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Learning to Solder [message #69745] Fri, 07 October 2011 11:01 Go to next message
Christy is currently offline  Christy
Messages: 21
Registered: September 2011
My dad bought me a small soldering iron, but I have yet to figure out how to use it. Everyone I know keeps telling me they will help teach me, yet no one has time. So, how did you learn to solder, and what did you practice on? Any tips would be greatly appreciated!
Re: Learning to Solder [message #69746 is a reply to message #69745] Fri, 07 October 2011 11:21 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Wayne Parham is currently offline  Wayne Parham
Messages: 18330
Registered: January 2001
Illuminati (33rd Degree)

Four tips:

1. Tin the soldering iron tip. What this means is to flow some solder onto the tip until it is completed coated with a shiny film of molten solder. Remove any excess with a damp towel. Keep the tip in this condition by periodically cleaning it with a damp towel.

2. Touch the hot iron tip to both surfaces to be soldered. Leave it in place long enough that the items to be soldered are hot enough to melt the solder. Flow the solder into the surfaces to be joined, not the solder tip. Hint: You can increase the surface area of the heated tip using a slight amount of molten solder, so sometimes you can flow a tiny bit into the iron tip near the surfaces to be joined - just to get started - then feed the rest into the joint, directly into the pool of solder flowing onto the surfaces to be joined.

3. Heat the surface(s) just long enough to flow solder as described, but not long enough to damage the devices being soldered. With large active components and most passive components, heat can be applied for several seconds without damage. But for smaller active devices, small transistors and chips, sometimes just a couple seconds is all they can take. Until you've soldered a while, use IC sockets instead of soldering ships directly. The sockets can usually handle the heat a little longer.

4. Practice, practice, practice.

Re: Learning to Solder [message #69750 is a reply to message #69746] Fri, 07 October 2011 20:56 Go to previous messageGo to next message
gofar99 is currently offline  gofar99
Messages: 1728
Registered: May 2010
Location: Southern Arizona
Illuminati (4th Degree)
Hi, I would like to add a couple of suggestions as well. Instead of using a cloth, use a piece a few inches square of a "natural" sponge. Do not use the synthetic ones as they melt. A better alternative and will last forever is get one of the bronze pads designed for cleaning the tips. They look like copper brillo pads or pot scrubbers. On sale they run under $5 from places like Parts Express and MCM. When it gets full of junk, just shake it out over the trash and you are back in business. You can put the thing in something like a small cat food can and screw it down on a small piece of wood to make it stable. If your soldering iron doesn't have a "rest" you can make one from coat hanger wire and attach it also to the same board. In the photo the one in the foreground shows the "pad" the thing behind it is a vacuum desoldering iron and it has one of the sponge pads. Please excuse the junk in sight, I'm in the middle of several projects and could only push it so far to the side.


Good Listening
Re: Learning to Solder [message #86923 is a reply to message #69750] Tue, 02 January 2018 12:02 Go to previous messageGo to next message
gstarey66 is currently offline  gstarey66
Messages: 12
Registered: January 2014
Location: Engineer
Another suggestion for reliable solder joints. Make the wire(s) and whatever you are solder to a good close mechanical connection before applying solder. You will not have failures from vibration or have the solder bridging large gaps (solder conducts, but not as well as copper).
Re: Learning to Solder [message #86940 is a reply to message #69745] Wed, 03 January 2018 16:57 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Tikki is currently offline  Tikki
Messages: 33
Registered: November 2017
Those are all great tips, guys. I got an ebook online some time back called 'Simple Soldering' and I would suggest you get something like that if you're a total newbie to soldering.
Re: Learning to Solder [message #89119 is a reply to message #69745] Thu, 08 November 2018 17:02 Go to previous message
Jethro is currently offline  Jethro
Messages: 48
Registered: November 2018
I tried soldering when I was in high school, which is ages ago. I cannot solder because my hands start to tremble when I focus on the part which I like to connect. Any tips for controlling a shaky hand?
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