How do I solder?
One of the things you'll do as a part of Bob's assembly process is soldering!
Have you ever done that before? If your answer is no, we suggest you look at the following few links where you'll find useful tutorials and blogs about soldering. It will only take you 10 minutes to get into the zone and understand how it's done. Here are the links:
Adafruit’s video tutorial featuring Collin Cunningham - A tutorial featuring Collin Cunningham, a super charismatic electronics guru.
Adafruit’s standard soldering tutorial - A great and thorough video tutorial. An absolute must-read, even if you know how to solder. Make sure to check the “common soldering mistakes” section at the end.
Sparkfun’s video soldering tutorial - Another well-made how-to-solder video tutorial.
Sparkfun’s standard soldering tutorial - A detailed tutorial made by Sparkfun.
Here are the pictures that can help you recognize good and bad solder joints:
These are the rules for soldering you should follow every time:
- Never inhale the dust and the fumes produced by the soldering iron!
- Soldering iron gets hot! Do not touch the tip of the soldering iron! Even if the soldering iron is turned off or completely disconnected from the power source, there is still a possibility that it’s very hot and, therefore, can cause very uncomfortable pain if touched. Always keep the soldering iron facing away from your hands. If you’re finished soldering, unplug the soldering iron from the power source and leave it to cool off for at least five minutes before putting it back in your toolbox.
- Clean the soldering iron! Make sure to use the sponge often and clean your soldering iron if you wish to have an easy and simple soldering experience. Carefully hold an end of the sponge with one hand and wipe the tip of the soldering iron on the other end of the sponge to remove the extra solder. Repeat the process until the tip of the iron is nice and clean.
- Check your solder joints twice (at least)!
- Keep the soldering iron on the stand when you’re not using it.
Know how much solder is needed! Make sure to put just enough solder.
Not too much, and not too little, since both can cause your newly-made device to malfunction.
Don’t leave any residual solder on the board! The solder should only be on the parts where the pins connect to the board.
Keep the rest of the board clean!
Now go over these rules a couple of times so you don't forget them!
If you follow these rules, your soldering experience should be easy peasy.
Using the soldering iron
If you're using your soldering iron for the first time or need help with cleaning its tip, check our video tutorial.
The soldering iron is very easy to use when used properly.
Step 1 - plug it in
Put the soldering iron on a soldering iron stand, and plug it into a power outlet.
Step 2 - select the right temperature
Set the temperature to 350 degrees Celsius by turning the temperature regulation knob on your soldering iron.
Make sure that the small black arrow points to the correct temperature, as in the photo.
Your soldering iron is now ready to use, but give it a minute or two, so it can heat up.
Step 3 - don't forget to turn it off when you're finished
We’ll tell you when you’re done with soldering, and you'll unplug the iron from the power outlet to turn it off.
Please use the metal stand every time you are not using the soldering iron to make sure you don't burn the surface or the circuit board.
Make sure to not touch the soldering iron tip for at least five minutes after you have turned it off.