When I tear down some retired electronic device, I try to salvage what I know I could reuse and that usually includes the power supply. A few of these salvaged power supplies have already found use, but sometimes I’m hindered by the fact I saved only the power supply and not its corresponding power socket. Sometimes I can replace the connector, but sometimes not. As a result, I’ve resolved to put more effort into saving the matching socket as well.
Which brings me to this Roku Premiere 4620X (“Cooper”) that was given to me for teardown after it was retired. I tried to unsolder its power socket, but I quickly realized I was in trouble. When I put my soldering iron tip on the soldered point and… absolutely nothing happened. Looking at the circuit board I can see there’s a lot of copper tied to ground, which four of five pins on this power socket is attached to. That’s a lot of heat dissipation capacity fighting against my iron’s efforts to melt solder.
I think a hot air rework station might be able to help here, but I don’t have one and my lack of skill means there is a high risk of softening the black plastic as I blast hot air. If I distort the plastic to a point where the power plug could no longer fit, that would defeat the purpose. This concern also definitely ruled out my paint-stripping hot air gun.
I think the best tool for this job is a hot plate designed for installing surface-mount electronics components. Their hot metal surface area could in theory do this work at a lower temperature than blowing hot air. I wouldn’t necessarily need a big one, either. A tiny little one would be enough to do this job.
But I don’t have any of those tools, so I fell back to plan of last resort I call “mechanical separation”. That is my fancy way of saying I whipped out a saw and cut the circuit board around the socket.
Sometime in the future, when I decide I want to reuse this power supply and its matching power socket, I hope to have better tools for the job of separating the socket from its (now much reduced) circuit board.