Soldering Tips and Tricks Archives

Latex Gloves – Are You Allergic?

Many industrial manufacturing environments require workers to wear protective gloves, including during electronics and medical device production and assembly. Latex gloves not only protect workers from harmful chemicals but also protect products from worker contact and contamination during manufacturing Read more

ST 925 SMT Rework System–Three favorites combined into one nice savings

Save a few steps--and some money--with the Pace 925 SMT Rework System Pace has introduced a new low-cost “combination” system ideal for surface mount technology (SMT) rework. It’s worth adding up the savings by comparing the a la carte prices Read more

Metcal’s CV-5200 Connection Validation Soldering Station Changes Everything

You may or may not have heard about Metcal’s new soldering station, the CV-5200. The evolutionary tool removes much of the reliance on visual inspection of hand-soldered joints and adds a second, more technology-driven method for validating a successful Read more

Weller Soldering Tip #3

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Many solder manufacturers recommend that the wire cored solder should not be applied directly to the soldering tip. This is mainly in part due to the aggressive nature of the flux formulations used in the core. However, the tip has to constantly be “tinned.” Therefore the solder must be applied to the tips working surface to protect it from surface oxidation and contamination. Check with the solder manufacturer for a material that is compatible with hand soldering.

Soldering tip 1

Soldering tip 2

Weller Soldering Tip #2

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Use temperatures between 315-371°C (600-700°F) for Sn63Pb37 and 371-427° C (700-800° F) for Lead-Free alloys. Temperatures higher than 725° F can and will shorten tip life in most cases. Temperatures below 371° C (700° F) can increase tip life by as much as 50 % when compared with temperatures higher than 399° C (750° F).

Missed soldering tip #1?

Weller Soldering Tip #1

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Customers are always interested in tips and tricks for solder and soldering. Weller knows this and has been generous enough to give us a list of tips on how flux, solders and maintenance can shorten or extend the life expectancy of soldering tips.

Every Thursday for at least the next two months, we’ll post a handy tip from Weller.


#1 Use temperatures as low as possible to perform a soldering application, even in Lead-Free environments. Process dwell times have increased for all Lead-Free applications including Wave and Batch Oven processes. Why would Hand Soldering applications be any different? Normal hand soldering dwell times for lead bearing solders: 3 to 5 seconds, for Lead-Free solders: 8 to 10 seconds.

Think Butane When Buying Cordless Soldering Irons

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Cordless Butane Soldering Iron Cordless soldering irons sometimes get poor reviews, but all cordless soldering irons are not substandard.

One common complaint of cordless soldering irons is that the tool takes an excessive amount of time to heat up. And once it does, it never gets hot enough so the solder doesn’t melt properly. Another complaint is the short life of the batteries in battery powered irons.

But, before you dismiss all cordless soldering irons, think about buying a butane soldering iron. These irons are powered by butane instead of batteries, so there is more energy to power the iron.

If you are looking for a portable butane iron, try the Weller PSI100K. This soldering iron/heat tool is perfect for on-the-go people who need to solder, cut rope or heat shrink at a moment’s notice. The tool operates for two hours per butane refill. Temperature for this tool is adjustable up to 1076 degrees F. The PSI100K comes with several tips including a hot knife tip.

You should know that most butane irons do not come with butane so you will have to buy it separately. The Weller WB2 butane is recommended for use with Weller Portasol tools and Weller Pyropen tools.

How to Choose a Solder

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According to, solder is defined as “any of various fusible alloys, usually tin and lead, used to join metallic parts.”

Solder is used by electronics manufacturers, electricians, jewelry makers, plumbers and even hobbyists.

The first step in choosing a solder is to decide what metals are going to be bonded, because the type of metal used will greatly influence the type of solder used. Soft solders are often used with copper, tin and brass. These solders have a low melting point and are made of tin (Sn) and lead (Pb). Soft solders also come in different proportions of tin and lead. Common ratios are 60/40, 50/50 and 63/37. The first number is always the amount of tin in the solder.

Kester Lead Free SolderLead-free solder is another variety of solder that is becoming more popular. Electronics products that contain lead (as well as other hazardous materials) are banned from the European Union as part of the Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS). Lead-free solder may contain many metals including silver, copper, tin, bismuth, indium, zinc and antimony.

Hard solders have a high melting point and are usually made with a high proportion of the metal being soldered. Also, lead is not used in hard soldering. Hard soldering is often used for jewelry making. Because of the high melting point, a hand held torch is usually used in place of a soldering iron.

Solder comes in various forms. The most common forms of solder include, wire, bar and paste. Solder in wire form is probably the most popular because it comes conveniently packaged as a roll. The wire comes in different thicknesses and can be used directly on the circuit board with a soldering iron.

Solder bars are for wave soldering and solder pots. Wave soldering is large scale soldering of components to printed circuit boards (PCBs), while solder pots are used for tin wires/leads.

On the other hand, soldering paste is often used with a syringe. The paste is applied and then heated using hot plates or hot air guns. A disadvantage of soldering paste is that it needs to be kept cold and it will spoil after a few months.

Once you start researching solder, you’ll realize that the price of solder is flexible. The price fluctuates based on the current market price for the metals used in the solder.

Solder chemicals often go hand in hand with solder. Flux is a common soldering chemical. Flux chemically cleans the metals that are going to be soldered together. It is important to remove flux afterwards because the chemical can corrode the metal which could lead to future product failures.

FYI, here are some of the reasons why soldering is such a popular bonding method.

  • Correctly soldered joints can last for years, plus the joints are reliable.
  • For the most part, soldering is easy to do and inexpensive
  • An experienced solderer has control over the entire process
  • Options for solders, irons and tips are endless

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