While soldering a header socket I sometimes apply too much solder and it flows through, partially filling in one or two of the female sockets holes. This prevents the male headers from being inserted all the way. What are some methods for removing the solder from within?

I've tried to insert a jumper wire and then heat the wire with the soldering iron, but that did not seem to help. I do not own a solder sucker (yet), so I have not had a chance to try that yet.

Edit: I am attempting to remove the solder from within the header socket itself, not from the via/holes on the PCB.

  • \$\begingroup\$ The solder I am attempting to remove is inside the header socket. Would this still be considered a duplicate question? \$\endgroup\$ – Rhubarb Nov 23 '15 at 2:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ sorry I misunderstood it, just deleted the comment. \$\endgroup\$ – Wesley Lee Nov 23 '15 at 2:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ They are related though, just not dupes. This is in theory the same as clearing solder out of a via, but a via is accessible while the insides of a header contact is not. If it were not for the plastic around the contact, then maybe it would be the same, but the melt-able plastic makes this an Replace, not Repair situation. A male header (unshrouded) would be another story. \$\endgroup\$ – Passerby Nov 23 '15 at 2:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ Using a smaller diameter wire solder could help avoid the problem, giving more control to apply less solder. I have a 1lb (450g) roll of 0.020inch wire solder I've been slowly using up for years. A fine point soldering iron tip could also help; the solder tends to only flow where the metal surfaces are hot enough. \$\endgroup\$ – MarkU Nov 23 '15 at 3:49

If I understand you correctly, the solder is inside the contact, not the solder hole, then there is no practical way to fix it.

Some headers use a forked contact, others use a hollow square. In both cases, the solder gets wicked up with Capillary Action.

Once inside, the heat and time needed to reflow the solder, and wick it up with any typical desoldering wick or desoldering sucker tool will melt the plastic of the header. You won't be able to get close enough with most soldering irons to do it.

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Desolder the entire header, and replace it with a new one, using less solder of course. It's the only proper and practical way to do it.


Besides solder sucker which you already know (the mechanical and motorized ones) the only other method that comes to mind is a solder wick..

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p.s.: I have in extreme cases removed solder by melting the solder and bumping the pcb on the table, but I'm not sure if this qualifies as a real method..

  • \$\begingroup\$ I will see if I can find some of this laying around and give it a try. \$\endgroup\$ – Rhubarb Nov 23 '15 at 2:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ Solder wick does not seem to be working. \$\endgroup\$ – Rhubarb Nov 23 '15 at 2:45

If solder is in side the contact area, then sorry, game over.

Remove the header, fit a new one, solder more carefully this time.


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