soldering iron and wire

Soldering Basics: Reliable Solder Equipment for a Bargain Price

Ever wanted to fix the broken headphone wire from your headset? Or you want to install some extra lights in your car? Need a longer wire for your device? Soldering has many advantages since it’s a reliable and safe way to connect multiple wires or electronics. It can be made waterproof, it can be accomplished when there’s little space available to work with. The list is endless. Soldering isn’t hard and the soldering equipment costs you less then a repair in a shop would. This posts provides you with all the soldering equipment you need to get you started so continue reading.

soldering iron and wire
Time to upgrade this soldering iron to something from this century

Soldering Iron

A good soldering iron is the cornerstone of your soldering equipment. It has adjustable temperature settings so you know what you’re doing instead of just guessing what temperature you operate at. It also makes sure you have a stable temperature. You can adjust the temperature a little lower to prevent overheating nearby components when for example soldering a PCB. When you must solder something outside in the cold and/or wind you do the opposite and boost it a little extra.

Another important aspect is the watts the soldering iron consumes. More watts equals more warmth. If you have thick wires you need a lot of heat to get that thick wire hot. While a small wire soldered in a warm place without wind can be soldered without the need of a lot of extra heat. To keep it simple: as long as you can regulate the temp, more watts is beter.

soldering tips

Last but not least is adjustable solder tips. Your soldering needs may vary on the project you’re working on. When soldering pcb’s you need a small tip because you work with really tiny components. When we work with wires in a car or motorcycle we like a big hot surface to touch all our wires at once. Click here if you need extra soldering tips

good soldering iron

All of the above comes together in this soldering iron. It’s the cheapest soldering iron that enables you to solder professionally. We’ve been using it for years and it beats all the more expensive branded irons we buy locally. Just buy the cheapest version without all the hassle since you probable don’t need it.

Soldering Wire

To make a good connection between two or more parts you add solder wire to the connection. The solder wire will melt and flow to the copper part where the heat is. To make a good attachment to the surfaces you want to use solder wire with flux inside. Because flux makes it easier for the solder to flow on the surfaces.

soldering wire 1kg

Personally we use this soldering wire. Because it has enough flux inside to flow properly and it has good soldering properties. We recommend 1mm as it is suitable for most use cases. If you need more you just add more wire, you don’t need it thicker. Also, since a kilo is a lot of solder you can share some with friends and family. Click here to buy it

soldering wire

When you think that one kilo is a little bit to much solder for your needs, you can start with a small piece of solder wire like this one.

Soldering Iron Cleaner

When you’ve made your solder connection it’s important that you clean the soldering tip straight away. If you don’t do this the residu of the solder will slowly burn onto your soldering tip and make it dirty. When the soldering tip gets dirty it’s getting harder to transfer the heat from the soldering iron to the connection you wan’t to make. Which again, makes it harder for you to make a proper solder connection. It is possible to clean the junk of your solder tip with sanding paper but once you start making scratches on your soldering iron tip it get’s dirty faster.

Desoldering ball cleaner

To clean the soldering iron give it a few good dips in a nice copper ball like this. The solder will melt onto the copper instead of to your iron.

Shrinking tube

It is absolutely essential in your soldering equipment to protect the wire connection you solder. Shrinking tube is magical tubing that you shove over you wires before you solder them together. When you’ve made a good soldering connecting shove it over the connection and heat it up. This can be done with a lighter or a heat gun. The tubing will shrink and make a tight fit around the connection. Leaving no room for any water or dirt to enter. Another extra benefit from shrinking tube is that it ads extra firmness to the wire connection. Making it harder for the wires to get loose by accident.

Shrinking tube

We recommend this shrinking tube. Because it’s cheap, available in all your desired colours. And it goes per five meter. That is preferable over multiple short pieces since you never know up front how big of a piece you need. It’s available in different sizes for different sizes of wire. Choose the size(s) you need here

Electrical Tape

Electrical tape

Sometimes shrinking tube just doesn’t do the job. For example when you don’t have loose cable ends. Or you might need some extra protection for your cables so they can withstand the harsh outside world. That is when electrical tape comes in handy. This electrical tape sticks very good and can withstand some scratches to protect your electrical connections. It’s available in different sizes to suit all your needs.

The extra’s

The following accessories are not necessary when soldering. But if you solder quite often you might find them useful.

Stripping pliers

stripping pliers

When you’re having a hard time stripping the wire without cutting it. Or useful when you don’t have a lot of space to strip your wire. This stripping pliers is the tool for everyone that needs to strip (a lot) wires

Smoke Absorber

Soldering gives some fumes that are unhealthy to breathe in. While outdoors won’t be to much of a problem (do try to avoid inhaling them directly). Indoors the smoke can be really annoying and give you headaches. When soldering more then just a simple wire you might want some extra protection to make the soldering experience more fun. This smoke absorber is a good solution for that.

The design is very simple. If you think this costs to much money you can use an old (computer) fan. Cut this carbon filter and put it for the air inflow using some sort of mesh and you’re done.

smoke absorber

Soldering Stand

Soldering stand

It is nice to have a safe place for your soldering iron so that it doesn’t fall over and melt anything unwanted down. And while we’re at it. You’re probably always short handed when soldering. This stand is exactly what you need.

Flux

Since we have soldering wire with flux inside this is not a necessity. But there are situations where the solder just won’t stick to your desired location. That is when you want to add some extra flux to the whole situation. Give it a good smear and the solder will flow and stick much easier. Also comes in really handy when soldering pcb’s. To get some cheap flux click here

soldering flux

Soldering tips

When you’ve ordered your soldering equipment you’re good to go. Soldering is actually just sticking components together with solder using your solder iron. The solder will stick to any conducting materia when heatedl. If it doesn’t want to stick. Try to roughen up the place you want to solder with some sanding paper. Also try adding some extra flux. If it still doesn’t stick you probable can’t get the parts hot enough. Try to heat up the material with your soldering iron as much as possible. Have you used enough solder? Don’t give up, champions never stop!

We order everything from aliexpress. Since you order directly from the cheap source it won’t get any cheaper then this. Quality is sometimes an issue but we use this products ourselves on a daily basis. If you’re new to ordering with aliexpress read the following guide:

Is AliExpress reliable? A Beginners Guide

4 comments

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