I have probably broken my CPU by connecting 5 V from Arduino (500 mA) to the SENSE Pin of the Casette Port, So now I wonder what would be the safest way to desolder the processor? I have a cheap soldering Iron and a cheap desoldering pump. My soldering skills are Ok.I thought about soldering a IC socket and then plugging a new CPU in the socket after removing the old one. Is this a good idea?

  • 2
    I've never tried it on a C64, but my success rate in desoldering other DIP40 chips has generally been fairly low, although that's mostly from the perspective of being able to extract them in usable condition. I'd suggest at the least you want to acquire some desoldering braid, which is generally more helpful than vacuum-based methods of removing the solder.
    – Jules
    Aug 22, 2017 at 21:23
  • 2
    Don't use braid for a job like this. Use a solder-sucker at least. And a good one. Not one of those stupid "bulb" ones either. De-soldering isn't that hard. Most of the time people mess up because they use too much heat and don't realize that sometimes you have to add fresh solder to loosen the old.
    – cbmeeks
    Aug 24, 2017 at 19:57
  • 1
    I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm dying to know how this all worked out in the end, especially given the (I think good) advice that the 6810 may be fine. (I, too, do not see why feeding 5V into CASS SENSE would damage the CPU.)
    – cjs
    Sep 19, 2019 at 17:27
  • 1
    @CurtJ.Sampson I didn't mess around with it since I didn't want to ruin chips which might be okay.. It's somewhere in my basement.
    – user6734
    Sep 19, 2019 at 21:53

4 Answers 4


The easiest way to desolder a dead chip is to cut the legs with your snips then remove each pin one at a time. Use a solder pump or solder braid to clean the holes. I would use an IC socket when replacing the chip as there is more of a chance of damaging the 6502 if you solder it directly. You can get low profile sockets if head space is an issue...

  • 2
    I agree with Tim Ring. If you already destroyed the CPU there is no need to be gentle with it. If you needed to save the chip, I have had best results with a solder sucker. Not all solder braid is created equal, some of it hardly works at all...you might do some test desoldering on a junk board to find out.
    – Mike
    Aug 23, 2017 at 10:09
  • 1
    @Mike the C64 board isn't a delicate flower...but I still recommend being "gentle" with it. Even on dead IC's. People tend to try and yank those clipped pins and cause damage to the pads and/or traces. Chances are...the CPU may not be dead anyway.
    – cbmeeks
    Aug 24, 2017 at 20:19

For destructive desoldering @Tim Rings method is usually the fastest: clip all pins, remove the chip and desolder each pin separately. Just be careful when clipping the pins. Use a small tool and try to cut each sideways (cutting flat), as large pliers and frontal cutting may twist the pin, which could damage traces or even the board. Clip all pins before starting to desolder.

Remove each pin separately and don't worry about removing the solder at this step. Free up the holes in a separate run, preferably with a solder pump, as now you can heat the hole on one side and suck with maximum efficiency from the other.

To keep the chip undamaged, I prefer to use a hot air gun. The tool should have a nozzle of about ~1cm (~1/2 inch) to direct the heat without damaging other components. Grab the CPU with an IC-pull-tool, heat the soldering side with your blower and gently move the IC to pull it out. After that, clean the holes as before.

Depending on the board style and density it could be helpful to build a little cardboard box and shield around the soldering holes (half way to other components and at ca. 1cm high, to be inset in a sheet) so excess air isn't affecting other components much. It all depends on your skills here.

Addendum: If this machine is to be used in further experiments, I'd go ahead and desolder all IC and add sockets. Then desoldering is a matter of minutes with a hot air gun - and future replacements will be quite easy, not to mention add on components :))

  • 3
    Heat guns are a great solution to depopulate a board to use the components, the other way around needs great care, ESPECIALLY with PTH THT boards: use a very strong but temperature controlled heat gun (too low heat will cook your board tender before it melts the solder), practice with it on other scrap boards, mind your timing (a delamination turns into a smouldering hole in seconds!!) and clamp the board in a vice securely (things that have been heated with a heat gun falling on your body are extremely unpleasant). If you rip out a PTH, document it so you know you'll have to wire around! Aug 24, 2017 at 19:53

I was just working on restoring an original c64 breadbin model and ran into the same issue you have: how do you safely desolder a multi-pin dip chip. I also happened to have a black screen of death failure. For a 40-pin chip it's gonna be nearly impossible to remove the chip with just a soldering iron and solder wick or a solder sucker. After I struggled to remove a bad dram chip using a soldering iron, solder wick and a solder sucker, I decided it was time to use the correct tool. You should use a vacuum desoldering iron, they run over a hundred dollars for one that will actually get the job done. I used one at the maker-space in my area. I would look for a maker-space or a university lab you might have access to before buying the tool. Using the correct tool I was able to remove the malfunctioning chips in a matter of minutes with minimal effort.

