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[Serious] How To Solder-The Complete Tutorial From A>Z

Here is a tutorial on how to solder.
We will discuss everything from how-tos, what tools and tips & tricks.

- Here is a list of what you need.

Tools | What you actually need"]

  • First off, a soldering iron, not a pistol. Basically a long stick with a metal rod.
  • Solder. It needs to be 60/40 that has a rosin core. People use 63/37, it is personal.
  • Flux
  • Helping Hand/soldering Jig
  • Brass coil/or just use a damp cloth that you don’t need.
  • Desoldering Braid

- Sooooo many soldering irons! Which one?

What Soldering Iron?
There are thousands to choose, from $1 to $200, the size of Daren’s champagne to @SeanHacker’s…thing , technology from the 17th century to today’s modern flying cars… wait we aren’t there yet.
fuck

I have a few options, I will suggest, that many builders choose to use.
We love the TS100 / TS80 [find everyone’s opinions here]
Small, compact, delivers the punch to solder 10 to even 8AWG.
Anyway, I will let you read the thread.
Please don’t hesitate to comment on what you use.

Sure you can get any 60W iron kit off amazon with temperature adjustment but I mean, what’s the point? you will use it for a few months then realise it is crap and then pay more to get a better one. Get yourself some quality, give your board some love, get quality tools, this isn’t your toy go-kart experiment (or nuclear reactor @Venom121212) in your basement, ya going +50km’h.
The problem with cheap irons is that they take a long time to heat up and you just can’t find the right size tip. With better-known brands, you will get better quality and abundance of different Tips which is necessary because you need small tips for little wires and bigger tips for thick wires!
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- Solder. Wtf is 60/40? Why does @LHB sniff it?

Solder | səʊldə

Types
There are 2 types of solder: acid & non-acid based.
We want the latter, don’t say I did not warn you.
There is also leaded solder and unleaded solder. Now obviously leaded solder is toxic, I recommend to always have a fan or do it with an external air source, and if you can’t, just try not to breathe the fumes. I hope my mum never reads this, she is a building manager and had to study occupational health and safety regulations, DIY does comply :rofl: .
Leaded is better, it holds better and is overall used more. Also, know that leaded solder is banned in Europe as it is not RoHs compliant, but that does not stop you from buying it from the US or China, etc…soon to be the UK? :sweat_smile:

xx/xx is the composition.
60/40= 60% Tin - 40% Lead
63/37 = 63% Tin - 37% Lead
Sn & Pb are just indicating the metal used. Sn means Tin. (You don’t need to google it like that though, just type 60/40 rosin cored solder and that will do.)

The latter is a new thing that people claim it to be eutectic*.
*It has the lowest melting point (183 °C or 361.4 °F)
Anyway, this is a touchy subject as it is personal and depends which iron you use etc…

Unleaded alternative (Better for the environment, because Lead is very polluting)

  • Sn95Ag4Cu1
    ask @pjotr47 for more about this as I have not used it :smile:

Rosin/Flux core.
A reducing agent designed to help remove impurities specifically oxidized from the points of contact to improve the electrical connection.
This is a must!
This comes in different forms. Flux can be applied by brush (paste), others use a syringe-type like this (liquid).
Always buy electronic’s flux from brands like Kester, MG Chemicals, etc as other have weird things* in them that might harm your PCB…
(*Non electronics flux often has weird properties, like corrosion or ugh, conduction?)
Thanks @wafflejock for the heads up!
You can also buy no-clean-flux. So when you solder with flux there is a residue that you must remove but even if you use no-clean-flux it is not necessary to use Isopropyl Alcohol to clean, hence the ‘‘No-Clean’’.

