The last 2 days have been torture.
Dotstars are rated to be soldered by reflow... once. The failure rate I've been getting de-seating them is nearly 75%. When you solder them multiple times, the pins migrate, which pulls off the tiny connecting wires inside the module. Usually the clock pin - in/out.
So nevermind getting a row of 6 of them to work. I'm willing to settle for 2!
FYI, I was using the 5050 Dotstars. The 2020 ones, although harder to solder due to the size, hold up better to manual soldering. Or... it's just me.. :)