Soldering is the quickest, easiest and many times the only way to make connections. It’s also the best way to electrically connect to conductors together.
I get a lot of questions regarding soldering. This page is meant to serve as a starting point to building up some decent soldering skills. Now a few things to get out of the way. First off, soldering is a craft. By craft, I mean that the first time you solder something, it will probably be ugly, that’s ok. No one including myself was born knowing how to make perfect solder joints. It takes some practice and patience.
Rule #1 – Good looking quality solder joints are a function of skill, not the cost of your soldering iron. I can make a $5 soldering work just fine.
Rule #2 – Keep the tip of the soldering iron clean and regularly tinned. Ease of soldering is about transferring heat from the soldering iron to the 2 conductors you want to connect, i.e. solder together. The only way this will happen is to regularly (maybe even after every solder joint, wipe the tip on a wet sponge and add some fresh solder to the iron (called tinning).
Rule #3 – Heat up both conductors at the same time and feed the solder into the conductors you are trying to join, not the iron. For a good example see the first image below
If you are wondering if a solder joint is good or not, the next image is a great example of good vs bad joints and what is probably the issue if you aren’t getting good results.
Here is a great image showing the steps to get a good result.