Forum Rules and Etiquette

Our mission ...

This forum is part of our mission to promote the preservation of vintage computers through education and outreach. (In real life we also run events and have a museum.) We encourage you to join us, participate, share your knowledge, and enjoy.

This forum has been around in this format for over 15 years. These rules and guidelines help us maintain a healthy and active community, and we moderate the forum to keep things on track. Please familiarize yourself with these rules and guidelines.

Rule 1: Remain civil and respectful

There are several hundred people who actively participate here. People come from all different backgrounds and will have different ways of seeing things. You will not agree with everything you read here. Back-and-forth discussions are fine but do not cross the line into rude or disrespectful behavior.

Conduct yourself as you would at any other place where people come together in person to discuss their hobby. If you wouldn't say something to somebody in person, then you probably should not be writing it here.

This should be obvious but, just in case: profanity, threats, slurs against any group (sexual, racial, gender, etc.) will not be tolerated.

Rule 2: Stay close to the original topic being discussed
  • If you are starting a new thread choose a reasonable sub-forum to start your thread. (If you choose incorrectly don't worry, we can fix that.)
  • If you are responding to a thread, stay on topic - the original poster was trying to achieve something. You can always start a new thread instead of potentially "hijacking" an existing thread.

Rule 3: Contribute something meaningful

To put things in engineering terms, we value a high signal to noise ratio. Coming here should not be a waste of time.
  • This is not a chat room. If you are taking less than 30 seconds to make a post then you are probably doing something wrong. A post should be on topic, clear, and contribute something meaningful to the discussion. If people read your posts and feel that their time as been wasted, they will stop reading your posts. Worse yet, they will stop visiting and we'll lose their experience and contributions.
  • Do not bump threads.
  • Do not "necro-post" unless you are following up to a specific person on a specific thread. And even then, that person may have moved on. Just start a new thread for your related topic.
  • Use the Private Message system for posts that are targeted at a specific person.

Rule 4: "PM Sent!" messages (or, how to use the Private Message system)

This forum has a private message feature that we want people to use for messages that are not of general interest to other members.

In short, if you are going to reply to a thread and that reply is targeted to a specific individual and not of interest to anybody else (either now or in the future) then send a private message instead.

Here are some obvious examples of when you should not reply to a thread and use the PM system instead:
  • "PM Sent!": Do not tell the rest of us that you sent a PM ... the forum software will tell the other person that they have a PM waiting.
  • "How much is shipping to ....": This is a very specific and directed question that is not of interest to anybody else.

Why do we have this policy? Sending a "PM Sent!" type message basically wastes everybody else's time by making them having to scroll past a post in a thread that looks to be updated, when the update is not meaningful. And the person you are sending the PM to will be notified by the forum software that they have a message waiting for them. Look up at the top near the right edge where it says 'Notifications' ... if you have a PM waiting, it will tell you there.

Rule 5: Copyright and other legal issues

We are here to discuss vintage computing, so discussing software, books, and other intellectual property that is on-topic is fine. We don't want people using these forums to discuss or enable copyright violations or other things that are against the law; whether you agree with the law or not is irrelevant. Do not use our resources for something that is legally or morally questionable.

Our discussions here generally fall under "fair use." Telling people how to pirate a software title is an example of something that is not allowable here.

Reporting problematic posts

If you see spam, a wildly off-topic post, or something abusive or illegal please report the thread by clicking on the "Report Post" icon. (It looks like an exclamation point in a triangle and it is available under every post.) This send a notification to all of the moderators, so somebody will see it and deal with it.

If you are unsure you may consider sending a private message to a moderator instead.

New user moderation

New users are directly moderated so that we can weed spammers out early. This means that for your first 10 posts you will have some delay before they are seen. We understand this can be disruptive to the flow of conversation and we try to keep up with our new user moderation duties to avoid undue inconvenience. Please do not make duplicate posts, extra posts to bump your post count, or ask the moderators to expedite this process; 10 moderated posts will go by quickly.

New users also have a smaller personal message inbox limit and are rate limited when sending PMs to other users.

