Do you know how to solder wires to a circuit board? It is straightforward, but you must perform it correctly to ensure a perfect electrical connection.
That brings us to today’s discussion- Is there a standard soldering procedure? Also, can you use any soldering material to solder your parts on a circuit board? How many kinds of solder wires are there?
Stick to learn more about the perfect soldering process, how to prevent cold solder joints, and everything about soldering.
What Does Solder Wire Mean?
A solder is a material that creates electrical conductive joints in electronic circuit boards. In addition to being a conductor, solder makes a durable joint ensuring that the parts form a solid bond.
Also noteworthy is that we have different solder grades, each type suited to a particular role. Let us check out the two main solder wires types.
Lead alloy solder wire
Soldering iron and solder wire.
It’s the most familiar solder type, and it primarily features tin and lead, materials that melt at low temperatures of about 190 degrees.
This feature means that it is easy to apply and doesn’t consume a lot of electricity to melt.
It’s the latest solder type, and manufacturers developed it as an alternative to toxic lead. Hence, with lead-free solder, there’s no risk of polluting the environment as its make-up materials are innocuous.
Unlike the lead alloy type, lead-free solder composes of three primary materials.
Also, this solder has a slightly higher melting point than Lead alloy. Nonetheless, it’s cheaper, making it the ideal alternative to toxic lead solder.
Soldering PCB Procedures
A young girl is soldering components.
While soldering appears like a manageable process requiring no skills, it can be daunting for beginners without prior experience.
Hence, you need first to understand the main soldering procedures.
It is a soldering procedure involving a molten solder and another small electronic component with a metal lead, such as a capacitor.
In soft soldering, the soldering iron heats the wire to 450 degrees Celsius, causing it to melt.
The molten solder attaches the small component onto the PCB upon drying.
You can use a quality soldering iron or a butane torch for soft soldering.
It is a soldering process whereby, unlike in soft soldering, where the wire is molten, it applies solid solders.
Also, it involves heating the two parts to temperatures between 450 and 900 degrees Celsius.
Hard soldering produces more solid and durable joints than soft soldering hence its popularity in connecting materials for military work.
In this section, we’ll cover a simple soldering procedure that is easy to follow, even for DIY hobbyists.
Check out the steps to learn the fundamental skills to avoid the common bad solder joints synonymous with inexperienced technicians.
Prepare the Materials
Below is an assortment of tools and materials you require for the soldering job. They include:
- A solder wire of appropriate thickness, depending on the soldering process. The alternative is a solder paste.
- A heat source like a soldering iron. Ideally, choose a soldering gun with a wattage capacity of between 15 and 40.
- A heated soldering iron tip of the right size. The biggest soldering iron tip is the best for getting the job done quickly.
- Basic tools for safety like hand gloves, welder boots, and eye protection gear.
Apply Intense Heat to the Wire
Now cut the wire to the right size depending on the joint thickness you want to create.
Then apply proper heat to it by pressing the hot iron tip on it for about 10 seconds to enable its heat up.
The heat energy is imperative in raising the metal contact temperatures to perfect levels for a solid connection. So the process of heating metal wires is critical.
If the current heat levels are insufficient, you can heat it longer, but it should take a little time, given that it conducts heat quickly.
There’s no need for excessive heat, so you should know when to stop.
Next, it’s time to introduce the lead-based solder when the wire is hot enough.
So place the solder wire, the component pins, and the hot solder on the opposite side of the joint.
It will help reach the solder’s melting temperatures. Easy flow of solder is imperative in creating a solid joint.
Once you’re comfortable that you’ve done a strong joint, remove the hot solder iron.
Remove the excess solder with a solder wick to create a clean joint. Finally, use a damp sponge to cool the zone.
Now you have the essential skill for the soldering and re-soldering process.
This simple process applies to soldering pieces of metal together and is not just limited to connecting circuit board parts.
Solder Jumper Wire on the Circuit Board
Solder jumper Wires
A jumper wire is any wire we use to connect two parts in a circuit. But the term also includes any connector that binds two points on a circuit without necessarily soldering.
Jumper wires are handy in facilitating connections outside the circuit board’s infrastructure.
Most solder jumper wires come in different colors, but this only helps to differentiate one from the other.
Otherwise, the wire color is insignificant in the connection.
The primary characteristics you should check out when dealing with jumper wires are their underlying modes.
They can be:
- Male to female
- Female to female
- Male to male
How To Connect A Wire To A Circuit Board Without Solder
There are two main effective techniques. You can still use them, although they don’t create perfect joints like a solder connection.
Using electrical tape
Joining wires with electrical tape.
This method is best for connecting two wires, and it is among the most convenient techniques, as the electrical tape is very cheap.
So how do you go about it? Simply strip the cover of the two wires to form a bond, then cover them up with electrical tape.
Among the perks of this method is that when you do it correctly, you can create a permanent joint.
Also, it is the go-to method for insulating an electrical part to shield it from shorts.
Using Alligator Clips
If you cannot access electrical tape, the best alternative is to use the typical battery alligator clips.
And the connection process is simple. Place the two stripped ends of the wires you want to connect parallel to each other, then connect them with alligator clips.
However, it doesn’t result in a permanent connection, and there’s a likelihood that the two may not make perfect conductors.
Thus, it would be best if you only considered it as a last resort.
Soldering Wires to Other Electrical Components
Here are several crucial titbits for soldering wires to other parts.
- Ensure you only apply a rosin core bit of solder when dealing with electrical wires instead of an acid core for plumbing applications. The choice of solder is very significant in determining the joint quality. You must also use the right diameter solder.
- When dealing with a stranded wire, the rule of thumb is to cover it with a glob of solder before connecting it to a joint. Connecting it directly without applying the solder will make a weak joint.
- Never try to force it to flow over the soldering surface. Always put the solder wires on the surface and gently place the hot solder on it to prompt melting.
- Again, limit the solder only to the specific joint during common soldering. It could prove a problem if it spills over to other parts.
- Lastly, hold the circuit board firmly when soldering. You can use a clamp, vice, or other appropriate holding tool. But when clamping, don’t destroy the circuit’s intricate parts.
If you have any grey areas about performing a clean soldering job, we know that that is now a thing of the past.
This guide tells you everything it takes to create a perfect solder joint.
Here’s our parting shot: When soldering, assume nothing. It would be best if you always consult anytime you feel like there’s something you don’t know how to do.
Contact us if you have other questions!