A Quick Guide On Desoldering
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A topic that is considered something that most people stay away from and something that scares almost all keeb enthusiasts is desoldering. But if you ever really wanted to change the switches you have on a keyboard or one of your switches breaks then its a necessary thing to know how to do.
I very much needed to do a jailhouse mod to my mx greens so I could have a good school keyboard. So today ill be showing you how to desolder a plank pcb although they will all be done the same just with varying sizes.
Before you start make sure you are careful while doing this its very easy to burn yourself and it is possible to fry your pcb while doing this so make sure you have a good heat and are really careful :)
To start you will need a few things
1. a soldering iron
2. a desoldering pump
3. something to clean the iron
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This is what my keeb looks like :3
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First you will have to start by taking off the keycaps

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then remove the top plate from the case (this may be much harder for large brand keyboards as opposed to DIYs)

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Then you can start to desolder the switches, this wont be the easiest task and will be extremely tedious. To do so you will apply your soldering iron to the metal then as quick as you can use the desoldering pump on the metal

then just repeat for every. single. solder point... (I had my heat too high here so try to find the right heat for you)

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hope this was helpful ^^ ill probably be putting up some more guides in the future so if there is anything you need help with just tell me and ill probably do a guide for it.

also I damaged my desk to make this so I hope you guys enjoyed this
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thumb_upJi Suk Chung, brimw99, and 39 others
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Chat_Addict
0
Feb 20, 2020
Nice write up, I've broken more than one keyboard surfing you know what :) I usually end up just putting up with a bunk setup, but it's nice to know I could just fix it up myself instead of buying new.
Mounds
61
Mar 24, 2018
Soldapult desoldering pump or bust. Been through a few terrible and terribly cheap pumps, and can say the Soldapult has very little competition in performance, aside from a professional desoldering station.
https://www.jensentools.com/edsyn-ds017-deluxe-soldapult-desoldering-pump/p/114-202
Also encourage keeb fans to explore holtites to avoid unnecessary work, if you're like me and can't decide on switch types. It's about $50 extra in parts to a build for the ROHS compliant holtites but they make a build / teardown cycle extremely brief. DigiKey for holtites :)
KeycapLord
6
Mar 23, 2018
For me I prefer melting the metal, and then pull the component out of the PCB. Later you can use desoldering pump to completely remove the metal from the PCB.
TuxKey
454
Mar 18, 2018
just found this review about the Engineer SS-20 solder sucker..seems to have a flaw.. https://youtu.be/oLeZgxACr64
yanfali
1521
Mar 19, 2018
That would be a good question for topclack. Huey and Brian seem to swap out the switches on their PCBs with disturbing regularity.
TuxKey
454
Mar 19, 2018
just asked them this on their twitter channel:
@topclack question how often can one desolder a keyboard safely? how often could you mod a switch lube spring swap, en re-use it?? you guys are probably the best qualified to answer that hearing how often you mod/replace switches.
TuxKey
454
Mar 18, 2018
Nice guide...i'm amazed that you do everything on the cheap and get good results. There i was looking to get a €375 bundle form batterfly.com that has the Hakko FR-301 desoldering gun and the Hakko FX-888D soldering station to do the same you do for $14 ahahha...On the upside i spend as little as i can on GPU's basically if it's silent and can power my 40inch monitor i'm happy with it.. The "​XFX Radeon RX 460" for €138 is at the top of my list for my next linux build ...
btw if anyone is interested in the fancy looking Engineer ss-02 solder sucker i found a EU store.. https://www.tme.eu/nl/details/fut.ss-02/soldeer-afzuigkappen/engineer/ss-02/ it's like €24 add two silicone hoses for €2,61 and your done..
