Find The Best Soldering Iron Temperature For Your Project

Are you new to soldering? If so, you must be wondering what the best temperature for soldering is? With experience, you will be able to set the temperature on your own, however, we present to you a few tips to help you get started.

In this article, you will find a simple technique to find the right temperature for your project. You will also learn what other factors should be considered when setting the temperature.

Always follow safety measures when soldering as you are working with high temperatures and toxic substances.

Now, let’s get started.

What Is Soldering And How Can It Help?

Soldering is a technique that is used to join two components by melting a small piece of metal known as solder. The melting temperature of the filler metal is usually lesser than the other two components.

The advantage of soldering is that it is easy to make strong and permanent bonds that are durable and reliable. At the same time, it is possible to break these joints by desoldering.

What Is The Melting Temperature of Solder?

Solder is made of either noble metals or alloys of noble metals. Hence, the melting temperature varies from solder to solder.  The most common solder that is used is 60% lead and 40% tin. This type of solder melts at 183℃. It becomes completely liquid at 190 ℃ .

However, solder materials that do not contain lead melt at a higher temperatures. Hence, here’s a simple way to figure out which is the right temperature for your project.

Simple Technique To Find The Right Temperature

  1. Turn the dial of the soldering iron to the lowest temperature
  2. Switch the soldering iron on
  3. Touch the solder to the tip
  4. If the solder doesn’t melt, turn the dial up by only one division and wait a minute.
  5. Keep turning up the dial until you find the temperature at which the solder melts slowly.
  6. Now increase the temperature by 183℃. This is the perfect temperature to do soldering slowly.

Note: The solder should not ideally melt at step 4. If it does, then consider the temperature range of the soldering iron you are using and decide whether you have to look for alternatives. You should also consider the melting points of the solder and the components you are looking to solder.

Check If Your Soldering Iron Is Too Hot

Sometimes your soldering iron can be too hot and an easy way to tell if it is too hot is to see if your solder is coming off quickly. Before you begin your project, just practice on a piece of scrap metal. Use the aforementioned technique to do so.

A general rule of thumb is to check if the temperature on your soldering iron is above 400℃. Most materials available in the market have melting points below this.

Check If Your Soldering Iron Is Too Cold

If the soldering iron is too cold, then the joint you make will not be strong. Such a joint is called a cold joint. Some of the problems that may occur because of this are –

  • Electric circuits can break
  • Low conductivity
  • Glass items can fall apart

Such problems can lead to injury and sometimes even be fatal. An easy way to tell if the iron is too cold is to see how long it takes for the metal to flow. If it takes more than 2 seconds for the solder to melt and flow, then you might need to turn up the heat.

Another thing to check is if your joints look smooth and shiny. If they are rough in texture, then you might need to find another soldering iron.

How Temperature Affects Soldering

There are three types of soldering you can do based on temperature, namely, brazing, soft soldering and hard soldering.

Brazing: When you heat the solder joint but not the metals that are being joined

Soft Soldering: When you heat the solder and the joints

Hard Soldering: When you use a blowtorch to produce high temperatures for joining components

Soft soldering is the commonly used method and the temperature range for soft soldering lies between 82 ℃ and 420 ℃. The bonds made by soft soldering are not as strong as hard soldering but soft soldering has the least potential for damage.

Other Factors Affecting Soldering Iron Temperature

Wattage: Higher wattages produce higher temperatures. Hence, if you need a higher temperature, choose one with higher wattage.

Tips: Large tips allow for more heat transfer. Also, tips should be cleaned and maintained properly or they can affect heat transfer and result in faulty joints.

In conclusion, there are many factors that affect the right temperature for your project. It is always advisable to practice on scrap pieces of metal before you begin your actual project, especially if you are new to soldering. Hope you liked this content, stay tuned for more!

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