Most of us use electronics multiple times a day, but not many are skilled at soldering. Soldering is essential for making and repairing everyday electronics, and you can do it from home. In short, it’s a useful skill that could come in handy for anyone. Hobby and electronics stores generally carry soldering irons, and with a little care, it’s easy to learn from home.
This article will offer tips and instructions to help a beginner learn to solder two wires together and then how to solder a circuit board.
What Is Soldering?
Soldering is the process of joining electrical wires together or fixing them onto a circuit board with melted and cooled metal alloy known as solder. The solder allows the two components to work together to transmit an electric current.
Solder is an alloy that can contain tin, copper, silver, zinc, bismuth, indium, antimony, and other trace metals. It is melted onto the metals or wires using an iron heated to 600 degrees Fahrenheit or more. The melted solder cools, creating a strong bond ideal for transmitting electricity.
To start soldering, you need:
– Soldering iron & holder
– Cleaning sponge or wire
– Solder & holder
– Something to solder
– Safety goggles
– Ventilated space
– Plyers or tweezers
– Soldering paste or paste flux (optional)
Solder is a metal alloy that creates a strong electrical bond required to join parts on circuit boards and electronics. The soldering iron is the heating device that allows you to melt the solder. Please read all of the manufacturer’s instructions for using your soldering iron before you begin this tips guide.
First, you’ll need to do some preparatory work, which we’ve discussed below:
1) Clean the Tip
At the business end of every soldering iron, you’ll find a soldering tip. A wide variety of tips are available, such as canonical and chisel, and you’ll probably expand your collection as you learn more about soldering.
Canonical tips are used for smaller areas because they are pointed and thin. Chisel tips are used for larger components that require more coverage.
No matter what tip you have, you need to clean it first. In a well-ventilated area, heat the iron to a medium setting and then rub the tip on a wet sponge or copper pad.
2) Tin the Tip
Once the tip is clean, it needs to be tinned, which just means melting some solder onto it. The “tinning” facilitates heat transfer from the tip to the components and makes your work easier.
Now that you’ve prepared your soldering iron, you can put on your safety goggles begin soldering.
Beginner Guide: Soldering Two Wires
If you want to solder two wires together, start by setting them up in a safe, ventilated space for soldering. Twist the ends of the wires together carefully and neatly so that you can make the joining permanent. At this point, you might choose to apply soldering paste to the wires before proceeding.
Once the wires are twisted together, tin the tips of the wires just like you tinned the soldering iron tip. We recommend holding the wires with a pair of plyers or tweezers because they’ll get hot quickly.
Place the hot soldering iron tip on the underside of the joined exposed wire and let it heat for 10-15 seconds. The exact time frame will depend on your soldering temperature and the performance of your iron. But 480 degrees Fahrenheit is considered okay for most irons.
Repeat the process with the other wire.
Next, touch the solder to the heated wires and allow the metal to begin melting in between the twists. Continue applying the solder until you have created a solid, neat bond between the two wires. Once you’re satisfied with the amount of solder applied, you can allow it to cool while you clean your iron and workspace.
Beginner Guide: Soldering a Circuit Board
If you want to do beginner work on circuit boards, you’ll likely need to connect wires to hole components. To get started, place the components into their respective holes. From the solder side of the board (which is the same side the solder pads are located), you can bend the wire legs slightly, so they don’t fall out when flipped.
Now, put the tinned and preheated iron tip on the circuit pad so that it heats the legs slightly. Now touch the solder to leg and melt some solder onto the hold, being careful not to apply too much. When you are satisfied, remove the iron and the solder wire. Let your project cool for a few minutes and let the cone shape form naturally on the pad.
If you need to apply more soldering, repeat the previous process. Once everything looks fine, cut off the excess lead from the component and clean up your workspace.
If all of this sounds intimidating, put your mind to rest. Soldering is an easy process and takes five minutes at most for one project once you have the hang of it.
Below are a few safety tips to help your project go smoothly:
– Avoid lead-based solder and wash your hands after touching lead circuit components. Get tested for lead poisoning every six months if you use lead-based solder or components.
– Remove excess solder paste after your project cools as it can weaken the joint over time.
– Never apply acid core solder to electronics.
– Do not solder a live circuit.
– Always place the soldering iron in its stand when not in use.
– Give soldered surfaces two minutes or more to cool.
– Do not blow on solder to help it cool.
– Use only a sponge or copper pad to clean your soldering tips. Anything else can cause performance issues by removing the protective coating.
– Never solder without a tinned tip.
– Do not leave your soldering iron unattended or touch the tip as it cools.