Ghetto repairs: Desoldering with a candle

Yes, that picture you are seeing is serious. [Roland] needed a chip for a damaged piece of electronics. He was lucky enough to find one on an old board at a local shop. The problem was, he didn’t have the hot air gun to remove the chip the correct way. Instead, he simply cooked the board over a candle to melt the solder. Interestingly, after he cleaned the candle-cooked board, it looked like it survived without damage. The chip worked fine and fixed his problems. Sometimes, we just don’t have the right tools for the job.

[via HackedGadgets]

66 thoughts on “Ghetto repairs: Desoldering with a candle

  1. I have Fixed my 360′s by taking off the xclamp and fans, putting fresh thermal paste on and letting it overheat again(xclamp off) then after it goes into a fit turn it off and put it all back together…. of course I also (most of the time) use screws instead if the xclamp…xclamp sucks…

  2. Most all devices are only specified for two re-flow operations any way , so if you take a component of a single sided board then thats it’s second re-flow and its not specified for re re-flowing it.

    A double sided board already goes through two re-flows top n bottom usually , so the chip has had its quota of re-flows anyway.

    Either way your going out of chip specs so its a touch and go operation using any method let alone a candle.

    Far easier to use a toaster oven or an electric skillet ,, at-least some control over temperature as most chips MAX temp is not that far above re-flow temprature

  3. thanks for posting this. i collect loaded pcbs off of broken tvs and other electronics i find by the road and sit on my couch and desolder them with a soldering iron. next time i might gi joe it with a lighter if its with in closer reach than the iron. this reminds me of how i strip wires with a lighter. just melt the plastic end of the wire you want to strip, while still hot and melted grab and pull with the tip of you thumb nail against the side of your index finger, make a fast delibrate action or you might get a little burn.
    this hack will save me some time and fulfill my little pyro heart, thanks for posting, oh and be carefull if there;s capacitors on board, they smell great when they explode, but if the parts are facing away from you at least you have a board to protect you

  4. yep, been there done that.

    i found the best method is to modify or buy a heat gun so that the outlet temperature can be controlled.

    the “ghetto” reflowing trick uses a piece of solder near the chip, you heat the board for about another 15-20 seconds after it “balls up” then slowly back off the heat gun over a minute then turn it off, to reduce stress on the PCB

    have also homebrewed 62c Indium Bismuth Tin alloy which works fine and costs slightly less.
    Bismuth tin lead (95c) also works well.

  5. NOOO!!!!! no no no!! NO!!!! ahahhhhh… you did not just post this for the rest of Shenzhen, Guangdong to read!! Last time I saw a bunch of guy sitting in a field pulling parts off boards over an open fire and a girl next to them stamping counterfeit part numbers onto them!! AHHHHH!

  6. I think this a good use of brain power.
    I have heated up vicegrips and other assorted
    gadgets to make repairs on a remote site.
    It is just another way to make a repair,while
    being able to control the amount of heat needed.

    bravo Jack

  7. Heh. I remember I needed an extra molex plug on my PC however both my soldering irons had broken about a year ago and I never bothered to replace them.

    A tea light candle seemed to do the trick quite well.

  8. I’ve salvaged hundreds of interesting and useful chips/jacks/passives/etc from old boards using a vice, mini torch and pliers… there’s no guarantees but it’s still free stuff… don’t breathe the fumes of burning pcb/lead though…

  9. I have removed ball grid arrays back in the day of real lead solder with a lighter. no damage to board or bga.

    nowadays the board will light on fire before the solder melts

  10. people in third world countries that import e-waste do this to reclaim and recycle parts. its terrible but true

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