How to Solder Without Electricity (or a Soldering Iron)

Introduction

Newer generations of many electronics have batteries that are soldered directly to the logic board. This makes replacing the battery a much harder feat than older models, who use connectors to attach the battery to the logic board. This guide illustrates the various levels of difficulty in soldering, and teaches the technique of soldering three types of connections commonly seen in electronic gadgets:

Step 1: Beginning — Large thru-hole components, such as cylindrical capacitors;

Step 7: Intermediate — Small thru-hole components, such as battery leads and resistors; and

Step 11: Advanced — Small surface-mount components.

Always solder in a well ventilated area. If you are soldering sensitive electronics, be sure to work in an ESD (electrostatic discharge)-safe environment and use ESD-safe tools.

Video

How to Desolder in 4 simple steps

Now that we’ve learned how to solder both an led on a circuit board and wires, we’ll move on to the final tutorial for today’s post; Desoldering.

Let’s say that you’ve soldered an electronic component awhile ago and want to simply remove it. Well, thankfully in the soldering world, there’s a thing called the desoldering wick that allows you to do so!

Desoldering Wick

The above desoldering wick is 1.5m long and 3.0mm wide in width. It can be used by following the following steps:

  • Step 1: Place the desoldering wick over the solder to be removed, then push the heated soldering iron tip onto the desoldering wick, the solder will be absorbed.
  • Step 2: Remove the desoldering wick after the solder has been absorbed.
  • Step 3: Cut off the used section of the wick using nippers.
  • Step 4: Repeat the above steps if the solder is not removed completely. Absorbability may differ depending on the type of solder. Sn63% and 60% (tin content) have good absorbability.

Step 4: Solder by Heating the Wires Directly

The simplest kind of soldering is just connecting two wires together. This can be done by heating the wires directly and doesn’t require any kind of a soldering iron.

Take two wires and strip the insulation off of the ends. You want there to be about one inch of exposed metal on each wire. Then twist the wires tightly together.

In order to solder the wires together, we will be heating the ends of the wires and applying solder to the opposite side of the exposed section (where the wires first meet). You do not want to try to apply solder to the heated area because soot and other chemical residues can build up on this area and make it difficult for the solder to stick properly.

So take your heat source (preferably a candle or a lighter) and use it to heat the ends of the wires. Wait about 20 seconds for the wires to heat up. Then slowly apply solder to the other side of the exposed section of wire. If the solder does not readily melt, let the wires heat some more. Be patient. You need the wires to be hot enough to properly wick the solder. Otherwise you may get a cold solder joint.

Once you have a good solder connection, cut off the unsoldered section of exposed wires. This will leave you with just the soldered connection. Whenever possible it is a good idea to insulate any connections with either heat shrink tubing or tape.

How to use a soldering iron (Tinning the tip)

Like an oven before usage, you’ll first to “pre-heat” your soldering iron before any usage. This process is called tinning, whereby doing so, you can not only improve heat transfer, but it protects your soldering iron tip as well. Here’s how you can get started doing so:

  • Step 1: Ensure that your selected soldering iron tip is tightly screwed in place
  • Step 2: Turn on your soldering iron and let it heat up, we recommend setting the temperature to around 400deg if you’re using a soldering station or one that has adjustable temperature
  • Step 3: Wipe the tip on a sponge or brass for cleaning
  • Step 4: On one hand, hold your soldering iron, while on the other holder the solder. Now proceed to make contact with the tip of your soldering iron with the solder and ensure that the solder melts

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Getting a Heat Source

Since you don’t have a soldering iron, you are going to need a heat source to heat up the various parts and the solder itself. In this case, it means having an open flame or heat source to provide the heat needed to melt the parts.

The most important thing to keep in mind is that your heat source needs to be able to heat up the solder to its melting point, which is going to be between 400° and 700° Fahrenheit, or about 200° to 370° Celsius.

Things like normal butane lighters, oil lamps, alcohol burners, candles, and even open flames like a campfire should do just fine for this task. Some people even choose to use a thick tin can and create a small and contained fire inside. As long as your heat source can melt the solder, you will be fine.

Soldering Irons

There are many tools that aid in soldering, but none are more important than the soldering iron. If nothing else, you need at least an iron and some solder to accomplish the task at hand. Soldering irons come in a variety of from factors and range from simple to complex, but they all function roughly the same. Here, we’ll discuss the parts of an iron and the different types of irons.

What is a solder wick?

A solder wick, or in other words a desoldering braid, is a braided piece of copper wire. Solder wick comes in different length, widths, and flux types.

Conclusion

In summary, I would like to say that desoldering technique is the one you should learn. Believe me, if you haven’t used a solder wick yet, there comes a day when you would need to clean a joint from excess solder or make a small repair or do some other desoldering. Of course, solder wick cannot be used for every job you are doing, but it’s a handy thing to use for quick fixings!

Tips

  • If you can’t find or use epoxy, use a strong glue like super glue instead.

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Safety Precautions

Although you’re not using a soldering iron, you should still use care when removing the solder. The temperatures created by heating up the screwdriver and solder can be very dangerous. To prevent burns or other safety hazards, consider the following safety precautions:

  • Never touch the end of the heated screwdriver. After heating it with the propane torch it’s going to be very hot (roughly 400 degrees Celsius) and will burn.
  • Always conduct soldering work in a well-ventilated area. This includes opening windows or doors and possibly installing fans temporarily.
  • Perform the work on a surface that is nonflammable and cannot be easily ignited. Also, wear clothing that is nonflammable.
  • To prevent burns from hot solder, wear a long sleeve shirt, long pants, and closed-toed shoes.
  • Goggles, face shields, or safety glasses must also be worn when performing any sort of soldering work.
  • If you are removing lead solder, it must be disposed of properly. Lead soldering waste is hazardous and must be placed in a container with a lid. Do not place this in your regular trash can. Lead solder needs to be disposed of as hazardous waste.

If you do accidentally touch the tip of the heated screwdriver, immediately cool the affected area with cold water for 15 minutes. If the burn covers an area that is larger than three inches across, seek medical attention.

Step 8: Use Your New Soldering Skills to Save the Day

Now you have the knowledge and skills to be able to solder just about anywhere. This can really come in handy in an emergency situation. So start including a small amount of solder in your survival kits, emergency packs and bug-out bags.

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