Cleaning Parts before Soldering Last Updated on: 6/19/2013

Part of a successful, electrically sound solder joint is getting the two seperate parts clean before trying to solder them together. This is similar to "glueing" almost anything together; it works best when both parts have clean surfaces to join. But how do you clean them?

It depends on what the part is. Edge connector surfaces, and big, fat, bare-metal traces on PC boards are relatively easy to clean. A pencil eraser takes off most crud, no problem, with minimal damage to the part. The plastic versions of Scotchbrite house cleaning parts work too, but may be too rough; try the eraser first. (Watch the thin gold plating on edge connectors, when cleaning. It is really, really thin in nearly all cases; rub easily and carefully, even with a pencil eraser!) Also, erasers on the actual end of a pencil need extra care; you may scratch the part, if the eraser head is worn down to the metal ring. I prefer the large, flat seperate erasers.) Bigger parts can be cleaned with the plastic-type Brillo pads, as mentioned, if you are careful enough. (Other part cleaning suggestions welcome, of course, if you have a better/favorite way.)

Regards,
Ward F. Shrake
ward.shrake@worldnet.att.net

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