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Soldering Tutorial

Soldering Tutorial – How to Solder

Here’s a beginner’s guide to soldering tutorial. From this you’ll learn how to solder.

soldering-tutorial_1200x360

If you want to make anything that involves an Arduino, raspberry pi or any kind of circuitry, the odds are that you are going to have to solder something to a circuit board. Don’t worry – it’s much simpler than it looks and Proto-PIC have some fantastic soldering kits to get you started! Soldering is a key skill to master if you want to work with electronics. It’s a tricky business too: if you want to attach metal wiring or components to a PCB (printed circuit board) a little finesse with a soldering iron goes a long way.

Soldering Tutorial Basic Kit

basic kit for soldering

Clockwise from top left:
1. Solder Wire
A 60% tin, 40% lead wire (commonly called a 60/40) is probably the easiest solder wire to work with and is easy and inexpensive
2. Solder Iron and Stand
A pencil-style 25W will see you right. Don’t skimp on the wattage – longer heating times with cooler irons damage the integrity of your solder joint.
3. Sponge
Most stands should come with a sponge and a place to store it. A 100% cellulose sponge is the most effective. Before you start soldering, make sure that your sponge is dampened with water and wet to the touch.
4. Diagonal Cutters
5. A small pair of diagonal wire cutters will allow you to trim the excess from your newly soldered joints.

image shows soldering iron dipped into sponge

Once you’ve turned on your iron and heated it to the correct temperature – 370 degrees centigrade should be about right for 60/40 wire – you need to clean the iron and ‘tin the tip’. Wipe the tip of the iron on the damp sponge to prevent any oxidation and then immediately touch a small amount of solder wire to the tip of the iron and wipe it away on the sponge.

Soldering Tutorial Handy Tip: Never use files or abrasives like sandpaper as it will damage the plating and ruin your iron

image shows soldering iron tips

Solder Iron A is an example of a dirty tip. If you’re having trouble tipping, you can repair an oxidised tip by treating it with tip-tinning paste. Solder Iron B is what you should be seeing – a thin, shiny layer on the tip of the iron.

images show a pcb board

To prepare the PCB, make sure that it’s free from dirt / fingerprints and oxidation by cleaning it with rubbing alcohol. Now, putting your board in a vice if you have access to one, is a very useful way to steady it and leave your hands free to hold the solder wire and iron in the place you want them – it’s really important that the parts being joined do not move, as if they do you end with a faulty ‘cold joint.

image shows soldering iron being used to solder parts to a board

Strip the wire / component you wish to solder free of its plastic casing. Then hold the wire at the point at which you wish to create a joint and heat it with the iron. Once the metal is heating, touch the tip of the solder wire between the iron and the wire / component so that it melts and flows into the hole and on your wire, joining them together. Once enough solder has coated the join (it should only take a few seconds), carefully remove the iron and allow the solder to cool.

image shows clippers being used to snip excess wire

Once your joint has dried, clip the excess wire / component with the diagonal clippers as close as you can to the board. A well-bounded joint will look like a smooth, shiny, slightly rounded pyramid.

Soldering Tutorial Handy Tip: Take care not to inhale the soldering fumes in lead-based solder. Make sure you work with mouth and nose protection in a well-ventilated area.

images shows common issues in soldering joints

Common Issues

(Clockwise from top left)

1. Overheated joint

This blackened mess was caused by the solder not flowing well, which usually happens because of a dirty or under-heated iron. You can fix the problem by cleaning gently with a toothbrush and rubbing alcohol and starting again.

2. Cold Joint

Cold joints are caused by not allowing the solder to melt completely. They make a circuit unreliable and prone to cracks. You can recognise a cold joint by its rough / lumpy surface and can fix one by simply reheating the joint with your iron, being careful to remove any excess solder by drawing it off with the iron’s tip.

3. Disturbed joint

Disturbed joints look very similar to cold joints – crystalline and rough. However, such joints are caused by movement during the solder’s solidifying process. You can simply reheat the area and repair the damage but be sure to keep your tools as still as possible.

