Soldering is defined as "the joining of metals by a fusion of alloys, which have relatively low melting points". In other words, you use a metal that has a low melting point to adhere the surfaces to be soldered together. It is the only way to fix components to a circuit.
Soldering is an important skill and chances are you'll want to master the basics quickly, so we bring you some essential tips to improving your soldering technique:
Suitable equipment - Purchase the correct solder type and width as well as the correct soldering iron and tip.
Good condition equipment - If the tip of your soldering iron is in bad condition, it can affect your technique resulting in a terrible solder joint.
Clean equipment - A clean iron tip means better heat conduction and a better joint. Keep a wet sponge nearby to clean between joints.
Read up - Some soldering kits include training materials to help you master a great soldering technique. Have a read for specific tips and tricks.
Practise - Although people can tell you how to solder, good soldering requires hands-on experience, so take the time to solder a few cheap test components to get your technique right before using your skills on more costly electronic parts.
Applying solder - If everything is hot enough, solder should flow freely, look smooth and shiny and cling to both items to make a good connection. If it starts to ‘ball up’, you have used too much solder or the pad on the board is not hot enough.
Solder small parts first - Solder resistors, jumper leads, diodes and any other small parts before you solder larger parts like capacitors and transistors. This makes assembly much easier.
Recognise Mistakes - Incorrect soldering can lead to cold solder joints recognized by their characteristic dull and grainy appearance.
Solder Quickly - Be careful not to apply your soldering iron for long periods of time otherwise you can damage sensitive components or burn up a circuit board trace. You should solder quickly enough that your components or trace don't stay hot for too long.
Flux - You may want to flux before soldering to get a cleaner solder. Flux is a pasty, greasy, oily substance that helps to clean the metallic surfaces being soldered. Most soldering jobs can be performed using flux-cored solder, which is solder with the flux embedded in the core of the solder wire, as long as the surfaces being joined are free from rust, grease, or dirt.
Get a second opinion - Only experience will tell you if you have soldered correctly, so if you’re unsure ask an experienced soldering friend to check your work.
Using the correct solder, solder flux, and avoiding oxidation are all important components of the soldering process.
Quality solder joints are a combination of good technique combined with proper soldering equipment and materials.
Soldering is a learned process developed through experience, so if you follow our guidelines you have a good chance for success.
For all enquiries, feel free to contact us at any time.