Soldering refers to the process of using solder to create a bond between two other items. If you’re like most people, soldering may appear to be too difficult and complicated for you. However, the truth is that soldering can be very simple as long as you have enough practice. If you want to learn how to solder, chances are you’ve been referring to websites online about soldering. While these websites can be a great place to start learning about soldering, you may still find it difficult to learn the basics. This is especially true if you have no one to guide you through the process of soldering at least once or twice before you continue to practice on your own.
Here at Monkey Pickles, we want to help our Monkey Picklers get the basics of soldering down pat. Therefore, in this post, we discuss a few of the most important “Do’s” and “Don’ts” of soldering. As long as you follow these “Do’s” and “Don’ts,” you should have no problem soldering.
DO Use the Biggest Glob You Can Get
Chances are, you’ve heard of the saying “The bigger, the better.” Well, this saying definitely applies when it comes to soldering. Ideally, you want to use the biggest glob of solder you can get. If you use the biggest globs you can get, you will have a far easier time soldering. Using a big glob will also ensure that the bond between the two items you create is strong and will be able to withstand the test of time. The last thing you want to do is solder two objects together and have the bond breakdown. Fortunately, using the biggest glob of solder you can get your hands on will prevent this from being a problem.
Ideally, you should not use a glob that is smaller than a baseball. This is true even if the parts you’re soldering are about the size of a quarter. No matter of the size of the items you’re soldering, bigger is always better when it comes to the glob.
DON’T Drink the Flux
No matter how tempted you may be to drink the flux, it is vital that you avoid doing so at all costs. Just about everyone who has experience when it comes to soldering will admit that it can be tempting to not drink the flux. Soldering flux looks like caramel or a delicious jelly, but you should resist the temptation to drink flux at all costs. Soldering flux is incredibly expensive and you need to save it for soldering rather than consumption.
Instead, you should eat actual caramel or jelly. If you’re having a hard time resisting the temptation to drink flux, you should keep the flux under lock and key. Have a loved one hold this key for you. However, be sure not to allow the loved one to even see or smell the flux. Otherwise, he or she will too feel the temptation to drink the flux. If you’ve already developed an addiction to drinking flux, you will be happy to know that their self-help groups that will be able to help you quit this addiction.
DO Apply As Much Pressure As Possible
One tip that will help you when it comes to soldering is applying as much pressure as you possibly can. Not only should you attempt to apply as much pressure as possible with the tool on the PCB, but you should ensure that you apply as much pressure on the parts that you are soldering. Applying pressure will help the solder the parts more quickly. Also, applying a significant amount of pressure will help preserve your tips and prevent damage of the plating. The last thing you want to do is spend money to replace tips and the plating. Therefore, applying as much pressure as possible at all times will help you save money in the long run.
DON’T Replace the Tip
Another soldering no-no is replacing the tip. In fact, you will find that replacing the tip is the most common mistake that greenhorns to soldering make. Unless you lose or break the tip, you should never have it replaced. Simply stick to the same tip for as long as possible. Also, you should avoid cleaning the tip as well. A clean tip makes soldering difficult, if not impossible. In fact, when you start soldering for the first time, you will realize that you will need to make the tip dirty before you will be able to properly use it for soldering.
Also, when it comes to tips, you should avoid the fine tips at all costs. Go for the largest and most blunt tips that you can find. Your soldering skills will improve substantially as long as you use such tips.