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Drag Soldering

The act of soldering the pins of an IC to the pads of a PC board with the use of a soldering iron and a hoof tip, well tip, mini-wave solder tip by Xytronic, soldasip tip by EDSYN or Mini Spoon Tip by JBC.

See Video of drag soldering - See other videos - See the Repair Process

soldering IC with special tip

Drag soldering is virtually rather simple when you get the feel of it. It certainly is the preferred method at our location and we have tried most all methods available. Drag soldering lends itself more freely to the practice of replacing fine pitch IC's, which have been very difficult by other methods.

The proper way to initiate drag soldering is to start with perfectly clean pads on the PC board. This can be accomplished with a good desoldering tool like the JBC DIS-1A or any good desoldering station with desoldering tips designed for cleaning pads, or desoldering braid. When using desoldering braid, care must be taken not to apply to much heat to the pads of the PC board as they can be lifted very easy causing the board to be destroyed or virtually unrepairable.

Next, you will want to add a spot of No-clean gel flux to the opposing corners of the IC pads. Then place the IC on the pads and use a stereo zoom microscope, LCD Video Zoom Inspection System, or whatever magnification that is necessary to obtain perfect alignment of the IC to the pads. Then place a very small amount of solder on your soldering tip and solder tack one lead on opposing corners of the IC, making sure that the IC is placed correctly and is in perfect alignment.

Now you prepare the leads to accept the drag soldering process by applying no-clean gel flux (or a gel flux of your choice) to all of the leads of the IC. If you have not already, you will want to install the drag soldering tip of your choice into the soldering iron of your choice. Our preference for this job is the JBC CD-1BC or JBC DDTP245 which happens to be the finest soldering stations in the world. It is our preference because it has such a fast response time, which allows you to work faster and more efficiently. There are also a number of drag soldering tips available for these two instruments.

Now we are going to start to work on the side of the IC that we haven't solder tacked (considering we are working on a Quad Flat Pack or QFP). That way we will not disturb the one lead that was soldered to hold the IC in perfect alignment. Now you will apply a liberal amount of wire solder to the soldering tip and wipe it on a wet cleaning sponge or soldering tip cleaner to properly tin the drag soldering tip.

Next we apply a very small amount of solder to the cup or hoof of the drag soldering tip and place the cup side on the leads farthest away from you and drag it towards you and perpendicular to the leads of the IC. If you have the correct amount of solder in the cup and you have allowed time for the leads and pads to heat properly while dragging across the leads, you should have one very good looking side of the IC soldered. Now all you have to do is three more sides just like it.

You will note that sometimes you may get in a hurry and drag a little to fast. When this happens, it may look like you have done a great job, but upon closer inspection you find that the solder only is on the leads and not on the pads. The best way that I have found to check this is to take a dental pick or even a tooth pick and drag it across the leads while monitoring the leads with some type of magnification. If any lead moves even the slightest, then you need to do the process again and this time a little slower. If you find that you need to do the process again, be sure to add more flux.

Sometimes you may add a little too much solder in the cup and you end up with a few bridges. These can be removed by simply cleaning your drag soldering tip to remove any excess solder, adding a spot of flux to the bridge, and touching the drag soldering tip to the bridge. This will usually be enough to get rid of the bridge, but if it does not, just clean your tip again and lay it on the bridge and brush away from the IC or parallel to the leads at the bridge. Also, sometimes you can simply clean any excess solder from your tip, flux the IC leads again, and do the same drag soldering process again over all of the leads. The clean tip will wick up the excess solder causing the bridge.

If you have done a good job with your drag soldering, the new IC will look like it had never been replaced. To get it to look real good, you may have to clean the flux with a good flux cleaner or denatured alcohol, but remember you are using no-clean flux which can be left on with no detrimental effects.

You may want to inspect your masterpiece with one of our many microscopes or video inspection stations which can be seen here.

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We do our best to offer you the lowest prices on all of our products. If you find a better price on an identical item, we will beat it by 10% of the difference. Just give us a call. Or, place your order on our site at our existing price, send us an email with a link to the lower priced site and your order number and we'll refund the difference, plus 10%, back to your card! The item must be in-stock at the other location to get this discount!

Howard Electronic Instruments, Inc.
974 SE Pioneer Rd
El Dorado, KS 67042
1-800-394-1984 Toll Free (USA and Canada)
316-321-2800 Local
01-316-321-2800 International Phone
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Copyright 1996 - 2014 Howard Electronic Instruments, Inc. All rights reserved.
Current date CST: 04/16/2014

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