The heart and soul of any electronic projects. Well unless you are using Arduino and breadboard only, you WILL need these babies.
I could say that a simple solder iron and a strand of solder lead will do the trick, but the extra tools will help getting your job done faster.
Of course there are a lot of different considerations when buying these tools. Over here I will only show you guys what I am currently using. I will attach a guide on choosing the components in my blog (after I write them). Go read my blog if you are interested!
Solder, or solder lead, is THE component for any soldering process. Heck you may even find it easier to ADD solder when you are de-soldering component!
I am using 63/37, 0.6mm diameter solder. I know, not environmental friendly, but it’s easier!
I personally has both the traditional soldering iron the one without temperature control), and a soldering station. My soldering station is for workshop use, and my soldering iron is for outdoor on-site purpose.
Temperature control in a soldering station is always better because it allows flexibility on which part you are soldering. Need to solder sensitive IC? Lower down the temperature! Need to solder thick ground copper pore? Jack the temperature up higher!
Buy your soldering station here.
Solder paste, while not necessary, it will make your soldering job a lot easier by cleaning the PCB, and allow the solder to flow into the area. Another useful application of solder paste is cleaning up solder bridges.
Buy your solder paste here.
Desoldering pump is the one tool that you always forget, but useful at times of need. It’s used to suck out any additional solder while the solder is in it’s liquid state. This is mainly used in cleaning up holes that were just desoldered and needed to poke something else in there. To be honest though, I rarely use this tool now.
Buy your desoldering pump here.
“I like to sniff in the vapor when soldering electronic boards”, says no one ever! The soldering fan is to suck up all the vapors produced by the solder paste you used and in the solder lead core, and filtering through some porous filter. However, a simple device like this is quite expensive in my opinion. So I just used an old recycled computer fan, on it I tie it to the soldering fan’s filter. Voila! not-so-glamorous soldering fan, but works just as good!
If you want to buy a real one though, here is it.
Isopropyl Alcohol, Liquid Dispenser, and a Toothbrush
Isopropyl alcohol (or just alcohol) is the liquid of choice when it comes to cleaning up your PCB from all the oily solder paste that you used. Besides alcohol, you can get some thinner from your local hardware store, it does the same job, but you might get a sticky PCB board in the end.
It will be super helpful if you can get a liquid dispenser bottle as well. You don’t have sloppily pour the liquid out to your brush, and you can also prevent contaminant back-flow into your precious alcohol.
Tweezers allow you to hold small components, especially SMD/SMT components without risking your fingers to be burnt. I got a whole set of it, curved tip, straight tip, flat tip, and more.
You can get a pair of cheap tweezers here.
These are the tools that I don’t own, but I would love to have it in the future upgrades! Things like desoldering hot air pump to quickly desolder big TQFP components, or a magnifying camera so that I will not have to squint my eyes every time I check my soldering job!
While there are a lot more tools that can be bought, it is always good to remind yourself that, a simple soldering iron, and a strand of solder will do the trick in almost all situation. Good luck out there!