What is the RIGHT Soldering Temperature?

Cleaning Soldering Iron With SpongeThe right soldering temperature is something many don’t really think about.

But, have you ever used one of those soldering irons with a variable temperature setting?

If you have, you might be wondering the same thing as Jyri. Jyri wrote to me in an email about soldering and asked: “I always wondered – what is the right soldering temperature in various situations?”

That is a great question.

My answer to that is, you have to get the solder joint hot enough to melt the solder.

Most solder melts around 180 to 190 degrees Celsius, that is 360 to 370 degrees Fahrenheit. So we have to get the solder joint hotter than this.

Selecting a Soldering Temperature for Your Iron

There are few things that will impact the soldering temperature that you need on your soldering iron.

If you have a high effect soldering iron, and a large soldering tip that transfers heat in an efficient way – you don’t need that high temperature.

Maybe 250 degrees Celsius is enough.

But if you are using a low effect iron with a small, tiny soldering tip that transfers heat badly – you need a higher temperature.

Maybe you need 400 degrees Celsius.

If you have a huge solder joint, you will need a higher temperature than if you have tiny, small solder joint.

Learning by Doing

The soldering temperature is also something you will figure out as you go try.

If you are having trouble getting the solder to melt, it means you should turn up the heat a bit.

If you are burning your components, it might be time to consider turning the temperature down.

I usually solder with a temperature between 350 degrees Celsius and 400 degrees Celsius (660 to 750 Fahrenheit).

What soldering temperature do you use? Reply in the comments field below.

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36 thoughts on “What is the RIGHT Soldering Temperature?”

  1. THE FIRST THING TO DO IS SET THE TEMPERATURE OF THE SOLDERING IRON

    There are two ways to solder.
    Use a very hot iron and solder very quickly – for EXPERTS or
    Use a lower temperature – THE NORMAL WAY TO SOLDER

    But, what is the correct temperature?

    Here are two ways to set the soldering temperature:

    Set the lowest temperature:
    All temperature-controlled soldering irons on eBay (for $12.00) have a temperature-dial, but the simplest way to set the correct temperature is this:
    Turn the dial to the lowest temperature and switch the iron ON.
    Touch the solder to the tip – nothing happens.
    Now turn the temperature up one division and wait a minute.
    Try the solder again. Keep doing this until the solder melts very slowly.
    Now increase the temperature 20°C to 30°C (about one division) and you have the perfect temperature for delicate soldering. It will melt the solder quickly but not burn-up the rosin too quickly.
    You will find the temperate on the dial will be very close to 370°C (700°F).

    Set the next higher temperature:
    This temperature allows you to remove the enamel from wires and solder very quickly.
    Increase the temperature slightly by turning the dial above the temperature you used for the example above.
    Add a small amount of solder to the tip of the iron and place the tip on an enamel-coated piece of wire and touch the bare copper wire end with the tip of the iron to make good conduction. Wait 10 seconds for the enamel to melt. If the enamel does not melt, increase the temperature a small amount and repeat the process.
    When the enamel melts, you have the correct setting for fast soldering and being able to remove enamel from wires.
    The temperate on the dial will be very close to 400°C (750°F).

    Some servicemen increase the temperature further to do VERY QUICK SOLDERING, but this is ONLY for EXPERTS.

    HERE’S AN AMAZING FACT
    Soldering with a high temperature allows you to make a connection very quickly and the component DOES NOT heat up any more than soldering with a lower temperature.
    But a soldering iron without temperature control is TOO HOT and it can easily damage the components, especially LEDs, transistors and IC’s. Temperature-controlled soldering irons are SO CHEAP. For $12.00 you get an item to take the place of a $240.00 Soldering Iron Station.

