Soldering Terms

Soldering FAQ

Resistors

An electronic component that reduces current flow and reduces voltage level within a circuit. Resistors come in various strengths denoted by “Ohms” the larger the Ohm value the higher the resistance.

2032 battery

A coin cell lithium battery that is 20mm in diameter and 3.2mm in depth, rate at 3 Volts.

Diodes

An electronic component that only allows electricity through one way.

Flush cutters (snips, dykes)

Hand tool used to cut extra wire often used after completing a solder joint when the extended leg is no longer needed.

LED

Light Emitting Diode - A type of diode which emits light when current is flowing through it.

Ohm’s Law

V = IR - A famous electrical equation that denots the relationship between Voltage (V), Current (I), and Resistance (R) in a circuit.

Printed Circuit Board (PCB)

A board that has traces and pads connected together to create a circuit. Electronic components are soldered onto a PCB to add capabilities.

Push button switches

A switch that is closed (allowing current to flow through) when pressed down and open (not allowing current to flow through) when it is not pressed.

Circuit

Individual electronic components connected together allowing electricity to flow through them.

Silkscreen

Labeling and other pictures that are present on a printed circuit board. Usual denote where components should be placed, version of the board, manufacturer, test points and other useful information.

Solder pad

Area of exposed metal on a printed circuit board where the connection to a component is made.

Solder sucker (Desoldering pump)

A hand tool which is used to remove solder from a printed circuit board. The solder must first be melted then the desoldering pump is used to lift it from the printed circuit board.

Solder trace

Path of metal inside a printed circuit board which connects different parts of the circuit.

Solder Wick (Desoldering Braid)

Braided copper wire absorbs solder, used to remove excess solder.

Solder

Metal alloy with a low melting point which allows it to be used to create connections between electronic components.

Soldering Iron

Hand tool used to heat solder and create a solder joint usually on a printed circuit board.

Should I solder the battery into place?

The temperature from the soldering iron can damage the battery. The best way to assmeble the kit is to solder the battery holder into place and then slide in the battery. This also allows you to switch out the battery as needed.

Is “leaded solder” safe?

Leaded solder does contain lead so it is best to handle it correctly but it does not pose an immediate threat if the following rules are followed: 1) Don’t eat the electronics! Lead should not be consumed be sure to always wash your hands after working with leaded solder. 2) Work in a well ventilated area.A typical room with a small fan or open window should do the trick.

Why does it matter which way I insert the LED?

LED stands for Light Emitting Diode. A diode is a component that only allows the current to flow in one direction. If you reverse the direction of the LED the electricity will not be able to flow through the component and the LED won’t light up.

My lights won’t turn on. What should I do?

Try flipping over the battery. This will reverse the flow of electricity allowing the LEDs to light up if they were put in reverse. If that doesn’t solve the problem try checking each connection you soldered. Is there enough solder? Are any two solder connections touching? Not enough solder and the connection might not be stable enough. Too much solder and the circuit might be shorted.

I made a gooey solder mess. What should I do?

Don’t worry! There’s a tool for that. Actually there are two tools you can use, either a Solder Sucker or a Solder Wick.

How hot should my soldering iron be?

The temperature should be somewhere between 450 degrees celsius and 700 degrees celsius. Try various temperatures on your soldering iron and find the lowest temperature where the solder melt almost instantly. Be careful with temperature above 700 degrees celsius because you could damage the components.

What type of solder should I use?

When soldering for electronics projects we recommend 1/32 inch 60/40 (tin-lead) solder. If you are working with small children consider buying the non-leaded solder. Solder with lead is easier to work with and has a lower melting point but it is important to follow safety procedures (don’t eat the solder!) when working with lead.

The switches don’t fit. What should I do?

These are tricky little switches. You need to push on the hard to get them to snap into place. If you’re having trouble you can straighten the legs a little bit with needle nose pliers. This should allow them to slide into place. Make sure you don’t hold your fingers directly behind the switch when snapping it into place. The switch legs might nick your finger!

I accidentally built a time machine. What should I do?

Come to Sacramento and pick us up! We are always packed and ready for some futuristic time and space travel. Engage!