Brand
Again very subjective, I use Kester, it is way more expensive but at least I know what I buy is top-notch quality. Also, what a lot of noobs who have never soldered don’t know is, 500g of solder will last forever for most. Like literally more than a year.
You can use anything rosin core 60/40 rosin really but I like to buy known brands as a piece of mind. Note that some really cheap ones are total crap, you just can’t tell without testing it unfortunately

Thickness
The thickness of your solder depends on what you are soldering.
If you are soldering 8-12AWG then I suggest a thickness of 1.2mm/1.5mm.
I use 1.2mm most of the time, even with 26AWG but ideally, you want something more like 0.7mm for smaller wires like this.
{AWG Meaning}

- Accessories | The necessary shit to make your life easier. No, I am not talking about heroin @Kellag

Accessories
You want some basic things here that make your whole soldering experience easier. No, you don’t have to buy the following, but I said the same thing and trust me I am a broke bitch, but in the end, I just begged to my grandmother a poof a credit card appeared.

Isopropyl Alcohol
This isn’t even an accessory, it is a must-have.
It is just an electronics cleaner that can be used for anything.
You use it primarily to clean off excess flux after soldering weather it be ESC’s, PCB’s, whatever.
It evaporates in open air quite rapidly. Also non-toxic, Bill serves it with tonic but I prefer to clean with it.

Brass Tip Cleaner
This thing is good but you could also just use a damp rag. (not at $9 though, get it cheaper from Ali or something)
DON’T use a scourer! there is a reason this is brass!

Helping Hands
This thing helps a ton. There are tons of versions and several arms. The higher priced ones, of course, are better quality but anything will do. I got a 10Euro one that does the trick.

Iron stand
If your iron does not come with this get a cheap one-off Ali or whatever. Might stop a fire…

Soldering Sucker
You can also just get a $5 one, it does the same thing.
When you want to remove excess solder off a PCB pad then you need this. Well, you need it anyway.
Please get one

MG Chemicals 419D
@b264 Introduced me to this. It is not necessary but I really like to have it on hand.
419D is a one-part, acrylic conformal coating that cures to a durable, flexible and smooth finish. It is easy to apply and can be handled in 10 minutes. It may be removed with appropriate strippers, or soldered through for repair or rework.

419D creates a robust moisture barrier that protects printed circuit boards in humid environments. It strongly protects against moisture, corrosion, fungus, dirt, dust, thermal shock, short circuits, high-voltage arcing, and static discharge.
So yeah, pretty darn good stuff. It is also Xylene and Toluene free, But still, this is not essential oil so don’t purposely breath it in.
I recommend the small 55ml bottle with in-bottle brush. Don’t get the one with brushes aside. Please ask your dealer before buying, if you don’t know.

A good side note also is that please be aware that if you get this on any JST pins then they won’t work (i, therefore, recommend to connect all your JST pins with spare connectors to avoid this), and will be a nightmare to clean off. Also, try to place a thin coat over hot electronics ( FETs or DirectFETs or heatsinks) as the ESC won’t stop working, but it may get hot and start reducing power or thermal throttling much sooner.
419D can also be used in motors as well!

Desoldering Braid
This helps remove solder from pads on PCB’s for example. You place it where you want to remove the solder, then place your iron on it, and it absorbs the solder. You have to remove the braid quick otherwise it sticks to the solder as soon as it dries.
Very useful to have as it fixes mistakes.

Well, I think this is a good start to know what you need.
Let’s move to the actual action and manipulation techniques of soldering seduction.
Why are your minds so dirty? jeez…

** Popular Solder Connections**

How to tin a wire.

  1. So for this, it is exactly the same as the Mesh Splice except you are not joining any wires.
    Take your wire and twist it.
    Flux it

    and then add your tip with solder on it
    ,
    this should be absorbed by the wire, then add more solder until you can’t see the wire strands.
    As it quickly cools down the wire strands should just re-appear and that is the perfect amount. If you can see them then caress your wire with the tip to remove the excess solder.
    Clean it with Isopropyl Alcohol and Voila!

    Here is a video i made
    https://youtu.be/vYR9Qa2z6uQ

Mesh Splice


This method allows you to join 2 wires together. This works for any gauge wire though for bigger (<8awg) and smaller (26>awg) wires, that it becomes harder so practice on some studs.

