10 Things NOT To Do While Holding a Soldering Iron

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Avoiding Grief and Pain When Using Your Soldering Iron

In a recent blog post, we discussed soldering safety tips. Our team brings over 100 years of experience with soldering circuit boards. Over the years, we have learned the best practices on how to efficiently and safely solder a variety of electrical products, particularly printed circuit boards. Through our vast experience, we have also gained a clear grasp on what NOT to do while holding a Soldering Iron. 

10 Things NOT to Do While Holding a Soldering Iron

Below is a helpful list that may spare you lots of grief and pain when using a Soldering Iron:

    Something in your eye? Please put the soldering iron down first. Thankfully your safety goggles are in place for absentminded events such as this. Singed eyelashes will be the least of your problems without your safety glasses securely fastened. 
    Scratching an itchy nose with a soldering iron in your hand is typically not a good idea. Unless you are eager to add that new nose ring that you have been putting off. If that is the case, then the soldering iron will cut right through the victimized or targeted area. Viola! A new hole available for your new nose ring. 
  3. OUCH!
    Absolutely under no circumstance should you zip up you fly if you notice it is down. No adjustments, fixing, or any other engagement in that general area while holding a soldering iron. Results could be disastrous. Plus you will have an extremely difficult time trying to explain this accident to the emergency room staff. 
    Feel water floating in your ears from the early morning swim? This is not the time to clean out your ears. Set down your soldering iron and grab a few Q-tips. 
    Tell everyone around you no jokes if you are one to slap your knee when laughing. Yelling, “Hey Johnny, that’s a knee-slapper” can turn painful real quick once the soldering iron hits your knee. 
  6. SEE #1
    Soldering is not a time to apply mascara or eyeliner. Please refer to rule #1. 
    If you suddenly feel a piece of popcorn stuck in your teeth from that movie you watched three nights ago, please do not try removing the kernel while soldering. A soldering iron is not a replacement for a toothpick and this could quite easily be more painful than a root canal without Novocain. 
    Holding or using your cell phone while soldering typically falls under the category of a “Bad Idea”. If you find it necessary to Facetime or Go Live on Facebook while soldering, please have someone else hold the phone to film your activities. You will be glad you played it safe. 
    Please under no circumstance do you want to apply lipstick or Chap Stick while holding a soldering iron.  You may end up looking like the Joker from Batman….permanently. 
    Last but not least, if you are sitting next to someone while soldering, please keep them beyond arm’s length. Especially if you like to speak with your hands, point when making a point, flail your arms when emotional, stretch frequently or tend to smack people on the shoulder when speaking. All of the above can cost you a friendship real quick. 

Soldering Iron

We had fun putting together this list even though burns and injuries are a very serious matter. Please use extreme care and caution when using a soldering iron. Hopefully, these tongue-in-cheek comments convey the message. We use the safest measures possible when soldering printed circuit boards at our facility. Falconer Electronics has proudly participated in the SHARP program since 2005 to proactively maintain a healthy and safe workplace.


Thank you for taking the time to read our blog post. Continue looking for our series on soldering circuit boards.  

Also, to learn more about wire harness assemblies, check out our weekly “Wire Harness Wednesday” blog posts. 

Lastly, let’s get social! Please connect on FacebookTwitterGoogle+LinkedIn, and Pinterest for more electronic info.


Producing Printed Circuit Boards at Falconer Electronics


Having a Blast Producing Printed Circuit Boards

We find Producing Printed Circuit Boards a blast here at Falconer Electronics. Is it the actual placing parts that we find so much fun? Or is it the amazing people we work with on a daily basis? Or is the incredible customers that we are blessed to build product for?  ALL OF THE ABOVE!

Could it be the cool products that we produce for our customers that keeps our workplace so energized? It is a true privilege that we are able to see our finished goods in action.

For example, we find it extremely exciting seeing our work on roads and highways in vehicle lighting fixtures. Many of our products find their way in major retail stores such as Walmart and Lowe’s, working as electrical display units. Our products also find homes in the health care industry, industrial heating systems,  locomotives, vehicle mobility units as well as in national defense projects. 

Producing Printed Circuit Boards for over 30 years allows the opportunity to see trends come and go. What holds true through all of those years is delivering high-quality product, on-time and with a smile for our customers. 

Producing Printed Circuit Boards on a Pick and Place Machine

Producing Printed Circuit Boards

This past year, Falconer Electronics invested in DDM Novastar LE40V Benchtop Automated Pick and Place Machine. This fantastic piece of machinery drastically increased our productivity. Especially for larger orders requiring surface mount components.

The Pick and Place Machine delivers a wonderful competitive edge by offering speed, accuracy, and flexibility. This fits perfectly with our customers who primarily require prototypes as well as low to mid-level volume. 


Common Components Placed When Producing Printed Circuit Boards:
  • Resistors 
  • Capacitors
  • Diodes
  • LED Lights 
  •  Wires 
  • Integrated Circuits 
Several key steps when Producing Printed Circuit Boards:
  • Make sure to place parts properly
  • Parts and lights in place
  • Parts pushed up
  • Look for parts missing
  • Check for parts missing solder
  • Always wear safety glasses

Thank you for taking the time to read our blog post on Producing Printed Circuit Boards. Continue looking for our series on soldering circuit boards.  

Also, to learn more about wire harness manufacturing and wire harness assemblies, check out our weekly “Wire Harness Wednesday” blog posts. 

Lastly, let’s get social! Please connect on FacebookTwitterGoogle+LinkedIn, and Pinterest for more electronic info.

