Digital solder pots are temperature-controlled pots that are displayed digitally and have a tighter temperature variance.
A digital solder pot can also be used for desoldering through-hole electronic components like connectors near the edge of a PCB.
If you are looking for a solder pot and your processes must meet ISO-9001, AS-9100 or J-STD-001B. then you’ll need a digital solder pot. Digital solder pots can run leaded or lead-free solder. Digital pots display both the preset and actual running temperatures while maintaining the set point within a ± 5°F (± 3°C) variance.
Why Use A Digital Solder Pot?
Digital solder pots are a great way to assure that you or your tech are using the right temperature that is required. Some digital solder pots are even integrated with dross skimming functionality.
A digital solder pot has a temperature display that shows the preset and actual running temperature in either Fahrenheit or Celsius. These pots further limit the voltage spiking for sensitive components.
How To Use A Digital Solder Pot
Each digital solder pot works differently, and it’s always recommended to look at the user manual for instructions. However, the general rule is the following:
1. Charge the Pot When Using It for the First Time
Cut the solder into chunks so they can melt faster. The solder bar should touch the bottom of the pot.
2. Plug in solder pot and turn to the required temperature.
The temperature of the solder pot should be set to approximately 100°F to 150°F above the melting point of the solder alloy that you are using. This helps to maintain the liquid formation and helps to prevent excessive solder usage.
The temperature you run the solder pot will depend on which solder alloy you have loaded into the pot. Check the manual for the best temperature for your digital solder pot.
3. Add flux to the part that will be dipped into the solder pot
Whether you are just tinning (adding a solderable surface to) wire leads or soldering a component like a connector, you must first dip the part into liquid flux. The right flux is needed to allow the solder to “wet to” or bond to the parts. Only flux as high up the part as you want the solder to flow – no higher, as flux that doesn’t contact molten solder is corrosive.
4. Dip your component into the molten solder.
Dip your component into the molten solder and wait for a few seconds. Then slowly remove the part from the digital pot and be careful not to touch the solder while it is solidifying and cooling.
When adding solder to top off the pot, it is recommended to add small pieces of solder that can mix with the solder in the pot. This would help control any kind of temperature variation that might occur if you added a large amount of solder all at once.
5. Skim the surface of the solder
It is important to skim the surface of the molten solder with either a skimmer or a metal spatula to remove the buildup of oxidized solder (dross). Some digital solder pots come with a mounted dross skimmer.
After you are finished, skim the dross off the surface before turning the pot off.
Make sure to choose a good location to station your digital solder part so you can use it safely and efficiently. It should be well-ventilated area since some solders and fluxes can reduce fumes that could be harmful.
There are many different digital solder pots available to choose from to meet your specific needs whether tinning, soldering or desoldering components.