How to scavenge electronic parts quickly and safely

Hi again! If you are like me, sometimes you take electronic devices home just to tear them apart and scavenge some electronic components or some dc/stepper motors. It's always a great way to learn about electronics and to save some money. Sometimes you get to know some new IC... sometimes you get some really expensive IC... sometimes you get an IC that you couldn't even buy if you wanted just one or two... So, my advice for you if you like to make some circuits for fun is to start scavenging all the electronic devices that your friends and family throw away.
Until today I always desoldered the components with a desoldering iron and a desoldering pump but that's really slow, really tiring and sometimes it's also very annoying when you want to remove some component that just won't come out of the board or gets its legs ripped apart after 5 minutes of heating, pushing and pulling. Removing conectors or ICs with lots of pins is always very hard too. And the worst part.. it's not good for your health since it releases lots of dangerous fumes. But now I use a new technique! :D

(Click the photo for better resolution in Picasa Photostream)
Last week I saw a webpage from pcbheaven describing a way of salvaging every kind of electronic components in a very fast and efficient way: using an hot air gun! The video on the webpage I referred convinced me, so today I went to the hardware store and bought the low cost 2000W BT-HA 2000 Einhell Hot Air Gun which goes from 350ºC to 550ºC. It costs about 25€. When I arrived home I began experimenting with it and it worked exactly as desired :D. I am now a fan of hot air desoldering :P. In about an hour and half I desoldered all the components shown in one of the pictures. I could have removed much more components but I only removed the ones that maybe I could use.

(Click the photo for better resolution in Picasa Photostream)
I also noticed that this way there aren't so many fumes going into your nose since you can ( and you should! ) keep your head away. Those times when you had to be looking at the components closely and inhaling the fumes are over. As soon as I started, I learned a valuable lesson: first desolder all the connectors or they will melt while you try to remove other components. I learned it the hard way :x. However, in general it's pretty easy to desolder using the hot air gun. Just point the gun at the terminals for some seconds, then grab the component with some pliers and pull it.
Try not to burn yourself. As security you can and should use protective gloves and glasses.
Oh, and last but not least, don't forget to dispose the remaining components and PCBs properly!

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  1. Parabéns excelente dica convenceste - me :D
    Já estou à procura de uma para encomenda online XD...
    Já agora tens aqui um excelente blog com muitas boas dicas desde já parabéns!
    Cumps ruimarinhopt !

  2. Boas! :) Antes de mais obrigado! Quanto à pistola, se queres comprar uma aconselho-te a procurar uma loja De Borla. Depois ter comprado a minha da Einhell acabei por comprar uma nessas lojas, mas da Bavaria (by einhell) e acontece que são exactamente iguais, só muda a cor. E a da Bavaria custa menos 10 euros!(fica por volta dos 15€) Se morares perto de alguma loja dessas experimenta passar lá :). A pistola não só é boa para dessoldar componentes mas também é útil para dobrar plásticos como acrílicos e para secar algumas colas de Epoxy que se forem "cozinhadas" a temperaturas mais altas antes de aplicadas podem aguentar até 300Kg :) É uma ferramenta que serve para muita coisa e aconselho ;) Obrigado pelos elogios ao blog:) Apesar de estar parado há cerca de um mês em breve volto a dinamizá-lo porque tenho alguns projectos de longa duração quase finalizados para colocar aqui :) Cumprimentos e boas compras! :)