Soldering Tutorials

This topic contains 3 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by Mike Ryan Mike Ryan 1 year, 1 month ago.

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    Mike Ryan
    Mike Ryan

    Good soldering is best accomplished using good tools and techniques.  If your a newcomer to soldering, the following links may provide some good information:

    EEVblog #180 – Soldering Tutorial Part 1 – Tools

    EEVblog #183 – Soldering Tutorial Part 2 – Thru Hole

    EEVblog #186 – Soldering Tutorial Part 3 – Surface Mount

    My additional advice would be to always limit your soldering time to about 2 SECONDS or less.  Too much heat can damage or kill some electronic components, and can also result in lifted solder pads.  So limiting your heating time is important.  In this case, remove the iron and allow the joint to cool down a little before reheating and finishing your soldering job.

    An additional item may be worth noting here about care and cleaning of your soldering iron TIPS.
    Use Flux and TIN a new TIP before any use – leave a little extra solder on the tip to help protect it’s surface before you put the iron in its holder.
    Clean your tip with a DAMP – NOT WET sponge or brass/copper wool (Best as it minimizes tip thermal shock). Tips that are subject to sudden thermal shocks may develop some small surface fractures (especially  if the sponge has too much water).
    NEVER use a File to attempt to resurface or clean a soldering iron tip.  The outer metal layer is usually different to help promote heat transfer.
    And finally, NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER use ACID core solder for working on electronic assemblies or projects. Acid residues will slowly erode circuit traces and it also provides undesired conductive paths that can have unexpected consequences.

    Various chemicals are available to remove excess Flux from the circuit board.  Isopropyl Alcohol can be used and works well, but can leave a small residue.  This can easily be removed by using a burst of compressed air on the surface cleaned as the alcohol begins to dry and evaporate.



    - Mike (K1WVO)
    Nashua Area Radio Club
    Visit us on the web at -

    Fred Kemmerer
    Fred Kemmerer

    Great information Mike, thanks for posting it!

    - Fred (AB1OC)
    President, Nashua Area Radio Society
    Visit us on the web at -



    Thanks Mike (K1VMO) for the outstanding YouTube links.  Also, thanks to all that participated with the introduction to soldering and kit building. These introductions have opened another window in the world of Ham Radio for me and I trust many others.

    Thanks again.  Mike KU1V

    Mike Ryan
    Mike Ryan

    The Elecraft folks have a very nice Soldering Tips document that will provide some additional soldering guidelines.  The end of the document includes a list of recommended solders from a variety of sources.  Also noteworthy is their list of solders types to avoid.

    While building or repairing an electronic Circuit Card Assembly (CCA) you may have to remove and replace a soldered component.  Commercial tools exist that make this process easier but a good job can be done with limited resources.

    A spool of a good quality Solder Wick is almost a must for your toolbox.  Good ones will employ a tightly woven braid of copper with a built in flux.  The braid is positioned over the lead solder joint and use your soldering iron to heat the back side of the solder wick.  Limit the time that heat is applied to just a second or two.  Re-position to a new unused section of the solder wick if necessary.  You can trim off  the used portion of the solder wick braid using a good wire cutter.

    NOTE: a small amount of solder will always remain on the joint, but the lead can often be freed by gently wiggling it with needle nose pliers.

    Low cost mechanical Vacuum desoldering tools will also work.  These involve a spring loaded plunger that “loads” the device for use.  A button releases the plunger to produce the sudden vacuum force and draw in any liquid solder located beneath the tool tip.

    Pushing the plunger mechanism all the way in will allow most of the solder taken into the tool to be ejected from the vacuum chamber.

    WARNING: Two types of plunger mechanisms exist: One design can allow the plunger arm to retract rapidly and strike the user in the eye or face, the other provides a shield around the plunger handle to improve safety.

    A set of Dental Picks or thin metal scribe tool made of Stainless Steel can be very useful.  Stainless Steel will resist the bonding with the liquid solder   and can be very helpful in clearing unwanted solder from thru holes.  The hole is quickly heated to melt the solder and the small stainless steel tip is lightly inserted into the hole to help displace the unwanted solder while the soldering iron is taken away.  The solder should re solidify quickly and then the stainless steel probe  can be removed.

    Note:  A stainless steel SAFETY PIN can also be used in a pinch – Just be careful not to stab yourself with that very sharp pointed tip.

    You may want to practice some with an old SCRAP board to help develop a feel for this and help refine your soldering and desoldering skills.

    Stainless Steel dental tools or scribe can also be helpful when working with installing or removing surface mount components.  Because stainless resists the solder the tool can be used to help hold or position the surface mount component while soldering.  When working with a surface mount resistor or capacitor, simply apply solder first to only one of the component pads.  Position the part on the board and use the stainless steel tool to hold it in place while reheating the solder you previously added.  Remove the iron, and allow the solder to solidify before soldering the other side of the component.

    CAUTION: good control of the stainless steel tool is required if you wish to avoid an unexpected game of Tiddlywinks and being forced to try and find where the part was launched to.  Extremely small surface mount parts will give you the greatest challenge.


    - Mike (K1WVO)
    Nashua Area Radio Club
    Visit us on the web at -

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