Go Down

Topic: desoldering headers (Read 18086 times) previous topic - next topic


I am trying to desolder the headers on my arduino (seeduino, actually) in order to create a lower profile board.
I consider myself fairly competent at soldering, but I am having a really hard time with the desoldering process.  I have a mid-range temperature controlled iron, a solder sucker, braid, and flux.  I have tried adding more solder to the joints (in order to get better heat transfer) before sucking, but I just can't seem to suck up enough of the solder to get the job done. And worse, I have inadvertently pulled up some of the pads.

I'm just wondering if anyone out there has any tips or tricks that I could try.  I think that using a hot-air station or chip quik might be my best option (so that I can heat up all the pins simultaneously, and then pull the header off).  I haven't invested in either of those options yet, though.

Any help would be greatly appreciated!


This is going to be really tough. Hot air and chip-quick or low-melt (same stuff really) will be helpful.

Braid is much better than a solder sucker IMHO. You can never have enough flux.

If you've already pulled up some pads you might want to quit while you're only a little bit behind. Once pads start lifting the board is quickly on its way to the trash.

The Gadget Shield: accelerometer, RGB LED, IR transmit/receive, speaker, microphone, light sensor, potentiometer, pushbuttons


Yeah, it seems a good time to buy a KIT and leaves the headers off, as needed.


Use some pliers & pull the plastic off, then you can unsolder the pins indivdually and pull them out much easier.
Designing & building electrical circuits for over 25 years.  Screw Shield for Mega/Due/Uno,  Bobuino with ATMega1284P, & other '328P & '1284P creations & offerings at  my website.


I bought some Chip quick low temperature solder.  That allowed me to heat up all the pins simultaneously and pull the headers off while the solder was still molten.  I then used to solder wick to clean up the excess solder left behind.  All in all this solution worked quite nicely.

Thanks everyone for the advice.


Chip quick low temperature solder

It's amazing stuff, isn't it?  Expensive, though.

I agree with CrossRoads.  If you're removing components you don't want and trying to keep a working PCB, it is generally better to cut your component into tiny pieces and remove it one lead at a time.  Which is entirely different than when you want to remove working components and don't care about the board...


Another vote for CrossRoads' method. I removed the headers from an Duemilanove clone by first taking pliers and pulling off the black plastic shield, leaving a bunch of fork-like metal prongs. Just desolder each of them individually, and they will slide right back into the plastic header when you're done. Just make sure you firmly push them all back in, then you can keep using the headers in another project.
Creative technologist + OSHW engineer + lover of learning interested in bio+art+tech, form and digital fabrication


Another +1 on CrossRoads' method. 

After struggling for about an hour using solder wick I came here, tried the pliers and they worked great!  Thanks coreyker for posting this question and to CrossRoads for your solution.


Wow, it has been nearly 4 years since I started posting (summerish 2010).  I don't even remember posting about this! Glad it worked for you.
Designing & building electrical circuits for over 25 years.  Screw Shield for Mega/Due/Uno,  Bobuino with ATMega1284P, & other '328P & '1284P creations & offerings at  my website.


I use the same technique
there are only 10 types of people
them that understands binary
and them that doesn't


When people pull the plastic off with pliers is it coming off "cleanly", in one piece, or are you breaking it off in pieces?  I just tried it on a broken Arduino and it wasn't coming off, with a lot of force. I need to remove some Arduino Due headers, so I want to know more before I risk breaking anything.



The method used applies to male headers.  Female headers will be much more difficult to remove without damage.


Tested seconds ago: Push against the header with your hand to make it lean. That'll make the contact go out of the plastic header. Then you can unsolder the contacts one by one before putting them back to the plastic thing.
Kind of dirt way, but you should not damage the board not the header that way.


If one is removing female headers, then rip off the plastic and don't be concerned about reusing them. Then the individual pins can be unsoldered. That was the discussion back in June 2011. Not male headers.
Designing & building electrical circuits for over 25 years.  Screw Shield for Mega/Due/Uno,  Bobuino with ATMega1284P, & other '328P & '1284P creations & offerings at  my website.


3 years on from the last post and I would like to ask the question...

Has there been a better way of removing headers?

I have a brand new mega and wish to remove all headers from the top of the board and replace with extra long pins under the board.

Cheers.. Mike.

Go Up