Looking for desoldering advice for MX LED switches

XCII

08 Jan 2020, 08:53

Hello.

I am planning to desolder an entire board of silent reds, that are the LED type.

I only have a cheapo soldering iron with a simple round tip, and I am kind of dreading having to desolder the LED's themselves, as I have tried to practice on a donor board, and it did not go well. Unfortunately, I have no solder sucker.

However, on my donor board, there are 4 legs pr LED, and as far as I can see, there are only 2 on the genuine cherry switches.

This leads me to believe that I just might have luck trying to heat both of the legs on each of the LED's at the same time, and then being able to pull the LED straight out, and then desolder the switch itself.

Do you guys have any other advice for me?

the_marsbar

08 Jan 2020, 10:33

To me that sounds like a good excuse to buy some equipment... Desoldering wick and a solder suction device.

JBert

08 Jan 2020, 10:59

Do you care only for the switches or do you want to reuse the keyboard PCB?

If it's the latter you will need to clean up the old solder and that can only be done with a solder sucker and / or braid.

However, if it's the former then having a solder sucker will still be interesting. When I remove solder with it then I dump that solder into a little metal box (think an Altoids tin). This recovered solder should not be used for new connections but it can help desoldering: just put some of the hardened drops next to the led contacts and melt it until the contacts have a lump of solder. When you then heat both of the solder lumps you will see they won't harden as quickly as usual due to the increased mass.

BEWARE THOUGH, it might splatter molten solder when you pull the LED out. Always wear goggles (or glasses) and wear clothing which won't mind a little drop of solder.

XCII

08 Jan 2020, 12:55

I will only need the switches; I am planning to put them in a Glorious hotswap keyboard, so I'll preferably need all of the switches to work

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swampangel

08 Jan 2020, 16:18

From someone who has ripped up his fair share of traces, do yourself a big favour and get a https://www.amazon.ca/Engineer-SS-02-So ... 002MJMXD4/ sooner rather than later.

If you're going to put the switches into hotswap sockets, you'll probably have to be careful to get as much solder as possible off the switch pins.

andrewjoy

08 Jan 2020, 17:04

Honestly , if your doing keyboard work even semi regularly you want a proper air pump or compressor operated desoldering station.

I have an ancient weller system that i use and its pritty good altho the hand piece has had its day and needs fixing.

In an ideal world you would go for something like this http://www.okinternational.com/hand-sol ... ork_System. It wont be cheap and you need an external compressor. You also want to idealy activate the air with a foot switch.

Something like this ebay unit is what i would say you should start with.

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Pro-Desolder ... SwfW5dkdeK

Findecanor

08 Jan 2020, 18:17

A box of 110 new unused Silent Red switches are only €40 otherwise, but the housings are not transparent.
https://www.reichelt.de/cherry-mx-devel ... 12402.html

JBert

09 Jan 2020, 14:21

andrewjoy wrote:
08 Jan 2020, 17:04
Honestly , if your doing keyboard work even semi regularly you want a proper air pump or compressor operated desoldering station.

I have an ancient weller system that i use and its pritty good altho the hand piece has had its day and needs fixing.

In an ideal world you would go for something like this http://www.okinternational.com/hand-sol ... ork_System. It wont be cheap and you need an external compressor. You also want to idealy activate the air with a foot switch.

Something like this ebay unit is what i would say you should start with.

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Pro-Desolder ... SwfW5dkdeK
Buying something more than a simple solder sucker isn't going to pay off for a single keyboard. Of course, if your main soldering iron is on the cheap side and you can get a rework station (soldering + desoldering) for a bargain, then maybe...

I didn't know such stations needed compressed air though, I would have thought everything was integrated in the base station.

andrewjoy

09 Jan 2020, 17:08

JBert wrote:
09 Jan 2020, 14:21

I didn't know such stations needed compressed air though, I would have thought everything was integrated in the base station.
That metcal does , some like the ebay one have a pump built in.

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