Other suggestions
  • Use Google, books, or other definitive sources. There is a lot of information out there.
  • Don't make people guess at what you are trying to say; we are not mind readers. Be clear and concise.
  • Spelling and grammar are not rated, but they do make a post easier to read.
See more
See less

Japanese 'Engineered' Solder Sucker

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

    Japanese 'Engineered' Solder Sucker

    This isn't specifically a vintage computer thing but, if you're into vintage computers in a big way you're going to eventually run into a need for some kind of desoldering tool. Desoldering is something I absolutely hate. I'm not good with it, I frequently damage things in the process, and it just takes forever. Previous to today, I had been using those (not too cheap) Radio Shack blue and white plastic solder suckers. These are adequate for a little while, but the plastic nozzles are easily melted and deformed. And at $12 a pop (before The Source, our Radio Shack replacement closed).. they were getting a bit expensive.

    I'm sure part of the issue is not the tool but the idiot handling it (me), but in reading around I find desoldering is definitely a chore few look forward to. Anyway, I went looking for a better mousetrap and settled on one of these Japanese 'engineered' solder suckers, and thought I'd share my experience with those who like me may not have much experience with this stuff.


    Okay, so they definitely put the 'engineer'ing into this thing. It costs $20.00 or so USD and it definitely feels like it should be. It is basically a solid piece of metal. The pushrod mechanism is very well built and strong. In fact, after a few desolderings, I had to take a break because it really tested the muscle in my thumb. Being metal through and through, the concern would obviously be solder getting stuck to the insides. The idea, as far as I can ascertain, is that there is a small silicone tube attached to the end. These take the brunt of the heat from the iron much better than plastic. I did about 30 desoldering operations and where my cheapo RS unit would have already been starting to get shaggy around the tip, this totally shrugged it off. As I mentioned, the suction is quite good. If you can get it right over what you're soldering it'll pull the solder right out of there, presto changeo. However, if you're not careful and going too fast, the thing can actually do the reverse and blow hot solder onto your skin! Anyway, the overall concept seems solid.


    I might be dense, but the silicone tube doesn't make much sense. The pushrod/piston/pin/whatever it's called doesn't extend much more than maybe 1/8th of an inch out of the end of the steel nozzle. You can't really make the tube longer than that.. otherwise solder just gets stuck in there. Where my RS units would take a big honking gob of solder with ease, this thing can only handle little nuggets, as much as can fit in about 1/8th an inch of silicone tube. As delivered the unit comes with a tube attached that is three times that length - solder simply gets stuck up in there. It also comes with some spare tubing to replace the tip as it wears out. It's quite possible there's something I'm doing wrong, of course. But I don't think so. As I mentioned, the suction is very strong - a few times it sucked the solder way past the tube and into the body of the unit itself, which is a problem.. because the solder sticks to the metal inside and requires Herculean force to dislodge. And I found because I couldn't cut the tube evenly, it was a bit tricky getting it positioned in such a way to get maximum suction on the solder.

    So is it worth it? Well, I think it did save me quite a bit of time. I've been desoldering my first TVT boards (because I made them too small) and it is a painful and arduous task with my RS unit. With this guy, it's still a bit of a pain because of the limited amount it can handle, but it does really pull a lot more solder off. I probably got the job done in about half the time vs the cheap RS unit. It does come at a cost of tiring out your hand more quickly though. I give it an A on overall quality, a C+ on functionality, for a B grade overall. To get to an A, they'd need to figure out a way to get the tube a bit longer for more capacity.. probably wtih a longer pin to push all the way through it. This would be useful in situations where you're taking on significant amounts of solder. Maybe they could teflon it inside the barrel to help solder that gets stuck up in there free more easily? I'm not sure. Like I said, I may be using it wrong. The instructions are in Japanese which makes it a bit of a challenge. But I think I'm using it correctly.

    Anyway, not a bad buy. Not a great one either, but not bad.
    Last edited by falter; January 19, 2018, 05:07 PM.

    Pardon my reaction, but--feh.

