I am thinking of removing the headers on some HATS and soldering them directly to the Pi.

  1. Is there a risk of damaging the pi if I overheat the pins or board?
  2. What's the best way to remove the headers from the HATs? I'm finding it very difficult to get even a few pins clean of solder. At the moment I'm using the B-series tip, I think. I've tried using an I-series tip, but it cools off to fast to be useful. What the best soldering tip to use for the job?
  • It sounds risky. Unless you are skilled all you will do is destroy all the GPIO and the Pis. I think this would be better asked on an electronics type site.
    – joan
    Commented Aug 28, 2018 at 16:27
  • Sounds perfectly fine. Do you have a hot air rework station? With that many pins, a soldering iron would not be ideal (even when following shady advice off Youtube).
    – Aloha
    Commented Aug 28, 2018 at 17:11
  • remove the plastic strip that holds the pins together ..... it may slide off the pins or you can cut it off .... then remove the pins one by one
    – jsotola
    Commented Aug 28, 2018 at 19:46

2 Answers 2


Is there a risk?

Sure, there is a risk of damaging the Pi unless you know what to do and do it right using the appropiate equipment. Personally I would say that it can be done with basic soldering skills and a little experience in soldering electronics. After all the RaspberryPi Foundation shipped the early Pi Zero without the pin header and considered it safe for hobbyists to solder that themselves. The thermal load (again, if done properly) should be about the same if desoldering an existing pin header

Some other opinions though:

... and as an alternative to soldering:

What's the best way to remove the headers ... ?

My personal favourite is the "one pin at a time" as reported here:

Desoldering a 6-pin header with a soldering iron will be a destructive process, as you won't be able to heat all the pins at once. Embrace the destructive nature and desolder it in a way that will protect your PCB. Chop away what you can of the housing with nippers, dremel, dikes, whatever, and then remove one pin at a time with whatever method you choose.


Man to the doctor "doctor, it hurts when I do this !" Doctor "So don't do that!" Unsoldering SMC is no fun. Do you use solder wick? or solder sucker? Forget heat guns!

Either desoldering process will pick loose SMC -you are heating whole area , not just pin - and you will never find them again! Plug-in boards are older than any computer, so why you need to buck the trend and remove them ? Especially removing the header pins - one by one. No, you do not need to answer that. You have a reason and that's what counts.

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