IPC massive collection of training videosAlmost 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.
Safe and Sane SMD RepairA 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.
NASA workmanship standardsIn 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.
Intermetallic GrowthTalks 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 wikiProvides a good overview of other types of soldering like pipe and stained glass as well as electronics soldering.
Circuit board rework and repairThis 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.
Very thorough how-to guide backed by good explanationsAll 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.”
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 WhiskersGreat 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.
The Basic of Soldering, by Armin RahnProvides 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.
The Art of SolderingNot 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 ListserveA message board used by manufacturing engineers with lots of great discussion about soldering. Much is focused on mass-soldering technology, though.