (except for core and jaycar) in Newcastle.

Hi Ursula,

It’s safest to discharge any capacitors, especially those that might be large enough to be capable of delivering a shock, as they can hold onto their charge for a long while.

And I tend to agree, I’ve had some decent luck with a cheap soldering pump, it does take a little to get the hang of it though :slight_smile:

In regards to accessing those tools for beginners, you could try searching for some maker organizations in the area and see if they have them, but I can’t think of anywhere off the top of my head. If anything comes to mind I’ll let you know!


Are you sure you need to desolder the entire keyboard? Usually, the key tops can be pulled off, either with a keycap puller, or some judicious use of a flat screwdriver or similar. That usually gives access to the stabilisers.

Yeah. It’s unfortunatley the entire spacebar stabiliser assembly. And the way the plate is cut I can’t get the stab out without desoldering the whole board. Don’t cheap out on stabs lesson learned.