What type of solder and soldering tip do you recommend?

Hey guys,

I am about to dual mod here in the next couple days. I was wondering if you guys had any recommendations on what the best solder and soldering tip to use was so I can go by Radio Shack tomorrow and pick some up. Thanks!

Also, considering I am very novice on soldering, do you all have any words of wisdom before I begin?

don’t get a soldering iron that is more than 30 watts, 15 or 25 should do. Also, get the thinnest tip you can find. It should be shaped like an electrically sharpened pencil, and not like them golf pencils. If they don’t have that go someplace else. Look up yelp.com for “electronics supply” in your area.

I got one of these.

Thanks! what about the solder itself? I’ve been told rosin core solder is the best, but I would prefer lead free if possible. Perhaps solder like this? Lead-Free Solder (0.25 Oz.) - RadioShack.com

Any tips?

Make sure the solder you get is thin. Thin solder is easier to use.

How do I tell the thickness? Is it labeled?

Just by looking at it. Try to get solder that is about as thick as .7 mechanical pencil lead. There is some that is thick as 2mm and those take forever to melt and melt in bigger blobs. You want precise solder for PCB work.

Excellent! thanks!!! Is the solder I linked ok? if it is small enough

Don’t get lead-free solder.

Lead solder is going to be easier to use; it does a better job of wetting the parts. If you do use lead-free you should probably use some flux as well. I’d go with a flux pen rather than a paste, though Radio Shack only seems to carry the latter.

So no to lead free. Gotcha! So thin solder is good? Is Rosin-core really the best to use?

Rosin-Core Solder (1.5 Oz.) - RadioShack.com

You want thinner. I use .032 diameter.
Like this.
And the tips I use are these.

The thickness of the solder itself does not bother me. I cannot tell the difference. But definitely use a rosin-core solder for sensitive electrical boards. Never use acid-core solder on electronics. A 15-25 watt pencil-type soldering iron is best, IMO. Soldering guns are cumbersome to work with. Always use a fresh,clean tip.

+1 on a clean tip and +1 on guns are too cumbersome for small electronics parts use.
I tried some thicker solder back when I first started. It was messier. Nowadays I try to use the absolute minimum necessary for a good joint. Thinner solder helps achieve that easier and allows for more control over what’s going where. 25 watts is good. It’s what I use.

Thin rosin core solder with a 25watt pen. Got it! Thanks guys!