Author Topic: I just desoldered the switches off a full-size board ...  (Read 2120 times)

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Offline emenelopee

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I just desoldered the switches off a full-size board ...
« on: Fri, 30 March 2018, 00:18:07 »
I just desoldered the switches off a full-size board along with through-switch LEDs.

Never again. Next time I'm buying new switches.
« Last Edit: Fri, 30 March 2018, 00:52:17 by emenelopee »

Offline BlindAssassin111

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Re: I just desoldered the switches off a full-size board ...
« Reply #1 on: Fri, 30 March 2018, 00:31:07 »
I desoldered my omnikey...that was a pain in the ass. Also did the same to my Masterkeys S to put jades in it. So much work...

Offline emenelopee

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Re: I just desoldered the switches off a full-size board ...
« Reply #2 on: Fri, 30 March 2018, 00:55:52 »
I desoldered my omnikey...that was a pain in the ass. Also did the same to my Masterkeys S to put jades in it. So much work...

About half way through I was getting so careless - there's no way I can reuse the PCB.

I wasn't so much the switches but the through-switch LEDs. Those are just massive bastards and they can go to hell.

Offline SpAmRaY

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Re: I just desoldered the switches off a full-size board ...
« Reply #3 on: Fri, 30 March 2018, 01:23:34 »
Get a desoldering gun.

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Offline emenelopee

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Re: I just desoldered the switches off a full-size board ...
« Reply #5 on: Fri, 30 March 2018, 08:58:36 »
There is no tool that makes it worth it - just buy new switches.

Offline crystalhand

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Re: I just desoldered the switches off a full-size board ...
« Reply #6 on: Fri, 30 March 2018, 09:28:49 »
Yeah the work required to desolder all those points on a board are certainly not worth the cost of new switches. At .30-$1 each I would rather just buy them

Offline Blaise170

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Re: I just desoldered the switches off a full-size board ...
« Reply #7 on: Fri, 30 March 2018, 09:33:59 »
I've desoldered somewhere in the ballpark of 40-50 boards over the years. A real desoldering station is definitely worth it. If you are desoldering a modern Cherry or clone board, it might not be worth it to you; the older stuff like vintage Cherry and Alps is definitely worth it, not least of which because the switches are no longer manufactured.
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Offline applehugger

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Re: I just desoldered the switches off a full-size board ...
« Reply #8 on: Fri, 30 March 2018, 10:14:37 »
Cherry switches can be a pain to remove from the mounting plate. I have yet to find a way that doesnít involve destroying at least a few per batch. That said, Iíve desoldered several full-sizes keyboards, both Cherry and ALPS, and I donít think itís a big deal. On average it takes me an hour or so. A good soldering iron and vacuum desoldering tool are important. Iíve never used a proper desoldering iron, but that would probably expedite the process even more.

So many nice Cherry keyboards out there only come with limited switch options. If you want different switches (Iím a huge fan of many of the Box switch designs Kailh is putting out), your options are to build a very small keyboard for a lot of money, or pick up a preassembled board and swap switches. I canít do anything smaller than full-size, so I have no option but to desolder. I find it kind of relaxing. Iíve desoldered two Dell Bigfoots just so I could paint the mounting plate black!

Offline MKULTRA

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Re: I just desoldered the switches off a full-size board ...
« Reply #9 on: Fri, 30 March 2018, 11:19:29 »
You aren't really a keyboard enthusiast if you haven't desoldered a board with wick before. Don't forget your stabilizers people!!!

Offline Blaise170

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Re: I just desoldered the switches off a full-size board ...
« Reply #10 on: Fri, 30 March 2018, 11:21:21 »
You aren't a real enthusiast unless you take the solder off with your bare hands!  :p
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Offline Kyi195

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Re: I just desoldered the switches off a full-size board ...
« Reply #11 on: Fri, 30 March 2018, 12:00:27 »
You aren't really a keyboard enthusiast if you haven't desoldered a board with wick before. Don't forget your stabilizers people!!!

Oh no!!  Desoldering with a wick would be so bad!!  I've desoldered 2 or 3 boards so far and it's all with the little hand pump that came in a small belkin tech kit I found.

Offline Blaise170

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Re: I just desoldered the switches off a full-size board ...
« Reply #12 on: Fri, 30 March 2018, 12:04:18 »
What bothers me about the hand pumps is that they get clogged so quickly. I have to empty them out at least 2-3 times for a full size board, and a lot of them eventually get so loose that they explode every now and then.
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Offline Kyi195

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Re: I just desoldered the switches off a full-size board ...
« Reply #13 on: Fri, 30 March 2018, 12:08:39 »
Actually I think I've desoldered 2 because I've used two hand pumps and lost each of them sometime after the desolder.  So I haven't had the pleasure of one exploding in my hands, but I can see what you mean about the clogging.  I usually just dropped the sucked up solder right after instead of trying to do a bunch of switches between empties

Offline emenelopee

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Re: I just desoldered the switches off a full-size board ...
« Reply #14 on: Fri, 30 March 2018, 13:31:42 »
I don't recall hating it so much when I re-switched a 65% - I'm putting this nightmare down to through-switch LEDs which are an abomination. That was a 400+ solder point adventure to scavenge some Gateron Yellows. Vintage switches, sure. Off-shelf 30c/pop, not worth the hassle, unless you really want to reuse the PCB, which I didn't.

