soldering practices are the nightmare of ANY electronics
manufacturer or service shop. GOOD soldering is essential to the
performance of your project. A "cold" solder
connection is caused by too little heat OR by heating only the
component wire and not the wire and PC copper foil together. The
tell-tale sign of too little heat is a dull, rough-looking
connection. If you heat only the wire, the solder forms a cute
ball around the wire, and rosin may completely insulate your
ball from the copper.
The left side is good, the
right side is bad!
You probably know that a solder bridge is a
perfect and unintended connection of two PC-board points that
should NOT be connected. They happen most easily when soldering
IC's and other devices with pins close together. The only
technique for avoiding solder bridges is for you to be in
complete control of the tip of your soldering pencil. The best
single tools for avoiding bridges are a proper point on the
soldering iron, bright light, perhaps with some magnification of
your work, and thin diameter solder. Study your connection
before you zap it with heat and solder. Choose the best
"approach angle" for the iron's tip to heat the
connection. Plan ahead to make the solder do what YOU want it to
do, and you just won't build any solder bridges!
COMMANDMENTS OF GOOD PC-BOARD SOLDERING
1.If the soldering iron tip
is covered with burned rosin, it cannot heat
your connection very well.
2.If you heat only the wire and not the wire and
PC trace together, a cold, bad connection is
3.If your soldering tip is big enough to bridge
two adjoining connections, it probably will!
4.Dirty, grubby solder will contribute to dirty,
5.Any use of acid core (plumbers!) solder in
electronics work will destroy
everything...DONíT USE IT!
6.A connection in a large area of PC-board
copper requires more heat than one pin of an IC.
7.If your connection looks dull or brittle, it's
8.If your connection looks like a ball instead
of a shiny cone, it's no good.
9.Thin diameters of shiny, fresh rosin core
solder are easier to use for PC-board work than
thicker "hardware store" solder.
10.Pre-tin any stranded hookup wires leading in
and out of your PC-board kit project. It will
prevent problems later!
THE PAINFUL BUT USEFUL ART
The art of PC-board "de-soldering"
is harder than good, basic soldering, but it is a skill
necessary for service technicians - or experimenters who like to
salvage parts from scrapped PC boards - and for folks who make
mistakes in building kits!
Solder is efficient and stubborn, especially
once it has adhered correctly to a PC-board connection. Those
days of clipping away an old part from big solder lugs, and
easily soldering the new part are gone except for keeping
vintage equipment in good repair.
"Desoldering" is the skilled and
swift removal of all solder from a PC connection. You re-melt
the solder and "suck" it away as cleanly as possible.
Most beginners will have reasonable success with any
spring-powered vacuum device similar to Radio Shack catalog no.
instructions very carefully, so that you will not need
to do needless "desoldering" to get it
||If possible, ask an
expert to SHOW you how to "de-solder".
||Use a bright light and
magnifier to SEE what you are doing.
||Your goal is to get the
connections clean enough so that you can easily
re-solder the new part.