Four Things to Consider for Choosing The Right Solder

You can imagine the solder as a connective tissue that joins various components on a printed circuit board. It functions as a conductive glue to solder together parts with the substrate and ensures connectivity and continuity on the circuit board. Solder can come in various forms, such as pellets, wire, paste, and bars. Before initiating the soldering process, you should get acquainted with the different types of solder. It can be made of other materials and comes in varying thicknesses. Hence, it would help to educate yourself on various solder types to choose the right fit for your project.

Opting for an IPC hand soldering certification course will help you learn about the tools, methods, and various techniques involved in the soldering process. It will also educate you adequately about the different solder types available. Often PCBs require repair or rework if there are loose solder connections or there are other anomalies. You can look for a circuit board repairing service to leverage your PCB and improve its performance, durability, and functioning.

There are different types of solder available in the market. To make the right choice, here are few important considerations.

Lead Or Lead-Free Solder

There are two main types of solder, namely lead-based solder, and lead-free solder. The significant difference between the two solders is their melting point. Lead-based solder typically consists of a mixture of tin and lead in a 60/40 mix. The lead-based solder generally melts at around 180°-190°C. You can quickly bring it to the working temperature, and it flows easily. Lead-free solder, as the name suggests, does not consist of lead. EU requires electronics produced for commercial use to follow RoHS directive and use lead-free solder. Because of lead’s alarming environmental impacts and health hazards, the electronics industry is shifting its practices to incorporate lead-free solder. Since it has a higher melting point, lead-free solder can be a bit difficult to work with. It requires more active or more concentrated fluxes to achieve similar soldering performance as lead solders. Lead-free solder often combines silver and tin.

Diameter of Solder Wire

Do not get confused between solder wire that is intended for electronics with that used for plumbing. Plumbing wire has a thicker diameter than what is used for electronics. Electronics solder wire has a diameter of 1.5mm or 1/2mm, or even less. Based on the size of connectors and contacts you need to solder, determine the diameter of the solder wire. A minimal diameter will cause you to solder too much. Very large diameters are difficult to maneuver and can cause thermal stress on the PCB.

Flux Core or Solid Wire

Flux-cored wire offers the ability to automatically activate and flow over the soldering area when you melt the solder. If you work with solid wire, you can add flux using a brush, bottle, or pen dispenser. Flux core wires are used more widely, and you can work with them more conveniently and efficiently.

Type Of Flux

Three different categories of fluxes are used in soldering: Rosin and Rosin Substitutes, Water Soluble, and No-Clean. Based on your project requirements, you can choose a suitable flux type. For many applications, the flux in the solder wire core is enough. But you may require additional flux in exceptional cases, such as surface-mount soldering and desoldering.

To Conclude:

These aspects will help you choose a suitable solder for your PCB project. It will help you enable the solder to bond well to components and prevent lousy solder joints, bridged pins, or loose joints.

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