If you are someone who is interested in learning to solder electronics, there are a few keys things that might be helpful to learn first. The most obvious task should be learning more about electronic and chip components to understand how they best work in your designs. In addition, it is helpful to learn about electricity in general and, for example, how resistors in parallel versus series work. Another good thing to start doing is to investigate different tools that might be helpful in your process. Whether it is a soldering iron or a workbench, finding the right tools can facilitate your soldering process. Outside of tool options, it is important to use the right materials as not all solder metals are the same. Some solders are better for electronics than others. For example, there is solder that can be used in plumbing which contains acid. Obviously, that is not a good choice for use in electronic soldering.
Types and Forms of Solder
Solder comes in a variety of forms such as bars, paste, pellets, and wire. For electronic soldering, wire is typically the best to use. Wire is easier to apply and work with when tacking smaller components to a motherboard. It also comes in a variety of diameters or gauges. To choose the right size, it mostly depends on what components you are looking to solder and tack down.
There are two major types of soldering wire: lead-free and lead-based. There is not much difference between the two other than one melts at a lower temperature than the other. Lead-based solder is typically composed of some metal mixture like tin and lead and it melts around 370 degrees Fahrenheit. However, most businesses have gotten away from lead-based due to the effects lead has on our health. This does not mean you cannot use this material, but you will obviously need to take proper precautions. Enter lead-free solder. This type of solder has a higher melting point and can be a bit difficult to work with because of that. However, it is safer to use and is just as good in many respects for smaller electronic projects.
Another interesting fact about solder wires is that it contains a flux core in the center. The two types of core material are acid and rosin. As mentioned before, the acid version is better suited to plumbing tasks. Rosin is the type of core users want to get when soldering electronic components together. Now let us discuss some of the best solder for electronics work.
Best Solder for Electronics
American Terminal Alpha Fry AT-31604 60-40 Rosin Core Solder
The Alpha Fry solder with a rosin core comes in a four ounce roll. It is a sixty percent tin and forty percent lead mixture. This particular lead-based solder has a melting point of 376 degrees Fahrenheit. It also has a 0.062 inch diameter. Alpha Fry is made in Mexico.
This product is a best seller for electronics soldering projects. The main reason this is so popular is because it is good quality and easy to use because it is a lead-based solder. These types of solder tend to have a lower melting point, which makes them easier to use with most soldering irons.
One of the biggest cons about this product is that it is lead-based solder. Using any lead products can be hazardous to your health. Proper precaution must be taken when using this product. This product had a few negatives, but they did not compare to the high marks given to it by other buyers. Two of the most common complaint related to the inability to return the product once purchased and that this product had issues with fine soldering projects. Electronics soldering is very fine work so this product worked against that process.