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Hak8or’s scavenge of electronic parts from old computer hardware

Posted on Monday, October 29th, 2012 in Chips, DIY by DP

Got an old computer collecting dust? Break out the hot air, and start scavenging for electronics gold. This is just what Hak8or did over the weekend. He took components form an old motherboard, and a SCSI PCI card. For a detailed component by component breakdown of his score check out his blog.

I wanted to get some better experience with the new hot air station, and the only way to get that is to actually de-solder some stuff, so here it is! It is not fully done yet, but I would like to post what I have so far for any possible comments or mention of something not working for someone.

Via the forum.

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6 Responses to “Hak8or’s scavenge of electronic parts from old computer hardware”

  1. systemstech says:

    I do this all the time but I use a infrared preheating station and the hot air, parts just fly off.

    • Rohit de Sa says:

      I pop boards into my toaster to preheat and then give them a final blast with a hot air gun (blower) before rapping them sharply on a desk to shake loose the components.

      • The electrolab hackerspace has a nice setup for this. They used a toaster and some mechanical ‘shaking device’ to shake the board (inside the toaster!) automatically until all components are desoldered. This is fun and efficient!

  2. Kris Lee says:

    What is your opinion about the safety of such operation?

    What protective measures should I take?

    What nasties may puff into the air? Solder, yes but what about heating the PCB? Components?

    I’m not sure (anymore (I have done this kind of stuff before)) that the benefits of this will weight up the risks.

    • Mikkelsen says:

      i have done this to, with some old boards from xbox and harddrives, not so sure if I can use the components, was just playing with my hot air station.
      No smoke to speak of, so I don’t see big problems with it, unless you burn stuff of course :)
      It can be nice to do such exercise so you learn how to adjust the fan and so,… I was blowing lots of the tiny components around when trying to desolder the bigger chips :)
      But you need some tweezers to poke the components so you see when they are loose.

    • hak8or says:

      Mikkelsen made pretty much all the good points. :P

      Safety, I would consider this safer than using a soldering iron to solder stuff. Flux is usually gone at this point, and the solder has already been “soldered”, so you don’t have exploding solder. There are fumes created if you are heating the board for too long, so do this in an open environment if you are just starting, because you are likely to burn the board the first few times generating fumes. Wear protective glasses in case, if it makes you feel better about it. Just make sure to avoid heating electrolytic capacitors, because I assume once you get them hot enough and let the paste inside evaporate, the safety grooves on the top will blow and you will get a fuming capacitor. Never happened to me though.

      Even if the solder is leaded, which it most likely is, I do have some ventilation going on in my basement, I keep my head clear of what ever fumes might rise from the board, and I normally wear my glasses while doing this. Not safety glasses, just glasses to help me see. The worst injury I had from using hot air, or de soldering in general, would be when I dropped my soldering iron and had a reflex of trying to catch it. Did not end will for my head, still have slight scars to this day. For hot air, I forgot that the board was hot and grabbed it, no scars though, just some of those first degree burns and bubbles. Always immediately put effected area under cold water with ice for a “LONG” time, by long I mean half an hour or more, and you won’t get any bubbles and decreased burns. Of course, make sure you don’t freeze your finger off by getting frost bite. :P

      Also, yey! I got front paged, but it is so incomplete! :(

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