0.5. Place heat shrink on you wire

  1. Bring your Iron to 350°C (some like it hotter, some colder, all preference)
    Strip both wires about 1-1.5cm.
    Take your 2 wires and mesh them together.
    Annotation%202019-12-08%20163546
  2. Grab the middle with one hand and pinch it while the other hand turns one way.
    Once one side is done, do the same on the other half, obviously turning in the opposite direction.
    Annotation%202019-12-08%20163656
  3. Put a tad of flux along the exposed wire.
    Take your soldering iron and < tin > the tip with your solder (simply melt a little solder on the tip of your iron)
    Now place the tip on the wire to heat it and place your solder on the wire. You may need to melt a little more solder on the tip because solder melts on solder, so if the wire already has some solder in it then it will melt quicker, hence the < tinning > at the beginning.
  4. The wire should be uniform with solder. Any icicles that form = a bad/cold joint
    In this case either add more flux because if you heat your solder for too long then your flux will evaporate or you added to much solder and in this case just put your tip on it and ‘‘pick it’’ up. Pretty obvious when you try to do it.
    Remember to always take a brush and cloth to clean with isopropyl alcohol!
    This is what the final result should look like. The final look should have a mirror-like look. If it is dull then add flux and heat it up again and dab some more solder.
    Annotation%202019-12-08%20193615

3 Way Splice

This is the method you want to use when you want to connect a wire to an already soldered wire. Not often used in esk8 but sometimes when you want an external power source drawn from the battery via a converter you use this.

  1. Strip the existing wire about 1.5cm and the add-on wire about 5cm.
  2. Start doing one loop around the top of it
  3. Continue looping but come back through underneath and below
    Annotation%202019-12-08%20180326
  4. Cut off any protruding strands on the end because they will pierce the shrink wrap and may result in a possible short over time.
  5. Put a tad of flux along the exposed wire.
    Take your soldering iron and < tin > the tip with your solder (simply melt a little solder on the tip of your iron)
    Now place the tip on the wire to heat it and place your solder on the wire. You may need to melt a little more solder on the tip because solder melts on solder, so if the wire already has some solder in it then it will melt quicker, hence the < tinning > at the beginning.


6.The final result should look like this

How to solder an XT connector.

  1. Always attach the opposite side of the connector when soldering to avoid the pins from warping (If you are soldering the male side pop on the female as well & vice versa).
  2. Place them in such a way that they are upside down. Also, don’t forget which prong is male or female, connectors only plug in one way. You don’t want to plug your negative to the positive lol
  3. Place a bit of flux with a brush in each prong.
    https://youtu.be/F1FgbFtYrwE
  4. Put just a tad of solder on your iron’s tip.
  5. Place the tip behind the connector, wait for the flux to start melting then fill it up with solder
    https://youtu.be/4foPbnek_NI
  6. Repeat step 5 then one the solder has melted place your wire in it (i use PCB tweezers because my hands are shaky af :expressionless:).
    IMPORTANT: keep the wire in place for a few seconds for the solder to harden or your wire will fall out lol.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DcgyAdeicoI&feature=youtu.be
  7. Clean everything with Isopropyl Alcohol and brush…not the same one used for the flux without having cleaned it first will ya.

Extras

Video’s to watch

Related Threads

Vocabulary

  • Wet
    This is what we call the solder that is completely melted and ‘‘flows’’ well.
    Like melted gallium.
    Wettability depends on how hot your iron is. If it is not wetting well the increase your temperature on your iron
    This could also refer to @DerelictRobot bed on Christmas Eve & New Year Eve

  • Tin
    Tinning a wire means to add solder (Tin) to something.
    Ex. To tin your finger (well your finger would burn but anyway you got the point).

  • Cold Joint
    A dull, poorly soldered joint that does not provide good conductivity. It can also lead to the whole thing detaching itself.

