Desoldering Station Suction Troubleshooting

Anyone who works on electronics regularly needs a desoldering station. However, suction problems can really hinder your ability to work with components. If your desoldering station’s suction action is properly performing, use the following information to address the issue.



The desoldering station must have an electrical source for the suction to function, so if you have no suction, start by checking the power source. (Note: Some stations will only work with a one hundred ten volt outlet; ensure you’re using the correct type of outlet.) Also check that the cord isn’t frayed or damaged in any way. Sometimes the current isn’t strong enough to power the desoldering station, in which case you can use an ohmmeter to check the outlet’s current.



When you desolder something, the station’s suction will draw up the solder and filter it, and the filter is designed to resist excessive heat. If you’ve used your desoldering station for some time, solder may have built up on the filter and blocked suction action, so be sure to check it: wait for the station to cool, remove the filter from the pipe (you may need a screwdriver or wrench), and then clean or replace the filter.



If your desoldering station is older, the soldering nozzle may be clogged. Frequent use and extended periods of disuse can result in solder buildup within the nozzle, which will prevent air from flowing freely and weaken suction. Fortunately, correcting a clogged nozzle is easy; use a cleaning pin designed for your nozzle and clean it (it may take up to thirty minutes on especially clogged nozzles).


Inner Pump

The last thing to check is your desoldering station’s inner pump. The pump is a lot like a vacuum on a much smaller scale and with a great deal more power. Fixing the inner pump is difficult, so you’ll likely need to meet with a professional. Consult your instruction manual for directions regarding pump inspection and maintenance. If you’re an experienced repairman, you may be able to request a replacement pump from the manufacturer and replace it yourself.

Nick Jakubowski


George Leger has a Masters in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University, worked in private industry pioneering surface-mount technology and in government research labs for twenty years, published several papers on surface-mount technology, co-authored papers published in national symposiums on accelerator technology, was past president of SMTA and an adjunct professor at the community college level, holds a patent, and is a certified microchip design partner, serving as a consultant to many companies developing electronic circuits.

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