Soldering Equipment and Supplies for Your Electronics Lab - dummies

Soldering Equipment and Supplies for Your Electronics Lab

By Doug Lowe

Soldering is one of the basic techniques used to assemble electronic circuits. The purpose of soldering is to make a permanent connection between two conductors — usually between two wires or between a wire and a conducting surface on a printed circuit board.

The basic technique of soldering is to physically connect the two pieces to be soldered, and then heat them with a soldering iron until they are hot enough to melt solder (a special metal made of lead and tin that has a low melting point), then apply the solder to the heated parts so that it melts and flows over the parts.

Once the solder has flowed over the two conductors, you remove the soldering iron. As the solder cools, it hardens and bonds the two conductors together.

You’ll need three things for successful soldering:

  • Soldering iron: A little hand-held tool that heats up enough to melt solder. An inexpensive soldering iron from RadioShack or another electronics parts store is just fine to get started with. As you get more involved with electronics, you’ll want to invest in a better soldering iron that has more precise temperature control and is internally grounded.

  • Solder: The soft metal that melts to form a bond between the conductors.

  • Soldering iron stand: To set your soldering iron on when you aren’t soldering. Some soldering irons come with stands, but the cheapest ones don’t. You can purchase a soldering iron that comes with a stand from RadioShack for about $25.