Soldering and desoldering

reikiman's picture

Soldering is a way of joining wires together by melting metals so they stick together. It's related to welding but occurs at a much lower heat and does not join the metals together.

Soldering is defined as "the joining of metals by a fusion of alloys which have relatively low melting points". In other words, you use a metal that has a low melting point to adhere the surfaces to be soldered together. Soldering is more like gluing with molten metal than anything else. Soldering is also a must have skill for all sorts of electrical and electronics work. It is also a skill that must be taught correctly and developed with practice.

Soldering requires a metal with a low melting point - the solder.

How to solder

before comments


I would like to add a couple things to this list of vital basic skills.

After working on many old cars Ive learned that, if you use a dry crimp on an important electrical connection, it may last for years, but it also may eventually fail at the worst possible moment. Aluminum and copper doesn't "rust" like iron/steel, but an oxidation layer will form that causes resistance in the connection. Oxidation is worse near a salt-water environment.

"Tinning" is when you put a layer of solder on the wire tip, and then a layer of solder on the connector socket. Then after inserting and crimping the two, you heat them both to connect the solder skins. The outsides may oxidize slightly over time, but the internal connection between the two will be solid.

Because I sometimes pull on a wire to disconnect a plug, sometimes in the past the wire has pulled out of the connector. An electrician showed me a technique where the stripped wire tip was bent in a "U" shape before it was inserted into the connector socket and then crimped. This made a very strong connection.

andrew's picture

That was very helpful, thanks.

I noticed Harbor Freight has a helpful soldering fixture like the kind he was using in the 2nd video. I meant to buy it but forgot when I was there :(
Soldering type fixture

A small portable type vise is often very helpful when soldering.

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richardb's picture

Here is something I learned while working in a lab where we built and repaired circuit boards.

v72mod04.jpgIf you need to de-solder components from a circuit board, one of the handiest things to have around is something called "Solder Wick" It is actually fine copper wire braid, impregnated with soldering paste. If you lay the braid on a feed-thru of a circuit board where a component is soldered into the board, then heat the braid, the heat will cause the solder to "wick" up and be absorbed in the solder wick, leaving the hole in the board practically void of solder. Then lightly wiggling the component lead will usually break the tiny bit of remaining solder loose, allowing you to then remove the component.
You can get solder wick at any Radio Shack store, and at many other electronic parts houses.

Dick B.

Waste Not, Want Not

reikiman's picture

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