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How to Assemble the Temp:bit

tempbitmain

tempbitmain

First of all you need to check the content of your kit which is easy as it only contains the PCB and a tmp36 sensor.

You will also require the following parts:

  • Soldering Iron
  • Solder
  • Flush cutters or snips

Step 1.

Taking the tmp36 as shown, you need to bend the two outer pins as shown below.

 

Taking the tmp36 as shown above you need to bend the two outer pins as shown below.

temp bit tutorial 2

Step 2.

Place the tmp36 through the holes as shown below.

 

Now taking the heated soldering solder all 3 pins to the board as shown below.

 

Step 3.

Taking your cutters snip the legs away taking care as the legs can fly off with some force. Placing a finger on the end of the leg when cutting can reduce the risk of flying legs!

You are now done. You can click here to view our tutorial on how to use the tmp:36 with a micro:bit. Please note this was before we released the board and shows just the sensor.

temp bit tutorial 5

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Lighthouse – Beginners Soldering kit

First of all you need to check the contents of the kit you should have the following:

Kit contains:

  • 1 x 220 ohm resistor ( Red, Red, Black)
  • 1 x 82k ohm resistor (Grey, Red, Orange)
  • 2 x 220k ohm resistors (Red, Red, Yellow)
  • 2 x Diodes
  • 1 x Power switch
  • 1 x CR2032 battery holder (battery not included)
  • 2 x Capacitors
  • 1 x Lighthouse PCB
  • 1 x Stand PCB
  • 1 x White LED

You will also need a soldering iron, solder, flush cutters for snipping off the legs of the components and eye protection.

Step one:

We want to start by placing the components with the least height first, so in this case it’s the resistors. As you can see the lighthouse has the resistor values printed on the back of the board. Resistors aren’t polarised so it doesn’t matter which way around they go. It’s very important you get the correct resistor in the correct place, pay super close attention to the colour bands.

220 Ohm

220k Ohm

82k Ohm

Once you have placed the resistors through the holes, bend the legs slightly to hold them in place then solder them to the board. To solder them first tin your iron (apply a little solder to the end of the tip.) Next place the edge of the tip of the iron on the solder pad so that it is also touching the leg of the component.

Step two:

One you’ve soldered all of the resistors you need to trim the legs down. Using the flush cutters position them as shown below.

Carefully snip the legs off, you may want to hold the end of the leg gently with one finger so they don’t go flying off across the room!

Your board should now look like this:

Step three:

Now we want to solder on the LED. You’ll notice that the LED has one leg longer than the other, this is the positive leg and needs to be aligned with the + on the board. When placing the LED, don’t sit it all the way down – you need to bend it up 90 Degrees so it sits in the space provided. Once you have placed it correctly solder it in place then place the transistors. These are the black D shaped components. The image on the back of the board shows which way the around they should go. Once these are soldered and the legs trimmed it should look something like this:

Step Four:

Now we want to solder the capacitors in place. These are the round metal cylinders. These are polarised which means they need to go a certain way around. If you look at side of them you will see one side has a minus printed on it.

The leg at that side is the negative and the longer leg is the positive. The positive legs should be aligned to the middle of the board, like this:

Now they are in position solder them up and trim the legs and your lighthouse should look like this:

Step Five:

Now for the battery holder!

If you look at the circle on the back you can see it has one hole inside it and another just above it, this shows you what way around the holder needs placed. Once placed solder it up and trim any excess and it should look like this:

Step Six:

We now need the power switch, don’t worry about which way around this goes, simply pop it in the holes at the bottom, solder it up and trim the pins and it should look like this:

Step Seven:

Finally we’re almost done! now all you need to do is slot the base into the bottom of the light house and solder the two together. Soldering one or two joins should be more than enough to keep it together. When soldering it lay the whole thing on it’s side and solder them like this:

Now that’s done it should look like this:

Now simply pop the battery in to the holder and switch it on! you now have a magnificent flashing light house, well done!

Did it not work?

