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Three RC Soldering Tips

Article by Hunter Wick

Sometimes soldering is very important in order to be able to do the things you want to do in the hobby. However, a lot of people simply don't know how to solder or feel that they aren't good enough at it and do not want to mess up their expensive RC parts. Let me assure you, though, that soldering isn't that awfully hard for the most part and to help you out I compiled three helpful tips in this article to make it a little easier on you.

First off, only use quality equipment when soldering. While that may mean spending a tad more cash that you may have liked up front, it will greatly reduce the difficulty of soldering for the first time, making it a much more enjoyable experience. For most RC soldering needs, a 60 watt iron should be the minimum, with an 80 watt iron being ideal. It's best to purchase an iron that features an adjustable thermostat, so that you can adjust the temperature your soldering iron is at. This isn't absolutely necessary, but it will come in handy down the road if you ever try your soldering skills on other applications which may require different temperatures. Also, use name brand solder. I personally prefer Novak's led free solder because it seems to work well, but there are plenty of other companies who manufacturer solder than I'm sure will work just as well.

Secondly, be careful! This may seem obvious, but you can really burn yourself while soldering. Just in case, I always recommend having a wet sponge on hand to apply to the burned area if you happen to have an accident. It's also probably not a bad idea to wear a light pair of gloves if you consider yourself dangerous with such a tool in order to prevent being burned too badly!

Lastly, have an extra set of hands. It's really convenient to have someone sitting there holding the solder and wire(s) but that's not always possible. In case you don't have an assistant, you can purchase a device which is specifically designed to hold the wire and solder, providing for you the convenience of having another hand or two. These are made by several different companies and usually cost around $20, but trust me, they are worth every penny! It's unbelievably frustrating not having enough hands to hold things, so these devices are a huge help.

OK, so I lied. This article actually has four tips... When soldering be sure to heat up the bare wires with the soldering iron, then apply the solder to the heated wires. Some people tend to place their soldering iron directly onto the solder in order to melt it but this is not the correct way. In fact, melting the solder over your wires is a sure-fire way to create what is called a "cold solder joint". This type of connection has poor conductivity and you may experience intermittent operation. Always remember to heat the wires first.

I hope that you now can apply all of these tips the next time you solder, or if you are considering purchasing soldering equipment, go ahead! Soldering can be extremely useful, not only in the RC hobby but also in other types of electrical work. Simply put, it's a good skill to know. So, ready to solder now?

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