And I don't know why the Engineer Solder Sucker gets so much praise - the silicone skirt degrades too quickly, and the tip gets clogged every other suck.

Offline Blaise170

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Re: I just desoldered the switches off a full-size board ...
« Reply #15 on: Fri, 30 March 2018, 13:38:03 »
I'm not familiar with the one you are talking about but they are basically all the same. I just used solder suckers from China that I got for $2/piece and they work just as good as any of the more expensive ones. More disposable that way too. I do still have some laying around, but I typically only use them for quick jobs (2-3 switches) so that I don't have to pull my station out of the closet (which also necessitates me using my cheap $10 soldering iron).
I proxy anything including keyboards (キーボード / 鍵盤), from both Japan (日本) and China (中國). For more information, you may visit my dedicated webpage here: https://www.keyboards.es/proxying.html

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Offline emenelopee

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Re: I just desoldered the switches off a full-size board ...
« Reply #16 on: Fri, 30 March 2018, 13:40:31 »
I'm not familiar with the one you are talking about but they are basically all the same. I just used solder suckers from China that I got for $2/piece and they work just as good as any of the more expensive ones. More disposable that way too. I do still have some laying around, but I typically only use them for quick jobs (2-3 switches) so that I don't have to pull my station out of the closet (which also necessitates me using my cheap $10 soldering iron).

This badboy https://www.amazon.com/Engineer-SS-02-Solder-Sucker/dp/B002MJMXD4

It looks great though. And Japanese engineering.

Offline Blaise170

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Re: I just desoldered the switches off a full-size board ...
« Reply #17 on: Fri, 30 March 2018, 13:48:12 »
$30?!

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Offline Leslieann

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Re: I just desoldered the switches off a full-size board ...
« Reply #18 on: Fri, 30 March 2018, 16:30:19 »
$30?!

Here's what you do...
By the cheap $10 clone, open it up, and add some grease to the o-ring inside.

Do that, it will work quite well. I've never used the more expensive one so I can't say it works better or worse, but out of the box, my cheap one was not so great.  The other bit of advice, be less scared to melt the tip of it than I was. You really need to get in there fast for them to work.
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Offline tp4tissue

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Re: I just desoldered the switches off a full-size board ...
« Reply #19 on: Fri, 30 March 2018, 18:26:38 »
$30?!

Here's what you do...
By the cheap $10 clone, open it up, and add some grease to the o-ring inside.

Do that, it will work quite well. I've never used the more expensive one so I can't say it works better or worse, but out of the box, my cheap one was not so great.  The other bit of advice, be less scared to melt the tip of it than I was. You really need to get in there fast for them to work.


I bought a whole new Cherry mx keyboard for $25 .. I would never pay $30 for a keyboard..

Offline emenelopee

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Re: I just desoldered the switches off a full-size board ...
« Reply #20 on: Fri, 30 March 2018, 18:44:25 »
$30?!

i don't know where the $30 came from - I guess prices can go up as well as down.

I have a cheap-o one which catapulted its guts across the room. This one at least stays together without self-disembowelling.

Offline Blaise170

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Re: I just desoldered the switches off a full-size board ...
« Reply #21 on: Fri, 30 March 2018, 18:50:42 »
At that price point you might as well get one of these!

https://amzn.to/2J8Zzz1
I proxy anything including keyboards (キーボード / 鍵盤), from both Japan (日本) and China (中國). For more information, you may visit my dedicated webpage here: https://www.keyboards.es/proxying.html

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Offline emenelopee

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Re: I just desoldered the switches off a full-size board ...
« Reply #22 on: Fri, 30 March 2018, 19:12:28 »
At that price point you might as well get one of these!

https://amzn.to/2J8Zzz1

Quote from: AMAZON REVIEW
Good for a few uses. Doesn't get hot enough at first, but then gets TOO hot. The tip decided to explode and shatter while working on a board thus ruining the de-soldering iron and the board I was working on. NTE Electronics, you owe me $65 -- the device was used properly and it went completely insane and could have easily caused some serious health injuries or other damage.

Reached out to the company and got an email from the VP himself offering a replacement + tips for the trouble. Still unhappy about what happened, but you can't beat that kind of service. Will likely continue using this item as long as it doesn't fail so spectacularly in the future.

Reviewed has been edited and change to 4 star. I wish I could do 3.5, however.

EXPLOSUMS!!!

