Lincoln Han
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Basic Soldering Skills

Soldering may seem simple to technical people, but it still takes practice to get it right, consistently. It is an essential skill to have for eletronics repair. Most computer technicians don't usually work with electronics repair at the component level as part replacement is the most common and time-efficient. However, for electronics that require component level repair, learning to solder is necessary.

In the next two videos, I show what you need and how to solder and desolder through-hole components. Other components such as chips in various packaging, surface-mounted devices (SMD), often require additional tools such as special soldering iron tip, they are beyond the scope of these videos.

soldering and desoldering tools

The tools:

  • A good soldering iron: no less than 40 watts, with adjustable temperature and changeable tip.
  • Solder alloy: Lead-based tin alloy solder has a much lower melting point and is easier to use. Due to its lead content, it's no longer used in manufacturing in most electronics because environmental regulations in most countries prohibit it. For repair it's not a bad option as it's easier to work.

    There are also several options of solder alloy available, but they generally have a higher melting point, and require a powerful soldering iron (60 watts+). The temperature required to solder is usually much lower than to desolder, even for the same alloy.
  • Solder flux: It helps the solder to attach to the component, a must have.
  • De-soldering wick: This comes in different width, and come with or without flux. It is really useful for sucking up the solder when you desolder something.
  • Tweezer: To hold a component when you need to remove or mount it.
  • Soldering tip cleaner: Looks like a pan scrabber, usually made of copper or aluminum, and will keep the tip shiny and long-lasting.
  • Cotton swab: Useful for cleaning those dirty components.
  • De-soldering suction pump: Useful for sucking larger through-hole component solder, but not essential, in general the de-soldering wick is better.
  • Toothpick(!): Not very professional, but in a pinch, works wonders to get rid of the residual solder from the hole on the PCB.

Some precautions before you begin working with any equipment: Always work on the equipment with the power disconnected. Work in a well ventilated place and have a fan that sucks the solder fume away from you. It can be toxic and harmful to your health.

The information I provide here is for educational purpose, and I offer no warranty or guarantee or any type. Do this at your own risk and I will not be liable for any of your actions.


Video tutorials:

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