    If you want a really functional solder sucker (not everyone likes them) get the original big Edsyn DS017. If you prefer one with anti-static features, get the DS017LS. The standard blue one lists for about $20; the anti-static one for about $28. You can probably find them discounted with a bit of searching. The tips are PTFE, not silicone and are replaceable.

    One of these babies will last you for years, if your dog doesn't get hold of it.

    Reach me: vcfblackhole _at_ protonmail dot com.


      I haaaaaate those spring-loader solder-sucker tools simply for the fact that the solder's always solidified by the time you remove the iron, get the solder-sucker in place, and fire it off. What I prefer is the design which has a rubber bulb at the end of a suction tube bolted onto a full-fledged heating iron, so you can do the entire job with one tool and avoid the swappery, but I've only ever seen the damn things at Radio Shack, and they're going out of business...
      Computers: Amiga 1200, DEC VAXStation 4000/60, DEC MicroPDP-11/73
      Synthesizers: Roland JX-10/SH-09/MT-32/D-50, Yamaha DX7-II/V50/TX7/TG33/FB-01, Korg MS-20 Mini/ARP Odyssey/DW-8000/X5DR, Ensoniq SQ-80, E-mu Proteus/2, Moog Satellite, Oberheim SEM
      "'Legacy code' often differs from its suggested alternative by actually working and scaling." - Bjarne Stroustrup


        I could send you mine. I hate the thing. The only thing I like about it is if I'm removing a needed chip from an unneeded board, I can just squeeze the Dickens out of the bulb and just spray the solder around.

        My only issue with Soldapults is that they clog easily and they tend to spit solder back out just when you don't want it. Otherwise, that and braid is all I use.

        Now, if I had one with constant suction, I'd probably use that. That's one of those things I've always said I should get but never do.
        Be polite and I may let you live.


          Originally posted by commodorejohn View Post
          I haaaaaate those spring-loader solder-sucker tools simply for the fact that the solder's always solidified by the time you remove the iron, get the solder-sucker in place, and fire it off. What I prefer is the design which has a rubber bulb at the end of a suction tube bolted onto a full-fledged heating iron, so you can do the entire job with one tool and avoid the swappery, but I've only ever seen the damn things at Radio Shack, and they're going out of business...
          You can hold the soldering iron on one edge of the pad and put the solder-sucker on top of the pad at the same time. The 'plastic tip' is in fact made of Teflon and can withstand the heat of the soldering iron for quite some time.

          I used these 'sucker' for many years but found out that even the cheap Chinese desoldering sets (for example the Zonghdi) are working much better: heated tip and a real vacuum pump which is activated bij the press of a button. Of course if you have the cash and lots of desoldering to doo: buy a real brand desoldering tool.


            I have one of those solder sucker things from the late 70s that I bought in Japan. It has a teflon tip and it works acceptably, wouldn't say it was brilliant though. I've unclogged it countless times.
            Here's a picture of one of a number of Ungar soldering irons from my dad's IBM CE toolkit from the 1960s, perhaps late 1950s. It's fitted with a copper desoldering tip, the top end has a thread and I'm guessing some tubing going to a squeeze bulb was on there. A long time ago I recall this iron had a fragment piece of high-temp translucent rubber on it - it seemed like silicone tubing, but very old, and I think I may still have it somewhere. I don't ever recall any evacuation pump though. I've never actually used this iron myself, but have for the other old Ungar irons he had that have more conventional tips.

            Ungar_soldering_iron_desoldering_tip_1.jpg Ungar_soldering_iron_desoldering_tip_2.jpg


              I'm with Chuck I have an old sucker like that. The smaller ones like RS used to have were too small. I used to have one with the uncovered plunger but those were considered hazardous and you can get them any more. When it starts spitting the solder back out I just take a break and clean it.
              I've never had any luck with the smaller metal ones, like you see often. They just don't have enough suction.
              When I worked at Intel they had a vacuum pump and a heated tip with a hole like the Ungars. The only problem with it was that the tip never stayed tinned on it at the opening. The rework lady that used it would often pull pads because she'd used the force method to transfer the heat. That was in the late 80's. I suspect with something like a Metcal tip that only heated when you needed it, it wouldn't have oxidized as fast.
              I wish I had the money for a good Metcal iron but I use an old style Weller with the fixed temperature tips.
              My favorite tip is the small wedge tip. I don't much care for conical tips as they don't like to stay tinned at the small tip end. I don't know why. I think it has to do with the surface tension of the solder. I tends to pull away from the tiny tip.


