How to solder

How to solderThe right soldering temperature is something many don’t really think about.

But, have you ever used one of those soldering irons with a variable temperature setting?

If you have, you might be wondering the same thing as Jyri. Jyri wrote to me in an email about soldering and asked: “I always wondered – what is the right soldering temperature in various situations?”

That is a great question.

My answer to that is, you have to get the solder joint hot enough to melt the solder.

Most solder melts around 180 to 190 degrees Celsius, that is 360 to 370 degrees Fahrenheit. So we have to get the solder joint hotter than this.

Selecting a Soldering Temperature for Your Iron

There are few things that will impact the soldering temperature that you need on your soldering iron.

If you have a high effect soldering iron, and a large soldering tip that transfers heat in an efficient way – you don’t need that high temperature.

Maybe 250 degrees Celsius is enough.

But if you are using a low effect iron with a small, tiny soldering tip that transfers heat badly – you need a higher temperature.

Maybe you need 400 degrees Celsius.

If you have a huge solder joint, you will need a higher temperature than if you have tiny, small solder joint.

Learning by Doing

The soldering temperature is also something you will figure out as you go try.

If you are having trouble getting the solder to melt, it means you should turn up the heat a bit.

If you are burning your components, it might be time to consider turning the temperature down.

I usually solder with a temperature between 350 degrees Celsius and 400 degrees Celsius (660 to 750 Fahrenheit).

What soldering temperature do you use? Reply in the comments field below.

Reader Interactions

Comments

THE FIRST THING TO DO IS SET THE TEMPERATURE OF THE SOLDERING IRON

There are two ways to solder.
Use a very hot iron and solder very quickly – for EXPERTS or
Use a lower temperature – THE NORMAL WAY TO SOLDER

But, what is the correct temperature?

Here are two ways to set the soldering temperature:

Set the lowest temperature:
All temperature-controlled soldering irons on eBay (for $12.00) have a temperature-dial, but the simplest way to set the correct temperature is this:
Turn the dial to the lowest temperature and switch the iron ON.
Touch the solder to the tip – nothing happens.
Now turn the temperature up one division and wait a minute.
Try the solder again. Keep doing this until the solder melts very slowly.
Now increase the temperature 20°C to 30°C (about one division) and you have the perfect temperature for delicate soldering. It will melt the solder quickly but not burn-up the rosin too quickly.
You will find the temperate on the dial will be very close to 370°C (700°F).

Set the next higher temperature:
This temperature allows you to remove the enamel from wires and solder very quickly.
Increase the temperature slightly by turning the dial above the temperature you used for the example above.
Add a small amount of solder to the tip of the iron and place the tip on an enamel-coated piece of wire and touch the bare copper wire end with the tip of the iron to make good conduction. Wait 10 seconds for the enamel to melt. If the enamel does not melt, increase the temperature a small amount and repeat the process.
When the enamel melts, you have the correct setting for fast soldering and being able to remove enamel from wires.
The temperate on the dial will be very close to 400°C (750°F).

Some servicemen increase the temperature further to do VERY QUICK SOLDERING, but this is ONLY for EXPERTS.

HERE’S AN AMAZING FACT
Soldering with a high temperature allows you to make a connection very quickly and the component DOES NOT heat up any more than soldering with a lower temperature.
But a soldering iron without temperature control is TOO HOT and it can easily damage the components, especially LEDs, transistors and IC’s. Temperature-controlled soldering irons are SO CHEAP. For $12.00 you get an item to take the place of a $240.00 Soldering Iron Station.