Offline SpAmRaY

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Re: I just desoldered the switches off a full-size board ...
« Reply #23 on: Fri, 30 March 2018, 20:03:05 »
You aren't a real enthusiast unless you take the solder off with your bare hands! 
I removed a stabilizer wire from a completely assembled board with just a pocket knife and needle nose pliers.

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Offline phoible

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Re: I just desoldered the switches off a full-size board ...
« Reply #24 on: Sat, 31 March 2018, 00:02:26 »
I bought one of these recently after going through 2 of the cheap pumps in the past few years. It's massively better - probably sucks up twice as much as the cheaper pumps. Plus, having the cheap pumps come apart while using them is totally the pits.

I desoldered a board with it, and pretty much never needed more than one pump per connection (and it got all the solder, which I've never had happen before). Solder does get caught in the silicone tip, but it's pretty easy to clean out, and you can replace the tip easily (it includes some spare).

$30 does seem expensive, but it's a lot cheaper than a quality desoldering station, and works almost as well.

I find that high quality tools are totally worth the cost. They save time and money in the long run.
Also, for what it's worth, I paid $17.50 plus like $5 shipping through Adafruit. I'm in the US - may cost more in other places.

I'm not familiar with the one you are talking about but they are basically all the same. I just used solder suckers from China that I got for $2/piece and they work just as good as any of the more expensive ones. More disposable that way too. I do still have some laying around, but I typically only use them for quick jobs (2-3 switches) so that I don't have to pull my station out of the closet (which also necessitates me using my cheap $10 soldering iron).

This badboy https://www.amazon.com/Engineer-SS-02-Solder-Sucker/dp/B002MJMXD4

It looks great though. And Japanese engineering.
« Last Edit: Sat, 31 March 2018, 16:14:21 by phoible »

Offline Leslieann

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Re: I just desoldered the switches off a full-size board ...
« Reply #25 on: Sat, 31 March 2018, 01:56:39 »
I have a cheap-o one which catapulted its guts across the room. This one at least stays together without self-disembowelling.
Mine did too, but a but what i found was that it was twisting apart under use, so a bit of tape to keep it from twisting stopped that.


At that price point you might as well get one of these!

https://amzn.to/2J8Zzz1

I have one of these as well... while it worked great at first the tip is VERY, VERY susceptible to flux/rosin, mine developed a seriously hole in the tip as a result and lost all vacuum. I desoldered about one fullsize keyboard before the tip went bad.
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Offline jcoffin1981

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Re: I just desoldered the switches off a full-size board ...
« Reply #26 on: Tue, 17 April 2018, 03:03:21 »
I don't recall hating it so much when I re-switched a 65% - I'm putting this nightmare down to through-switch LEDs which are an abomination. That was a 400+ solder point adventure to scavenge some Gateron Yellows. Vintage switches, sure. Off-shelf 30c/pop, not worth the hassle, unless you really want to reuse the PCB, which I didn't.

And I don't know why the Engineer Solder Sucker gets so much praise - the silicone skirt degrades too quickly, and the tip gets clogged every other suck.

This
KPB V60 Gateron Browns and Leopold Keycaps.  Poker 3 with Gateron Browns and Poker keycaps.  Poker 3 with Cherry MX Browns, ABS keycaps and white LED's.

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Offline FSTP

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Re: I just desoldered the switches off a full-size board ...
« Reply #27 on: Wed, 18 April 2018, 20:27:26 »
I've only desoldered 4 boards, but have desoldered other projects, and I find it kind of relaxing sometimes. I have the Engineer SS-02 as well and its worth it. I find especially worth it even though its not like I'm desoldering every day or even every week.


For me the only reason to dedicate the time to desolder a board is to harvest vintage switches. If the board is fairly new, I agree, I would rather just buy new ones.

Offline jcoffin1981

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Re: I just desoldered the switches off a full-size board ...
« Reply #28 on: Fri, 27 April 2018, 22:49:38 »
I'm not familiar with the one you are talking about but they are basically all the same. I just used solder suckers from China that I got for $2/piece and they work just as good as any of the more expensive ones. More disposable that way too. I do still have some laying around, but I typically only use them for quick jobs (2-3 switches) so that I don't have to pull my station out of the closet (which also necessitates me using my cheap $10 soldering iron).

This badboy https://www.amazon.com/Engineer-SS-02-Solder-Sucker/dp/B002MJMXD4

It looks great though. And Japanese engineering.

I thought this was great at first.  However, The solder would not eject from the tubing and I spend all my time taking off the tubing and reattaching it.  A pump with a hard nylon tip is superiour in my opinion.  The solder easily ejects with a single push.
KPB V60 Gateron Browns and Leopold Keycaps.  Poker 3 with Gateron Browns and Poker keycaps.  Poker 3 with Cherry MX Browns, ABS keycaps and white LED's.

Leopold FC660M- my new favorite, right out of the box.