Surface Mount Technology

Surface Mount Technology

Surface Mount Technology at Falconer Electronics 

Surface Mount Technology

There have been vast improvements in Surface Mount Technology (SMT) over the years. Falconer Electronics Inc (FEI) recently invested in new surface mount technology by purchasing the DDM Novastar LE40V Benchtop Automated Pick and Place Machine

Surface Mount Technology (SMT) provides the opportunity to produce state-of-the-art miniaturized electronic products. Also, improved thermal performance is a significant benefit with utilizing surface mount technology. The supply chain is another benefactor with utilizing surface mount technology. SMT dramatically lowers prices as well as increases speed and availability which brings a tremendous competitive advantage for customers at FEI. Especially on low volume runs which is a specialty for our team. 

Printed Circuit Board Assembly 

FEI has been specializing in producing Printed Circuit Boards for over 30 years. Soldering and producing printed circuit boards takes a talented skill set. It requires precision, a steady hand combined with a laser focus on the circuit board. Falconer Electronics has been blessed to have a highly talented team that brings over 100 years of soldering experience. The longevity of each staff member is a true testament of their commitment and dedication to their craft. Exceeding customer expectations is also a daily goal. Combining the vast experience of our seasoned staff with new technology brings a unique combination that have our customers excited.

FEI partners with LED lighting design and electronics consulting firm Volt Vision for numerous lighting projects. Volt Vision President, Steve French says “Surface Mount Technology offers faster time to market, higher density, lower cost all while vastly improving reliability. This is a game changer for customers at Falconer Electronics and Volt Vision. Surface Mount Technology provides an outstanding opportunity to dramatically increase the profitability for our customers.” 

 Current projects include commercial vehicle lighting, industrial portable lights, health care transportation and LED warning lights. Lastly, rather working with a Fortune 500 company or a mid-size manufacturer, FEI takes tremendous pride in delivering every project accurately and on-time. 





Through Hole vs Surface Mount Assembly

Surface Mount and Through Hole are both commonly used styles of assembly and soldering. Both have advantages and specific applications that can be useful to different companies. Some businesses prefer one type of assembly process over the other. Both have their place in the electronics industry.  

Through Hole Technology

Through Hole placement and soldering is when the components of a PCB have lead wires that physically have to pierce through the board. Those lead wires are then soldered into place. This type of soldiering is very reliable. The leads get soldered to the opposite side of the board where the pads are directly attached to the leads and board simultaneously.  Some Through Hole PCB assemblies have plated through holes which allow for circuitry on both sides as well as more secure soldering of leads as the solder is both top and bottom as well as through the PCB.

However the need of drilled holes for these types of boards does add in additional labor and therefore may increase board costs. More Surface Mount styled components are being offered and used. Therefore Through Hole components may someday become so antiquated or in such low demand they may no longer be a viable assembly method. This however may prove to be many years away.

If there is a need for bulkier components or for boards requiring high-power and high-voltage parts Through Hole technology is the more reliable choice over Surface Mount. Often when a business is creating a prototype they will use Through Hole Soldering. This is because it is easier to solder and de-solder components as you see the changing needs of a product. Surface Mount components are not easily changeable or maneuverable. Also Through Hole Soldering does make it easier to replace burnt out or nonfunctioning components and still be able to use the existing board.

Surface Mount Advantages

Surface Mount Technology at Falconer Electronics Inc 

Usage of Surface Mount Placement and Soldering has increased the available pin count. This increase helps with the “space” or  “real estate” issue from the past that occurs with other methods of placing components and soldering. Surface Mount assembly is the more suitable choice for high volume production over other assembly types. Utilizing Surface Mount components in new designs have had benefits. Such as reduced circuit board size as well as being able to achieve more design features in a compact package.

The pin count is higher for Surface Mount assembly than that of the Through Hole. Surface Mount components are much more compact then those of Through Hole and therefore have a higher packing density. Also, Surface Mount components are often lower in cost per volume then their Through Hole counter parts. Surface Mount assembly is easier to automate then Through Hole. Therefore it is easier to convert to a higher volume of production.  

As with Through Hole assembly Surface Mount assembly provides the ability to utilize both sides of the circuit board. Surface Mount components are placed directly on the board increasing available space. This increases the design features and possible uses of the technology. Surface Mount components are more difficult to manually solder. The difficulty is due to their smaller sizes and their need to be placed precisely on a board. Specialized machinery is necessary instead of hand placing and soldering components by use of wave soldering techniques.

We recommend that companies looking for Surface Mount or Through Hole placement assemblies contact Falconer Electronics Inc. (email: Info@falconer-electronics.com). We have been in the electro-mechanical contract assembly business since 1986 and have the expertise to assist them with their needs.

History of Surface Mount Technology

The History of Surface Mount Technology

Surface Mount Technology was developed in the 1960s but didn’t become a popular technology until the 1980s. The original name for this technology was planar mounting. IBM designed a major of the components of these machines. Surface mount technology is a method for producing electronic circuits in which the components are mounted or placed directly onto the surface of printed circuit boards. The machines were quite large in size, to begin with, but as a result of ever-changing technology, the components became smaller and the ability to create higher quality work became increasing larger.

Advantages of Surface Mount Technology
  • Reduced human intervention
  • Reduced labor cost
  • Reduce production/overhead cost
  • Repetitive operations support process control quality concepts
  • Enhanced production speed
  • Reduced material cost
  • Higher operating speed
  • Increased circuit density
  • Increased circuit capability
  • Adequate performance capability
  • Reduced heat generation
  • Reduced power consumption
  • Continued production enhancements and evolution
  • Useful in combination with through-hole techniques
Disadvantages of Surface Mount Technology
  • Cost of the machines itself
  • Unsuitable for large, high-power, or high-voltage parts
  • Solder connections can damage by potting compounds going through thermal cycling
  • Manual prototype assembly or component-level repair is difficult and requires skilled operators with expensive tools
  • Most of all these machines require skilled workers because of small components