Soldering Iron – a hand tool that heats up in order to melt solder around electrical connections
Soldering Station – used to precisely adjust the temperature of the soldering iron
Sponge – helps to keep the soldering iron tip clean by removing the oxidation that forms
Soldering Iron Stand – helps prevent the hot iron tip from coming in contact with flammable materials or causing accidental injury to your hand
Solder – a metal alloy material that is melted to create a permanent bond between electrical parts. It comes in both lead and lead-free variations with diameters of .032″ and .062″ being the most common.
Helping Hand – a device that has 2 or more alligator clips and sometimes a magnifying glass/light attached. This clips will assist you by holding the items you are trying to solder while you use the soldering iron and solder.
Soldering irons can reach temperatures of 800′ F so it’s very important to know where your iron is at all times. We always recommend you use a soldering iron stand to help prevent accidental burns or damage.
It’s always a good idea to wear protective eye wear in case of accidental splashes of hot solder. Lastly, make sure to wash your hands when done soldering especially if using lead solder.
How To Solder:
To a circuit board:
- Mount the component – begin by inserting the leads of the component into the holes of the circuit board. Flip the board over and bend the leads outward at a 45′ angle. This will help the component make a better connection with the copper pad and prevent it from falling out while soldering.
- Heat the joint – turn your soldering iron on and touch the tip of the iron to the copper pad and the component lead at the same time. Hold for 3-4 seconds.
- Apply solder to joint – continue holding the soldering iron on the copper pad and the lead and touch your solder to the joint. IMPORTANT – Don’t touch the solder directly to the tip of the iron. You want the joint to be hot enough to melt the solder when it’s touched. If the joint is too cold, it will form a bad connection.
- Snip the leads – remove the soldering iron and let the solder cool down naturally. Don’t blow on the solder as this will cause a bad joint. Once cool, you can snip the extra wire from leads. A proper solder joint is smooth, shiny and looks like a volcano or cone shape. You want just enough solder to cover the entire joint but not too much so it becomes a ball or spills to a nearby lead or joint.
For this process, it’s recommended to use helping hands or other type of clamp device.
- Remove the insulation from the ends of both wires. If the wire is stranded, twist the strands together with your fingers.
- Make sure your soldering iron is fully heated and touch the tip to the end of one of the wires. Hold it on the wire for 3-4 seconds.
- Keep the iron in place and touch the solder to the wire until it’s fully coated. Repeat this process on the other wire.
- Hold the two tinned wires on top of each other and touch the soldering iron to both wires. This process should melt the solder and coat both wires evenly.
- Remove the soldering iron and wait a few seconds to let the soldered connection cool and harden. Use heat shrink to cover the connection.
The good thing about using solder is the fact that it can be removed easily in a technique known as desoldering. This comes in handy if you need to remove a component or make a correction to your electronic circuit.
With Solder Wick (desoldering braid):
- Place a piece of the desoldering braid on top of the joint/solder you want removed.
- Heat your soldering iron and touch the tip to the top of the braid. This will heat the solder below which will then be absorbed into the desoldering braid. You can now remove the braid to see the solder has been extracted and removed.
With a Solder Sucker:
- Press the plunger down at the end of the solder sucker.
- Heat the joint with your soldering iron and place the tip of the solder sucker over the hot solder. Press the release button to suck up the liquid solder.