As a beginner's guide to circuit board equipment, this article will discuss not only the different types of equipment but also how to install the components. It will review elements such as the recommended tools, how far and which components should be pre-bending, inserted, and clinching leads - along with some tips and tricks along the way. If you are interested in circuit board equipment, then this article is the best one for you to read when beginning in this interesting area of engineering.
What Are The Recommended Tools And Supplies For Building A Circuit Board?
The first step to working with a circuit board is to build the circuit board, and below are the different tools and supplies required:
1. The Soldering Iron And Solder
Soldering irons with solder can be overwhelming to consider, but they are necessary as a type of circuit board equipment. The average soldering iron can be a 25-30 watt iron; however, the ideal temperature of the iron is a recommended 600-700 degrees Fahrenheit. The manner in which the temperature relates to the wattage is dependent mainly on the iron, and many of the higher wattage irons have a temperature that is too high. Do not utilize solder tools made for pipe soldering. This type of equipment is too hot and operates by running currents through resistive heating elements, which is dangerous to a circuit board.
Regarding solder, it is recommended that you begin with a lead-based solder. This is typically known as a 63/37 - 63 percent tin and 37 percent lead. It is also possible to use a 60/40 rosin-based solder if you are looking for a cheaper alternative. However, rosin is a cleaner solder clearing parts to make the solder stronger. It is advised that you avoid any solid wire or acid cored solder options. Both of these types of solder are designed for plumbing and are too hard for circuit boards.
2. The Needle Nose Pliers
Needle nose pliers are highly effective for pre-bending leads and pulling out components when de-soldering.
3. The Wire Strippers
Currently, there are two separate types of wire strippers - the yellow ones and the red-handled ones. The yellow wire strippers can be adjusted according to the wire size and are suitable for smaller wires; however, the red-handled strippers have various fixed hole sizes and cannot be adjusted.
4. The Flush Cutter
A flush cutter is utilized for trimming leads that are close to the circuit board after soldering.
5. The Clamps
Clamps tend to rest a board on the table, but they are most beneficial when you are soldering wires together or de-soldering components.
6. The Solder Wick And Solder Sucker
Both of these items are cost-effective methods of removing solder. The solder wick is a line of coated copper which helps to absorb unwanted solder. The solder sucker is a type of spring-loaded tube vacuuming out unwanted solder.
7. The Multimeter
Multimeters are items that use continuity checks to detect a complete circuit. This is beneficial to ensure that all the components are connected or disconnected when there are several parts and wires.
8. The Pink Eraser
The pink eraser is a tool that can remove oxides from older boards and components without placing any risk of damage to other parts. It removes oxides by rubbing them away.
Which Way And In What Order Are The Components Inserted?
The majority of people recommended that one begin with shorter components and add height from there. This is beneficial because any existing tall components next to shorter components will not need to bend across already-installed components. Furthermore, it is one of the most effective methods of holding a component in place by laying the board upside down allowing the table surface to keep it in place.
It may be beneficial to install components where value can be read in the same direction as surrounding text. For example, all the resistors installed should have tolerance bands located on the right; therefore, allowing the values to be read without needing to rotate the board. It is important that the notch on all ICs matches the notch on the circuit board.
How Can I Pre-Bend Leads For Easier Insertion?
To avoid the stretching of holes between the resistor body and its lead on the board, it is recommended that you pre-bend the leads before installing the component. This is done by lining up the resistor on the desired location, hold the lead with the needle nose pliers, and fold the lead over using the pliers. The needle nose pliers help prevent stress on the board by reaching bending the lead to the connection point.
As additional information from Directics.com you should not use serrated pliers on sensitive circuit boards as they can cause a divot in the lead. This will result in weakening of the lead and failure of the circuit board from lead vibration.
Another possible method for pre-bending leads is by bending them with your fingers. This is not always the "right" way of doing things, but it can be effective when you do not have needle nose pliers available.
How Can I Ensure The LEDs And Capacitors Are Installed In The Right Direction?
Longer leads on cylinder capacitors and LEDs are positive. The majority of components will lie flat on the circuit board for additional stability, unless they present with a metal casing that could result in a short circuit. This is alright if the yellow plastic ceramic capacitors are below the top level of the board; however, it cannot present on the other side of the circuit board.
How Do I Solder?
You may have heard that solder should melt onto the parts involved without the iron tip; however, the catch is that the dry iron tip does not transfer heat well. To have an effective solder, you will need a heat bridge between the parts and the tip. This is done by melting a small amount of solder on the dry tip before soldering or by adding solder at the point of contact between tip and components. The heat should spread through the iron tip and heat bridge.