Basic Soldering Question

Discussion in 'Homebrew and Kit Projects' started by WS4E, Dec 16, 2011.

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  1. WS4E

    WS4E Ham Member QRZ Page

    I am a relatively new ham, and have started getting into building kits and I keep wondering the answer to this question.

    You put some parts on the board (resisters, caps etc) through the holes, and then you go to solder them on the back, how should you make them stay put so they dont fall out a little and make the leads a little long etc..

    I have been using a little electrical tape to hold them when I turn the board over. I tried bending the leads on the components, but even that does not often keep them from slipping out a little bit and making the components stick up a little off the board etc..

    Am I doing it wrong? Am I missing something obvious?

    I am just wondering how the elmers do it.
  2. WA6TKD

    WA6TKD Ham Member QRZ Page

    I think most just bend the leads to try and hold the desired position before soldering. I don't usually want to mount components as close as possible to the PCB, I like to have the component leads long enough to be able to clip on scope probes or meter leads for troubleshooting purposes.

  3. KX6MWS

    KX6MWS Ham Member QRZ Page

    I've put together several through-hole circuit boards at work, and there's two tricks I've learned from 'the guys':

    - Tape. Doesn't need to be electrical, can even be masking tape, as long as the tape itself isn't getting very hot. I've even used scotch tape! (If you're soldering near other traces that you want to protect, there is a special high-temperature tape just for this. In general you don't need this for holding your average resistor.)

    - Bending leads

    There's a few other things to consider:

    - The straighter the leads are, the easier the component will be to remove later, so tape has the win here. I always use tape for IC sockets. If you like bending leads, keep them fairly straight; no 90 degree bends at the board. Also, after you solder one of the bent legs, you can straighten out the 2nd leg before you solder it. Then if you have to remove a part, you can unsolder the straight leg first; it should come right out.

    -When soldering electrolytic capacitors, LEDs and other mostly-vertical components, it's best to solder only one leg at a time. I always did this: 1) load board with electrolytics and bend leads to keep them in place 2) solder 1 leg each 3) remove tape and straighten out each part so it looks nice on the board 4) straighten and solder the 2nd leg on each

    - I always like a little bit of space between the part and the board so you can clip-out a blown part easier. Also, if there's a part you're not sure what the final value will be, keeping the legs longer makes it easy to desolder the part and increases the chance you can re-use it later. (Try reusing a part with stubby little legs; its pretty much trashed.)

    - Use sockets for all ICs. I even used them for transistors.
  4. AF6LJ

    AF6LJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    The only issue I have with tape is often pulling tape off the roll causes static build up and this can damage some parts. I prefer bending the leads but I do it in such a way that the band is only enough to hold the part in place and doesn't incumber rework. For those who like to have some breathing room between their parts and the board use a flat toothpick as a spacer while bending leads.
  5. W9GB

    W9GB Ham Member QRZ Page

    Norman Mier in BEST, Inc. in Rolling Meadows, IL (12 miles north of my QTH)
    has a series of YouTube VIDEOS .. search under SolderingGeek.

    Norman is an IPC Master instructor for soldering and rework certifications (Commerical, military, spaces, etc.)
    These certificaiton classes are EXPENSIVE for the hobbyist -- BUT Norman provides monthly tips that meet the needs for many hobbyists !

    These 71 videos are very helpful for beginners to soldering ....

    Through Hole Component Preperation Pliers Method

    Lead Free Through Hole Soldering Tips

    Wire Tinning Method

    Lead-Free Turret Terminal Soldering

    Removal of DIP Tweezer Method

    Last edited: Dec 16, 2011
  6. N4FBW

    N4FBW Ham Member QRZ Page

    I don't recommend using IC sockets or transistor sockets once you've had some kit building experience under your belt. IC and transistor sockets reduce reliability of the circuit. In addition, IC's and transistors just don't fail as much as they used to. Whenever I get a kit now, I toss the various IC sockets in a drawer and just solder the IC's right onto the board. I highly recommend getting acquainted with surface mount parts. SMT parts are much easier to deal with when you want to remove them. Through hole parts are a PITA at this point for me :)

    - Use sockets for all ICs. I even used them for transistors.[/QUOTE]
  7. W9GB

    W9GB Ham Member QRZ Page

    Rick -

    Why I understand that comment with your background (and passion for field) ... the majority of today's amateurs,
    especially in past 10 years as the US amatuers have swelled to over 700,000 have little interest in DIY construction or electronics.

    I would just be happy that they learn the basic skills, such as soldering.


    .. America in 21st century .. staring at technology .. with no idea how it works or how to fix it when it breaks.
  8. WS4E

    WS4E Ham Member QRZ Page

    W9GB: Thanks sooo much for those video links. They are great!
  9. G4COE

    G4COE Ham Member QRZ Page

    Trouble with bending leads over is it can be a 'pain' to get the part out should you wish to do so and risk the 'possible' damage ripping the copper track up.

    The clue, sometimes I put all the smallest in first, say half a dozen or so resistors slide a rigid peice of 'whatever' on top, a card, a piece of pcb etc, holding this on top while turning the lot upside down..... solder one leg of each component only, then removed the card and re solder the legs whilst straightening the components, do the same with them all and finally solder all the remaining. The next job is to insert the next tallest item.

    You could solder them one at a time, not as though you are on mass production.

  10. N5CEY

    N5CEY Ham Member QRZ Page

    If you have a board that is double sided with plated thru holes, you can solder from the top if your careful to allow the solder to wick down to the bottom.
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