Tools and Equipment
Making soldered electrical connections requires very simple tools.
- Wire cutter. There are many types,
but smaller ones are best.
- Wire stripper. Again many types are
available, but simple inexpensive ones work fine.
- Soldering iron. An iron with a 25 to
40 watt very small, pointed tip works best. One designed for electrical
use works best as it produces the correct temperature to heat the wire
enough to melt the solder.
- Solder. Solder that is labeled for
electrical use is required. It has a resin (flux) core that cleans
the contacts as it solders.
- Holding jig. A small device with a weighted base and arms with
alligator clips, useful for holding small components for soldering.
Samples are shown below.
Figure. Wire Cutter
Figure. Wire Stripper
Figure. Electrical Soldering Iron. Note the
yellow sponge. It is wetted and used to clean the iron.
Figure. Electrical Solder (Resin Core)
Figure. Holding Jig, sometimes called helping
Tinning refers to the process of applying a thin coating of solder to the
end of a lead on a component or the end of a wire. This makes it
easier to solder the components together.
The process follows this sequence
- Trim the wire or component lead to the correct length
- Strip enough insulation to allow the connection to be made
- Plug in the soldering iron and allow it to come to full temperature
(5 to 10 minutes)
- Clean the soldering iron tip, by wiping it a few times on a wet
sponge or paper towel.
- Mount the component or wire to be soldered securely in a holder or
- Apply heat to the wire or lead
- Put the tip of the solder on the wire or lead, away from the iron
tip. When it reaches the correct temperature, the solder will flow
along the wire or lead.
- Do not apply solder to the tip of the iron—it must be applied to the
wire or lead.
Soldering is a joining process known as adhesion. Solder (a mixture of
lead, tin and other materials) is melted around the join, and cools, holding
the materials together. When done properly, the solder will have a
shiny appearance, not a dull one.
Soldering components or leads together follows this sequence
- Prepare the components by tinning them
- Place the components in contact along the area to be joined.
The strongest connections also have a good mechanical join (for example,
a western union splice; the wire goes through hole; or is twisted), but
often this is not possible.
- Apply heat to the leads (or wires, or contact points)
- When the tinning begins to flow, apply additional solder to the
- Remove the heat and allow the parts to cool before moving them.
This last bit is important—moving the part before the solder has
solidified with severely weaken the join both mechanically and
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