How to Solder a Potentiometer on PCB

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Are you entirely new to soldering and want to solder yourself? It can be tricky to solder without any prior experience in this field.

Thus if you are looking about how to solder a potentiometer on PCB then you are at the right place. In today's article we have disintegrated the somewhat complex soldering process for the beginners into 7 easiest steps so that you don't have to be confused. Additionally, in this article you will also get an insight into the tools that you will need to sell the potentiometer and the needed safety measures in order to avoid any potential harms.

Without dragging further, let's dive in!

What is PCB soldering?

Typically PCB soldering refers to the process of soldering the electrical components. To avoid any confusion in your mind and make it straightforward, I would like to clarify that soldering is a process used to join any two or more electrical components together on the printed circuit board (PCB) surface. These two components are most likely to be of small size and have metallic characters.

The soldering has been divided into two main parts: soft soldering on PCB and Hard Soldering on PCB. Soft soldering is initially used for connecting small materials on the PCB surface. However, a solid solder joins different metals together on the PCB board in hard soldering.

The soldering process is quite simple and requires a few tools for efficient completion. Except for the other handy tools, you need four main tools: soldering iron of pen or pencil shape, solder, printed circuit board, and indeed the materials that you want to solder on the printed circuit board. Here the soldering iron melts the solder to aid in joining the materials on the PCB board.

Although there are multiple types of solder, the most basic is the metal alloy of tin or lead with brass to have a low melting point. When the brass iron melts the solder, it becomes a hot glue-like material used to stick components when hot and then harden the joining when it is cold.

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Equipment that you need to solder potentiometer on PCB

In general, the soldering process depends upon the design of your printed circuit board and your plan. Still, we have enlisted some tools that you will need while soldering any electrical component on the PCB.

Accordingly, take a look at the equipment mentioned below to solder a potentiometer on PCB.

1. Soldering station

First of all, you will need a soldering station to solder the electrical components on the printed circuit board. The station contains the soldering iron, which is then further used for carrying out the soldering process. Hence when the soldering iron is not in use, it is placed in the soldering station.

2. Solder

As you are soldering the potentiometer to the circuit board, it is apparent that you need solder. Solder is an alloy of low melting point which is melted to join two metallic pieces together.

3. Solder iron

The soldering iron is the tool that will provide heat to melt the solder and then use it for soldering the potentiometer. The solder iron consists of three parts:

  • The solder iron tip is like the shape of the lead of a pencil. That part of the iron will touch the solder and melt it by providing heat.
  • The second part of soldering iron is the Wand. You have to hold the Wand of the soldering iron to protect yourself from the warmth of the iron.
  • Wick is used to removing things. Here the wick is made up of copper wires, and it is used to remove the extra solder you do not need.

4. Solder flux

When you solder any electrical component on the PCB, you will need the solder flux besides other tools. The solder flux acts as a cleaning agent. It is used to clean the components you will solder to avoid any rust.

5. The printed circuit board

Finally, the PCB is the surface where you will carry out your all soldering process. Here you have to solder the various components.

6. Some other tools

Along with the tools mentioned above, you need the tools such as stripping wires, a bench-top fume extractor, and a wire cutter to efficiently complete the soldering of the potentiometer. Another essential tool is the soldering paste used to join the leads to the various ends of the printed circuit board.

Safety measures

Health care is the first concern then comes the other things. Therefore to carefully and safely carry out soldering the potentiometer, you are supposed to ensure the following safety measures:

  • You should wear safety spectacles to protect your eyes from any danger.
  • You should carry out the soldering process in an open and well-ventilated area to avoid the exhalation of any harmful chemicals.
  • And for the safety of the surface where you are soldering, you should keep the soldering iron in the solder station when it is not in use.
  • As you have been through the introduction of the soldering process, now comes the point where you should look so that you may understand well how to solder a potentiometer on PCB safely.

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Step by step process of "How to solder a potentiometer on PCB"

We have divided the whole soldering process into seven most straightforward to follow and apply steps, so dive into the stages and solder your potentiometer on PCB without any further ado.

1. Tinning

First of all, clean the components and the leads of the potentiometer that you want to solder. You can easily clean these things with either alcohol or the solder flux.

Then go for tinning. You should know that in the soldering process, tinning means applying a thin solder layer to the soldering components and the potentiometer's leads.

Tinning is essential in preventing oxidation reactions that have high chances of occurring during the soldering.

2. Warm up the soldering iron

Then you need to warm up the soldering iron. If you are using the controlled temperature solder system, you have to set the temperature of the solder station to 372 °C.

Let the soldering iron warm up to its whole. After this, apply solder immediately to the tip of the soldering iron and make sure to cover the end of the soldering iron completely.

However, when the tip gets coated with the solder, suddenly wipe the iron's end in the wet sponge to remove any extra flux.

3. Get the surface ready

To complete the soldering safely, you should clean the surface carefully before starting to solder a potentiometer.

It is good to clean the board with a pad to remove any debris or small particles stuck on the board. You can use an acetone cleaner as well for this purpose.

4. Position the components

The positioning of the components depends primarily upon your device's design and connection system. Instead, we would advise starting up with the smaller components first. It means to solder or place the more minor parts first on the printed circuit board.

You should have to bend the leads and then carefully place the components into the printed circuit board holes where they belong.

5. Provide heat

At this point, you have to apply a thin layer of solder on the tip of the soldering iron. Now do not get confused with this solder. This solder will be used to connect warmth into the printed circuit board from the wire.

Once the solder is applied, heat the joint by placing the soldering iron so that the tip of the soldering iron is in contact with both the board and the leads of the potentiometer. If it's not positioned correctly, the solder will not properly connect the potentiometer with the PCB board. Therefore you have to place the soldering iron carefully.

6. The Joint is covered by solder

When you have correctly heated the joint, you have to begin soldering. Let us start soldering the potentiometer by touching the end of a solder strip, then the solder pad, and finally the lead of the potentiometer.

At this point, you should keep adding solder around the joint until the formation of a heap type shape. Now you should stop supplying solder and carefully draw the soldering iron back.

7. Ensure a Safe ending

After adding solder to the joint, let it completely cool down and make sure not to tilt or shake it because doing this will distort the regular shape of the joint.

When the joint is entirely cooled, take an overview of the board and then trim the lead of the potentiometer by using cutters at the above side of the joint.

After doing this, clean up the surface of the PCB, and you now have the complete PCB with a potentiometer.

Wrap up

In the above article, we tried to make the soldering process as easy to understand as possible. Therefore, we have divided the whole process into seven steps of how to solder the potentiometer on PCB.

We also shared some safety measures to ensure your safety. You surely will solder the potentiometer without any trouble after going through the above-mentioned steps.

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