How to Solder the Chip Components
Hand soldering involves applying heat and pressure to the component to form a strong bond. Unlike wave or reflow soldering machines, hand soldering is done by an individual with soldering iron and a soldering station. Hand soldering can be performed on smaller components or for repair and rework.
To begin soldering, hold the soldering iron tip on the chip’s lead or contact point. Next, touch the tip of the solder wire to the lead. Then, heat the lead and solder until the solder flows. Ensure that the solder covers the entire lead or contact point. To prevent tombstoneing, don’t hold heat on one side of the chip for too long. Otherwise, the solder will reflow onto the opposite side.
The hand soldering process is generally the final step of prototype assembly. When using a Thermaltronics soldering tool, you can finish fine details on both through-hole and surface-mount components. When using hand soldering, it is best to use a temperature-controlled iron. Using a non-temperature-controlled iron will not produce reliable electrical joints.
Through-hole soldering is a process that entails putting together a component with lead wires. Lead wires are inserted into the holes using a plier, which is held against the body of the component. It is important to apply gentle pressure on the leads as they are inserted into the through-holes. This process ensures that the leads of the chip components do not become overstretched. Excessive stretching may affect the placement of other components on the PCB. Additionally, it can affect the appearance of the entire through-hole soldering process.
Before soldering, it is important to clean the chip component’s surface. To clean a chip component, you can use a 3M Scotch-Brite Pad or sine grade steel wool. It is important to use the correct soldering flux as water-soluble flux can oxidize the PCB or through-hole component.
Lead-free soldering is a process that uses lead-free solder and a higher-wattage soldering iron. To achieve optimal performance, soldering temperatures must be high enough to transfer enough heat to the chip component. The temperature required depends on the component’s volume, thermal mass, and board tolerances.
The first step to lead-free soldering is determining if the chip components are compatible with lead-free solder. The process is not without complications. Some chip components are coated with a tin-lead alloy for solderability. However, this type of coating violates environmental legislation. Fortunately, some chip manufacturers have found ways to use lead-free solder with tin-lead components. This is known as backward compatibility.
Another way to make chip components lead-free is to use nickel-lead. Nickel-lead has been used for years with tin-lead solder. Another option is Ni-Pd-Au solder. However, Ni-Pd-Au is not wettable in the same way as tin.
Flux in lead-free solder
Flux is a pre-processing agent used during the soldering process. Flux promotes metallurgical bonds between chip components, so the solder joints will not break or fluctuate in response to stress. It also removes oxidation from surfaces, which facilitates wetting, the process of solder flowing over the surface.
Flux residues can lead to corrosion and dendritic growth on PCB assemblies. After soldering chip components, the residues should be cleaned off with a good flux remover. For best results, angle the board while cleaning it so that excess solvent runs off the board. A lint-free wipe or a horsehair brush can be used to scrub the board gently.
Flux is an important component of lead-free solder. It cleans the metal surface to ensure a good metallurgical bond. Bad solder joints can lead to costly component failures. Luckily, flux is a chemical cleaning agent that can be applied before soldering, and during the process itself.
Cleaning excess solder
When soldering chip components, it’s often necessary to clean excess solder from them. But it can be difficult to remove the solder that has already been applied. Once it’s adhered to the component, the solder will have already been heated two or three times. Each reheat changes the physical composition of the metal. As a result, the solder becomes increasingly brittle. To avoid this, it’s best to remove the old solder and replace it with a new one.
Another option is to use a braid of solder to remove excess solder from the chip component. To do this, place a braid of solder over the component, hold the soldering iron against the braid, and wait for a few seconds. Afterwards, remove the solder braid.