Soldering tips

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Tools

Best Practice for Thru-Hole Soldering

Minimal Setup

For Shruthi, filter boards and other "thru-hole" kits, you don't need anything fancy.

- an entry-level, pen-sized, thin tipped, soldering iron (10-15W)
- a desoldering pump
- cutting pliers
- some solder

A thin soldering iron tip allows you to be more precise (especially on kits like shruthi where there is a lot of small components): you have a better control on the quantity of solder you deposit, and you a have less chances to burn / damage the PCB.

Thin solder (0.5mm) helps a lot, too, to be more precise and to control the quantity of solder you melt.

Be careful with premade soldering kits, most of time, the solder iron will be too thick.

What's happen when soldering ?

Check this (old but) great video : [1]

Optimal Setup

For SMD and thru-hole soldering, the following tools will save you time and money in the long run, and earn you more successful initial boots

Solder Wire Part# KWLF27505 – Kester Lead Free No-Clean 275 Solder Wire, .020” dia., Core Size-58 Sn96.5Ag3.0Cu0.5.
Solder Tip Cleaner Part# FS100-01 – Hakko Lead Free Solder Tip Tinner / Cleaner .35 oz. (good for removing oxidation from the solder tips)
Solder Tip Hakko T18-D16 (900M-T-1.6D) (great chisel tip for SMD and thru-hole work)
Solder Station Hakko FX888-23BY FX888 Soldering Station
Flux Pen Kester No Clean Flux Pen 951
Cutters Xuron Electronic Flush Cut Micro Maxi-Shear Pliers set for soft wire up to 14AWG
Smoke Absorber Part# FA400-04 – Hakko SD-Safe Tabletop Smoke Absorber
Solder Wick Chemtronics 10-100L Solder Wick
PCB Holder PanaVise 324 Electronic Work Center
Tweezers Bernstein 5-053 (useful for SMD work)

Assembly Order

Best Practice for Thru-Hole Soldering

When populating a PCB, start with the smallest components first and incrementally move to the largest components. A good assembly order could be:

1) Resistors (smallest)
2) Diodes
3) Ceramic Capacitors
4) IC Sockets
5) DC Connector
6) Transistors and Large Capacitors
7) Remaining Capacitors
8) Remaining Connectors and Trimmers
9) Regulators (largest)

Orientation

Best Practice for Thru-Hole Soldering

It's often useful to insert all components of a certain type into a PCB before soldering. Rather than bending the leads down to hold a resistor in place, try the component insert, flip, and slide method. For example, after inserting all resistors into the thru-holes, place a small hard flat surface like a small piece of cardboard over the resistors. Then flip the PCB with the small piece of cardboard over and place it onto your soldering surface like a tabletop. The piece of cardboard should now be sandwiched between the PCB and the tabletop. Now carefully slide the cardboard out. Resistor leads should now be vertical, which will create good solder joint slopes. Use shipping tape to secure the PCB to the tabletop before soldering. Start by soldering a row of resistor leads and then use flush cut cutters to snip off the leads from your first soldered row. Repeat for the next row and so on.