FACT NUMBER 2
Soldering is entirely to do with CLEANNESS.
Solder will not stick to a dirty wire. It will just “sit there” and the wire can be pulled out.
Solder does not clean a wire.
It is the resin or rosin in the middle of the solder-wire that cleans the connection.
But the resin does not work unless it is heated and melted.
When you are soldering, you don’t want the solder. YOU WANT THE RESIN.
But the life of the resin is only 1 to 3 seconds before it has evaporated.
This means you CANNOT transport resin on your iron.
By the time the iron has reached the connection, the resin has evaporated.
The resin only works when it is heated AT THE PLACE where the connection is to be made.
That’s why the iron must be as clean as possible by pushing it through the copper-wire ball shown above.
The ball will remove the old solder and clean the tip. Wiping the tip on a wet sponge DOES NOT CLEAN THE TIP. It just leaves a fine film of contamination on the tip that is a result of touching the plastic sponge.
Place the iron on the joint to be soldered and immediately bring 0.8mm or 0.6mm solder to touch the iron from the opposite side of the connection.
At the moment you only want the rosin to do its job. Let the rosin melt and clean the components.
NOW YOU WANT THE SOLDER . . .
Add a little more solder and allow it to run all over the connection and make a smooth and shiny result.
Remove the iron and don’t move the connection for 3 seconds.
Cut or trim the wire with side-cutters at the point where the wire emerges from the solder. DO NOT cut through the solder and DO NOT cut the wire before soldering.
Using 0.5mm solder will prevent excess solder remaining on the joint or on the iron.
Since using 0.5mm solder I have never had to remove excess solder from a joint or the iron. That’s why a spool of 0.5mm solder lasts much longer than 1mm solder.
There is no wastage !

October 28, 2017

Amazing, much more usefull and interesting than the article, thank you very much.

How to solder

Learning how to solder wires is more important than ever. Homeowners are increasingly taking on repairs of home appliances such as dishwashers and refrigerators. When you know how to solder, small appliances like electric teapots and simple electronic items no longer need to be discarded when they malfunction. With patience and a little practice, you can learn how to solder wires for repairs, as well as for fun projects.

In this simple project, you will solder together the exposed ends of two plastic-coated stranded copper wires. No special skills are needed to perform this task. Because the materials are so inexpensive, you will have ample opportunities to practice on scrap wires before making your final solder joint.

Project Metrics

  • Working Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Materials Cost: $25 to $50

Tools and Supplies You Will Need

  • Soldering iron
  • Soldering iron tips
  • Sponge and water
  • Soldering iron stand
  • 60/40 rosin core solder
  • Rosin paste flux
  • Heat shrink tubing
  • Heat gun
  • Wire stripper
  • Eye protection

Instructions

In lieu of purchasing separate soldering components, you may wish to buy a soldering iron station that includes a soldering iron, stand, and a tip cleaner. Since the entire station plugs into an outlet, strain is reduced on the soldering iron cord since the cord does not have to run directly into the outlet. This is important for the delicate hand movements you make when soldering.

Leaded 60/40 solder, composed of 60-percent tin and 40-percent lead, has long been used for soldering and is safe if properly handled. For the utmost in safety, choose lead-free solder, composed of 99.3-percent tin and 0.7-percent copper.

Prepare a Safe Working Space

Make sure that your work area is well-ventilated, especially when working with lead-based solder. Because the tips of soldering irons can range between 600 and 800 degrees Fahrenheit, work on a non-flammable surface since molten solder can drip. If working with lead-based solder, be sure to thoroughly wash your hands after working with the solder. Use eye protection whenever working with solder.

Strip the Wires

Strip away 1/2-inch of the plastic coating from the wires with the wire stripper. Try not to leave too much or too little of the plastic coating. Stripping away too little plastic coating will hinder soldering. Stripping away too much plastic coating will expose an excessive amount of copper wire and require you to use more heat shrink tubing. Be sure to use the correct gauge on the wire stripper so that you do not accidentally cut away strands of wire.

Add the Heat Shrink Tubing

Find the smallest diameter tubing that will fit over the plastic-coated wire. If you choose tubing that is too large, it will not shrink down to the correct size. In terms of length, the tubing should cover the splice, plus another 1/2-inch on each end. Slip the heat shrink tubing onto the wire and put it down the wire about a foot for now.

Join the Wires

Gently flay the individual strands of wire. Push the wires toward each other, interlocking the strands. Loosely twist the meshed wires. If you twist the wires too tightly, the solder will not be able to penetrate. Yet the joint should still remain smaller in diameter than the heat shrink tubing.

Position the Wires

Position the wires so that they are elevated over the work surface. Wires that lay flat may get stuck to the surface by the solder. Alligator clips or even household metal spring clamps can be fashioned to elevate the wires.

Add the Rosin Flux

Carefully rub a small amount of the rosin flux paste to the joined wires so that all of the copper is covered. The rosin flux will help draw the solder into the meshed strands.

Prepare for Soldering

Plug in and turn on the soldering iron. Unroll about six inches of solder so that the end is exposed and ready to use.

As the soldering iron heats, rub the tip across a wet sponge to remove any previous oxidation. For a new soldering iron heating up for the first time, this is not necessary.

Solder the Wires

Touch the heated tip of the soldering gun to the wire joint. Hold the tip firmly in place for a few seconds to heat up the wire. Touch the exposed end of solder lightly to the wire joint. The heat should cause the solder to instantly melt and draw into the meshed strands.

Shrink the Tubing

After the solder has fully cooled, slip the heat shrink tubing over the joint. Make sure that it is evenly positioned. Run the heat gun over the tubing until it constricts completely.

How to solder

A ball valve serves a useful purpose in most plumbing projects. On these projects where you would ordinarily need to shut off the water to work on pipes, fittings, or other plumbing components, the ball valve allows you to perform work without having to shut off water to your entire house. Instead, turn off a single ball valve, leaving the rest of the house with normal water flow. Occasionally, one of these balls can become separated from its stem or rod. When this happens you will need to solder it or purchase a new ball valve. In order to re-attach the ball valve by using the soldering process, you will need a good understanding of the soldering process, how the ball valve works, and how to solder it. The five steps below will provide this information.

Step 1 – Understand Ball Valve Function

On either side of the valve are copper tubes. When the ball valve is open, the hole is aligned with an opening in these pipes, allowing water to flow freely through these holes. When the valve is closed, these holes are no longer aligned and therefore do not allow the flow of water. When the ball becomes detached, these holes cannot be aligned and water cannot flow. To repair this, you will need to reattach the ball to the handle that held it in place.

Step 2 – Clean the Valve Pipe

To clean the valve’s copper pipe, first remove the pipe. Use emery cloth to clean the outer surface. Polish the pipe until its surface is bright and coppery looking. Clean the valve by inserting a wire brush into the top and bottom ends of the valve, then twist the brush so it cleans the inside surface.

Step 3 – Apply Flux

Apply past flux to both the inside and outside of the pipe. This will promote a more even distribution of the solder, once it is heated and becomes fluid.

Step 4 – Position the Ball Valve

Before soldering, you will need to be sure the valve is in the “open” position with the ball valve handle parallel to the pipe. Turn the pipe until you have this alignment.

Step 5 – Solder the Ball Valve

Be sure to wear think gloves when heating the ball valve with your torch. Light your butane torch. Then, holding the solder wire in one hand, position the tip of the wire close to the valve seam you will solder. Begin heating the pipe at the point where it enters the valve. When the flux begins to bubble, this means the pipe is hot enough to melt the wire solder. At the seam you are soldering, touch the pipe surface with the wire solder tip until the solder melts and runs evenly around the seam. Do this again on the reverse side of the valve. Then, allow the solder to cool and solidify.

How to solder

A ball valve serves a useful purpose in most plumbing projects. On these projects where you would ordinarily need to shut off the water to work on pipes, fittings, or other plumbing components, the ball valve allows you to perform work without having to shut off water to your entire house. Instead, turn off a single ball valve, leaving the rest of the house with normal water flow. Occasionally, one of these balls can become separated from its stem or rod. When this happens you will need to solder it or purchase a new ball valve. In order to re-attach the ball valve by using the soldering process, you will need a good understanding of the soldering process, how the ball valve works, and how to solder it. The five steps below will provide this information.

Step 1 – Understand Ball Valve Function

On either side of the valve are copper tubes. When the ball valve is open, the hole is aligned with an opening in these pipes, allowing water to flow freely through these holes. When the valve is closed, these holes are no longer aligned and therefore do not allow the flow of water. When the ball becomes detached, these holes cannot be aligned and water cannot flow. To repair this, you will need to reattach the ball to the handle that held it in place.

Step 2 – Clean the Valve Pipe

To clean the valve’s copper pipe, first remove the pipe. Use emery cloth to clean the outer surface. Polish the pipe until its surface is bright and coppery looking. Clean the valve by inserting a wire brush into the top and bottom ends of the valve, then twist the brush so it cleans the inside surface.

Step 3 – Apply Flux

Apply past flux to both the inside and outside of the pipe. This will promote a more even distribution of the solder, once it is heated and becomes fluid.

Step 4 – Position the Ball Valve

Before soldering, you will need to be sure the valve is in the “open” position with the ball valve handle parallel to the pipe. Turn the pipe until you have this alignment.

Step 5 – Solder the Ball Valve

Be sure to wear think gloves when heating the ball valve with your torch. Light your butane torch. Then, holding the solder wire in one hand, position the tip of the wire close to the valve seam you will solder. Begin heating the pipe at the point where it enters the valve. When the flux begins to bubble, this means the pipe is hot enough to melt the wire solder. At the seam you are soldering, touch the pipe surface with the wire solder tip until the solder melts and runs evenly around the seam. Do this again on the reverse side of the valve. Then, allow the solder to cool and solidify.

I am trying to make an LCD shield from my Arduino and am having problems trying to got the solder to stick to the Freetronics protoshield PCB. I have cleaned it as best I can.

I am using a decent Proxxon soldering bolt with solder that has worked good for me in the past. How can I get it to stick?

It won’t bond to the PCB, only the wires.

4 Answers 4

Heat! (One word answer)

A classic reason solder won’t stick to something is because you’re not getting it hot enough. My interns come to me with this problem all the time.

Make sure the tip of the iron is nice and shiny. Touch some solder on it, and it should melt almost instantly.

Put a nice little blob of solder on the tip of the iron.

Press the blob of solder into the metal to be soldered.

Initially the solder won’t be too keen, but when the metal reaches the right temperature, the solder will suddenly be attracted to it, and you’ll see it move slightly.

Now that the pad has reached temperature, you can touch the solder anywhere on the pad and it should melt almost instantly. I often add solder this way so I know I’m adding it to a nice hot pad.

Flux! (One word answer)

[Appendix:]
Cleaning the board with, say, alcohol or Windex won’t be enough-you’re not really worried about finger greases here. What you’re worried about is oxidation. Solder bonds to metal, but not metal oxides. Gold doesn’t oxidize readily, but other compounds found on circuit boards, like copper and nickel, do so readily. I assume that your solder has a flux component, but stubborn joints often need a little more flux than what is embedded in your solder (usually

There has already been some great advice given so I’ll provide some extra info about the surface finish on the ProtoShields (and all the other PCBs that Freetronics has done so far) and the reasoning behind the decision. Unfortunately there’s no one “best” PCB surface finish and all finishes have both good and bad points, so it’s a matter of making a decision based on trade-offs that are most appropriate for the intended use.

Our PCBs use an “ENIG” surface finish, as @reemrevnivek guessed. That’s “Electroless Nickel Immersion Gold”, and consists of an underlying layer of nickel with a thin layer of gold over the top. The gold layer is very thin and not intended to provide the main structure of the track, it just acts as a protective coating for the nickel to prevent it tarnishing before it’s soldered. Gold is extremely resistant to corrosion so ENIG has several upsides: it can be touched with bare fingers without tarnishing, has a very long shelf life, and the pads / tracks are very flat and square-edged (important for fine-pitch SMD). One downside is that it takes a bit more solder to complete a joint because the surface hasn’t yet been pre-tinned, and because there isn’t an existing layer of solder to melt against the iron and increase the initial contact area (hence increasing the rate of heat transfer) it can take an extra second or so to get the joint hot.

