Soldering doubts

Hi all,

Would like your guidance and advice on soldering.

Normal wire vs. flux lined? which one is better and why?

How do I de-solder berg pins?

Secondly, some recommendations of brands of soldering irons will be much appreciated as well.


Header pins.

There are two schools about solder types.

Leaded and unleaded, the easiest to use is the leaded variety.
Rosin cored solder is preferable as it cleans as it joins.

If you are doing PCB and/or basic electronic work, 1mm or 0.7mm is good, it enables you to control the feed of the solder into the joint.

Soldering irons as varied, but a soldering iron with temperature control is the best.
This will stop you from damaging the PCB with too much heat, and not getting a good joint with too little head.

Tom.. :smiley: :+1: :coffee: :australia:
PS. There will be more suggestions from various members about this subject, depending on what you would be soldering.

Removing header pins is difficult if you want to reuse them, the black plastic will melt, so your best to invest in a stock of headers.

Solderwick is a good method to remove solder, or a solder sucker, there are many manually operated ones on the market.

Tom... :smiley: :+1: :coffee: :australia:

That's good because the one I bought has temp control :smiley:

I've also bought a micro soldering iron for miniscule soldering on PCB's.

Right now the biggest issue I'm facing is desoldering headers, and I can't figure out a way to do it.

Cut the plastic and remove them one pin at a time, just by heating and pulling with pliers. Once they're all removed. clean up the holes with solderwick.

In general, there are two strategies for removing components, depending one whether you are trying to save the components, or trying to save the board.


by this you mean the copper mesh lined with flux right?

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For desoldering through hole components a solder sucker is invaluable. Note that I have no idea whether it's the right name for the tool, since I've never heard it mentioned in english, I just translated word by word. But it should put you on the track.

Edit: I just saw Tom mentioned the same thing. Get one of those!

Okay, I guess I'll get both!

The solder sucker is mainly for pcb components as opposed to header pins correct?

Yep, I saw his edit too!

Not really - it works on both. Through-hole joints (like most headers) are always harder to "suck" clean. You need to be quick with the sucker because as soon as you remove the iron the solder will start to solidify. It needs practice.

But anyway, @westfw has the best suggestion: cut and remove the black plastic, then remove each pin at a time with some long-nose pliers as you hold the soldering iron on the other side.

Oh, I forgot: if at all possible get leaded (60/40) solder with a rosin flux core. Leaded is far easier to use than lead-free. You might need to order it from a foreign supplier; here in the UK, RS and Farnell won't sell leaded solder unless you jump through various hoops.

Ok cool - understood.

In India both varieties are found pretty easily, my local vendor had ample supply of both and with and without flux. Whether Rosin or not, I'm not aware but I've bought flux cored leaded and standard leaded as well as lead-free just to try it out.

If the pins are not bent there is no need to cut the black plastic. It is possible to remove and save it. You get something thin between the plastic and the PCB and with some patience you can slowly move it up. You must do it in small steps evenly over the whole length.

Actually, yes, if you want to reuse the connector that definitely works.

I remove as much solder with wick before any mechanical means is applied for removing something from a through hole.

If I lucky, the pin or lead almost falls out.

Clean up with wick after, yes.

Good wick is, well, good. Bad wick can make things worse, as can bad technique, so practice and use Chemtronics brand.

Wish I had kept tack of how many meters of solderwick I have used in never mind how many years.…

I have a solder sucker somewhere, haven't seen it or wanted to find it in years. Maybe it was an inferior tool or I just didn't get the hang of it.

The right soldiering iron is key.

Practice. Practice. Practice.


I've destroyed a few boards with my clumsy desoldering so I reckon desoldering techniques are just as important as soldering techniques.

Both solder wick and the solder sucker can pull out the tiny metal lining the through hole. I think you should bring the tip of the sucker close to the molten solder and at an angle but not pressed flush against the board.

You can remove molten solder by quickly striking the board against a hard surface. You can free an entire header block in one piece this way. You can also get molten solder out of a hole this way rather than using the sucker or wick. Does anyone recommend against doing this?

If cutting the plastic be aware of the forces you are imposing on the pins and the metal lining the through hole. These aren't super strong.

Keep destroyed boards for desoldering and soldering practise.

I do that alla time, mostly on things like potentiometer or switch that has been wired to. Not so much for PCB, but it does work well and can provide a bit of excitement, watch out for hot solder splashes.


learned to not splash the hard way :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:

yup. I have destroyed 2-3 boards and haven't thrown them nor do I intend to.

You and 99.44 percent of everyone who ever. :wink:


practice is always key!

I tried out the solder sucker and returned it, didn't like it. Preferred the wick much more. Although its a bit cheap compared to a little higher end wicks, it gets the job done.