Before you start with soldering you need to make sure you have proper tools and equipment. You need a soldering iron or preferably soldering station. You also need a solder. It is good to have a wet sponge and brass sponge. You can use one of those, but for beginners, I suggest to use both of them. Soldering iron stand is also useful to leave hot iron in a secure position. The iron stand will help you not to burn something. Protection gloves and glasses for protecting eyes are also useful.
You also need to make sure that smoke that comes from the solder is not inhaled. You can use ventilation to blow the smoke away from you or you can use a mask. People usually use ventilation, a light fan that just blows the smoke away from your face.
Soldering Tips For Beginners
Preheat soldering iron to 600 – 700°F (315-370°C). That’s good starting heat, and then you can adjust the soldering station to desired heat. In other words, it is good to invest in soldering stations that can adjust soldering heat. It is better to use high heat for a shorter time than low heat for a longer time. Holding the iron longer on the circuit board can destroy it. Because of that, use high heat, which can apply solder in a second.
For soldering, wires always add some tin on the tip before soldering. That will help in heating time, and you won’t burn anything by waiting for the copper to heat. With tin on the iron, it will heat much faster. The reason for that is because tin on the iron acts as a thermal conductor, which exposes more surface to heat.
Everything Need to be Stable
Circuit boards or wires need to be stable. They should not move while soldering. You can do that by using helping hands for holding wires. For the circuit board, you can bend leads on the other side of the circuit board hole and make it stable that way. Or, if the leads are not long, then use sticky tape to hold everything in a stable position.
Clean Iron is the Best
Always use clean iron because, with clean iron, you won’t have problems with making a good connection. Make sure any oxidation is removed because that can mess with the connection. Brass and wet sponge are best for cleaning the iron.
Never use abrasive materials for cleaning the soldering iron. Also, be gentle when using a brass sponge because it is also abrasive. If you are without a proper tool for cleaning, you can clean it without it by doing a small blow of the wrist, and the tin will drop from iron.
Choose Cone Tip
Cone tip is best for circuit boards and various other soldering jobs. A wedge tip is good for batteries, large wires, and larger soldering. Cone tip is best for fine solderings like circuit board soldering or small wire soldering.
First, you need to apply heat on lead, and then in a few seconds, you can add solder. You will see solder melting on the lead, and that’s the correct way to apply solder. Never add solder on the iron and then on board, that’s a huge mistake, and sooner or later something will go wrong with that method.
Make as much contact as possible, but also be careful not to apply too much. If you apply too much, you should remove extra solder from the board or else there can be a short circuit.
When applying solder, make sure there is no oxidation on the wire or board. Oxidation will give you bad results, and most probably, joints will be bad. Always clean oxidation with an abrasive sponge.
Always Inspect Joint
As already mentioned, you need to check and see if there is too much or too little solder on the joint. Check the color of the solder. It needs to be smooth and shiny.
These are some of the tips for beginners that have popped on my mind. If you want me to add extra tips which can be helpful for new solderers, let me know. I hope these tips will help you avoid unwanted scenarios.