How I soldered header pins for arduino shields

While I was soldering header pins on my Phi-1 shield for arduino, I’ve developed this technique. You can use this technique on most things that have male header pins. You will need two bare PCBs, or you may photocopy your PCB, use double-sided tape to tape the photocopy on a card, poke holes where male headers go. Now use masking tape to hold together the two PCBs or the PCB and the paper copy, sandwiching the male headers in between. Just use some masking take to hold the four corners tightly together. Once you do this, soldering is pretty easy. The pins will be up right, not tilted, or rotated. You can also use an arduino board to hold the pins, then stack the bare PCB on top and tape them together. Since the arduino female headers will conduct heat away, this needs longer time than using two PCBs or PCB and card. I will then use a third hand/holder to hold the board while I solder. If you don’t have a third hand, you can lay the board on a flat surface but sometimes it will wobble when you solder on a corner.

The soldering iron I used for this project was a portable battery-powered dual-setting iron from Weller. I’m experimenting whether this is a good idea. A corded iron has potential for dissaster in a student lab (burns, melting electrical cords and getting zapped). The iron claims to be able to solder up to 150 points. As of now, with the original batteries, I managed to solder about 75 points. I’ve done 60 with a new set of batteries. I’ll solder some more to find out how many more points I can solder with the remaining battery power.

Here’s some pictures:

Male pin headers are sandwiched between two PCBs.

I taped the four corners with masking tape.

Use a 3rd hand to hold the board when you solder.

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