Here’s a quick guide to get you started soldering.
First let’s look at the tools you’ll need:
– Soldering iron with a good tip. If your tip is not tinning, that is easily melting soldering and becoming nice and shiny, you’ll need to replace it. It’s away better to use a new $2-5 tip than potentially damage the PCB or parts while soldering with a burnt out tip.
An adjustable station like this or even this cheaper one work well. Pen type ones aren’t that great. The tips wear out quick and they don’t maintain their temperature as well. Do not use a gun type iron. They are not for PCB work
– Tip cleaner – Don’t use a wet sponge. It’d bad for tips. Tip tinnier is great for breathing new life into old cruddy tips.
– Solder – Something with a no clean flux core is best.
– Fume extractor
– Safety glasses or a face shield
– Flush cutters – Diagonal cutters won’t work near as well as they don’t cut all the way to the end.
– Screwdrivers. For the bleep drum a regular Philips head is fine.
Always use a fume extractor when soldering.
For real. Solder fumes are not messing around but a decent fan can easily take care of them. Try not to work in a small space, though. The more air circulation the better.
Wear safety glasses as solder and flux can make very hot bubbles that pop sometimes.
Component leads can go flying when you cut them with flush cutters. Wear safety glasses s and make sure you’re not going to hit anyone else with them either.
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. Children should never solder alone.
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 desolder 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 solder sucker.
Always feel free to contact us if you have any questions!
Here’s an in depth look on how to solder correctly by Collin of Adafruit.
Sparkfun also has a great guide.