desoldering (was Re: VAX 9440)

Mark J. Blair nf6x at
Tue Nov 13 09:38:30 CST 2018

On the topic of desoldering tweezers: I don't like them. I've done tons of rework of components down to 0201 size. I consider 0201 to be difficult, but I found that once I could work on 0201 components at all, 0402 suddenly seemed easy to work with!

Anyway, the tweezers I've used had poor tip alignment, tips too blunt for small components, and of course the whole handle has to be positioned in a plane such that both tips touch their corresponding terminals at the same time. And that was with high-end Metcal tweezers.

Instead, I use two pencil-type irons, one in each hand, working under a stereo microscope. The tips are much better, and manipulating each tip independently provides great control of what's going on. Only drawback is that if you want to use a fancy, expensive iron, now you get to buy two of them. If you're tempted by a soldering station with two or more outputs, make sure that it can drive both simultaneously. There are dual-output stations that have two outputs but can only run one at a time, as well as ones which can drive two irons at once.

Mark J. Blair, NF6X <nf6x at>

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