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I'm aware this question may be construed as asking for advice but I'm going to venture to ask anyways. Does anyone have a good method for removing larger TO‑220 or TO‑247 packages? I typically end up cutting the legs off and trying to remove one at a time without damaging the through hole pad.

While this often works one or two times, on boards that need repair often, I end up destroying the solder pads. Maybe this could also be caused by the holes being to small to allow proper remove of solder via solder wick?

Any Advice?

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    \$\begingroup\$ For throughole components a Solder Pump (aka Solder Sucker) works better than wick. \$\endgroup\$ – Nick Alexeev Oct 3 '16 at 2:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks, I do have one, although I question its quality because I rarely find it useful... \$\endgroup\$ – MadHatter Oct 3 '16 at 3:07
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    \$\begingroup\$ a foot or finger operated vacuum pump desoldering tool works best with sufficient heat and a hollow vacuum solder tube kept clean. adding solder to a manual pump often improves solder suckers \$\endgroup\$ – Sunnyskyguy EE75 Oct 3 '16 at 3:28
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The three legged components can pose a challenge during removal especially if they are soldered into multilayered boards with metalized vias. Heat from the soldering iron will quickly spread away and suction desoldering tool (vacuum sucker) won't able to clear the molten solder inside the vias.

My method of getting those three legged dead components out from the board is by using a heat spreader. Use a half inch length of 2.5mm^2 copper wire to bridge all three soldered point and wet it with abundant solder. Heat spreads quickly through that copper wire and melts the three points evenly.

While having them melted, hold the board strategically and gently pull out the dead piece from bottom. Once the component is fully removed, clear the vias using sucker.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Be careful not to start pulling device too early, or apply force while tin is not yet melted, otherwise you risk to remove metallization from the pads and damage the board. \$\endgroup\$ – Anonymous Oct 3 '16 at 9:05

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