|Ask the Experts|
August 3, 2011
Solder Balls During Hand Soldering
We have experienced solder balls during automated reflow, and tweaked the process to eliminate them. Now we are finding solder balls during the hand soldering of some 8 lead SMT components. Any idea what causes solder balls during hand soldering?
|Expert Panel Responses|
Moisture entrapped in the PCB and/or components could be the reason for solder balling. 1 variable at a time - Hand-solder to a bare PCB pad and check for solder balls. Repeat the test with components on the PCB. As an additional test, the board and components can be baked for 125 deg C for 4 hours to remove entrapped moisture- and then hand-soldered.
Technical Manager - Europe
You don't mention if you are using solder wire or solder paste for your 8 lead SMT components. If you are using solder wire, you might need to increase the activity of your flux to better clean the pads or component leads during the soldering process. You should also reduce the tip temperature of your soldering iron. If you are using solder paste, your soldering iron is heating the solder paste too fast causing the solder to separate and ball up. Try a hot air tool, it will heat the assembly slower allowing the flux to activate and reducing the possibility of solder balls forming.
Regional Sales Manager
OK International Inc.
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