What is soldering?
Soldering is the process used for melting two or more components in one by melting and putting filler metal with low melting temperature. Filler metal is usually a compound of tin and lead. Tin and lead have a low melting point, and they are good conductors. Soldering is used in history also for fixing and repairing different types of tools. Today soldering is most used in electronics and for soldering copper pipes.
Is soldering easy?
Well if you decide for electronic and PCB soldering then you will need a lot of practice to make right moves with a soldering iron. In electronics is used soldering guns and it is easier than PCB because you need to connect wires, and you do not have lot soldering. For PCB or soldering smaller components, you will need a soldering iron and tin-lead soldering wire. Because you work with smaller components it is a little bit harder, but if you concentrate and learn some rules of soldering you can quickly learn and make a lot of useful stuff, either professional or for a hobby.
Mistakes in soldering
If you solder wrong, it can cause problems in further electronic work. Keep this in mind:
- You should always keep cleaned your tips of the soldering iron. If you do not keep tips clean, you can make damage to tip and tin-lead burn up so conducting of electricity is disrupted.
- Do not make slow and imprecise moves you can damage PCB, wire or tool that you solder.
- If tin-lead on PCB turns black desolder and try again
- If you work on PCB, keep it always clean and clean one more time before soldering. For cleaning, you can use a rag and if you want you can put some alcohol on it.
When you solder, try to get a feeling when is enough lead-tin, sometimes too much or too little can cause significant problems. To avoid mistakes read or watch on youtube tutorials. If you have the opportunity to watch someone experienced it would be a real advantage, and you can always ask for his help and advice.
How to use a soldering iron
When you find proper soldering iron, you need to know how to use it. I will try to give you some tips and where you can find useful stuff.
Using soldering iron is not easy. It is used for joining small components, and it is harder than soldering wires or copper pipes. Soldering irons are usually temperature controlled which means you can select any temperature what you like. Selecting temperature is different, and every person does it as he like. The tin-lead lowest melting point is 183ºC or 361ºF so try out with your soldering iron which temperature is perfect for you. Someone like to solder faster or if someone is beginner than slower. Work with 350ºC and go up or down it depends on you.
Try to make fast and precise moves with a correct measure of tin-lead. Keep your tools always clean and have wet sponge around. Sometimes I have a dry thin sponge and use it for cleaning. If you want to try with dry take iron tools on one hand and very fast go over tip several times. For me, it was very useful, and I recommend you to try it. Always have iron tip more. It means that you should have a lot of tips for soldering. It depends on material and PCB and components that you solder. After using a soldering iron for a long time, it is smart to turn it off for few minutes it prevents the tip from burning up. Instructables made an amazing tutorial about soldering you can check it out here.
If you are beginning with soldering, read a lot about it, there are amazing tutorials on the internet. If you are looking for reviews, you can find it on our site.