Feb 28, 2011

Desoldering? How about drilling those vias out?

I have to admit I'm not very good at desoldering filled in vias on circuit boards. I have a success ratio of about 50% so far. Sometimes these are adjacent to ground planes which make them especially difficult to desolder. The last major fail I had, I applied too much heat and actually ruined the solder pad hole so that no solder would adhere to it.
One tip I found on a forum was to use a mini drill, also known as a pin vise, to drill out these kinds of holes. This is about the same labor effort as desoldering, but I find I have much more control, especially if I use the smallest possible drill bit in the set to start and work up as needed.
The mini drill I use is a cheap ($4.99 as of this writing) Harbor Freight model. I've used it successfully on three desoldering projects and haven't failed yet.
Here's a picture of the Harbor Freight 6 piece mini drill set:
Hf_mini_drill


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