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Electronic manufacturing industry
Manual soldering - requirements, process, equipment, common defects and tips

Soldering is a process of joining electronic components using solder. Manual soldering is a basic operating skill in PCB and PCBA, which is suitable for product trial production, small batch production of electronic products, debugging and maintenance of electronic products and some occasions which are not suitable for automatic welding.

Hand soldering is a delicate soldering technique.Therefore, in order to help you have a perfect manual soldering, I will introduce you manual soldering in detail from the advantages and disadvantages of manual soldering, the manual soldering process in PCB assembly, the selection of manual soldering equipment, common manual soldering problems and solutions, etc.

Table of Contents

What is manual soldering ?

Manual Soldering
Manual Soldering

Manual soldering, a traditional PCB soldering method, is a process to heat and melt solder onto metal components, circuit boards or other parts to create a bond or electrical junction by hands. This method involves applying the soldering material manually onto the components and requires a skilled operator to ensure that the solder is applied correctly, in the right amount, at the right temperature and with the necessary accuracy to make a strong and reliable connection. It is often used in producting trial production, small batch production of electronic products, debugging and maintenance of electronic products.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of manual soldering ?

Manual soldering advantages

  • Precision: Manual soldering allows for more precise control over the soldering process. This is especially important when working with small or delicate components.
  • Cost: Manual soldering is generally less expensive than automated soldering because it does not require expensive machinery.
  • Accessibility: Manual soldering can be done in a variety of settings, including small workshops or at home, making it accessible to small-scale producers or hobbyists.
  • Quality control: Manual soldering allows for a higher level of quality control because each joint can be carefully inspected and tested.
  • Repairs: Manual soldering is often used for repairs because it can easily replace damaged components without the need for expensive automated tools.

Manual soldering disadvantages

  • Time-consuming: Manual soldering requires more time and effort than automated soldering, which can slow down production and increase labor costs.
  • Inconsistent results: Manual soldering can result in inconsistent quality due to variations in skill and application.
  • Risk of damage: Manual soldering can increase the risk of damaging the PCB or components due to accidental heat exposure or incorrect application.
  • Health risks: Manual soldering involves exposure to hazardous fumes and chemicals, which can pose health risks to operators, especially when proper ventilation or protective equipment is not provided.

What is the manual soldering process in PCB assembly ?

Manual soldering process in PCBA
Manual soldering process in PCBA

The manual soldering process in PCB assembly involves using a heated soldering iron and a small amount of solder to join electronic components to circuit board traces. The process typically involves the following steps:

Preparing the components: The electronic components need to be properly aligned and positioned on the circuit board before they can be soldered in place. This often involves using tweezers to hold and adjust the components as needed.

Preparing the soldering iron: The soldering iron needs to be heated to the proper temperature, too high or too low temperature will affect the welding effect. And a clean tip is important for making good connections.

Applying solder: while the components are in the right place, the solder is applied with the soldering iron to the junction between the component and the circuit board trace. The solder should melt and flow around the component lead and into the circuit board hole.

Inspecting the connection: Once the solder has cooled, the connection can be inspected to ensure that it is properly formed and secure. Any excess solder can be removed with a desoldering tool or braid.

This process is typically repeated for each electronic component on the circuit board. It is important to have a balance of heat and speed when soldering to avoid damage to the electronic components or circuit board.

What is the difference between manual soldering and wave soldering ?

What is the difference between wave soldering and manual soldering
What is the difference between wave soldering and manual soldering

Manual soldering is the process of applying solder to specific points on a printed circuit board (PCB) using a soldering iron. This is a time-consuming and labor-intensive process that requires a skilled technician to carefully apply the solder.

Wave soldering, on the other hand, is a faster and more efficient process that is used to solder entire PCBs at once. The process involves passing the PCB over a flowing wave of molten solder, which solders all of the necessary connections in one step. This process is automated and requires less skilled labor, but can be more expensive to set up initially.

Overall, manual soldering is better suited for small scale production, while wave soldering is more appropriate for high volume manufacturing.

What is hand soldering equipment ?

Hand soldering equipment is a set of tools and instruments used for soldering small electronic components by hand. It typically includes a soldering iron, solder wire, a magnifying glass, a wire stripper, a soldering stand or holder, and other accessories.

Hand soldering equipment can be used to repair or assemble electronic devices, such as PCBs, wires, and connectors. Precisely controlled heating of the soldering iron plays an important role in ensuring high-quality solder joints and avoiding damage to delicate components.

Hand soldering equipments
Hand soldering equipments

What are characteristics and requirements of manual soldering of electronic products ?

