Desoldering Photon Pins

Does anyone have a good idea of successful methods to desolder header pins on the Photon. The holes are so tight it’s nearly impossible to get the pins out after removing the plastic and trimming the headers on the top of the board. Looking to decrease as much weight as possible to get the project airborne.

You can get the Photon without header , the best way to remove the headers is not have them in the first place.


You can add some solder first (counter intuitive it sounds) so that it’s easier to hit up each hole and a little knock will help to dislodge the pins, one at a time :wink:

The way I do it takes a little while but does get them off, there’s a bit of risk…

After I take the plastic off, I hold the soldering iron on the pin and… uh… bang the board on the edge of the table so that the pins get dislodged and fall out. This is how @BDub showed me how to desolder the pins on my Spark Core back in the day :smile:


:laughing: :laughing: :laughing: I like your style Christine!

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You can always get a solder vacuum / solder sucker that will pull the solder out as you desolder each one. They can get pricey, but can be as little as under $5. I admit it’s hard to do on the Photon, but I’m not sure I like the idea of banging it against a table either…

I’ve done the same with a blowtorch on computer motherboards to salvage components. Works surprisingly well :see_no_evil:

You gotta try the heat it up and bang it method. There’s something about it that’s just satisfying :smile:

You only need a little force… no need to hulk smash it into the table.

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If your not a hardcore soldering god, I would cut off as many of a pin as possible so there’s only the part of the pin left that fills up the castellated hole and leave it like that. The weight of the remains of the pins are in my opinion just as much as the solder you add back when connecting wires to the photon.

And if you decide to remove the pins, put the photon in a wrench (sounds awful, be gentle :smile: ), heat up a pin with a very small soldering tip while pulling the pin out with pliers.
Take care, and good luck!
(would go for method one!)

Some time ago, I received my parcel of 40 photons,. only to discover I made a mistake when ordering. They should’ve been without headers, but I had ordered with… So I had the same problem you are facing, times 40 :s

Since I had no time to wait on another shipment, I had to desolder them manually… Tried the “banging” method, but it is not the easiest because of the small size of the photons. For me it worked by attaching a clothespin to a long piece of wood to hold the photon in place, so I had my right hand for soldering, and left hand for a pair of pliers.

And indeed, remove the plastic first, and add solder for better heat transfer.

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I’m not too fond of applying pressure to the metal casing, since that could dent it and cause internal shorts. Make sure you don’t apply too much pressure and handle it carefully.

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Agreed, however a clothespin is not that strong, and now that you mention it, I had them clamped the other way around, with the antenna facing out With most of the pressure around the buttons. This was just a quick photo to get the idea.

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Better? :wink: