Soldering Tips

If you have never soldered before, it is recommended to find a friend to teach you, as experiencing it first hand would be the best way to learn. It is important to have a decent soldering iron, as you don’t want one that gets too hot or not hot enough. If your soldering iron is too hot, it can ruin the components on the boards, so if you are using an unregulated iron, I would not exceed 30 watts. I like to use a regulated Weller WPTCT soldering iron, but it can be a rather expensive purchase if you won’t be soldering a lot. Also make sure that your iron gets hot enough, as cold solder joints cause bad connections.

Recommended soldering procedure:

  1. Simultaneously apply the tip of the iron and the solder to the circuit board so that
    they touch both each other and the wire being soldered to the solder pad.
    (working on the bottom side of the board)
  2. When the solder begins to flow, remove the solder and hold the iron on the joint
    until the solder flows and bonds to the wire and the pad.
  3. Pull the tip of the iron up so that it slides up the wire, leaving a nice smooth
    soldering joint.
  4. Next, you will want to cut the excess wire off. Be sure to trim the wire just above
    the solder joint. You do not want to cut into the solder joint.

Here is a picture that I found on the web of a good soldering joint, and 2 bad ones:

Solder Joints

Additional tips:

From Peter Daniel: Liquid rosin flux might also work well. For anything that didn’t
come out nicely, you can touch with a brush wetted in flux and touch with the soldering
iron. This will make it look nicer and remove any solder excess.
From Sandy: If mistakes are made, or too much solder is used, desoldering braid is a
very helpful tool. Simply hold the desoldering braid up to the soldered joint, and apply
heat with the iron for removing unwanted solder. I prefer to use flux along with this to
make the process go more smoothly.