    FACT NUMBER 2
    Soldering is entirely to do with CLEANNESS.
    Solder will not stick to a dirty wire. It will just “sit there” and the wire can be pulled out.
    Solder does not clean a wire.
    It is the resin or rosin in the middle of the solder-wire that cleans the connection.
    But the resin does not work unless it is heated and melted.
    When you are soldering, you don’t want the solder. YOU WANT THE RESIN.
    But the life of the resin is only 1 to 3 seconds before it has evaporated.
    This means you CANNOT transport resin on your iron.
    By the time the iron has reached the connection, the resin has evaporated.
    The resin only works when it is heated AT THE PLACE where the connection is to be made.
    That’s why the iron must be as clean as possible by pushing it through the copper-wire ball shown above.
    The ball will remove the old solder and clean the tip. Wiping the tip on a wet sponge DOES NOT CLEAN THE TIP. It just leaves a fine film of contamination on the tip that is a result of touching the plastic sponge.
    Place the iron on the joint to be soldered and immediately bring 0.8mm or 0.6mm solder to touch the iron from the opposite side of the connection.
    At the moment you only want the rosin to do its job. Let the rosin melt and clean the components.
    NOW YOU WANT THE SOLDER . . .
    Add a little more solder and allow it to run all over the connection and make a smooth and shiny result.
    Remove the iron and don’t move the connection for 3 seconds.
    Cut or trim the wire with side-cutters at the point where the wire emerges from the solder. DO NOT cut through the solder and DO NOT cut the wire before soldering.
    Using 0.5mm solder will prevent excess solder remaining on the joint or on the iron.
    Since using 0.5mm solder I have never had to remove excess solder from a joint or the iron. That’s why a spool of 0.5mm solder lasts much longer than 1mm solder.
    There is no wastage !

    Reply
    • half of this is completely false. ive been doing electronic soldering for decades. you want a VERY hot iron. as long as you can get it on and off the joint in less than 2-3 secs, youre good. you wont burn out the components, unless you use a lower heat for a longer time.

      Reply
      • you sound like an expert! To be fair, what would your advice be to lesser experienced people who won’t get it consistently right? What’s the best way they can learn, and perhaps minimise damage to components, or would you say that’s part of the learning process?

        Reply
      • There are several reasons you should *not* use a very hot iron:

        – The iron tip oxidizes much faster the higher temperature you use. Manuals of good soldering stations discourage temperatures above 400 C (~750 F). Use very high temperature and you’ll have to replace tips very frequently.
        – The soldering flux evaporates much faster in high temperatures or even burns to coal. If it burns to coal, you’re definitely using far too high temperature. This makes flux less effective, the tip/joints are getting dirty quickly and the solder does not stick.
        – The solder oxidizes much faster in higher temperatures. The oxides build up faster and might not be removed by the flux quickly enough. You;ll need to clean and retin the tip much more frequently.
        – If you don’t have experience and you heat for too long, you’ll damage the component or the pad or both.

        The critical requirements for good soldering are:
        – temperature set to 320-350 C for lead-free and 270-300 C for lead-based soldering
        – good soldering station that can keep stable temperature of the tip; cheap chinese stations do not meet this requirement
        – clean, always properly tinned (wetted) shiny iron tip
        – clean pads / component leads
        – right size of the tip allowing for good contact with the pad and the component lead
        – right amount of flux (however, when all the other conditions met, the flux inside the solder wire should suffice).

        Reply
    • > For $12.00 you get an item to take the place of a $240.00 Soldering Iron Station

      Nope. $12 irons with temperature control are pure rubbish, the temperature control is often even totally fake in them. There are reasons professional irons start at $300.

      > It just leaves a fine film of contamination on the tip that is a result of touching the plastic sponge.

      Not true. The sponge is never made of plastic. However, the contamination is possible if you use tap water instead of distilled.

      > Soldering with a high temperature allows you to make a connection very quickly and the component DOES NOT heat up any more than soldering with a lower temperature.

      Soldering with too high temperature can cause a cold joint because the flux would evaporate before making the joint and you won’t get correct wetting. I’ve seen this only work with plenty of additional flux. But why do that if you can make perfect joints in less than 2 seconds using lower temperatures like 320-350 C ?

      Reply
    • Soldering irons don’t burn the sponge like you say. It’s as if you’ve never even used one. If you had, you’d realize immediately that it doesn’t melt the sponge and contaminate the tip. Smdh. If you don’t know what you’re talking about, you should refrain from giving advice. And I haven’t even touched the rest of the crap you wrote.

