Soldering is really quite simple although some people struggle with it. I hope to impart the basics of soldering to you here in case you have no experience. So here we go.

Weller PS-3D + TCP-Z 24v/40W

This is my trusty iron. Perfect for most light to medium soldering applications.

Essential Equipment and Practices

Choosing the correct solder
I would simply only use audio grade silver solder for any audio project. In fact I only use AudioNote silver solder. I buy mine from Hi-Fi Collective in the UK. I also received a generous amount as part of my PQ Signature Kit1.

For non-audio use, I use a normal Ersin multicore 60/40 solder - 22 SWG in fact.


As you can see, the brushes don't have to be anything special.
All solder joints should be cleaned and inspected. I recommend the use of a stiff brush and Isopropanol (isopropyl alcohol). When inspecting circuit board joints, it helps greatly to move the board around in the light whilst inspecting (a static light can be misleading - especially if a shadow is being cast).

I got my isopropanol from RS Components part number 567-890 (dispenser not included).


My favorite method of de-soldering is to use a De-soldering gun. Just be sure that you have it at the ready and only touch the nozzle against the joint once the joint is hot enough - otherwise you will go through a lot of replacement nozzles. In addition, it is important to empty regularly. If you do not then the pathway will get clogged and cause other problems.

Wire Stripping

I use a spring-loaded wire stripper for the majority of jobs. These make quick and easy work of wire stripping. I often just separate the insulation slightly and then twist the rest of the insulation off. This allows you to twist the wire strands tightly with minimal time overhead.

For wire sizes that do not fit in the strippers, I use a scalpel (note: scalpels can be very misleading - they get blunt very quickly so don't assume that a new blade will only be a bit sharper than the old one - it will be a lot sharper - so watch those fingers!).

Mechanical Connection

Wherever possible, try to ensure a good mechanical bond before finally soldering. This is a good idea for a number of reasons:

The downside of a good mechanical connection before soldering is that once soldered, any mistakes are harder to rectify because de-soldering becomes more difficult to achieve (if a wire is wrapped around a connector, for example) - so be careful to get it right to start with. To me, 'tag' soldering is only really acceptable when experimenting - the final joint should be based on a good mechanical connection.

Golden Rules

There are some golden rules that you must learn and always bear in mind when soldering as follows:

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