Desoldering describes the process of removing solder to separate electrical components. Someone may need to desolder to replace a component or some wiring, or just to remove excess solder from a joint. Either a desolder pump, sometimes called a “solder sucker,” or a solder wick or braid is required to desolder.
To desolder a joint, a person must use a soldering iron as well as one of the desolder tools. Solder guns should not be used, however, as they could damage circuit boards and electrical components.
Preparation for desolder is the same no matter which tool is used. The soldering iron should be heated to about 770°F (about 400°C) to desolder electrical components. Its tip should be tinned — that is, coated in fresh solder and then wiped off on a wet sponge.
A good desoldering job should remove all the old solder so the component can be replaced or so the joint can be resoldered. After the solder is removed, a component may drop off easily or it may need some gentle help from a pair of pliers. Resoldering should be done carefully to prevent the need to desolder again.