Disclaimer: I have not been given any money by any companies for recommendation of these products – although I would absolutely LOVE if I could somehow make money off of these posts :p

I know every single experienced engineer will probably be scoffing for the next 20 minutes after reading that headline. There are a lot of cons to pulling components off of junk circuit boards: most components are dirt cheap anyways, you aren’t guaranteed a working component, you need to make a circuit board anyways, etc. But there is one pro, and the only pro I think matters to me. If I want to prototype some circuit, I can do it within the hour. I don’t need to order a component and wait a few days just to test out an idea.

With all of that being said, I have developed an interesting (I think) workflow for recycling old components. In fact, I have even created my own software for keeping track of my components. There are a few ways to go about this, and there may be better ways. But here is what I do.

Desoldering

I used to desolder my boards with a soldering iron and desoldering braid. I prefer MG Chemicals desoldering braid – I don’t really know why, but it just works. But this quickly got old, buying 50′ rolls and blowing through them super fast. Luckily since I work with electronics, and desoldering boards to repair them is a common task, I was able to purchase a Hakko FR-300 desoldering gun.

Oh.

My.

God.

Desoldering an entire Allen Bradley control board for a 30 year old laser took about an hour. Roughly 100 ICs were pulled. I absolutely love that desoldering gun. It pulls all of the solder out of through holes, which means prying parts out of a board after desoldering with some braid doesn’t result in as many broken parts. This thing changed my life (in a pretty minor way, but still).

Moving on:

 

Organizing

As I mentioned before, I needed a way to keep track of my components.

-more info coming here once I get pictures.

Recycling Components From Circuit Boards
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