Hello Guys, welcome to the NewBeeDrone Blog. My name is Fio, and some of you might have had a conversation with me in the ticket and/or emails. I am in charge of most of the customer service here at NewBeeDrone. Before starting here I never flew a drone, fix wing, or any sort of model aircraft before. My background is as an aircraft mechanic, so I will be sharing my drone learning experiences and findings along the way with many new pilots out there in these blog posts.
My first project, the Acrobee, is the perfect start into the beautiful drone world. So I flew it, and it was super difficult. To completely understand it, I have to physically build it myself. First step is soldering, so today, lets talk about soldering.
There are two types of solder I found on flight controller, through-hole and surface mount solder. To better illustrate it, here are the examples.
When I first began soldering, it was not easy to control the temperature and make a solid joint in 3 seconds. It took hours of practice, and patience is very important. If you have never soldered before, I encourage you to buy a practice board from electronic shop or even a board from a broken laptop.
Here are some lessons I learned from experience:
- Get a good soldering iron. Adjustable or not, a good solder iron gets you consistent heat output to make sure you don’t make a cold joint.
- Choose the correct tip size for your job. Pick a larger tip if the component joint is big or there is larger amount of solder needed. This increase the contact area between the tip and the component.
- Always tin the tip. You don’t want to expose the hot tip to the air because it will react with oxygen and become oxidized. This oxidation layer on the tip makes it hard for heat to transfer. In addition, if you were going to leave the iron hot for a long period of time, put some solder on the tip.
- It is crucial to keep temperature at the sweet spot so that it will melt the solder quickly enough. You don’t want to keep the iron touching your component for too long because it will just simply melt the component and destroy it if it sits there for too long. Soldering something small like pigtail on the beebrain does not require too much heat. So three to five seconds contact time is quite enough for this job.
- Use flux if you are not using flux embedded solder. The term “wetting” means the ability of a liquid to maintain contact with a solid surface, resulting from inter-molecular interactions when the two are brought together. Usually the copper pads on board is oxidized slightly even it just sits at room temperature. The thin oxidation layer will cause improper wetting. To remove this oxidation layer we use flux, when heat is applied, metal oxide will react from acidic agent in flux and turn into salt and water. It is very important to remove the residue because it will attract dirt and moisture that will potentially short the component.
- In case of re-soldering, sometimes you will find the surface has lost its shine and looks dull. That is because the surface got oxidized. Simply put some flux on the solder, heat it up and the surface will become nice and shiny again.
- Using solder removal tools. You can use a solder sucker to suck up the solder. However, I prefer the solder wick made of copper. They come in a roll easy to use and will last a long time. Just cut the used piece off every time you are done with it.
Here is how a good solder join is made.
As we can see in the second picture solder was touching right side of the tip, and the fourth picture the solder is moved to left side to make better wetting in the hole.
Here are some common mistakes.
Soldering takes lots of practice, and I hope you have fun improving your skills.