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Thread: Advanced soldering techniques

  1. #1
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    Advanced soldering techniques

    I want to improve my soldering skills by learning to do SMD soldering. I've done reading up on it, and watched several Youtube videos, but there's so many different techniques that I don't know where to start. Some people use regular soldering techniques for SMD components, others use reflow stations, others use reflow ovens, etc etc.

    What techniques do you use and recommend, which tools are essential, and which ones are nice to have?

  2. #2
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    I've not much experience with smd work but i've found a good quality very fine point pencil tip helps. I also prefer paste solder to stick components in place, then a quick tap with the iron will melt the paste and set the component.
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    I take it you are referring to SMT? (surface mount technology) I used to teach this in the Navy and found the smt components only need a sliver of solder, sometimes preloading the pads, set the component where you want it, add a small amount of flux and touch with the fine tip soldering iron - just enough to get the solder on the pad to flow up to the component. Doesn't take much to destroy the circuit card so care must be exercised not to overheat the board.
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by aeryck View Post
    I've not much experience with smd work but i've found a good quality very fine point pencil tip helps. I also prefer paste solder to stick components in place, then a quick tap with the iron will melt the paste and set the component.
    The paste makes sense to keep components in place. So it's okay to use paste with a soldering iron? I thought it was only to be used with hot air?

    Quote Originally Posted by airtruksrus View Post
    I take it you are referring to SMT? (surface mount technology) I used to teach this in the Navy and found the smt components only need a sliver of solder, sometimes preloading the pads, set the component where you want it, add a small amount of flux and touch with the fine tip soldering iron - just enough to get the solder on the pad to flow up to the component. Doesn't take much to destroy the circuit card so care must be exercised not to overheat the board.
    I thought SMD was the correct term for the components (An electronic device so made is called a surface-mount device (SMD))
    How do you keep the component in place when you solder? Just press it down with tweezers?
    Do you use the liquid flux sold in syringes?

  5. #5
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    I've done it on a small scale (about 15~20 prints) with a good heatgun. I did however use SMD-solder (paste) that comes in syringes. Just applying the solder with the syringeneedle, stick the components on and apply heat gently & even.

    I think i even remember there where different types of 'wetness' of solderpaste.

    If i had to do just one print, i'd do it with a penciltype of soldering iron, pincers and a good magnifying glass.

  6. #6
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    Quick&Dirty way that worked for me:

    Components with just two pins like capacitors and resistors are easy to solder: Just put some solder on the tabs. Then use tweezers to hold capacitor in place and tip one end and the pad with your soldering iron. The capacitor is now soldered to one end. Tip the other end. Done.

    As for components with multiple pins (e.g. Atmega328 in TQFP package): Carefully align on board to make sure all pins match their soldering pads. Lock into position by soldering two of the outer pins. DO NOT CARE ABOUT SHORTS YET. Now simply lead the tip of the soldering iron over all pins on one edge while adding solder. DO NOT CARE ABOUT SHORTS YET, they are ok and expected.

    To finish get some desoldering braid, put some flux on it and put it on top of the shortened pins. How heat it up with your iron. The flux will pull excess solder from the pins -> you will end up without shorts. Check with a magnifying glass.

    I've done two DIY OSDs this way -no problems.

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    Thanks for the tips! I've done some very fine soldering before, the conventional way with soldering iron. There just seems to be so many other methods which looks easier and quicker. I'll try the suggestions and see what works for me.

    What about hot air reflow stations? Are they worth the extra money?

  8. #8
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    I've got a hot air reflow station and I just spent last Friday in lab reflowing a board through a professional grade oven. I still prefer hand-soldering components (I now use all 0603, and down to 0.5mm pitch) just using lots of flux and normal 60/40 solder with a medium chisel tip on my iron. Wet the iron with a bit of solder, get flux on the component and pad, and touch it with the tip of the iron. Should make a nicely wetted joint. Still need to fix some bridges with solder wick, but there's not much harm in that as long as you get it done fairly quickly.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Moelich73 View Post
    The paste makes sense to keep components in place. So it's okay to use paste with a soldering iron? I thought it was only to be used with hot air?



    I thought SMD was the correct term for the components (An electronic device so made is called a surface-mount device (SMD))
    How do you keep the component in place when you solder? Just press it down with tweezers?
    Do you use the liquid flux sold in syringes?
    I usually use the liquid flux, hold down the component with one of my dental tools, then apply the solder iron to one side until the preloaded pad flows the solder between the component and the pad, then do the same to the other side. I still have some of the angel hair solder, really thin and allows fairly controlled application if additional solder is required. The only time i used the solder paste was for multi lead circuits and using a hot air tool, most of the time the solder would distribute evenly but a real mess to clean up. Most work like this i'd do under the microscope anyway.

    Wouldn't worry about a reflow station unless you do alot of soldering or you assemble large scale projects. I resorted to making a small portable box to break out whenever the need for making more antennas or converting plugs over.
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    Open for business:cool:
    Always under revision to make it better.

  10. #10
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    IMO, most of the fancy stuff you see online is for assembling large quantities. For most SMT ICs, all you need is a soldering iron and some wick, and a heat gun is sometimes helpful

    Cheap $10 one: http://www.sparkfun.com/products/10326

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