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Alan Winstanley covers a quick summary plus tips on trouble shooting solder joints and safety in this third instalment of an article originally reproduced by Everyday Practical Electronics magazine
© Alan Winstanley 1997-2010
To round off our practical guide to soldering, here’s a summary of how to make the perfect solder joint.
The perfect solder joint should be quite shiny and smooth after cooling down. Here is a quick troubleshooting guide to help resolve any problems encountered with troublesome solder joints.
|Solder won’t “take” or won’t flow properly to cover the joint.
|Joint is crystalline or grainy-looking.
|Solder joint forms a “spike” and applying the iron again makes it even worse!
|Probably overheated, burning
away the flux. The iron, when removed, would cause the solder to stand up in a spike.
|It is usually best to desolder and remake the joint properly.
Potential Hazards and Simple First Aid
It is very seldom that soldering iron operators receive any burns or other injuries from the use of hot soldering irons. The technique is perfectly safe provided that common sense precautions are taken during the soldering operation. Here are a variety of precautions worth bearing in mind:
If you are unlucky enough to receive a more serious skin burn which requires attention, the very first thing to do is cool the affected area immediately. Use plenty of cold running water, for example. Remove any objects which may prove constrictive, before any swelling starts (rings, watches, bracelets). Apply cold water for at least ten minutes and seek medical attention.
Finally, why not try your hand with one of the constructional projects described every month in Everyday Practical Electronics? Assembling a project successfully using your own bare hands is immensely satisfying and there is usually something for everyone in each monthly issue and constructing prototypes at home is an excellent way of gaining valuable experience in the art of soldering.
The on-line version of the Basic Soldering Guide (with colour photo gallery) can be accessed at http://www.epemag.wimborne.co.uk/solderfaq.htm
Other useful web sites:
Text and Photographs © Copyright © Alan Winstanley 1997-2010 The author can be contacted by E-mail:firstname.lastname@example.org
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