The first thing to check it that all of the points are properly soldered, next check that you have the resistors in the correct place. Still not working? is the battery charged? and the correct way around? (writing facing up) . Also check the transistors are facing the correct way, the round side facing down and that the Capacitors are aligned with the minus showing on the outer edges. Finally is the LED the correct way around?

Tried everything and still can get it to work? contact our technical support by  email along with a picture of the board to [email protected]

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Day of the Geek Badge

This is a short guide on how to assemble the day of the geek badge.

First up you need to check that you have everything you need:

Included:

  • Skull PCB
  • 20mm Battery holder
  • LEDs
  • Pin back

Not included:

  • CR2032 Battery
  • Soldering Iron
  • Solder
  • Pliers
  • Flush cutters

Step 1.

Place the battery holder into the provided holes and solder to the board, make sure you get this the correct way around! You need to be able to insert the battery from the bottom of the badge.

Step 2.

You need to apply solder to the centre of the pin back pad on the PCB. Tin your soldering iron then hold the tip against the large round pad on the rear of the PCB then apply solder, you want to cover about half of the area of the circle in the centre.

Step 3.

Using your pliers hold the pin back onto the centre of the pad you have just applied the solder to. While holding down with the pliers heat the pin back and hold the iron in place until you notice the solder flow to the edge.

Next remove the iron while still holding in place with the pliers. This will stay very hot for a while so be careful!

Step 4.

Turn the board over and insert the LEDs, ensuring the short legs are towards the centre of the board. Next turn the board back over again and solder the legs in place.

Step 5.

Using your cutters it’s time to snip the legs from the LEDs. You should wear eye protection as the legs can fly off!

If you want to have your badge stand up on a desk only snip the inner two legs and bend the remaining legs down slightly.

Step 6.

Insert the battery writing side facing out and you are ready to augment your best threads with some Dia de los Muertos geek fusion!

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Nightlight Kit

Tutorial

Description

This short video, we will show you how to assemble our Nightlight soldering kit. This is an intermediate (not an intermittent) soldering kit due to the mechanical construction of the box part of the kit. This should take from 10-30 minutes to assemble.

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About Soldering

soldering

Soldering is one of the most fundamental skills needed to dabble in the world of electronics. The two go together like peas and carrots. And, although it is possible to learn about and build electronics without needing to pick up a soldering iron, you’ll soon discover that a whole new world is opened with this one simple skill. We believe that soldering should be a skill in everyone’s arsenal. In a world of increasing technological surroundings, we believe it is important that people everywhere be able to not only understand the technologies they use everyday but also be able to build, alter, and fix them as well. Soldering is one of many skills that will empower you to do just that.

In this tutorial we will go over the basics of through-hole soldering – also known as plated through-hole soldering (PTH), discuss the tools needed, go over techniques for proper soldering, and show you where you can go from there. We will also discuss rework as it pertains to through-hole soldering and give you some tips and tricks that will make fixing any piece of electronics a breeze. This guide will be for beginners and experts alike. Whether you’ve never touched an iron before or are looking for a little refresher, this tutorial has a little something for everyone.

Suggested Reading

As stated earlier, you can learn about and build electronics without touching a soldering iron. If you would like to learn more about electronics theory before learning to solder, we recommend starting with some of these tutorials:

If you would like to know more about building circuits without needing to pick up a soldering iron, check out our solderless breadboard tutorial:

Lastly, we will be building upon some previous tutorials, so it is suggested that you read about and understand these subjects before moving forward in this tutorial:

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Surface Mount Soldering Kit

heART - a beating heart surface mount soldering kit
Tutorial

If you would like to purchase the products in this video, click the associated product.

Description
 

This video will show you how to assemble our heart kit. The kit is a great introduction to surface mount hand soldering.

The kit contains: 5 x 0805 LEDs, 1 x 0805 Capacitor, 1 x SOIC ATtiny85, 1 x SMT CR2032 battery clip, 1 x heART PCB. Once you have assembled the kit, you will have a nice heart pendant that fades and pulses like a heartbeat. If you want to change the way the heART fades, the LEDs you can program the ATtiny85 before soldering. They come pre-loaded with our heartbeat sketch.

*Please note, there is NO Chain provided.