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Soldering Equipment Explained

Soldering Equipment Explained - Kitronik University

In this two part Kitronik University resource we're going to explain the various types of soldering equipment. Read on for a written guide or skip to the video.

Soldering Iron and Stand

This provides the heat to melt the solder. There are many different types of Soldering iron, but they all have a handle to hold, and a tip that gets hot. It is usually held like a large pencil.

Because the soldering iron gets hot it is essential to have a safe place to put it down. A soldering iron stand provides this. It usually has a spring like surround to guard the hot tip, and a place to put a sponge, or brass shavings to clean the tip prior to use.

Soldering Irons often have interchangeable tips. This allows the best tip to be used for different jobs. For instance, soldering a thick cable requires a larger tip, with a greater heat capacity. Soldering a fine pitched integrated circuit needs a very fine tip to be able to get at the individual legs.

De-soldering Tool

Occasionally it is useful to be able to unmake a soldered joint. To do this a de-soldering tool is used in conjunction with the soldering iron.

The de-soldering tool has a spring loaded plunger, and a heat resistant nozzle. When the plunger is released it creates a short burst of suction that is used to suck up the molten solder away from the joint. Because of this the tool is often known as a solder sucker.

Wire cutters

Once the components have been soldered it is usual to trim off the excess leads. To do this a pair of wire cutters are used.

Helping Hands

Holding the soldering iron, the solder, and the things to be soldered is tricky. Helping Hands are a pair of crocodile clips attached to some flexible mounts that have a heavy base for stability. They can be used to hold PCBs and wires for soldering, leaving actual hands free to manoeuvre the soldering iron and solder.

Video:

Join Kevin as he explains the various types of soldering equipment in the video below, or see lower down for a text version of the resource.

 

So the most important piece of equipment is the soldering iron. This is a mains powered soldering iron. This is the bit we hold (handle) but this bit gets extremely hot (tip), typically around 300 degrees. Because of this it’s very important that you don’t put it straight down onto a work surface, because it will be burnt, or cause damage, or even fires. So what we use is a soldering iron stand. The hot iron rests within this section here and keeps it nice and safely away from anywhere it can cause any damage.

We have a pair of safety glasses. The solders contain flux, this means they may spit so it’s quite important that you protect your eyes during the soldering process.

We have a reel of solder. This is lead free solder, other solders are available like leaded solder.

Here we have a pair of cutters for trimming off excess leads once we've finished the solder joint.

In addition to these key items there are other things you might find useful. Here we have a solder sucker which can be used for correcting mistakes.

We also have a little tub of tip tinner so if the tip gets dirty or old you can use this to clean and restore the tip.

Here we have a fume extractor. During the soldering process fumes come off the solder itself. Now these can be very irritable so using something like this which is a fume extractor can be very useful. It has a fan which draws the fumes into these filter pads which remove any harmful particulates and clean air comes out the back.

Lesson No#. Lesson Name. Description.
Introduction. If you're new to soldering our Soldering School will have you up and running in no time.
1 Soldering Equipment Explained A quick guide to the basic tools you'll need before you start. Includes a video explanation of some tools.
2 How to Clean your Soldering Iron (Tinning). An explanation of why we need to clean the tips and a step by step guide. Includes a video guide to tinning.
3 How to Solder in Ten Easy Steps. A practical guide to getting started soldering. Includes a troubleshooting guide and examples of good and bad solder joints.
4 De-Soldering Demystified. A guide to removing solder. Includes a video demonstration.
5 Simple circuit board repair. Sometimes a pad might get damaged on your board. We show you how to fix it in this simple to follow guide.
Robox 3D Printer
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