EEVblog #183 – Soldering Tutorial Part 2Posted on July 2nd, 2011 33 comments
A beginners guide to learning how to hand solder.
Remember to watch the first part, which is all about the tools: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J5Sb21qbpEQ
awesomeeeeeeeeeeeeee… thanks for all the information and tips you gave to us dave… eevblog is the best…
Is it just me or did this video seem a bit foggy? Like maybe your camera lens has cleaning residue or has fogged. The upper right hand seems the worst at the beginning.
Best soldering video ever, and I thought I had seen some nice ones in the past. At first I didn’t think you could add much more about soldering then I’ve seen in past videos, but you really did. I already knew most of what was in your video but not in a way that I would ever have thought to communicate in a tutorial. That is what makes your videos so great! You did a bang up job. Can’t wait until the surface mount video, I do need help there!
Just another advice for young player in soldering/desoldering.
DON’T do it wearing short pants or slippers! Accidents do happens.
A student of mine was filling a TO-220 transistor wearing a short pant (like Dave with the LM317 regulator) when he accidentally moved the board spilling the liquid solder on his thigh!
I’m glad you relented a bit on the “never apply solder to the tip” point and talked about using it for heat transfer. I have heard people teaching that as a hard and fast rule, but in reality I find that putting the tip on the connection, then touching the solder directly to the thip JUST A BIT to flow some solder on and aid in heat transfer, then applying to the far side, is the best technique. This allows for quite rapid soldering once you get the technique down, since you get very fast heat transfer.
It’s a little harder to teach but I think everyone eventually comes to solder like that whether they admit it or not, and whether they’ve been taught that or not. I’ve even seen people who teach “never to the tip” as gospel doing it.
I was getting a bit antsy about that part as well. A perfectly dry iron tip can make for some very frustrating soldering and can make you end up heating the part for longer than you need to (and possibly damage it).
“Don’t apply solder to the tip of the iron” is one of those things from the “never let following the rules stop you from doing what works” file. It makes sense when you’re doing large work (like copper plumbing), but conditions at the PCB scale are different. The smaller area means thermal gradients are negligible, and the mass of metal in a pad and lead/wire are fairly small compared to the mass of solder that will go between them.
It’s also worth noting that surface tension is a significant force at PCB sizes and smaller. You can cut your solder into 1/16″ to 1/4″ chunks (called ‘pallions’), pick one up with the tip of your iron, and tap the molten blob onto a well-fluxed joint. Assuming you have the right amount of solder (which you can control by adjusting the size of your pallions), capillary action will pull it into a good connection.
Pallions work especially well for hand-soldering SMT components because the technique leaves your off-hand free to hold the component.
soldering a LM317: The involuntary Dave’s tribute to Bob Pease !
once angin dave you nailed it!
If you’re in desperate situation without temp controlled iron, I found a great trick that works with a “fixed temp” 60 watt mains iron I have with a screwable tip. Simply untighten the screw and pull/move it 1-3 cm out of the iron base depending on the tip size and tighten the screw again! It’s now a “~40 watt equivalent” 60 watt iron.
Nice video–a real help for newbies. Good on you, cobber.
I’d put in a plug for RA (Resin Activated) flux solder for using old parts.
Normal solder uses RMA (resin, mildly activated) flux, which works great for clean parts, but is iffy for oxidized stuff from the junk box.
I have a bottle of RA flux and RA-flux solder, and they’re both very good medicine for prototyping.
Dave, you’re the man! This is unquestionably the best video ever made on through-hole soldering. I’ve learned some new stuff, plus you’ve probably just made me a believer of chisel tips for life. I’m gonna pick one up tomorrow for sure.
Now on to my questions…
Most PCBs look the same but I’ve seen a couple of them that you use that really stand out, like the one you start using in this video from 28:25. Its color is darker and the solder pads seem gold colored. I’m in love with these and curious how / where can I get such boards and what’s the secret to them (if any).
On a related note the contour of some of the pads of the above mentioned kickass PCB seem perforated. There are also some pads, such as the left pad of C134 of which one side is perforated and the other isn’t. I guess maybe this asymettry signifies the polarity of the component but either way, what’s the significance of the perforation and when is it applied?
As for SMD soldering that best video I’ve seen so far is http://store.curiousinventor.com/guides/Surface_Mount_Soldering/101/ . Consdering your track record I wouldn’t be too surprised to see that you put them into shame. I’m excited about your new post on this topic.
Keep it up the fabulous work!
AWESOME TUTORIAL DAVE!! Good advice a bout the thermal capacity of the soldering iron tip, that is without a doubt a trap for young players.
I look forward to the smd stuff!
May the Flux be with you!!
You are lucky you didn’t do that in the class where I learned to solder, you would have failed.