The most common surface finish you see on PCBs is called “HASL”, or “Hot Air Solder Levelling”. HASL boards are dipped in molten solder and then the excess is cleaned off using hot-air knives to leave behind the thinnest possible layer of solder. The solder itself then protects the underlying track from corrosion while making it extremely easy to solder, because the whole pad is pre-tinned. It’s generally the cheapest finish available and a great choice for general-purpose boards. One downside to HASL is that even after the hot-air knife has cleaned off as much excess as possible, the meniscus of the solder will still cause the edges of pads to be slightly rounded. That makes surface-mount parts not sit down quite as flat as they would on an ENIG board.

So you’d expect that for a board like a prototyping shield the obvious solution would be to go for HASL. But there’s a catch. We’re trying to stick to RoHS-compliance as much as possible, which would mean we couldn’t use regular HASL: it would have to be lead-free HASL. Lead-free solder has a higher melting temperature than regular solder so if we went with lead-free HASL it’d be a pain for customers who don’t have lead-free equipment. We’d probably end up with lots of complaints from customers using regular solder and soldering irons who have trouble getting the lead-free solder hot enough.

Another possible finish is “immersion silver”, and it provides an amazingly good finish but has a terrible shelf life. For boards intended for machine assembly immediately after manufacture, silver is a great option. The problem is that it tarnishes quickly and is adversely affected by touch, so it’s no good for boards that are intended for distribution to hobbyists for (potentially) long storage and hand assembly.

In the end we settled on ENIG because of the benefits of long shelf life, tarnish resistance, RoHS-compliance, and easy soldering compared to other surface finishes. My personal experience with it has been excellent and I haven’t come across any particular problems so far, but of course I’m not an expert on PCB manufacturing and I’m very happy to take advice on better ways to do things.

Becoming a master of the melting and gluing powers of solder can help you start building your own electronics.

How to solder

For hobbyists who want to create their own electronics from scratch, there comes a time in every project when two metal surfaces must merge. Solder, which changes from a flexible solid to a liquid, then back to a solid in seconds, is the magical metal glue that makes this happen.

Solder can also be a frustrating mess. For reasons both aesthetic and functional, you’ll want to learn how to work with it cleanly and neatly, because sloppy soldering means your project might not work.

Tools of the Trade

How to solder

You don’t need anything fancy. A pencil soldering iron between 15 and 40 watts is fine. This stand cleans the iron and keeps it from rolling onto your lap when you’re not soldering (not fun).

How to solder

A good one is easy to use and can fit many wire sizes.

How to solder

You want a small one, about 4 inches, that can cut right up against the board.

How to solder

To avoid a goopy mess, don’t buy solder that is too thick—about 0.o32-inch diameter is best for electronics work.

How to solder

For an afternoon project, look for a kit that comes with components and the PCB.

Meet the Materials

How to solder

Printed circuit boards (PCBs) connect together electronic components (capacitors, resistors, LEDs, microcontrollers, sockets, etc.). Solder gives those components structural and electrical footholds at the spots where they’re mounted, called pads. It’s important that these surfaces start out clean, so wipe the PCB with a nonabrasive scrubber.

Component Leads

How to solder

The wires sticking out of components are called leads. Some parts, such as microcontrollers, come with rigid leads that align with the pads on the PCB, and others, such as resistors, come with longer leads that bend to fit. Some parts have one lead, some two, some 28 or more.

Add Components To the Board

How to solder

To connect a component to the board, push its leads through holes in the pads—only one lead goes into each pad—and bend them about 45 degrees to keep the component from falling out. Next, hold the iron like you would a pencil and press it against the pad and lead for 1 second. Then push about 1 to 3 mm of solder between the lead and the pad, where it will melt against the heated components.

