Desoldering a QFP SMD IC using a candle.

Old NIC with just removed RTL8019.

Never do this. I mean it. It is dangerous, it is wrong, you may get hurt, your tools, your stuff or your house may be damaged. I did this because I didn't have proper tools at hand and it was a do or die weekend situation. You must use proper air soldering and desoldering tools. In Youtube you can find excellent videos on how to do this in a better manner.

If you want to see what is what I did, read on...

I had a Siteplayer macrochip with its RTL8019 IC damaged. I could connect to it via serial port, but it didn't connect to a network. So I went to a computer hardware store and asked if they had old ISA network cards, the clerk went to his deposit and brought back a bunch of cards, from which I chose two which luckily had the RTL8019. He charged 8,00US$ for each of the cards, soup nazi like: no discount for you!

Old ISA NIC.

These cards have components only in one side, so I proceeded to remove the labels right under the RTL8019 in the component-less side.

Removing back side labels.

Clean old NIC.

Right after that I lighted a candle and made a few attempts to close the board on top of the candle and made sure that nothing caught fire. Nothing wrong seemed to happen so I just held the board close to the flame.

Desoldering QFP SMD with candle.

I pushed the QFP to the side with tweezers and it only took about 10 seconds for it to start moving and immediately removed the board from the fire and I could easily lift the prized IC. Interestingly, right after the procedure, the IC was only lukewarm to the touch.

Old NIC with just removed RTL8019.

Just unsoldered RTL8019.

I flipped the IC and found that the black stuff from the candle went through the vias and left a few black, round spots that I could easily remove with antistatic foam.

Black spots in the back of the RTL8019.

A lot of black stuff from the candle was deposited on the board, but it was easily removed.

Old NIC PCB with black stuff.

Just unsoldered RTL8019



After I cleaned that stuff I was surprised to find that the board wasn't visibly damaged at all.

Old NIC PCB after candle desoldering.

Old NIC PCB after candle desoldering.

To remove the damaged IC from the Siteplayer, I used a hypodermic needle with its tip bent like a hook and a fine tipped soldering iron. I had no choice but to lift it pin by pin. As can be seen in the photo, a pad that wasn't connected to any trace got accidentally removed. All other pads remained ok. Under the Siteplayer's RTL8019 I found some mud. I have no clue from where it came from and probably is the cause of the failure. The device into which it is installed is used in a concrete factory's laboratory.

Siteplayer with its RTL8019 removed.



I cleaned the pads as well as I could with a soldering iron (no solder braid at hand) and simply soldered the “new” RTL8019 in the Siteplayer pin by pin using an ordinary fine tipped, nonregulated, 30W soldering iron.

Siteplayer with new RTL8019.

It doesn't look perfectly tidy but the Siteplayer is working perfectly.

Bookmark and Share