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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Soldering Tips

As I've discovered through time there are a few things that you'd love to know about soldering before you start doing it on a semi-regular level.
- you need a good soldering iron. You'll notice that lower quality irons will have a tendency to be slow to heat up, and have a larger tip which can make it harder to solder when a PCB is a bit 'cramped'
- if possible get a soldering iron with multiple tips and tips of different size/type so that you can deal with jobs of varying size/accuracy
- get a soldering iron which can allow you to vary the temperature to the tip. This will allow you to get away with having to cool it using external entities (such as a wet sponge which when used often can wear out your tip more quickly anyhow)
- de-soldering braid is 'extremely' useful if you are new electronics. Its essentially a bundle of copper fibers that have been layered in such a way that it resembles a 'braiding' pattern that you see in some hair styles. You use it by layering some of it over an area that you need to remove solder from. Heat it up by placing the soldering on top and then due to the braiding structure of the de-solder it will absorb the solder from the PCB. Cut off the used de-solder when you are done with it as it can make a big mess if you attempt to use it over and over again without it being completely 'clean'. Best of all, it doesn't cost much either!
- the stand that comes with most cheap soldering irons is next to useless unless you have a power board on top of the table supplying the power since the weight of the cable is likely to pull it off your table and/or workbench. If you do intend to make moderate use of a soldering iron get a complete soldering stand which is almost likely a third hand holding it in mid-air
- further, good advice regarding soldering is available here:

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