Safe Soldering Checklist - dummies

By Earl Boysen, Nancy C. Muir

Part of Electronics Projects For Dummies Cheat Sheet

If you’re tackling an electronics project, you’re tackling soldering as well. Soldering poses a few different dangers: The soldering iron itself gets mighty hot; the solder (the material you heat with the iron) also gets hot; occasionally you even get an air pocket or impurity that can pop as you heat the solder and send bits of solder flying. Solder also produces strong fumes.

So, to stay as safe as possible, always follow these soldering safety guidelines:

  • Always wear safety glasses when soldering.

  • Never solder a live circuit (one that is energized).

  • Soldering irons come in models that use different wattages. Use the right size soldering iron for your projects; too much heat can ruin your board or components.

  • Solder in a well-ventilated space to prevent the mildly caustic and toxic fumes from building up and causing eye or throat irritation.

  • Always put your soldering iron back in its stand when not in use. Be sure that the stand is weighted enough or attached to your worktable so that it doesn’t topple over if you brush against the cord.

  • Never place a hot soldering iron on your work surface: You could start a fire.

  • Never, ever try to catch a hot soldering iron if you drop it. Let it fall, buy a new one if you have to — just don’t grab it!

  • Give any soldered surface a minute or two to cool down before you touch it.

  • Never leave flammable items (such as paper) near your soldering iron.

  • Be sure to unplug your soldering iron when you’re not using it.