How to Solder a Circuit Board without a Soldering Iron

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A soldering iron is an essential item if you work with wiring or electronics. It can become handy when you want to attach small metal pieces or wires. It helps to weld electrical products, especially to a circuit board. 

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How to Use a Soldering Iron

It would be impossible to attach wires and small metal pieces without a soldering iron, or was it? You can still repair or modify electronics, without electricity or soldering iron. A soldering iron only makes work easier, but it’s possible to weld electrical parts via a different option.

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How to solder a circuit board without a soldering iron. 

Steps:

  1. Safety First

Working with an open flame is risky, and you need to take all the necessary precautions before everything else. Be on high alert of the fire you are using and never leave it unattended. Always have a fire extinguisher with you just in case. 

Contain the fire and keep it away from flammable objects, including loose hair and clothing. Hot objects can cause severe burns to your hands. Wear fire-resistant gloves when handling the objects. Be vigilant and protect your property.

To keep the fire contained, don’t make it too large. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, about ten percent of the residential building fires are caused by heating. Don’t be a statistic. Take caution. 

  1. Get a Heat Source

The most crucial thing you need is a heat source. There are a lot of options, and you can use whatever is convenient for you. Any source that can heat a piece of metal to a melting point of between 400 degrees Fahrenheit (200 degrees Celsius) and 700 degrees Fahrenheit (370 degrees Celsius), which is the solder’s melting point, is perfect!

Butane lighters are recommended, but if they are not available, you can use other resources such as alcohol burners, candles, oil lamps, open campfires, or light a fire at your fireplace. Some people opt to use a thick tin. It’s far safer to use by creating a small fire inside it. Provided the fire has enough heat to melt the solder, you can be sure it will fulfill the purpose.

  1. Soldering by Heating Wires Directly

The simplest way to solder a circuit board without a soldering iron is twisting wires together and heating them directly. If you are soldering wires to a circuit board, strip the insulation ends of the wires and solder them. 

In order to solder the wires, heat their ends, and apply solder on both sides of the exposed sections. Ensure you don’t overheat the exposed edges. It can result in problems such as soot and chemical residue development, which can make it difficult to stick solder.

A wire with a weak solder may not be effective. After the solder has connected the wire to the circuit board, cut the exposed wires beyond the solder. An exposed wire may cause electrical dysfunction or an electrical short. 

  1. Use Scrap Metal

If you don’t have a soldering iron or power source, you can use a piece of scrap metal to solder wires to a circuit board. You cannot heat the board with an open flame. You will need to use something that works like a soldering iron, and the best option is any piece of metal lying around.

The most suitable material is steel. It’s not only strong, but it also conserves heat and is easy to find. Copper works as well, but it’s not as efficient as steel because it cools off more quickly. If you use copper, you will have to heat it more frequently and work faster. 

A pair of scissors can come in handy. You can also use an old wrench or a piece of metal that is long enough and has a grip at the edge to protect your hands from burning. The grip should also be able to withstand the heat. You can also use screwdrivers, nails, or bolts.

The thicker the piece of metal, the longer it will take to attain the appropriate temperature. So, if you are using smaller heat sources such as lighters or candles, use thinner pieces of metal. For larger heat sources like a campfire, you can use larger pieces of metal. However, a smaller bit works more effectively when soldering wires on circuit boards. 

  1. Create a Soldering Iron Usable with Small Heat Sources

When using smaller sources of heat such as candles or lighters, also use a small soldering iron. The ideal choice for this is a 14-gauge steel wire. It doesn’t just heat up quickly due to its small size, but it also retains heat long enough to use for soldering purposes. Steel wire is also easier to bend into the shape of your choice. 

Alternatively, you can use screwdrivers or nails. Bend the wire into an “L” shape to heat it quickly. When heating the tool, don’t heat the edge to ensure it remains clean and oxidation free. Chemical residues are a disadvantage to solders. 

After 10-20 seconds of heating, move it to the location you want to solder on the circuit board. You only have enough time to solder one connection. Heat up the tool again and solder another connection. 

  1. Creating a Soldering Iron Usable with Large Heat Sources

If you are using a larger flame, you need to be more careful. Make sure the fire is under control and use heat-resistant gloves. When moving an extremely hot soldering tool, use metal tongs. The wire should be longer due to the burning flame, and it will heat up much faster.

The process is much similar to the one mentioned above. After heating the soldering tool, move it quickly, solder a connection, and repeat the process. Be careful and avoid burning yourself. 

Final Remarks

A soldering iron makes work easier, but as you have read, not having a set of soldering iron cannot stop you from soldering wires. You, however, have to source some scrap metal, a source of heat, and solder.

Remember to stay safe and wear fire-resistant gloves. This knowledge can be helpful in an emergency situation. Always remember to carry a piece of solder with you in your bag.

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