“Soldering refresher and tips”
We were asked last week about a soldering tutorial for the Tek Net. This will be a refresher on soldering.
There are several elements to doing a good job at soldering electronics.
Having a soldering iron that is at the proper temperature is essential. This is where an adjustable soldering iron or station comes into play.
There are soldering irons that use the tips that are temperature selective like the older Weller soldering irons or pencils. The tips had the number stamped on the end of the tip, “7” would mean that it was a 700 degree tip, this was controlled my a magnetic switch in the handle that would connect and disconnect the voltage to the tip to keep the temperature fairly constant. (explain Mag tips)
#1 Weller station is about $193.95
The cost of these irons and stations can be found on the internet from $15 to several hundred, depending on what your needs are and your wallet capacity.
Some have a variable temperature adjustment like the lower left hand station in the picture above, or a digital select buttons like the station in photo #1.
The main advantage to these soldering irons are that the tip can be changed. Changing the tip is what allows you to apply the correct amount of heat necessary to get a proper solder joint fillet.
The above displays the most common type of tips, keeping mind that the size of the tip will be important for you to be able to transfer the right amount heat for a particular joint. Adjusting the temperature to the amount of heat desired with these different type of tips adds to the versatility for the connection being made.
For example, as seen below using a chisel tip with a front tip area of 1/16″ wide makes soldering IC pins easy without having the tip interfere with the adjacent pins thus creating a solder bridge ( or short) between the pins.
#4 Chisel tip
#5 Tip to pad and component lead
#6 Not too much solder per joint
I have been asked how do I keep from putting too much solder on a connection, the short answer is don’t apply too much solder to the connection. The way I do that is I use a smaller diameter solder than most folks probably normally use for electronics.
I have boards that aren’t used anymore or had and error and never utilized.
It is half the diameter and requires that you pay attention to the amount being dispensed to a joint. It is very easy to not use enough solder to create a proper filled fillet connection.
#7 Different solder types available on Amazon.
The .015″ solder is normally used for doing manual SMD solder connections instead of soldering paste and a hot air gun to solder SMD components to the board.
#8 Not too much solder…
#10 Too much solder
Practice is the most needed element to good soldering. Get into the habit of applying the tip and solder for about 1 second and then pulling away. It will become second nature and only apply a small amount of solder at a time.
If you feel that the joint should have more solder, then give it a moment to cool down before re-applying more solder.
Using Solder-wick to remove too much solder is an option but keep in mind that that is going to apply a great deal more heat to the connection and could melt the insulation of a wire on the opposite side or possibly damage the part.
Always make sure that the component and wire leads are where they are suppose to be ( part flat and not out of alignment) before you apply heat and solder.
If anyone wants to obtain some blank circuit boards ( I have boards that aren’t used anymore or had an error and never utilized) to practice on, call me and come on by and I will give you a few at no charge.
Good luck on your next soldering project and 73.
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