Soldering is one of the most basic skills that an electronic technician should have. While it’s easy to do, there’s a number of tricks and techniques that can be learned that will quickly enhance your skills. Here’s a number of links to help you get started. Just like in golf, the skill is in the operator, not the tool. Inexpensive irons are a great way to learn, and spending hundreds on a solder station makes the job quicker, once you know how to use them.
NASA Training Document
For years, the definitive guide on how to solder has been the NASA Technical Standard on Crimping, Interconnecting Cables, Harnesses and Wiring. Air Force electronics technicians were told that bad (heavy) solder joints could add $1,000,000 to the cost of the Apollo launches. This 114 page guide covers it all, and gives great guidelines on how to solder anything.
How To Solder: A Beginners Guide
The folks at Makerspaces.com have put together a great beginner guide, and contains pictures, with an easy to follow layout. Here they show examples of PC board soldering, wire tinning, and desoldering.
There’s a number of great soldering videos on Youtube. Here’s a number of links that may help you get started.
- KE0OG’s Soldering Video – David Casler’s introduction video, titled “Soldering 101 for Makers and Radio Hams (AD #121)”. This is a great starter video, describing equipment, techniques, and showing examples for printed circuit boards and wires.
Skillbuilder: Learn to Solder – This is a great starter video from the folks at Make:
- How To Solder – Beauty and the Bolt has a great beginner soldering guide for those starting to solder.
- Easy way to Solder Surface Mount Parts – So you’re getting brave, and want to try surface mount parts. Here’s a way to give it a whirl with solder paste.
- How To Solder a Circuit Board – Note that this little guy pronounces ‘flux’, as flooks…
Instructables: How To Solder
Over on the Instructables.com web site, there’s another guide that describes how to start the soldering process. No pretty pictures here, but some great text ideas.
Welding / Soldering Glossary
The good folks at Welding Tech have created an online glossary that contains all of the terms used in welding and soldering. Take a look at this link and learn the terminology of the process.
SMD / SMT Soldering Station
This is a hot-air soldering machine. These have come way down in price and have a normal soldering iron, and 15-volt power supply included. The device shown here runs about $70 and is available from e-Bay at this link.
This is a video microscope that will let you see the SMD / SMT parts you are working on with enough detail to make this happen. This device shown here is about $110 and is available from Amazon at this link.