My first Alps build - I need some desoldering advice

So after a bunch of beers last weekend I decided to order everything for an Alps build. The buyer’s remorse has passed and now I’ve got my first and probably most important component, the donor board. It’s an Apple Desktop Bus Keyboard with orange Alps switches and a fantastic cream Alps locking switch. I can’t stop playing with it. I absolutely love the idea of a mechanically locking caps lock. Why has this been lost to time?

I’m actually glad it’s in rough shape on the outside. The case is pretty banged up and somebody engraved their driver’s license number on the back, which made me laugh since my elderly father used to do the same to all of his stuff. I’d probably feel bad stripping a pristine board for its switches.

This is what it looked like with the caps pulled and no cleaning.

So a couple of things that made me emit a bemused “huh” were that all of the top row but one were rotated 90 degrees, and that the switch for the spacebar is so far off center. I’d like to know more about why this board was designed that way.

This is what I’m facing. I have zero desoldering experience, so I’m looking to you legit pros to help me out. :smile:
I need to buy a desoldering station and I’d appreciate some advice on what I should buy. I’m probably not going to be doing a crazy amount of switch harvesting, but I want something that will be user friendly and fairly well made.

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Hakko FX-888

love mine


A good soldering station like @pixelpusher suggested, a cheap de-soldering iron like this, some good solder wick (I recommend Gootwick brand), & a flux pen just in case should be all you need. In fact I just de-soldered a M0116 & AEKII a few days ago with the above tools. Feel free to PM me on here if you need any advice or help with the process! :metal:

Edit: IME most of these older Apple boards used leaded solder so start at lower temps like 300C & work your way up from there. Also have some fresh leaded solder on hand. If a particular joint just won’t come clean re-soldering it with fresh leaded solder, then immediately trying to de-solder it again usually will get it to come clean.

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That’s right in my price range. Thanks for the suggestions!

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I just wanted to say that those photos you took of the Apple keyboard were very nice! Look forward to the finished product

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