References and links to other good guides and resources
- Weller's better Hand Soldering Guide
A short and accurate guide. Emphasizes tip care.
- Everyday Practical Electronics magazine Basic Soldering Guide
One of the best general guides, covers soldering iron selection, basic technique, and has a small gallery of good and bad joints that works as a good essentials guide by itself.
- Weller's 10 Commandments of Soldering
Weller's blog is full of great topics.
- Weller's "Tip Care and Use" guide
- ESD risks and precautions
- Circuit Tech Center's substantial board rework/repair guides
A professional, standards-based repair shop guide written for companies needing to maintain certified procedures. Includes procedures and kits for replacing pads, plated through holes, and even chunks of boards that have broken off.
- IPC massive collection of training videos
Almost too good to be true, IPC has free low-res preview of all their videos. These are used for training in professional manufacturing plants world-wide. Check out hand soldering -> "Seven Sins of Hand Soldering" for starters. Only $675 to buy the DVD.
- Circuit Tech Center's basic soldering guide
One of the best descriptions of just what "wetting" is and why flux is needed, as well as two good heat-bridge pictures.
- Safe and Sane SMD Repair
A Nutz & Voltz article that gives a little background on how SMDs are attached (infrared and vapor-phase) and explains a few techniques for removing and resoldering them. The focus is on ChipQuik. Good discussion of how temperature affects the solder, parts and board.
- Howard Electronics Articles of Interest for Repair Technicians and Engineers
Good collection of everything from some basic how-to articles to reviews of some professional soldering equipment... more ads than reviews, but still useful.
- NASA workmanship standards
In a word, EVERYTHING. The guidelines for everything from stripping wires, soldering, conformal coating, the percentage a surface mount chip can be off a pad, the number of screw threads sticking out of a nut,... etc. These guidelines are in many places exactly the same as the industrial and military standards (IPC), but completely free online.
- Soldering Tips (as in advice)
One of the better how-to guides out there. It gives some recommendations for solder types, but not too much explanation for why.
- Sparkfun's basic how-to guide
They have one of the better beginner guides and include some (blurry) videos.
- Sparkfun's SMD soldering guide
A great guide for getting surface mount chips on and off cheaply. Videos and pictures galore.
- Intermetallic Growth
Talks about the chemical process that forms the binding "intermetallic" layer in a solder joint, and why this micron-layer is the weakest part of the joint. Also explains why soldering to gold plated components and excessive temperatures can lead to brittle joints.
- The soldering wiki
Provides a good overview of other types of soldering like pipe and stained glass as well as electronics soldering.
- ePanorama.net's guide
A substantial how-to guide with an awesome list of other how-to links.
- Circuit board rework and repair
This is a professional rework and repair shop. They have an amazing set of guides full of pictures for doing just about every type of repair imaginable. Did your circuit board get cut in half and shot with a gun? Send to them.
- A quick SMD soldering guide
- Some good how-to videos
- MAKE's soldering tutorial
Has some errors, but shows some good video of the ChipQuik material removing a surface mount chip.
- Another decent how-to guide
- Very thorough how-to guide backed by good explanations
All around, a great how-to guide that highlights important principles behind soldering. An interesting quote: "At a normal temperature of 600 °F, there is a certain amount of oxidation produced, depending on the time it is left unused and without any solder on the tip. At 700 °F the rate is nearly ten times the level of oxidation and at 800, approximately hundred times."
- Decent beginner's guide
It covers a lot of basics and recommends a good selection of tools.
- Basic guide and advice for choosing a particular alloy of solder
Good discussion of different solder types, the solderability of various metals, and recommendations for what solder thickness to use for various applications.
- Great free web courses on everything from soldering, to IC design, to heat transfer issues...
- How to Tin and Care for Soldering Iron Tips
- Hot Air or Thermal Contact (for SMD repair)
Explains the drawbacks to using a butane torch for removal, paste for reattachment, and tips for reinstalling SMDs.
- Another article about cleaning flux residues
- Why clean flux residues?
This article briefly summarizes the problems the flux residue can cause, the different types of flux, and a couple methods for testing the amount of contamination left over. Interesting, but not too helpful for a hobbyist trying to decide whether cleaning is truly necessary.
- Tin Whiskers
Great article discussing the mystery of tin whiskers. The consensus: avoid bright all-tin plated finishes. Lead-free solder by itself isn't sited as a threat.
- Soldering fumes and necessary filtration
Basically an ad for Quatro systems, but contains good info on the makeup of solder fumes.
- The Basic of Soldering, by Armin Rahn
Provides a great overview of soldering technologies and the science behind them. It covers everything from hand soldering, to flux chemistry, to the benefits and drawbacks of infrared reflow technology. It's chalk full of pictures of various mass-soldering machines (black and white). The book is a little out of date at this point (written before RoHS lead-free mandates), and wouldn't be sufficient to really decide on a correct tool or material, but still offers a great overview of the issues involved. Interesting fact from the book: apparently there is evidence that people were soldering in 2500 B.C., and that the same rosin was being used as a flux.
- SMD tools suggestions
- The Art of Soldering
Not so much a how-to guide, but offers good discussion of the importance of flux and the benefits of getting a soldering station. Some advice seems more speculative than based on evidence, including the extremely low temperature recommendations and emphasis on thinner solder solving all problems--sometimes especially thin solder doesn't carry enough flux.
- the Technet Listserve
A message board used by manufacturing engineers with lots of great discussion about soldering. Much is focused on mass-soldering technology, though.
- Lead in fumes article--reflow ovens, not hand soldering
- How to splice wires with solder