How to clean a desoldering pump
There are the traditional hand-operated solder suckers and the more modern electric soldering pumps. At times, the manually operated type may suck up the bits of solder into its actuator, clogging it. If this happens, you will need to clean the equipment. Follow the steps below to get your pump clean and running smoothly.
1) Take the pump apart
Most desoldering pumps consist of a chamber that accommodates a plunger and a spring. Locate where the plunger and the exterior hollow chambers for a screw union, and unscrew them.
2) Remove loose solder
Invert the outer hollow part (the barrel), and tap it severally against a flat surface to dislodge the loose bits of solder.
3) Clean with a swab
Get a cotton swab or the ordinary earbud and wet in 70% isopropyl alcohol solution. Insert the wetted cotton swab into the bore of the barrel and wipe it all the way to the bottom. When one side of the swab gets dirty, switch to the other tip. If the barrel’s bottom is unreachable with the swab, you can use a longer cotton-tipped stick wetted in isopropyl alcohol.
4) Clean the piston and spring
Use a microfiber cloth (lint-free) to wipe off any dirt on the spring and piston. If there is any hardened solder on the piston, wet the cloth in isopropyl alcohol and wipe the solder off.
Cut off the cotton tip of a cotton swab. Load this bare tip of the swab with grease. The purpose of having a hard tip is for the proper application of grease. Lithium grease is preferable for a desoldering pump since no dust will be collected, and thus no clogging will occur.
Transfer the grease to the rim of the barrel, where the piston slides up and down.
Reassemble the piston, spring, and plunger just the way you took them apart. Screw the piston into the barrel to secure it and test your pump a few times to ensure it’s properly working.