Also the youtube vid you linked was impressive as hell.. quick heat application fast suction. That guy could give a auto desolder apparatus a run for it's $$
yanfali
1521
Nov 5, 2017
I've been doing a boat load of desoldering lately and I have a couple of pro tips. 1. Maintain your solder pump. I cleaned and lubed the pump and I was twice as productive after. 2. Use tip cleaner on your soldering tip. Once the tip comes oxidized it is worse than useless. I bought some hakko cleaner and treated my soldering tip with it. It was like have a nearly new iron. I made quick work of two rows of switches and their LEDs in half the time after making these simple changes to my setup.
yanfali
1521
Sep 16, 2017
So I started desoldering my ES87 last night and it didn't go so well. My solder pump turned out to be defective, shame it was a nice model. I damaged one of the switches, but I'll transplant the stem into a spare gateron brown housing.
I ordered a new pump based on recommendations from I:C, the engineer SS-20. By chance I discovered that adafruit has the lowest price by far. They must have some deal with engineer where they don't advertise the manufacturer because the picture clearly shows it's an SS-20. It's also about half the cost of Amazon, so well worth it.
Hopefully I can finish this up next week. I was going to use some spare brown springs I have, but after reading around ordered some 65g Sprit springs instead. I did test a brown springs and it felt much nicer than the stock clear spring.
yanfali
1521
Oct 12, 2017
Continuing our conversation from the other talk, this is the kind of anti-static mat I use. At least it's the same brand, but the one I have is much older and doesn't have an alligator clip but attaches directly to the ground pin of a 3pin outlet.
https://www.amazon.com/StarTech-com-24x27-5-Inch-Desktop-Anti-Static-M3013/dp/B00009XT3H
yanfali
1521
Oct 29, 2017
Just desoldered a TKL I no longer regularly use. Remained ESD safe for the entire process. 3 sessions of about 30-45 minutes each. Only lost 1 switch, and the PCB made it through relatively unscathed. I'm pretty certain now that when you desolder a PCB, you can buildup a lot of static and blow components like the MCU.
You said you lost your plank. Have you tried replacing the teensy? It'll probably come back to life. They're annoying to desolder intact, but since it's borked you don't have to be delicate. All the other components like diodes and resistors are relatively immune to static.
hapibanana
2
Sep 5, 2017
I have desoldered in the past and found out that I was failing a lot. What do you think of desoldering iron/gun? Would it make it easier for me?
WOOOOOOO
3
Sep 5, 2017
I wanted to post about this topic.
One if you're going to use a pump, get a good/big one with a lot of sucking force. Don't bother with the copper ribbon to absorb any solder unless you need it, or want to do a touch up.
I got a cheapo oem soldering gun for £80 on Ebay. They normally go for £200 - 500.
It worked perfectly. I have a feeling if I plugged it in today, 2 years later, it might not work at all. But idk. I haven't used it since.
I had to desolder 800 points (2 per LED + 2 per switch) between two KB's.
danrulz98
3
Sep 14, 2017
I can tell you from experience that they make life a lot easier ;)
noxxit
68
Sep 4, 2017
Pro tip: Get a flux pen and apply the flux directly before heating up the solder joint. The joint should be sucked clean by the solder sucker on the first go (most of the times) when doing this. This works way better than wick for through hole solder joints in my opinion.
Also be careful when cleaning the PCB afterwards. I already managed to rip off one of the SMD diodes on one of my boards while cleaning the flux residue. Vigorous wiping is not recommended.
PS: get a desk mat. ;)
TheSkeleton
2637
Sep 4, 2017
nah desk mats arent my style, I have a big steelseries mouse pad
HotRoderX
751
Sep 4, 2017
Nice guide wanted to say thanks! that really takes something scary like de-soldering and proves it's really not rocket sci! A tiny bit of common since! bit of patients and hair bit of speed and your gold. I do wonder thought what soldering iron is that in the picture? I gotta get one soon and not really wanting to spend the money on that 100 soldering kit every swears by.
TheSkeleton
2637
Sep 4, 2017
mine is a very cheap 20 kit off of amazon. not great but it does the trick https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01712N5C4/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o06_s02?ie=UTF8&psc=1
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