Time to get soldering
With the start of the new year theres no better time to learn a new skill. This article is intended for those that haven't picked up a soldering iron before and we'll be bringing out some more that focus on micro soldering and board level repairs for those of you that are a bit more experienced.
If you've been operating a repair business adding micro soldering to your list of services is a way for you to increase business. Now micro-soldering is a skill, that requires hours of practice, patience and experience. Like all skills it can be learned and the best place to state is with basic soldering. Unlike micro soldering, which requires a higher level of investment in equipment, basic soldering has a really low barrier to entry with affordable equipment and cheap parts to practice on.
Check out below for a list of the basic equipment you need to get started, as well as some free guides on how to actually solder.
What you need to get started
Like we said earlier it's surprisingly easy to get started with soldering. There are only a few pieces of equipment that are absolutely necessary and they come in at different price points, so regardless of your budget you can have a go. On top of the the list below there are a couple of things that you need, which are a flat clean work surface and a well ventilated area to work in. Other than that you can check out what we've listed below and linked to some of the options.
Your soldering iron is probably the biggest piece of kit in the list. There's lots of options for you to choose from when it comes to buying your soldering iron, you should make your choice based on your budget and your needs.
- If you're on a budget and you're looking for the absolute cheapest option then then you just want something simple like our Sunshine SL-905 for as little as £7.99. The benefit of this model is that it is affordable and makes soldering something that anyone can get into, on the flip-side there's no way to control the temperature and you'll need to buy a stand that comes with a sponge to keep your tip clean. This is the best way to get into it.
- The next step up would be a soldering iron which allows you to control the temperature. This gives you as greater control based on what you're working on and also come with a stand, which gives you somewhere to store the iron while using it and also a place to clean your tip while you're working. We have some great examples of these on our website here and here.
- If you have to have the best of the best, then there's also options for you. With accurate temperature control, designed to last even with heavy use and a whole host of additional features and made with high quality materials, you can take a look at our [Atten station] Atten Station or T210. Although not necessary for a beginner these are high quality machines that hold their value. It would be a long time before you ever needed to upgrade again.
When it comes to solder there are a couple of different types you can use, in order to keep this article brief we won't go into too much detail here, but you should give this article a read it goes into lots of detail about solder. The best option we have for basic soldering can be found here. If you are going for a non-flux core solder, you can view our flux here.
Something to practice on
If you're brand new to soldering, then it's probably best to get something to practice on. Perf board is ideal for this, it's really affordable and readily available online. All you need is the perf board, some components and you're good to go. Something like this kit on amazon will be more than enough to get you started.
There are some other tools, that although not necessary, they will certainly be something that you want to add to your toolkit, if you don't already have them. If you're already doing repairs though the chances are you already have them.
Some Handy Guides
Much like the repair community, the hacker/making community is one that is really good at sharing information and helping each other out. A quick look online and there's loads of high quality resources to set you on your way. One of our favourites is the below comic guide from MightyOhm. It's an in-depth guide complete with cartoons on how to get started. If you're looking for something a bit more in-depth then you should check out this crash course playlist on youtube. his one from MakeUseOf.com which comes complete with a few projects you can try is a good one to get. started with.
If you can already solder and are looking to advance your skills then we will be putting together a guide that focuses on micro soldering. We are lucky enough to have some really talented technicians in our workshop, who's brains we can pick. If there is something in particular you want to know then please feel free to send us your questions and we can get the answers for you. If you want to see one of our team in action check out the videos below 👇.
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