Monday, March 7, 2011

New Desoldering Station...

After years of using solder wick, squeeze bulbs, and manual pumps, I finally broke down and bought a half-ways decent desoldering station. The straw that broke the camel's back was working on a whole pile of PC's and motherboards with bad capacitors that several people gave me. It would take me 20~30 minutes using wick and/or a bulb to get the solder out of the holes on the multi-layer boards, and could get pretty frustrating. Especially on the minus lead of the capacitor, as it usually goes to a LARGE ground foil which conducts the heat away pretty rapidly. It would take a combination of brute force and great delicacy to get the solder and the lead hot enough to wick off or suck out the solder without overheating the board and damaging the foil. I'm pretty good at it, but once in a while I'd lift a pad or a trace, and then have to spend extra time repairing the board.
Well, with my handy dandy SMTmax ML-859 Desoldering station, I can heat up the lead, squeeze the trigger, and SLURP! there goes the solder.
I'd been mulling over which one of the many units on the market to buy, and finally decided to get this one. Several times I came *this close* to buying one of the $400~$500 units, but always backed off. This one cost $155 plus shipping, and if it wears out in 3 or 4 years, I'll just get another one, although it came with enough spare parts to keep it going for quite a while.
I'll still keep a good supply of wick on hand, and I have several bulbs and pumps, but for the more delicate stuff, I'll use the new unit.
Besides, it's fun to squeeze a trigger, and see stuff disappear!


  1. Oh man that rocks! I had hot air desoldering stations and molten pots at Western Electric to do that stuff at work long ago. I too run the old school stuff here working on radios.

    I need one of these!


  2. You worked for WECO??
    So did I!
    I worked at the Aurora and Montgomery plants back in the early 70's on the ESS-5 (I think) circuit packs!
    Remember "Hello, Charley"?

  3. drjim- Worked on SLC-96 cards. Troubleshooter. North Carolina Works. Hello "Charley Western" indeed!

  4. LOL- sometimes it's the 'little' things!!! :-) Enjoy!


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