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How to remove Header pins

Problem

Many off-the-shelf modules have header pins that can be difficult to work with, whether they are facing the right way or are the wrong configuration (vertical instead of horizontal, vice versa.) - Sometimes it can be easier for you to use wires instead of header pins, and you need a way to remove the existing header pins without causing damage to the module or causing a mess with a pair of side-cutters.

Removing the header pins is actually a very easy process when you remember that metal doesn't stick to plastic too well:

Step by Step instruction

  • 1. Firstly, mount the module in a vice or otherwise so that it is held firmly in place, with the header pins facing downwards. For this example we are using a microphone module that has a horizontal pin configuration that we straightened out with a pair of pliers first.

  • 2. Heat up the soldering iron and grip firmly on the pin with a pair of pliers.

  • 3. Apply the heat and pull on the pin to pull it vertically out of the solder pad and the plastic.

  • 4. Repeat for remaining pins.

you'll find the pins have left old solder there, plus whatever manufacturing chemicals they've used, and can generally look pretty messy, We can clean it up easily though:

  • 5. Apply fresh solder across the old pads, mopping up all the junk.
  • 6. Use a solder wick to mop and remove the new solder.

  • 7. Spray with alcohol and scrub with a brush or cloth to clean up any residual flux.

  • 8. Done!