Protecting Yourself While Soldering Your BeagleBone

By Rui Santos, Luis Miguel Costa Perestrelo

Soldering means working with very high temperatures, which are potentially dangerous. To make the most of your BeagleBone, you will have to do some soldering. Read these guidelines carefully to ensure safety.

Most solder irons heat up to around 600 to 850 degrees F (315 to 454 degrees C). The recommended temperature for melting solder is 620 degrees F (326 degrees C).

Before plugging your soldering iron into the wall socket, you should make sure that your environment is ready and that you have the proper setup and supplies:

  • Work area: Having a clean work area is important. Soldering is a dirty job; you’ll be melting metallic materials, which can leave traces on the floor or the desk. If you’re not using a work table designed for tough work like soldering, make sure to protect it appropriately.

  • Proper ventilation: Soldering produces fumes, and breathing fumes generally is bad. Make sure that you’re working in a well-ventilated area.

  • Good lighting: When you hold something extremely hot, it stands to reason that good sight is important; a misstep can melt the plastic of some components or create short circuits between pins. When you solder, your work area should be well lit.

  • A damp sponge: You should use that sponge to clean the iron after each soldering job. Squeeze much of the water out of the sponge so that it isn’t excessively wet.

    A third hand is highly recommended. It’s the perfect solution for holding everything in place while you’re soldering.

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  • Protective glasses: Parts and bits may fly out while you’re soldering, and the fumes may hurt not only your lungs, but also your eyes.