      Reply
  2. I used 360 last night to make a six-pointed star out of LEDs and it worked well. The comment above about resin and 0.5mm solder is quite valid on many points too.

    Reply
  3. Got a question for you~ I have to do a wiring repair on a car, the car is outside in below freezing temperatures, and it cannot be moved to a shop or garage. Will the ambient temperature cause any problems with soldering wires together? It’s a three wire connector that i have to replace, as the plastic connector body is a little burnt and the power feed wire in it cannot maintain a solid connection.

    Reply
    • I guess it will affect things yes. But I haven’t tried it, so you’ll just have to test yourself. If you are having trouble getting the solder to melt and stick,, I would go for a higher wattage soldering iron.

      Reply
  4. i have been in repair since 1970. i usualy set my temp at 420c very fast.but i have 2 dsp chips to reflow. no visible solder conections. I will try 315c wish me luck. using hot air smd repair station.

    Reply
  5. I am new to soldering and desoldering
    and have tried to use a desolder gun but it don’t seem to melt the solder, the temp I use is 400c
    what am I doing wrong ?
    3 feb 2018 Grant.

    Reply
      • Also, using “fast chip” to do the job in my own opinion is the only way to go on tiny joints. I’m trying to repair a board that controls the air ride on my car. These i.c’s are tiny! That’s when I found fast chip, and it works awesome, but now I’m concerned about the heat these tiny things will take? I can’t find spec sheets on most of them, and I was thinking about hot air, but don’t want to spend more $ on something that might or might not work when I’m done. There are some resistors and other tiny things that I’m not replacing until I get the bigger stuff done, and see if it works.

        Reply
  6. I’m planning on building a transceiver kit for which the manufacturer recommends a fine-tip soldering iron, 20-40 watt (temperature-controlled preferred, with 700 or 800°F tip [370-430°C]. I was thinking about the Weller WE1010NA Digital Soldering Station, but it’s rated at 75 watts. Is this an issue (e.g., does it pose more risk to delicate components), or is keeping the temperature at the right level the only thing that matters?

    Reply
    • That’s not an issue. You can set the temperature of the Weller WE1010 to the correct temperature. The fact that it’s 75W instead of 20-40W means that it will heat up quicker and probably be able to keep it temperature more stable. So that’s just positive!

      Reply
  7. I used an Unger woodburning pencil I received for xmas as a young teen (I’m 75) with a 25W element and a small soldering tip for all my electronic soldering needs for many years, I really liked it as you could hold it closer to the tip than most soldering pencils which provided much better control. The element finally burned out last year. I discovered to my dismay that they no longer make the pencils or parts for them, so I’ve tried 3 different new soldering pencils. One burned out within a couple weeks and I didn’t like the ergonomics of the other two, so now I am shopping for an adjustable soldering station. Have pretty much zeroed in on the Weller 1010.

    Reply
  8. Like this one?

    I tried to post a link but it says ‘forbidden’

    There’s one on eBay if you search ‘ unger woodburning pencil’

    Reply
  9. I have a “ShineNow” T12 Solder Iron Station. I also have an old simple soldering iron (about 20 years old).

    I need to solder a broken aluminum frame window (small one that looks like a flower star). I realized that it does not work with my ShineNow. I don’t know what number that it should heat up – but I think that it is only for electronic boards. …I plan to study the projects on your website later for my hobby.

    I tried to solder the broken frame using my old fashion soldering iron. It does not work to solder it. I think that I am not doing right thing. I thought that no makes no different between the ShineNow Station and a basic soldering iron.

    Rosin SAC0307 ZS-HX 50G 0.6mm Lead-free solder (I can’t read the China language.)

    Another one, an old soldering wire – SN60WRAP2 040 Dia (Bow Solder Product – Tin allow) Mill-Rose soldering paste (yellow can).

    Please teach me the right thing.

    Reply
    • Soldering aluminum is not easy. In my experience you need to get the area clean and roughed up and use flux paste first, get it hot and then start feeding the solder… you’ll need to get the joint pretty hot compared to normal soldering. It’s tricky but it can be done.

      Reply

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