How to Solder: Through-Hole Soldering
Now that you know the ins and outs of a soldering iron, it’s time to discuss the other tools that will aid you on your soldering adventure.
- Solder Wick - is the eraser to soldering’s pencil. When dealing with issues such as jumpers or the removal of parts (desoldering), solder wick comes in very handy. Solder wick – aka desoldering braid – is comprised of thin copper wire braided together. Solder is soaked (wicked) up by the copper allowing you to “erase” extra globs of solder.
- Tip Tinner - is a chemical paste used to clean the tip of your soldering iron. It is composed of a mild acid that helps remove baked on residue (like when you accidentally melt your tip on a component) and helps prevent oxidation (the nasty black stuff) that accumulates on your soldering tip when not in use.
- Solder Vacuum (Solder Sucker) - is a great tool for removing solder left behind in through-holes when delsodering components. We’ll go over how to use this tool a little later in the tutorial.
- Water Soluble Flux Pen - Flux is a chemical agent that aids in the flowing of lead-free solder. Flux pens allow you to dab stubborn components with liquid flux to create better looking solder joints. It is recommended to clean and remove any remaining water soluble flux residue on the board.
- No Clean Flux Pen - Flux is another chemical agent that aids in the flowing of lead-free solder. Flux pens allow you to dab stubborn components with liquid flux to create better looking solder joints. Cleaning and flux removal is not required. For those interested in removing the flux residue, isopropyl alcohol (IPA) is required.
- Insulated Silicone Soldering Mat - Protect your desktop and keep it clean with a silicone soldering mat.
Other Suggested Tools
These tools aren’t necessary, but they sure do make soldering easier at times.
- Third Hand (Third Arm) - Third hands are great for holding PCBs, wires, and components in place while you solder.
- Flush Cutters - Cutters allow you to trim the legs of components you solder to the PCB.
- Safety Glasses - Just in case any clipped leads go flying.