Proper soldering temperature can by influenced by a myriad of factors including wire gauge, wire material, solder type, ambient temperature etc. soldering temperatures should be adjusted to account for these variances, for example:
- Thinner wire gauges should require lower soldering temperatures since there is less thermal mass. You want to get the wire hot enough to allow the solder to flow, but not so hot that the cable insulation is melted or damaged.
- Thicker solder gauges typically require a soldering iron tip with larger surface area and higher mass since there is more solder to melt and heat to transfer. A workaround to not having a thick tip is to run the soldering iron at a slightly higher temperature. (if doing this, ensure the soldering iron remains low enough to not damage the insulation).
The most common use case for a soldering iron on a pixel project is to solder stranded copper connector leads (typically varying between AWG14 - AWG20, with flux core 0.8mm dia. lead-free solder.
For this combination of cable and solder we recommend:
- Spoon-type or chisel-type iron tip no wider than the solder pads of the LED Strip copper contacts.
- After powering on your soldering iron, wait for it to heat sufficiently before beginning soldering. - (A good test is to test that it can melt solder, then leave it a further minute to ensure heat has to propagated the full iron and has spread evenly).
- 360°C/ 680°F tip temperature - ensure the tip is tinned to assist with heat transfer, and to help protect it from excessive wear at high temperatures.
Check the solder