Soldering Jargon

Soldering Jargon

Indium- Indium is among the most versatile metals on earth and is used in a very wide range of applications and industries. Indium is highly malleable and ductile. The metal also has very good electrical and thermal conductivity thus making it even more suitable for use in soldering tasks. Indium-based alloys tend to have liquidus below 180 degrees Celsius making them perfect for use in procedures that make use of very low reflow temperatures. Unlike most other soldering metals, indium is very rare in the earth’s crust and this explains its limited use in soldering and other industries. The metal is silvery white and has a characteristic luster not common in many metals. In its pure form, indium has a low melting point of about 318 degrees Fahrenheit.

Infrared soldering- Also known as fiber-focus soldering, it is a relatively new soldering technique that  involves passing infrared rays from various sources through a fiber elements and then focusing all these rays onto a single spot where the solder is applied and the materials bond. Infrared waves a reused in heating in many industries such as aviation, kitchen appliances and spas.

Iron- Often used to refer to the regular soldering iron. It is in essence a small, often hand-held tool that could be power or gas operated depending on a variety of factors that melts solder from a source of heat to join various elements known as work-pieces. A soldering iron is made of four components, the power cord –for electric soldering irons- , the tip, thermostat control and the grip. For gas operated or cordless soldering irons, the power cord is replaced by a small internal tank that contains combustible gases such as butane to provide the heat.

Insufficient solder connection- Also known as a solder starved joint, it is the point of a bond formed by molten solder that did not receive as much solder as required. Solder starved joints can be caused by a wide range of factors including incorrect soldering temperatures, poor contact between the solder and iron tip and use of poor quality solder.


Soldering A-Z Dictionary

Soldering A-Z Dictionary

Annular ring- An annular ring is the entire portion of material (often electrical conducting) that surrounds a plated through-hole. This is common in the through-hole soldering method, a well known but rarely used technique.

Aspect ratio- This is the proportion of a hole’s pre-plated diameter in terms of its length. It is basically the ratio of a pre-plated hole length to its diameter. Once, again, this is common in through-hole soldering.

Auxiliary heating- This is the use of multiple heat sources to heat a solder joint that has huge thermal mass. The first heat source is known as the primary heat source and could include tools such as soldering irons, torches, guns or brazing machines. The secondary heat source could also be any of those including thermal tweezers or hot air pencils. This is often required when any of the above mentioned tools is insufficient to perfectly heat a given surface for soldering. Huge thermal mass on the other hand results from various factors discussed later.

Axial lead- This is one of the two types of leads used in through-hole soldering with the other one being referred to as a radial lead.  Axial leads are in essence wires of lead that protrude from each end of the component. Radial leads on the other hand stem from a single side of the component as seen in aged capacitors. Each type of lead has the upsides and downsides associated with it and the choice usually reflects manufacturers’ preferences.

Air pressure- This is a term commonly associated with convection soldering. Air pressure in this case refers to the amount of air per unit of surface measures in standard units such as pounds per square inch. The term is commonly interchanged with air flow to mean similar things.


Soldering Pocket Guide

Soldering Pocket Guide

Ionic cleanliness- This is a standard of measure of the cleanliness of a soldering surface. It is usually measured and expressed as the number or weight of ions per unit of area such as square meter or square feet.

Interfacial connector- This is basically an electronic conductor that links components on surfaces such as double sided PCB. The connection is made on both sides of the PCB and normally works via plated through hole.

Interlayer connector- An interlayer connector connects components or patters in a single layer of PCB especially in designs that implement multiple layer implementations. Like an interfacial connector, this also works via a plated through-hole.

Jumper wire (jump wire) – A jumper wire is part of the electrical connection in circuit boards. Jumper wires are usually part of the entire conductive pattern that transfers electrical current throughout the PCB. Regular jump wires have solid tinned tips at each end of the wire used to connect different components. These are mostly used to transfer electronic signals. The ends can be configured as crocodile clips or have insulated terminals.

J-lead- A lead is basically a piece of metallic wire connected to the part of a component that has electrical conductivity. A J lead derives its name from its basic shape that resembles a letter J. The leads are basically used for support, electric current transfer and at times as heat sinks to dissipate heat produced by components.

Known good board- This is what is referred to as a benchmark while developing PCBs. A known good board is usually perfectly designed, fabricated, assembled and tested. This serves as the standard for the design and production of other boards. It is normally abbreviated though rarely. Different manufacturers have varying conditions and procedures for the development of a known good board depending on their internal quality control policies.