                I keep one of the standard spring plunger types on the bench -- even with the Hakko 472D, I find the spring type just more convenient for removing solder around a really big pin than swapping tips on the Hakko. Now, the way to really give these things vacuum power, at least in my experience, is to take the thing apart and clean it, then grease the O-rings. Add high temperature grease to both the O-ring on the plunger and the one that seals the tip to the barrel. I use Lucas Red 'n Tacky, which I use on basically everything from tractor grease fittings to wheel bearings to floppy drives. It does *not* attack the rubber O-rings, I've been using it in my solder sucker for at least 5 years. It also reduces the friction on the way down, so it wears your hand out less quickly
                Check out The Glitch Works | My Retro Projects | Vintage Computer Services | Glitch Works Tindie Store -- Vintage Computer Kits and More


                  What glitch said--you have to keep the thing clean and lubed. Two-handed operation for even clumsy me, is not bad, as long as you have a board holder, such as a Panavise--iron in one hand, cocked Soldapullt in the other. The amount of solder that it will remove in one go is surprising. I've never had trouble with clogging or spraying solder around.

                  As I said, this is the big Soldapullt, the DS017. The smaller ones are a waste of plastic. Heck, I even have smaller metal one that was made in Sweden. It ain't no Volvo...
                  Reach me: vcfblackhole _at_ protonmail dot com.


                    I clean and grease mine regularly too. I'm not sure what you guys do different. But just about every time I use it I have to completely disassemble it and clean and lube it. Else little bits of hard solder tend to leak out at the most inopportune times. And upon removing a lot of solder, it will clog to the point of not being able to "reload" it.

                    It's not the end of the world; the full Mason jar I use to empty it proves that it works. And I always get the job done.

                    Mine is an AS196. I bought that after wearing out two DS017s. Maybe the problems I have are inherent to the AS196. I don't recall having these problems with the old ones. But it's been a couple of decades, so I could be wrong.
                    Be polite and I may let you live.



                      According to the Edsyn website, the AS196 is pretty much a plated DS017 and is advertised as being equivalent in performance. It seems that it's not the case, in your situation. Maybe the plating causes the solder to cool and solidify before it clears the nozzle. Dunno.
                      Reach me: vcfblackhole _at_ protonmail dot com.


                        So the one you were referring to Chuck - the tip on it is not regular plastic like the ones on the RS units? The ones on the RS units appear to just be normal plastic and warp *very* easily.


                          Originally posted by commodorejohn View Post
                          What I prefer is the design which has a rubber bulb at the end of a suction tube bolted onto a full-fledged heating iron, so you can do the entire job with one tool and avoid the swappery, but I've only ever seen the damn things at Radio Shack, and they're going out of business...
                          Look for an ECG J-045-DS (one supplier: I have one of the Radio Shack relabels of this unit that I've used for years, and another one new in its package, and I owned a third one thirty years ago that finally broke (I was trying to get some solder out, and I broke the tip from the heating element).

                          I've also used the little rubber bulbs with the PTFE tips, with reasonable results.
                          Thus spake Tandy Xenix System III version 3.2: "Bughlt: Sckmud Shut her down Scotty, she's sucking mud again!"


                            After trying out desoldering braid I could never go back to those atrocious things.
                            IBM 5170/5053, 2 x 5150/5051
                            Sun IPC, Ultra1 and SPARCclassic
                            HP Apollo 9000/735
                            Silicon Graphics Indy, O2
                            Radio Shack TRS-80 model 100
                            Apple Mac Plus


                              I've tried desoldering braid but I just can't figure out how to make it work.. I always end up with solder stuck in the pads.