How to Solder - Soldering Tips and Tricks

How to Solder - Soldering Tips and Tricks

BBG FM (NBFM ) VHF Transmitter - Crystal Controlled
Soldering Tips and Tricks
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At Some Point, The Question Will Come Up, depending on the level of experience by who may be reading this. I have no experience in assembling, or soldering surface mount boards. Do you have a layout for a "Through The Hole" board using standard components? How to Solder?

I Have Used the Same SMD Board, over the years building the BBG using standard components.

Here Is How I Do It. There are Two Different Ways that I have built this board using standard parts over the years. I just bend the leads over and solder them directly to the pads using 1/8 watt resistors, clip the leads to about 1/16 inch on the transistors, capacitors and solder them directly to the pads standing up.

Another Way I Have Assembled This Board Using Standard Components, is to drill a hole directly through it's pads using a small dental bit, flip the board over to it's non-copper side and then insert the components and solder them to the pads. In other words I do a reverse layout. I take my assembly chart, flip it around and pin it up with a bright light behind it. Now I have an assembly chart for conventional assembly, my holes showing me where to place what components. A little strange - but it works for me and about as simple as it gets.
FM Transmitter Circuit Board
Before You Solder Anything To Your Board, you need to inspect it carefully. I use a jeweller's loup. Any good maginifying glass will do, the more powerful the better. Look for any breaks in the board along it's tracks. If you find any, flow a small amount of solder across it and use 1/8" copper braid to smooth it out ie, place your soldering gun on top of the braid, heat the braid and it will suck up the excess solder. If you are new at etching boards and your blocks and tracks are a little ragged, don't worry - your boards will look much nicer with experience. As long as there are no breaks in it's tracks and your blocks are halfway decent, you are in business.
Before You Start Soldering, clean your board. Use a toothbrush and kitchen soap, the type that you wash dishes with. Then dry it with a clean rag. Next, just before you start to solder, take a very fine piece of sandpaper and lightly sand the blocks and tracks. Wipe it clean and you are ready to solder. If you do much soldering you should invest in a small inexpensive soldering station. A soldering station is nothing more than a solder gun with interchangable tips, and a solder sponge tray attached to it. As you solder each component, wipe the tip clean on the solder sponge ( You should dampen it slightly with water) , but not real wet.

The Correct Solder To Use When Soldering Circuit Boards. Never Use rosen core solder on an electronic board. It is fine for switches, wires, etc. but leaves one hell of a mess on a board, plus nasty chemicals to clean it up. The standard we use in the industry is a water based solder. Would it surprise you to learn that all of our very large motherboards in my factory with over 600 components were soldered with a water based solder? Yep, thats how we did it, and we put them in a rack in a standard automatic dishwasher and washed all of the boards using cascade dishwashing soap. With a water based solder, the joints come out sparkling clean. 99.999 % of all electronic components are waterproof.

Where To Find Water Based Solder For Circuit Boards? I have never ordered it so I don't know. For over 20 years when I needed it, I just found the nearest plant to me that assembles electronic circuit products or boards. I just walked in the front door and ask to see the plant production manager, forman, plant manager or whoever is in charge of the assembly portion of the plant. I simply tell him or her that I am putting together a project with a large circuit board and need a small spool of fine water based solder of somewhere around 1/16" or less in diameter and before he opens his mouth - plop a $20.00 bill out on the desk. It always works and usually I wind up with a 30 to 50 foot coil ( Enough to do 100 boards ) but most of the time a full spool. More often than not, they just give it to me, end of story.
Once You Have Your Board Fully Assembled, again, take your board to the kitchen sink and using a toothbrush and regular dishwashing soap, clean your board with warm water under the faucet and rinse it off with warm water. Let it air dry. It will dry sparkling clean.
Once Your Board Is Dry, You Can Mount It In Your Enclosure, and finish off the assembly.
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