School? I could have called it Soldering 101, or Soldering For Dummies, but hey what do we do when we need to learn something that is a skill?, Well we go to a school. The word school is just a formal place of learning. So why do we need school for soldering

There are a few reasons:

  • You need to learn the best practices.
  • You need to learn what solders to use and not to use.
  • You also should understand how not to solder and why.
  • And finally, you should understand the tools you need.

 

Oh yes, this will not take a long time to master, you just need to practice.

And what school course would be books or courseware? So I have dug into the best standards, NASA. Yes, I know you are not launching rockets, but the key to soldering is RELIABILITY! And they have it down pat.

 

SpecTitle
NASA NPC 200-4
1968 ed

Requirements for Soldered Electrical Connections

(This is the standard that I was first taught)

NASA-STD-8739.3
Feb 1998
Soldered Electrical Connections
NASA-STD-8739.4
Feb 1998
Crimping, Interconnecting Cables, Harnesses, and Wiring.
MIL-STD-1130BConnections, Solderless, Electrical Wrapped
For the old folks that like to wire-wrap
IPC J-STD-001ESNASA as of October 2011 has now adopted this standard, but not to worry about it dose not apply to us.

 

DON'T WASTE YOUR MONEY!weller soldering stationTHIS IS THE BEST!! (and I use it)I Guess you want to know why not to buy #1.. It's junk use this type of iron for you wood or leather crafting. they can't hold the temperature and you can't get tips. You are just throwing you bucks away. #2 its ok there is a lot of Weller stations out there, some good, some very bad. Let the buyer beware. #3. This is a Metcal it's what the professionals use. It is not a resistance iron. that is it uses RF energy to heat up the tip. It goes from cold to hot in about 10 seconds. And it's always cool to the touch.

 

bad-tech.jpgI have inserted this wonderful picture (on the left) as PLEASE DON'T EVER DO IT THIS WAY!! You will please notice that the solder is touching the iron (to help melt it) But this is the wrong technique.

Why? Because the wire will not be hot enough to melt the wire and help flow the solder around the strands. FAILED This does not mean that you can not pre-wet or tin your iron with solder first, but if you do you should always clean it off. (damp sponge)

soldering.jpg

This next picture is more wrong than right. Why? First what is right. The soldering iron is not touching the solder. What's wrong?  Because the tip is too large and also you will notice that the wire insulation has started to melt. FAILED This is a great example of when a solder pot would be useful. I pre-tin my leads like this when I am going to insert my leads into a connector shell. You should hold your iron like a pencil, at about angle which is no less than 45 degrees. And always keep your iron (tip) clean.

 

On last, thing is tools: get good ones. I really like EREM. They are kind of high, but if you don't mind eBay you can always get a score.

One more last thing.. Wire Strippers.. you want something that will not nick your wire. The type of strippers with the yellow handles should be avoided at all costs.200-007.JPG

PS... I live in the US and not in the EU so lead/tin  with a Rosin core solder is the way I roll. If you want to go lead-free also, well first get all new tips. then If you have a solder pot you will need a new one as you can not clean them.

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Keep Tuned In More To Come

Cris ~