solder wick

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Robert Smallwood
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Joined: Sat Jan 07, 2012 7:33 pm
Location: Merimbula NSW Australia

solder wick

Post by Robert Smallwood »

I am hoping this is an appropriate forum.

How do I use a solder wick to clean up messy drops of solder?

I assumed it would be like a reverse solder - ie heat up the wick & the affected area & the solder would magically run up the wick. It hasn't happened.

What is the correct way to use a wick to clean up messy soldering attempts?

Thanks,
Rob.

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Jim McConkey
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Re: solder wick

Post by Jim McConkey »

The wicks are only good for picking up small amounts of solder. Find a spring-loaded solder sucker for bigger blobs. You push a plunger in, and it sucks in molten solder when you click the trigger. Most any electronics store will have them. The Jaycar chain has them in your area, but the nearest one looks like it is well over an hour away in Albury.
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Charlie Schultz
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Re: solder wick

Post by Charlie Schultz »

+1 on the solder sucker. As far as the wick goes, I've had the best luck placing it between the solder blob and the soldering iron (basically pressing the iron against the wick).

Halgeir Wold
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Re: solder wick

Post by Halgeir Wold »

Solder wicks come in different qualities and various widths. Some brands are better impregnated with flux than others, which is essential for proper function. A flux pen ala a felt marker, to add some extra flux, may be good idea. Of course you have to heat both the wick and the joint or blob simultaneously, as said.
Solder suckers are OK for more heat tolerant components like switches and such, but are often hard on circuit boards. For PCBs I mostly use special desoldering tools or wicks.

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Jim McConkey
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Re: solder wick

Post by Jim McConkey »

You have to completely melt the blob regardless. Used properly, a solder sucker will remove the molten blob faster than a wick will. The only problem I have ever had is with poorly made printed circuit boards where the trace detaches from the board. A solder sucker will tend to inhale the trace as well. But if that happens, you need to be adding wire anyway.
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Mark Wybierala
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Location: Central New Jersey

Re: solder wick

Post by Mark Wybierala »

I very much like using wicking wire but I have both a solder sucker and the wicking wire. As mentioned already, solder wick comes in all sorts or different styles, thicknesses or widths, and different manufacturers use different fluxes or no flux at all. There is a time and place for both wicking wire or a solder sucker. If I really really don't want to damage a multipin component on a circuit board such as a six pin input jack, solder wick can do such a good job that it will usually remove the solder so well that I can just pull off the component and, it does it so well that there is minimal danger to the pads. I like the ProWick available from Mouser part# 577-1809-10F. It is .055" in width which is comparatively small but larger widths are available. If you use non-fluxed wicking wire, just dip the end of the wick into your tub of flux paste. You get better results if you only use the end of the wick and cut off the solder saturated end when it gets longer than 1/4". This keeps the mass of the wick low so it heats up quicker. The lower the wick mass and the thinner the wick, the quicker it will get up to temp and draw solder. But thin wick saturates quickly and saturated wick will not draw solder so you go through thin wick quickly.

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