What Is Soldering?

Learn what soldering is from expert Jeff Koskulics in this Howcast video.

Alright. What is soldering? It’s a really good question. Soldering is a process of joining different types of metals. And in the case of electronics we’re really interested in joining copper to, say, a printed circuit board. So we have solder, which is an alloy, usually tin and lead. In order to solder, you need to melt the metal by adding heat. And so we use an iron, which has a pointed tip, like this. And this one is connected to a controller, which allows us to adjust the temperature. It’s important to have the temperature within a certain range. In this case, we’re going to look for temperatures right around 600 degrees Fahrenheit, which is above the melting point of the solder.

Next we have a soldering sponge, which is used to clean the tip. And you can see it producing a little bit of steam as it boils the water. And you’ll also hear that sound. So it’s all built into the soldering iron stand. Nice, convenient piece of equipment. Since I’m right handed I’m going to be holding the solder in my left, and the iron in my right. And just to show you, as an example, we’re going to put some solder on one of these printed circuit pads.

To begin, we’ll start by cleaning the tip. So we have a nice, shiny tip. Place the tip on the part that you want to heat. Give it a few seconds to warm the part, and then feed in some solder. And there it is. Soldering electronics is about joining components, individual resistors, and capacitors, and other things to a printed circuit board. And solder’s necessary to make, for a couple of reasons. One, we need to make an electrical connection between the part and the circuitry on the board. And we also need to make a mechanical connection, so that the part doesn’t move. So we need electrical and mechanical bond. Solder is what provides that.

So it’s important to know about this procedure so that we can make a proper bond that’s going to last a long time.