Hold the tip steady for another second or two so the solder has a chance to flow around the lead. It’s key to heat the components themselves, not the solder directly, which can cause a cold joint; components that aren’t hot enough won’t bond to the solder properly, leaving the joint weak.

💡 Try not to let that metal flow onto your hands—not only is the solder hot, the lead is toxic. Wash your hands after soldering so you don’t leave any residue on your skin.

Check Connections

How to solder

A perfect connection will look like a small bump around the lead and will completely cover the pad. If some of the pad is still exposed or the connection is flat, you haven’t used enough solder, and you may end up with an incomplete connection. The fix is simply to add more solder, but not too much—that could create a connection where you don’t want one, shorting the circuit and directing electricity down the wrong path.

Cut the Leads

How to solder

The last step is trimming the leads. If they remain too long, they may bend and touch each other, potentially causing a short circuit. Using a wire cutter, snip each lead just above the mound of solder. Hold on to the end of the lead to ensure you don’t get speared in the eye by flying wire.

How To Join Two Wires

How to solder

Join Wire to Wire

Solder is also great for fusing wires. Match each wire’s gauge to the markings on a wire stripper and remove about 3 mm of insulation from its end.

How to solder

Heat the exposed wires with the soldering iron and coat the ends with a thin layer of solder—a process called tinning—to ensure the wires form a proper connection. Then join the wires by pressing the iron to both wire tips, melting them together. Once the solder has melted, remove the iron and hold the wires still until the metal cools. Then you—and your wires—are set.

Don’t Forget Clean Up

How to solder

Because a soldering iron heats to almost 400 F, the tip oxidizes quickly, creating solder rust that blocks the flow of heat. So before soldering each connection, use a wet sponge to clean the tip of the iron (it’s clean when it shines) to remove any buildup.

Skill Level

Start to Finish

Tools

  • brush
  • propane torch
  • wet cloth
  • safety glasses

Materials

  • soldering wire
  • copper pipes and fittings
  • flux
Like this? Here’s more:
  • Pinterest
  • Facebook
  • Twitter

Step 1

How to solder

clean and apply flux to pipe

Clean and Apply Flux

Copper pipe needs to be cleaned before it can be soldered. First, use sandpaper to clean the inside and outside of the pipes and fittings that will be joined.

Next, use flux to remove impurities from the inner and outer surfaces of both pipes. Spread the flux over the entire surface with a brush. Then, slide the two pieces together.

Step 2

How to solder

solder the joint

Solder the Joint

While wearing safety glasses, fire up the propane torch. All three parts of the flame should be blue; if the flame is orange, turn gas down.

Hold the flame on the tip of pipe to heat. The flux will turn to liquid and the pipe will change color slightly. When the pipe is heated, touch the soldering wire to the joint. If done correctly, the solder will be drawn into the joint.

Once the joint is soldered, use a wet cloth to clean up the area.

Soldering is a useful skill to have – you can quickly fix things around the house instead of calling your handyman and shelling out money. To solder two components you will need to know how to use a soldering iron, some cleaning and maintenance techniques, etc.

In this guide, you will learn what soldering is, what you will need, safety measures, cleaning and maintenance techniques.

How to Solder (Watch Video)

Introduction To Soldering

Soldering is the process through which two or more components can be joined together by melting a bit of metal, called as a filler or solder, at the joint. Once the melted solder cools down, it hardens and acts as a glue joining the components together.

What Can You Solder?

The soldering technique was invented to join metals together. Noble metals such as gold, silver, tin, etc. offer stronger soldered bonds as compared to other metals because of their low reactivity and high melting points. However, noble metals are expensive and hence the most commonly used solder is an alloy made of 60% tin and 40% lead.

The most difficult metals to solder are aluminium, high alloy and stainless steels, titanium and magnesium. These metals can be soldered with some pre-plating and pre-tinning.