Characteristics of manual soldering of electronic products include:
1. Manual soldering is a manual process in which the operator uses a soldering iron to melt the solder material and create a bond between electronic components.
2. Manual soldering requires a skilled operator who has experience working with electronic components and soldering techniques.
3. Hand soldering operator must have good hand-eye coordination, dexterity, and patience to create quality solder joints.
4. The process requires a steady hand and a stable work area to avoid damaging the electronic components.
5. Manual soldering can be used for both through-hole and surface mount components.
6. The process is suitable for low to medium volume production.

Special process requirements for manual soldering of electronic products
Special process requirements for manual soldering of electronic products

Requirements:
1. A well-ventilated work area to prevent inhalation of solder fumes.
2. A soldering iron with a temperature controlled tip that is effectively to ensure proper heat distribution and prevent damage to the components being soldered.
3. Solder wire with a rosin core and flux to clean the surface being soldered and ensure a strong bond.
4. A soldering stand to hold the iron when not in use and prevent accidental burns or damage to the work area.
5. Soldering tweezers or small pliers to hold small components in place during soldering.
6. Safety glasses to protect the eyes from flying debris or chemicals.
7. A soldering mat or heat-resistant surface to prevent damage to the work area or components being soldered.

How to ensure the soldering quality of electronic products ?

soldering
  • Good training and qualification of the personnel who carry out soldering operations.
  • Use of correct soldering method, soldering iron and soldering equipments.
  • Properly preparing the soldering surface, including cleaning and removing any oxide
    layers from the surfaces.
  • Selecting the appropriate soldering technique depending on the particular electronic product being assembled.
  • Using high-quality solder and flux. Taking steps to minimize the potential for thermal shock during the soldering process.
  • Thorough inspection and testing of the soldered joints to ensure they meet required
  • specifications.
    Overall, ensuring the soldering quality of electronic products requires a combination of good
    training, high-quality equipment and materials, careful preparation, and thorough testing and
    inspection.

How to adopt the soldering method with low failure rate in manual soldering ?

1. Preparation: Before soldering, make sure that all necessary components and tools are in place. This includes a soldering iron, solder wire, flux, solder wick or solder pump, and any necessary cleaning materials.

2. Cleanliness: Ensure the work area and components are free from any dirt, debris, rust or oxidation. It is ideal to use a cleaning solution to ensure surface cleanliness.

3. Temperature control: The temperature of the soldering iron is critical. Higher temperatures can damage sensitive components, while lower temperatures may not melt the solder wire properly. Selecting a suitable temperature to melt the solder wire and apply it to the surface for adherence is important.

4. Flux application: Flux application is important as it helps in the removal of oxides and contaminants, making it easy for the solder to stick to the surfaces. Be sure to apply an appropriate amount of flux to avoid the formation of bubbles and lumps.

5. Soldering iron angle and pressure: Proper iron angle and pressure while soldering determine the success of the process. Holding the iron at a 45-degree angle over the surface while applying a moderate amount of pressure ensures that the soldering wire melts and flows evenly.

6. Timing: Knowing the right timing prevents overheating of components, and ensures proper flow of solder and solder joint formation.

7. Inspection and testing: After soldering, inspect the joints for consistency, uniformity, and cleanliness. The joints should be solid, without any voids or air pockets. Conduct a visual or
functional test to confirm that the solder joint can withstand normal operation or stresses.

8. Practice on simple and less important components before starting with critical ones.

9. Inspect and test: Inspect the soldered joints carefully to make sure they are strong, durable, and free from any defects. Test the electrical connection with multimeter or relevant equipment.

By following the above tips and adopting the proper soldering techniques and procedures, you can reduce the failure rate in manual soldering.

FAQ
Hand soldering, a delicate soldering technique, is a basic operating skill in PCB and PCBA. hand soldering is often used in producting trial production, small batch production of electronic products and some occasions which are not suitable for automatic welding.

1. Operator: Manual soldering is a time-consuming and labor-intensive process that requires a skilled technician to carefully apply the solder. While wave soldering is automated and requires less skilled labor
2. Time: Manual soldering requires more time and effort than automated soldering
3. Solerdding equipments: Manual soldering is the process of applying solder to specific points on a printed circuit board (PCB) using a soldering iron. Wave soldering is a faster and more efficient process that is used to solder entire PCBs at once.

1. Correct soldering method, soldering iron and soldering equipments;
2. A clean soldering surface;
3. High-quality solder and flux;
4. Proper soldering iron temperature;
5. Inspect and test.

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