  • Icicles
    Jagged extensions or spikes protruding from a soldered joint. Icicles can be caused by an iron that is too cool.

  • More Definitions

Disclaimer
Soldering is dangerous. Do your best to solder in a large space or outside so as to not breath the fumes from the flux that evaporates as it is very unhealthy.
Also, the tip is super hot so it is a fire hazard. If it touches a surface it will start burning immediately. If your’s needs an AC power supply i recommend those on/off multi AC outputs so i can easily turn it off. Of course with a TS80 you just need to push a button.
I also want to add that Lead is poisonous if digested so please wash your hands thoroughly after soldering or even touching the solder. Don’t eat while soldering. Beer is alright @glyphiks though I don’t recommend soldering while drunk.
Now after all those warnings, Please also keep in mind it is like saying driving is dangerous. Smoking is dangerous.
Everything is dangerous but taking the right precautions makes the difference.
Obviously Smoking and driving are 2 different things but I hope you see what I mean.
Soldering is not very healthy but it is not like smoking. Also, don’t smoke, Try and stop if you do :wink:

This thread took me hours of [extra] research and time to make.
I tried to make this fun to read and as easy to understand. I will continue to edit it to add information.

I am not a YouTuber so I have never said this, so I will make this my first time to say;
If you liked this, give me like of support! :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:

Cheers!

58 Likes

Damn…

I like this dude…

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tenor (20)

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giphy (3)

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Beautifully written and formatted. Great work my dude.

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Nice, thank you!

How insulate dis?

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Nice work, sir. Great contribution to the Citadel.

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Some heatshrink and lots of electrical tape or whatever tape you prefer to insulate wires with.

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There’s no 3 way heatshrink

No. Hard pass.

Which leaves me with liquid tape (ugh) or folding over the Tee so it’s a line, then heatshrink, which works, but sometimes you need the tee.

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I wish this was posted a year ago. I’d have less broken things!

Great post!

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You could butt up the heatshrink on all three wires to the split (and then folding it over and more heatshrink like you suggested) or then seal it with something like tape or a fancy glue or something.

@deucesdown So basically just a piece of shrink wrap on each wire and that should leave just a little bit of the wire exposed, then i would use just normal electrical tape and a bit of d419 conformal coating.

This is not used much anyore. It was primairily used for adding volt meters but now loads of people have davegas or metr pro modules to know that.
I added it as a plus :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:

Edit
So dumb… Pjotr method below is way better if you need to do this :point_down:

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Liquid electrical tape is a thing, maybe has a use in esk8.

The triple joint is interesting, I feel like a better alternative is to have 2 wires from the source. Right from the PCB or wherever the other wire connects.

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quite expensive in europe unfortunately

Possibly better if this is possible. This just shows how to as extra info :love_you_gesture:

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Eiiik nooo!!

Just do the wire like this:
image
Then you can use one heatshrink

And most of the time when I have to solder 2 wires together. I just use a new wire for both. Connected wires make the wire on the connection hard and that is sometimes difficult to route the cable in the board.

Tip: For the guys who sucks at soldering: Bullets connector are the way to go. Just give each wire a bullet. Plug them in and do a heatshrink over it.

But: Good topic :slight_smile:

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+1 vote for tucking it against another wire. If you really need it to stick out like a sore thumb just use liquid electrical tape. It’s what I do when I made a great solder connection and forgot to add heat shrink.

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When I’m less drunk and tired i’m gonna read this post properly.

Well done sir, the forum needs more of this :ok_hand:

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Wrap shrink around the yellow then bend it along the red one and wrap shrink it normally with a bit bigger one. Is it a bad way ?

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Nope that’s fine generally I’ve done the same just with electrical tape generally also try to avoid this and add extra wires from the connectors or boards as someone else mentioned but if I’m taking the short cut I’ll just wrap it in electrical tape personally.

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I definitely need new solder. My Flux keeps burning and leaves black residue.

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