Soldering is usually used in the electronic industry to connect wires, fix broken circuits, repair radios, TV sets, antennas, etc. However, soldering can also be used to join plumbing, refrigeration components and even jewelry!

Why Soldering?

Soldering is a technique to attach two components. Would you be better off with an adhesive or would it be best to solder? Find out with the following advantages.

  • Low heat impact: The solder is often at a lower melting point than the other components and hence is not impacted by the heat.
  • Both permanent and temporary joints: Once the solder hardens, it forms a very strong bond which is not breakable. However, it can be desoldered with no damage to the other components. Both temporary and permanent joints in one!
  • Join different materials: Soldering can be used to join different metals as long as the solder has a lower melting point.
  • Quick DIY: Soldering is easy to learn and can be mastered by anyone quickly. What’s more, it’s a very quick technique to join stuff together and is great for DIY projects.

What Tools Do You Need?

The following is a simple list of things that you will need for soldering projects.

  • Soldering Iron
  • Solder
  • Soldering Tip
  • Soldering Station
  • Soldering Stand
  • Cleaning Pad
  • Safety Glasses

Safety Precautions To Take

Soldering involves the use of extreme temperatures and toxic substances. Hence, safety should be prioritized during the soldering process. Here are some precautions to keep in mind.

  • Read all the instructions and guides of the equipment you are using
  • Make sure you stay in a well-ventilated area
  • Use safety glasses to prevent the fumes from getting into your eyes
  • Don’t breathe in the fumes. If necessary, use a fumes extraction device
  • Wash your hands after you are done
  • Store away the equipment safely

Before Soldering

Now that you know the basics of soldering, here are some things you need to know before you solder.

The first thing that you need to check is whether you have chosen the right tip for the job. Here’s a guide to selecting the right soldering iron tip. The next thing to check is whether the tip is clean.

Many metals react with oxygen and form an oxidation layer. The oxidation layer on the soldering tip would reduce the efficiency of the heat transfer.

To clean this, you will need to rub it against the cleaning pad. If it is very badly oxidized, then you might have to apply a tip reactivator. If the tip appears shiny after cleaning or re-activating, then you can take the next step – tinning.

To ‘tin’ the tip, you have to coat it with a layer of solder. This prevents oxidation and improves heat transfer. Tin the tip immediately before and after soldering; you should also tin the tip after every two joints you solder. This will help in maintaining the longevity of the tip.

Step by Step Instruction Guide To Soldering

  1. Determine the right temperature for your project which depends on the materials you are soldering and the solder that you are using. As a rule of thumb, choose the lowest temperature possible to get the job done.
  2. Once the iron is heated to the chosen temperature, hold a piece of the solder in one hand and the soldering iron in another.
  3. Hold the hot iron to the place where both the components meet for a second. Note that you need to just heat the metals a little bit.
  4. Now touch the solder to the heated components. The solder will melt and fill in the gap between the two components. The amount of solder you need varies from project to project. If you are a beginner, practice on scrap pieces of metal before you start your project.
  5. Leave the solder to cool down. A good connection will appear uniform and strong. There shouldn’t be any gaps or big blobs of solder. If there are gaps, you will need to fill in some more solder. If there are blobs, you must desolder to repair the joint.

Desoldering

You may need to desolder to fix certain kinds of joints. Or you may have accidentally applied too much solder! Not to worry, you just need to reheat the iron to the required temperature and melt the solder. You can use a solder sucker, which looks like a syringe, to suck the excess solder. Another device you can use is a desoldering braid.

Finishing Up

Once you are done with the fixing, you will need to clean up and store your equipment away. All you need to do is use a cloth or metal wool to clean and tin the tip as mentioned before. Store it in a sealed container. Likewise, store the soldering iron in a sealed container to prevent oxidation and increase the life of the iron.

We hope you liked this content. Stay tuned for more tips on electronics projects!