Things to know before soldering

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SpyAlelo
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Things to know before soldering

Postby SpyAlelo » Tue Nov 08, 2016 5:10 pm

    Here's a handy little list of things to prep before soldering on any small electronics board:

  1. You MUST have a temperature controlled iron. Never use an iron in excess of 350C/700F, as this will lift your traces and oxidize your tip.
  2. Avoid using wet sponges to clean your iron tip, this will shock and oxidize it. Use a wire brass sponge to prolong tip life.
  3. ALWAYS tin your tip before and after use!
  4. Always use rosin-based no-clean flux. Although you can use it in paste form, liquid is recommended for small jobs.
  5. NEVER USE CORROSIVE FLUXES!! Avoid using flux made with zinc chloride or ammonium chloride. These will eventually damage your board and iron. Only use Rosin-based flux.
  6. Always clean your board before and after soldering. You can use a mild solvent such as Isopropyl alcohol 96% or higher and scrub with a toothbrush or cotton swabs.
  7. Solder with flux or multicore solder with flux is recommended with a mix of 63/37 Sn/Pb. You can use lead-free solder, but remember it may be more difficult to handle.

A note about solder wire:

There are two main alloy mixes: 63/37 and 60/40. Is just a difference of percentage of lead & tin. 63/37 is eutectic, which means that it has a single point in temperature where it goes from a solid to liquid and vice-versa. 60/40 has a "plastic" state where it has some viscosity and then becomes a liquid. The opposite is also true when it cools down. The issue with that plastic state is that it can cause "cold solder" joints where you get cracks. 63/37 resolves that issue since it instantly becomes a solid and has no chance of cracking during the transition.
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