[Noisebridge-discuss] Solder and Iron to get

Henner Zeller h.zeller at acm.org
Thu Aug 28 00:45:43 UTC 2014

On 27 August 2014 17:24, Torrey Nommesen <torrey at nommesen.com> wrote:
> Thought I'd ask the list this question because there may be others on the
> list who could use the intel:
> What solder should I buy?

You typically want resin-core 'electronic' solder. Personally, I
prefer leaded solder to deal with - it melts easier and the resulting
solder points look nice and shiny. The non-leaded solder feels like it
does not melt so evenly and the resulting solder point could look
dull. So leaded solder is easer to start learning soldering. Yes, lead
is potentially toxic, but I think nothing to worry about unless you
inhale solder-smoke daily for 40 years. If you have young kids, don't
let them eat solder though - lead is mostly a problem while growing up
and developing a brain.
For through-hole electronic stuff, you typically want ~1mm diameter
solder, for SMD, a thinner one is a nice option for later.

(if you do SMD soldering, you want to look into solder paste and an
oven but first let's start with a regular iron)

You want a temperature controlled soldering station with at least 80W.
Never get a non-temperature controlled iron, it is just not worth it;
they non-temperature controlled irons typically have low power (~25W)
to not overheat, but then if you want to solder some bigger blob, they
'stall', and you end up holding the iron onto a part for way to long
to get it to temperature eventually... which in turn is not good for
the components.
Soldering stations are cheap enough.

To start, you want a solder tip with a smallish bevel (say diameter 2-3mm).
A pencil-tip is useful for some smallish SMD components, and a wider
chisel good for desoldering.


> The Wikipedia article [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solder] is a bit of
> information overload. There are 'lead free,' 'flux-core,' etc. Is there is a
> general type that's good for electronics, or are there different kind for
> different jobs?
> -Torrey
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