Cleanly de-soldering a pin header

boldport has written an article describing a technique he’s used for removing the header cleanly:

Know that sinking feeling after realising that you’ve soldered that 40-pin header on the wrong side of the board? I’ve come up with a technique that works for me for removing the header cleanly and I describe it in the video.

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  1. I’ve removed headers before, but didn’t have a fine tip to push the pins all the way through. I used solder wick and a bit of flux to get the pins out. I’ll have to get a fine tip as it looks easier (and since I’m doing more surface-mount work).
    I found I didn’t have to remove the plastic on the header, as the pins would just slide through it once they’re heated up.

  2. This technique, while valid, is way too much work. This particular type of header is best removed as follows:

    Clamp board in vise.
    Heat one pin at a time and pull out using needle-node pliers. (pin will easily pull out if the header housing).
    Clean vias using solder wick.

    Better yet, do it right the first time…

  3. I solder a thick straight copper wire to all the pins and then apply solder tip to the wire.
    The wire transfers heat to ALL the pins simultaneously and after a awhile I can pull the header out in its entirety.
    For DIL headers I use two wires and alternatively heat the two wires to melt the solder on the header pins simultaneously.
    With two wired it’s a bit fiddly but still faster.
    Alternatively bend the wire into a “U” shape

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