Since you mentioned that you have a black screen of death failure, you should realize that it can be caused by literally any chip on the motherboard going bad. It's more likely you damaged a CIA or PLA than the CPU given what you described. Since original 6510 CPUs are hard to come by, I would perform some serious debugging of all chips which could be malfunctioning before you proceed to destroy a possibly working CPU. In the case of my black screen fail I was able to isolate the failure to two bad dram chips. Once I desoldered them, installed sockets and replaced the chips the system booted up perfectly. You can easily test if your CPU is working by using a "Dead Test Cartridge". If you plugin that cartridge and you see nothing on the screen then the cpu is bad. If the cpu is good you'll see periodic flashes of white on the screen indicating memory cells that are bad, if memory is mostly good you'll see a graphical diagnostics screen. These cartridges are continually being re-made and sold for ~$15 on ebay. If you don't want to go that route you can always use a logic probe to test the clock signal going in and out of the cpu and the address and data lines. If the cpu is good they should all be toggling. Good luck with your repair.

  • Welcome to Retrocomputing. Please read the tour. This is a great answer that not only answers the question but also solves the XY problem.
    – wizzwizz4
    Aug 25, 2017 at 20:44
  • Or maybe try some ChipQuik SMD1 low temperature solder ($15) if you don't have access to a good desoldering iron like the Hakko FR-300 ($240) or if you have no experience with using one. The danger of desoldering guns is that you can damage the PCB by lifting traces, and those are difficult and expensive to repair properly. Aug 26, 2017 at 16:36

First of all, be careful of bad advice. Even from me. Second, if you are not 100% sure the CPU is dead, then do NOT clip the leads to make de-soldering easier. No offense, but if you can't properly de-solder a chip using either a solder-sucker or a de-soldering vacuum station, then I would pass the job on to someone else. They aren't making 6510's any more.

Also, why are you assuming you fried the CPU with a 5V signal? What indications do you have the CPU is dead? I'm not saying it isn't...I just wonder how you got to that conclusion.

Finally, for any IC (not just CPU), the proper way to de-solder is to first make sure you're set at the right temperature. Too hot (or too long) you will lift the pads or worse. Use a good solder-sucker if you don't have a de-soldering station. Take your time and do it right.

It's sometimes a good idea to add a little fresh solder to loosen things up. Then, melt the solder and quickly use the sucker.

Don't use solder wick for the bulk of the job. It's not really designed for that. It's better designed for pulling up solder from flat areas.

People are always so quick to recommend cutting stuff off. If it's a $1 part that is easy to find, still produced, etc. then I can see that being OK. But never a vintage part unless you REALLY know it's dead.

  • I think the CPU is dead because the screen is black and it doesn't react to keyboard input (e.g. load command)
    – user6734
    Aug 24, 2017 at 20:00
  • 4
    @mondlos a black screen could be any number of things like a bad PLA or bad RAM. I'm not saying the CPU isn't dead...I'm just saying there are many other things it could be and the CPU could very well be fine. I wouldn't clip the leads.
    – cbmeeks
    Aug 24, 2017 at 20:16
  • But connecting 5V to SENSE is even less likely to break the PLA or the RAM.
    – user6734
    Aug 25, 2017 at 8:30
  • 1
    @mondlos - connecting 5v to SENSE shouldn't kill anything. It's connected to 5v internally by a pull-up resistor, and in any case the port it connects to on the CPU is rated as safe for up to Vcc+2v (i.e. 7v) according to the datasheet. I don't know what did happen, but it could be just about anything AFAICS.
    – Jules
    Aug 26, 2017 at 9:27

You must log in to answer this question.