Soldering electronics is a process of joining metals by heating them to a molten state and applying solder to the joint. When done correctly, it creates a very strong and reliable connection. Although it may seem intimidating at first, soldering is a skill that can be learned relatively easily with some practice.
In this blog post, we will discuss the types of solder, how to use a soldering iron, and some common solder mistakes.
Types of solder
There are two types of solder used in electronics soldering: lead-based and lead-free. The main difference is that lead-free requires more heat to get the metals molten than the slightly older type of solder containing lead. If you are just starting out, I recommend using a standard 60/40 rosin core eutectic (60% tin, 40% lead) solder. This is the most readily available type of solder in most home improvement stores.
Another option is a silver-bearing 63/37 solder. It tends to have a lower melting point than standard eutectic solder and has a slightly higher resistance, so it takes a bit longer to heat up and works well for soldering to large ground planes. It is more expensive than regular solder, but it is good if you are starting out and want something that helps make even heat distribution easier to accomplish.
How to use a soldering iron
A soldering iron is a necessary tool for many DIY projects. Here’s how to use one safely and effectively. First, make sure the soldering iron is properly unplugged before you start handling it.
The tip of the soldering iron will be hot, so be very careful when handling it. Next, tin the end of the solder wire by melting a small amount of solder onto the wire and rubbing it against the tip of the soldering iron. This will help the solder stick to the metal better. Then, use a hammer shank or other clamp to hold your workpiece in place while you solder.
Finally, put on some safety goggles to protect your eyes from sparks, hold the soldering iron in one hand and solder wire in the other, and touch them together. Allow a small amount of solder to flow between the tip of the soldering iron and the metal being soldered.
The solder will melt into a solid blob on the metal piece. When you’re finished with your project, unplug your soldering iron and allow it to cool down before you put it away.
Soldering irons come in all shapes and sizes, so it can be difficult to know which one is right for you. Take a look at some of the best soldering irons reviews to get the perfect one.
Common solder mistakes
Here are some common mistakes people make while soldering.
First, if the solder doesn’t melt into a blob when you touch it to the metal, then there isn’t enough heat or not enough solder on your tip.
The other problem is if solder flows everywhere except for where you want it to form a blob. This can happen if there’s too much solder on your tip, if it’s dirty, or if the tip is too hot.
Finally, you can also get too much solder on your metal. You don’t want this to happen because it’s hard to get the extra solder off without damaging the metal.