Learn how to Solder, it's fun burning stuff

Learning how to solder is easy, fun, and you get to burn stuff. I mean really, what could be better. I take it for granted too often that people have been doing the same thing I have there whole life. Forgetting that everyone was not raised by parents who thought giving a five year old a soldering iron was a good idea. So forgive me, and my assumption, that you all automatically know how to solder.

Realizing that this is painfully obvious, soldering in electronics, is nothing more than joining two pieces of metal, or wire together, using a medium. Solder is not just a verb, but it's a noun as well. Solder is the actual medium you use to attach two components, and is shown as the roll of silvery wire in the photo above. Don't be confused by the plumbing counterpart, electronics solder has a flux core, and is much thinner.

I'm going to assume you're a first time solderer, so please don't be offended. My suggestion is to buy a soldering iron, not the gun shown above, some wire strippers, some wire, some solder, a few alligator clips(surgeons clamps work amazing), and maybe a few ring connectors. That should get you started, and give you enough stuff to burn.

Radio Shack is great place to go for this stuff. Get 22 Gauge stranded wire if they have it, you can use it for your guitar mods down the road. By the way, there is nothing wrong with a soldering gun, it's just not made for fine electronics work. It is however great at loosening up old solder. And in case your wondering, that red ball looking thing in the photo is a solder sucker. Once the solder is loosened, you can suck it up like a turkey baster.

Plug the soldering iron in, give it a solid ten minutes to warm up. If there is a smell don't be alarmed, it's like a new wood stove, it's got to burn in a little. While you're waiting, cut and strip some wire. Make something interesting out of the wire, like a bike, or a wire frame image of your husband or wife. Now, after all that build up it all comes down to this one rule, don't touch the solder to the iron. Always heat up the work, and melt the solder to the work. You can't rush it so why bother. Touch the the work with the side of the iron tip, have a piece of solder ready, and keep touching the solder to the work until it melts. Once it melts it will melt right into the wire, and spread like kerosene up a lantern wick. That's it, that's how to solder, like playing a guitar there's nothing that will make you better other than practice. And do try taking things apart as well, you'll get used to that, especially if you solder while drinking beer, like I do. Peace JB.

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