ChipQuik is so easy to use, I don't even bother with hot air on SMDs. The melting point is so low it makes removal of devices a breeze. All you have to do is get it on all the pins (make sure you use the flux) and then just keep going around the device with your iron a few times. The ChipQuik material retains heat for quite a while, so you can work it easily. After you've gone around the device a few times, you can literally just lift it off the board with almost no force, using either a small screwdriver or other implement (I use a precision awl that works well for this).

After you lift the device, remove as much of the ChipQuik as you can with a Q-Tip. The way to do this is to run the iron over the pads, then push all the material in one direction. The ChipQuik will "smoosh" right off of the pads under the pressure of the Q-Tip. Clean up any remainder with solder wick, and then remove all the crud from the flux with isopropyl alcohol and some more Q-Tips.

Use more flux on the pads (you can use the ChipQuik flux, if you want) and then solder on your socket. The additional flux will help immensely in soldering on the new part and helping to prevent solder bridges.

I don't like the idea of removing the bottom of the PLCC socket as some have suggested, mainly because it makes it easy to push the socketed part too far down into the socket. This makes for possible contact trouble and/or removal difficulty. It's not that hard to solder the socket correctly, and even if you melt a bit of the plastic, it's not going to hurt anything (just make sure there's no solder embedded in it).

I've done a zillion SMDs and sockets just this way, and it works very well.


(I'll help you with your soldering technique if y'all will help me with my stupid hack questions!)