Ok, so I was reading a thread in Amps, and decided to compile this lil thing (internet, myself, my father (an Electrical Engineer), my tech are all sources used) on soldering... (I noticed in a quick search that nothing like this existed yet). Hopefully it'll eventually become a sticky once enough people put in their info, and we have a good "how-to" on soldering. Well, here's my start. Equipment needed/used: Soldering requires two main things: a soldering iron and solder. Soldering irons are the heat source used to melt solder. Irons of the 15W to 30W range are good for most electronics/printed circuit board work. Anything higher in wattage and you risk damaging either the component or the board. Note that you should not use so-called soldering guns. These are very high wattage and generate most of their heat by passing an electrical current through a wire. Because of this, the wire carries a stray voltage that could damage circuits and components. The choice of solder is also important. One of the things to remember is to never use acid core solder. Acid core solder will corrode component leads, board traces and form conductive paths between components. The best solder for electronics work is a thin rosin core solder. I prefer a thickness of 0.75mm, but other thicknesses will also work. Just remember not to get anything too thick. Surface Preparation: A clean surface is very important if you want a strong, low resistance joint. All surfaces to be soldered should be cleaned with steel wool and some sort of solvent. Laquer thinner works well. Steel wool is my preference. Don't neglect to clean component leads, as they may have a built up of glue from packaging and rust from improper storage. Appling Heat: Apply a very small amount of solder to the tip of the iron. This helps conduct the heat to the component and board, but it is not the solder that will make up the joint. Now you are ready to actually heat the component and board. Lay the iron tip so that it rests against both the component lead and the board. Normally, it takes one or two seconds to heat the component up enough to solder, but larger components and larger soldering pads on the board can increase the time. Just be sure all parts that are being soldered are adequatly heated! Appling Solder And Removing Heat: Once the component lead and solder pad has heated up, you are ready to apply solder. Touch the tip of the strand of solder to the component lead and solder pad, but not the tip of the iron. If everything is hot enough, the solder should flow freely around the lead and pad. Once the surface of the pad is completely coated, you can stop adding solder and remove the soldering iron (in that order). Don't move the joint for a few seconds to allow the solder to cool. If you do move the joint, you will get what's called a "cold joint". This will be discussed shortly. Cleanup: After you have made all the solder joints, you may wish to clean with steel wool or solvent to remove all the left over rosin. You may also wish to coat the components with laquer. This will prevent oxidation and keep them nice and shiny. Cold Solder Joints A cold joint is a joint in which the solder does not make good contact with the component lead or printed circuit board pad. Cold joints occur when the component lead or solder pad moves before the solder is completely cooled. Cold joints make a really bad electrical connection and can prevent your circuit from working. Cold joints can be recognized by a characteristic grainy, dull gray colour, and can be easily fixed. This is done by first removing the old solder with a desoldering tool or simply by heating it up and flicking it off with the iron. Once the old solder is off, you can resolder the joint, making sure to keep it still as it cools. Tips and Tricks Soldering is something that needs to be practiced. These tips should help you become successful so you can stop practicing and get down to some serious building. Double check joints. It is a good idea to check all solder joints with an ohm meter after they are cooled. If the joint measures any more than a few tenths of an ohm, then it may be a good idea to resolder it. Use the proper iron. Remember that bigger joints will take longer to heat up with an 30W iron than with a 150W iron. While 30W is good for printed circuit boards and the like, higher wattages are great when soldering to a heavy metal chassis. Summary All parts must be clean and free from dirt and grease. Try to secure the work firmly. "Tin" the iron tip with a small amount of solder. Do this immediately, with new tips being used for the first time. Clean the tip of the hot soldering iron on a damp sponge. Many people then add a tiny amount of fresh solder to the cleansed tip. Heat all parts of the joint with the iron for under a second or so. Continue heating, then apply sufficient solder only, to form an adequate joint. Remove and return the iron safely to its stand. It only takes two or three seconds at most, to solder the average p.c.b. joint. Do not move parts until the solder has cooled. All input is welcome, as always! -Ray Edit: dang typos. Also, board is used throughout... it can mean whatever though, a pot, a ground, etc. etc.