Two problems with your work:
1) You cut the pins after soldering, not before, this is easier, but you end up with exposed copper at the end of the pin which can corrode.
2) You clean the iron before putting it away, this exposes the tip to oxidation while it’s waiting in the holder, so NEVER clean the tip before putting the iron away, always clean it just before using it.
Both transgressions will be of no consequence for a hobbyist, but in a professional setting both would get you shot at dawn.
I agree with what Flemming Frandsen said. That’s how I learned it too during my apprenticeship.
I also want to add that I always go through the trouble of bending the legs of THT components to an angle with a pair of pliers. You ask me why? Simple! It just looks right and professional.
Re Flemming and Florian:
In production of through-hole boards, lead shear follows wave soldering, so there’s quite a bit of exposed copper in essentially every commercial board. If it’s going to be used in wet or salty conditions, it needs a conformal coat anyway. Good luck keeping a trimpot alive in an environment where copper corrodes significantly.
Awesome video, although I was expected a little comment on shrink tubing when you were talking about the connectors.
Very nice video although there are a couple of points I don’t completely agree with.
1) Conical tips are just fine, I’ve used them for years with no problems.
However, the ones I use are big and beefy and NOTHING like the anemic needle-point one you were trying to use.
Needle-point ones are definitely bad in most cases, but a normal(?) conical tip of about the same size as your chisel tip is just as good as the chisel.
2) I learned to set the tip on the joint, then add solder at the point where the tip contacted the joint to create a heat-bridge, and finally start adding solder to the other side of the joint. This allows for even less flux to burn off.
I also recently read about lying the solder on the joint and bringing the iron down on top to get the heat-bridge and to get started, then move the solder and add from the opposite site.
I think both of these methods would work a bit better than adding solder to the tip and trying to make the heat-bridge that way.
But overall, I’ve got to say, this has to be one of the best soldering tutorial videos I have seen.
Can’t wait for your next one on SMD work
Thank you for this very detailed tutorial. It sure helped me a lot.
At the end of your video you mentioned either using a wedge tip, or using a Metcal?
What is that or why would that make you not use a wedge tip?
One suggestion/question that I have searched but not found any good answer.
How to change the tips in the soldering iron?
It will probably depend on the brand (I own a JBC one, not perfect, but good enough for what i do) which uses a special tool to help remove the tips, but the instructions are to simple: “remove the tip”.
If you are suggesting to use several tips, maybe it will be good to show how to change them.
So what software tool did you use to recover your files?
I have a 500GB drive that cannot be seen by windows’ explorer, yet all the files are in-tact and can all be recovered.
However, instead of using recovering files, I’m hoping to fix whatever fat file structure thingy is preventing windows from seeing it!
thanks for the tutorial! awesome video!
A fairly nice tutorial, but I would not be happy with the LM317T soldering – that was way too much solder.
– IPC610D certified.
I’ve just come across your blog and have been happily going through your posts, hence the time lapse. One point that you didn’t mention, at least as I was taught, was that the components and the solder itself shouldn’t be disturbed once heat is removed before the solder sets. This can also cause faulty joints.
Do you agree?
A few points I think you should add… I like to wet the tip then clean it with the Hako ‘steel wool’ cleaner; Not sure of the proper name, but it looks like a coarse copper, this leaves a tiny ammount of solder on the tip- perfect to achieve good thermal conductivity, without too much dry /flux-less solder on the tip. You made no mention of heating the pad too much, as this can delaminate it from the board. Likewise, too much heat applied to any connector with terminals set in a plastic material may be damaged or distorted by melting the plastic. When soldering through-hole DIP’s I always solder the two diagonally opposite corner pins first, so I can ensure the component is well seated, and it’s easy to re-seat if necessary. Another one is not cutting component pins shorter that IC legs, since it’d much easier to desolder with a powered vacuum desolderer. For this reason also I prefer not to bend component legs prior to soldering, as it’s much harder to desolder. Regarding Mil-Spec; both the component and pad should be soldered separately first, then wicked dry, then inserted, re-soldered, and then wicked again to leave the appropriate ammount of solder to complete the joint. I use a Hako 928 and strongly recommend the TTM 0.8D tip available fron Mektronics (they last for ages). Final tip; When finished with your iron(s), always leave a good blob of solder on the tip before it cools, this too prolongs the tip life. P.S. You should have pointed out the pitting in the dry joints, as compared to the nice smooth filleting on the good connections.
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[...] In this video tutorial, [Dave Jones] at the EEVblog covers soldering, detailing good practices and common mistakes to avoid when working with through-hole components. As the second video in a series he picks up where part one left off, excitedly demonstrating the ins and outs of good soldering skills. [...]
[...] of PCB soldering tutorials where he goes through tools needed to make quality soldering, then through hole soldering tips and finally SMD component [...]
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