Here’s a quick guide to get you started soldering.
First let’s look at the tools you’ll need:
- Soldering iron. Pen type, 35W max like this or these. Don’t try and use a huge gun-type iron.
- Solder. 20 gauge (~.032″) is good for most kits. Large solder should be avoided. Almost all components we uses are RoHS.
Lead-free solder isn’t necessary but is recommended.
- Fume extractor or similar fan.
- Damp sponge or brass tip cleaner.
- Small diagonal or flush cutters.
- Wire strippers are handy but optional.
- Small pliers.
- Helping hands, vise or anything to hold the board helps greatly.
- Safety glasses.
- Small Phillips and flat head screwdriver.
All Bleep Labs kits can be completed by those who are new to soldering, but it is very important that you know how to solder safely before you start.This includes working in a well-ventilated area and wearing safety glasses.
Children should never solder alone and should never handle anything that might contain lead.
Soldering is easy if you follow these simple steps:
1 – Heat the part for 2 seconds with the side of the iron’s tip.
2 – Push in just enough solder to cover the joint
3 – Remove solder but continue heating joint for 1-2 seconds.
When soldering, remember to heat the part then push the solder into the joint. Don’t try to “paint” the solder on.
If your iron doesn’t seem like it’s heating anything or melting the solder, clean it using a damp sponge or brass tip cleaner. If the tip looks like charcoal replace it, trying to build with it will only cause damage. Solder joints should look like clean, even cones. You should not be able to see the hole or pad.
If you put a part in the wrong place don’t try to delsolder it until you understand. It’s possible to simply heat the pad and pull out a simple resistor or capacitor but you run the risk of damaging the board due to overheating. Here is a tutorial on using solder braid and asolder sucker.
Always feel free to contact us if you have any questions!
Here’s a great in depth video on “How and why to solder correctly”.
Sparkfun has a great guide if you’d like to learn more.