Learn to Solder: Tools and Techniques for Assembling Electronics

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How to Solder: Through-Hole Soldering

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Counter Kits. Flashing LED Kits. Game Kits. Geiger Counters. That is the configuration used in the pictures and videos in this article, and is highly recommended. The photo immediately below shows our test board with solder paste that was applied with a syringe. As will become more evident during the reflow process, there is too much paste on every pad.

The needles for dispensing solder paste are sized by gauge, with smaller numbers representing smaller needles.

Those potentially suitable for solder paste application are from 14 through 20 gauge. The author prefers 16 gauge; anything larger dispenses too much solder and anything smaller is very hard to force the solder through. Hopefully, you will produce better results than those shown above. Some "fill" needle examples are shown in the following photo; the sizes are coded by the color of the plastic connector, but the color code varies from one supplier to another.

Note that the tips of the needles may be cut square or at an angle; the author prefers square tips.

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  7. In the photo below, the paste was applied with a stencil. The improvements in paste placement and quantity dispensed are readily apparent. For more information about the use of solder paste stencils, read this article. The parts have been placed in their respective places in the two following photographs.

    A not-so-obvious advantage of the syringe-applied paste is that the extra paste holds the parts more securely prior to soldering. The problem is that there are more variables in play when using a hot-air station than when using a reflow oven. In addition to time and temperature, a handheld hot-air gun involves several other factors, including the size of the nozzle, how far the nozzle is held from the solder, the angle of the airflow from the nozzle to the solder, the speed of the air coming from the nozzle, the speed at which the nozzle is moved around over the areas to be soldered, and probably more factors not recounted here.

    Ideally, the gun should be held so that the nozzle opening is perpendicular to the surface of the PCB and approximately 12mm 0. Generally, it is worthwhile to mentally separate larger PCBs into smaller sections, and completely solder one section before moving to the next. Experience will help to perfect these techniques. As a result of all these variables, hot-air soldering becomes very personalized—each person develops their own combination of variables that seems to work best for them.

    At the risk of alienating all the "scientific" readers, the term "style" comes to mind. Nevertheless, there were unintentional differences in actions; watch the two videos and take note of the differences. The photo immediately below shows the results of the job done on the syringe-pasted board.

    All the pads show too much solder, but only two components are adversely affected.

    Learn to Solder: Tools and Techniques for Assembling Electronics

    J1 has the top two or three pins bridged. U1 has pins 4, 5, and 6 bridged. Rework will definitely be required and probably will be tedious. The next photo shows the results of the job done on the stencil-pasted board. C5, which was also bumped, was pulled during reflow fully back where it belonged. And U1 has no solder bridges or other functional problems despite being slightly out of position. Rework is a part of surface mount device soldering, and it was absolutely needed on the syringe-pasted board. As a result, U1 was removed as shown in the following video.

    After the removal of U1, the pads were cleared of solder with copper braid and the area was cleaned of flux residue with isopropyl alcohol. The photo immediately above shows the board after the pads of U1 were re-pasted with the syringe; there's still too much paste. The video below shows U1 being resoldered.

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    Because of the solder paste excess, bridges were created between some of the pins of U1. The video below shows how to use solder braid to clear the bridges. Note that fresh solder should be applied to the iron in order to get the best results from the use of solder braid. The braid should be laid over the bridged pins and the tinned iron turned almost parallel to the PCB as it is applied to the braid. It is important to heat the braid with the iron and let the solder in the braid heat the pins, as opposed to heating the bridged pins directly. Finally, the job passes as shown in the last video.

    With a little practice, hot-air soldering is not particularly difficult, but each person must find the balance of temperature, air flow, nozzle size, and gun movement that works for them.

    Learn Solder Tools Techniques for Assembling Electronics by Jepson Brian | eBay

    Clearly, better solder paste application reduces rework, which is a huge time saver. Stencils are usually faster and consistently more accurate for solder paste application than syringes and blunt needles. That's the reason they are called "hot-air rework stations. If you have additional tips and techniques for hot-air soldering, please post them in the comments section below. Load More Articles. Problem with solder removal with copper braid usually comes from not enough flux on the braid.

    The braid supposedly comes saturated with flux but in practice this seems to not be true. Dip the end of the braid in the liquid flux immediately before using it and the results are excellent and will wick all the solder bridges away. On applying solder paste, a very small pointed artist brush works excellently to put a thin coat more like the stencil method shown in the video. The C temperature may be a bit on the low side, which can take longer to heat the pads to melting temperature.

    Get on—-get off is the desired result so the components are not baked as long.


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    We use that hot air tool to take parts off, not put them on. We use a soldering iron and a stereo microscope to put them on. As a pro, I am sure you can go much faster than I can. Thanks for the observations. I have used a hot air tool to mount components and I only had the difficulties shown the first few times I tried.