Using desoldered switches in hotswap?

I have read of there being issues with putting desoldered switches in a hotswap board.

I have some desoldered Ergo Clears that I am going to modify, and I have some boards that would be great for them.

But I understand that using desoldered switches can harm a hotswap board. I forget the details, but I think it has to do with the residue from removing the solder going into the hotswap sockets and damaging them.

Is this the case? If so, how can I clean the legs so that they can be used in hotswap? Can they be resoldered into a board?

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I’ve done it with vint Blacks. It’s tedious but very doable. In my case, I found that straightening the pins first (if necessary) and then cleaning the pins was the best method. Took me a while to figure out but logically it makes sense: straight pins are easier to clean. Heat the iron, flux it, and swipe down the pins to remove residue. Make sure you keep the tip clean and fluxed - that’ll help draw any residue off as you swipe.

It definitely requires a bit more attention and checking after cleaning to make sure that the pins are good enough for a hotswap board but it’s nothing too intensive.

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Pretty much, yes. Two scenarios I can think of have potential to damage the sockets:

  • Solder still stuck to the pins could push against the contacts in a bad way, potentially either widening them so normal pins won’t contact or crushing them downward so they don’t work at all

  • Solder loosely stuck to the pins could come off into the socket, which could damage the sockets and/or prevent subsequent switches from seating correctly.

That said - yes, the excess solder on the pins is removable, and @leemu provided sound technical advice for how to do that.

Basically as long as any bits that stick out have been removed you should be good - the once copper colored pin will be silver with its coating of solder - that’s fine - you just don’t want any blobs still on the pins.

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As @leemu mentioned, a clean and fluxed soldering iron tip should work well to wick any leftover solder off of the pins. If there are any that give you a hard time, a desoldering pump can also help.

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An update to this question:

Let’s say I was going to use these switches in a soldered build instead of hotswap. Would it still be necessary to clean the pins? Or could they just be soldered in, immediately?

No need to clean unless there is a big blob on the pins that hinder you to put in the switch.

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Bad idea! I did and I don’t recommend it at all. The concern being that it is impossible to perfectly clean the solder on the pins.

Are u answering Hunger Mechanical now?

Yes, why?

Edit, my bad, I do not see that he is going to use the switches in a soldered build instead of hotswap. In that case, no problems at all. My concern was for an hostswap build.

Sorry for the mistake :slight_smile:

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Yes, I am considering using the switches in a soldered build, instead of hotswap.

So, thanks for your concern, but I will not be placing desoldered switches in hotswap.

For background, these are desoldered Ergo Clears. Some of the earliest I had. They have gold-plated Chinese springs that actuate at 60 G and bottom-out at about 65.

They are really great in terms of sound and operation, but the actuation weight is too high. It’s probably close to an MX Black spring, except lighter at bottom-out. So they were desoldered. I have been replacing some with 68 G Progressive springs, and they are much nicer.

I realized I could just do a spring-swap, and put them in an NCR-80 or something. [Although these are really good on a thin metal plate w/foam.]

I have used desoldered switches in my millmax’ed PCB without any issue as long as there is no glob on the pins. The left over thin solder coat on the pin is fine. Most of the switches that I desoldered with Hakko’s desoldering gun came out pretty clean, except the ones desoldered by my 4 year old kid.

I also did try installing desoldered switches into kaihl hot swap sockets but I think those has less tolerance for the solder coated pins. It will work but just be gentle when you push it. So it really depends on how clean the desoldered switch is.

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I swear I’ve responded to this same question on KT before, must’ve been a different thread. Anyways IME it is just fine to use desoldered switches with Kaihl or similar hotswap sockets with just one caveat. You need to take a hot soldering iron & run it down both legs of all the switches you are planning on using. That’ll take 95% of the excess solder off the switches pins & leave a very thin uniform layer with the remaining 5%. Also the only real issue you face using previously soldered switches in a HS board is the excess solder pushing the contacts on the socket apart to far. Which can be fixed by using a pair of needle nose pliers to force the back together. There is just enough room on the OG Kailh HS sockets to do that, I’m not 100% if the new ones are the same.

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I am guessing as long as the Pins are clean and clear reusability should be okay?

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Yep, just make sure you have the solder as thin as you can get it on the switch leads & you’ll be good.

Thanks. Especially if someone is converting a Soldered KB to Hot Swap using one of the “socket” methods i.e. Mil Max / Rivets / or Kailh sockets - i’d think it be a shame to flag them switches for discarding.

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