Soldering is actually a skill. You cannot solder a perfect fix in one go. You cannot have a clean and working printed circuit board if you do not handle your soldering tasks properly. You can waste hours of PCB preparation if your soldering skills are poor. You need to practice constantly and effectively learn from your past mistakes. This article will teach you on how to solder properly. Below are some of the guidelines you can use:
1. Always use a soldering iron that is in good condition. The soldering iron is the heat source that is used to melt the solder. Always inspect the tip. The tip must be pointed and not dull. Many soldering irons, however, are bought flat and fat, and not very pointed. If that is the case, then being clean is enough. You can use a sand paper to clean the tip of the iron. It must be done while it is unplugged or if it had enough time to cool down after a soldering task.
2. If your goal is to solder for a printed circuit board, then you must always choose a soldering iron with a lower wattage rating. It can range from 15 to 30W. Irons within that range are enough for most boards. Anything with higher wattage may damage your PCB or your components.
3. Always allow the iron enough time to heat up before doing any soldering tasks. It will save you the frustration of wondering why the lead is not melting. If the iron is now heated, then you should select a hole of a printed circuit board with component pins to solder.
4. Apply heat first to the ring with the drilled hole. You must use the side of the tip of the iron. Do not use the actual pointed tip because it will only damage the board, and your own iron, as well. After a few seconds, feed the soldering lead in between the ring and the tip of the iron. You will see that the solder should flow through and around the component, and the hole. You must adjust your grip if the solder is only positioned in one location.
5. A good solder must have a volcano-shaped mound, which is colored silver-white. If your solder forms a ball, then you can use a de-soldering tool or solder vacuum, and repeat this step until desired shape achieved.
6. Repeat until all of the holes on the printed circuit board are filled up with these volcano-shaped mounds. You can also use a soldering flux or paste to achieve better adhesion. The soldering flux can also be used to clean the tip of the iron after every solder. You can also dip the tip of the iron to a wet sponge. This can prevent the iron from overheating, and at the same, clean the tip from left-over solder. Maintaining the heat of the iron can prevent damage of the PCB, and can prolong the life of the iron.
7. Use a multitester with a continuity function to check if your circuit will not short. Always remember that a short circuit is hazardous and may cause fire.
8. Optional: Use a flux remover or electronic contact cleaner to clean the board. The board can be sticky and messy after you finish your soldering task. The rosin flux from the soldering lead and paste is the cause of the mess. You can also use isopropyl alcohol.
You have learned valuable tips on how to solder a printed circuit board properly. With enough practice, your PCB may appear to be professionally made. Just practice, and you can gain a skill that you can use in creating valuable electronic circuits.