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5 Common Solder Mistakes and How to Resolve Them

While hand solder certification courses and training guides are designed to reduce assembly imperfections in electronics manufacturing, no industry is impervious to errors. Mistakes happen. Being able to identify and quickly resolve them is vital to ensuring production schedules are kept and future errors are avoided.

To assist in recognizing these errors, below is a list of five common solder mistakes and how to resolve them.

1. Disturbed Joint

A disturbed joint typically occurs as a result of movement while the alloy is solidifying. The resulting joint will appear to be rough or frosted and display a ripple pattern on the joint surface. While the primary cause of these joints is movement, the sources of the movement can be mechanical, human, or both.

To resolve this error, simply reheat the joint and allow it to cool properly. To prevent this error going forward, try and identify any vibration sources and ensure proper stabilization measures are taken when soldering.

2. Solder-Starved Joint

A solder-starved joint is just that: a joint that does not have enough solder. Despite making the necessary electrical contact, the insufficient solder weakens the joint and increases susceptibility to cracking and failure.

To resolve this error and ensure long-term reliability, simply reheat the joint and apply more solder until the joint is strong.

3. Untrimmed Leads

Untrimmed leads are leads that, because of their length, run the risk of coming into contact with other leads, creating an unwanted short circuit. Even if only one lead remains untrimmed, the chances of it bending and making contact with adjacent traces remains high and should be avoided.

To resolve this error, trim all leads to their necessary lengths and ensure this practice is consistently followed in the future.

4. Cold Solder Joint

A cold solder joint occurs when the solder does not melt completely. A result of insufficient heat, cold joints are often characterized by being rigid, rough, and uneven in appearance. This solder mistake creates an unreliable joint that is highly susceptible to cracking and failure.

Similar to disturbed joints, this mistake can be remedied by reheating the joint until the solder flows again. To prevent this error in the future, always ensure that the solder iron has been properly preheated and is operating with the appropriate power.

5. Solder Bridge

A solder bridge occurs when two separate joints melt together as a result of applying excessive solder. The subsequent bridge creates an unplanned connection, directly affecting the overall functionality of the board.

This issue can be resolved by removing the excess solder between the joints with a hot iron tip or solder wick. To prevent this error going forward, only use enough solder to create an acceptable joint, as the excess alloy can lead to bridging and other deficiencies.

With the proper training and certification, these common mistakes will become uncommon. Contact the knowledgeable professionals at EPTAC to enroll in a hand soldering certification course to avoid common errors and increase production efficiency and quality.

About EPTAC

 For over 30 years, EPTAC has been a leading provider of solder training and IPC certification. We provide professionals with the tools and training they need to advance their careers and improve their businesses. With 14 locations across North America, our solutions and instructional staff provide an easy access to knowledge that will enhance your business model and help you meet and exceed industry demands. For more information call 800.643.7822 or contact us.