Solder is an alloy made of tin and lead, which quickly melts when touching a hot iron rod, known as soldering iron. One can use soldering for joining two or more components in a circuit board, for instance, to connect a resistor with a capacitor.
But, does Arduino need soldering? Soldering is not required for most Arduino projects. The use of shields and breadboards allow prototypes to be built without soldering. Soldering may be required to add external modules or circuitry that aren’t present in a shield.
In this article, I’ll show you all the possible scenarios where one requires soldering for our Arduino projects. Stay tuned till the end to know whether you need to learn the skill of soldering or not.
When Does Arduino Need Soldering?
If you come to think about an Arduino board, you’d wonder why does Arduino need soldering when it already has pin headers that I can use to connect external components?
Well, using a bunch of jumper wires isn’t always the best option when it comes to Arduino based projects. As long as you are working on a project that is temporary and you’ll disconnect the Arduino to use it in some other projects, then you don’t need soldering for joining eternal components.
But what if you are working on a project which requires you to connect your Arduino to several other components?
If you use jumper wires to make all the connections, then you’ll soon find yourself in a mess, trying to figure out which wire is connecting which component.
In this case, soldering would be a better option since it would help you avoid the chaotic situation of using a massive bunch of jumper wires.
Moreover, using jumper wires means you need an additional element in your project, which is the breadboard. Soldering would eliminate the need to use a breadboard and hence reduce the extra baggage that comes with your project, making it compact.
Another reason why soldering is preferred over the use of jumper wires is that connecting two components via a long cable would introduce a higher amount of resistance as compared to connecting them directly or using a shorter piece of wire.
Therefore, if you want to eliminate the need for a breadboard, make your project more compact and to reduce the amount of resistance in your Arduino projects, you can opt for soldering instead of jumper wires.
4 Situations When Arduino Needs Soldering
After seeing why Arduino needs soldering, let’s take a look at the situations when you’d need to use this special electronic power for your projects.
1. Soldering Headers on Arduino Boards
If you buy an Arduino board without headers such as the one at the right, you’d have to solder the headers yourself if you need to. And what will you need to solder it with?
- Soldering iron
- Solder wick
- Header pins
- Your header-less Arduino board
How to solder the headers on your Arduino board?
- Fit the pins in the respective sockets present on the Arduino board.
- Carefully melt the solder using the soldering iron and allow it to sit in the holes where you have inserted the header pins.
If soldered correctly, the header pins will hold onto the Arduino board, and you can start using the board in your projects.
For a more detailed guide on how to solder header pins on an Arduino board, visit this page. This guide will take you through the process of soldering header pins on an Arduino Nano board, one step at a time.
2. When Working with Arduino Shields
Since Arduino is open-source software, there are many Arduino shields available in the market which you can stack on top of your board. When working with shields, you would need to make use of your soldering skills.
Stackable shields can help you get rid of the hassle of dealing with jumper wires. You can make connections without the need to introduce several long pieces of wires in your project. Using shields would at least reduce the number of jumper wires used, if not eliminate them.
The first thing you need to do when working with a stackable Arduino shield is to solder header pins on it. Then, whichever component you need to include in your project, you can solder it on the PCB, be it a resistor, an LED or a capacitor, etc., there’s an option for all kinds of components on the PCB.
Soldering can be a bit tricky when it comes to external Arduino shields. But don’t worry, we have got everything sorted for you.
Click here to access this fantastic Arduino shields soldering guide, which you can use when working with any Arduino shield. All you need is some basic soldering skills, and you’re good to go.
3. Soldering External Modules
Soldering can come in handy when working with external modules such as the Wi-Fi module or a fingerprint module.
These modules have several pins sticking out, including the power pins, RX, and TX pins. These pins need to be connected with the Arduino board when using them in a project.
To connect the pins with the microcontroller board, you can either use an adaptor or go for a wiser option; soldering.
You can join the pins to the Arduino board using soldering a small piece of wire on each pin and connecting the cable to your Arduino board via the header pins.
This method is a less costly approach because you only need a bit of solder and some pieces of wires, whereas buying an adaptor would cost you more.
4. Using External Circuitry
Many Arduino projects require you to build an external circuit consisting of resistors, capacitors, and possibly inductors.
When it comes to connecting external circuitry with Arduino, you have two options – either use a breadboard or a PCB.
Using a breadboard means that you don’t need soldering, but the downside is that the connections are temporary, and they might come off if the project isn’t handled with care.
Using a PCB to construct an external circuit requires you to solder the circuit components on the circuit board. Doing so will allow you to make permanent connections that are strong and cannot be broken easily.
When making projects that include motion, such as a robotic car, you need to solder external circuitry. Usually, many hobbyists use a soldered H-bridge when making an Arduino based robotic car.
So, Should You Solder Arduino or Not?
Whether you should use soldering in your Arduino project depends on your situation. If you’re building a project that needs to be used for the long term and you don’t need the Arduino board for another project, then you should opt for soldering.
Soldering gives robustness to your project and allows you to make permanent connections.
While on the other hand, if you’re a student who is experimenting with different projects and is in the process of learning, then you don’t need to use soldering in every other project.
If you’re installing header pins in an Arduino board, then it’s entirely OK to use a soldering iron.
So, if you don’t plan on building a permanent project, then you wouldn’t need a lot of soldering.
Nevertheless, one should always keep their skills sharp. In case you’re new to soldering and would like to learn about it starting from the basics, then you must visit this website. They’ve described in detail what soldering is and how it works.
A detailed tutorial is also included in the linked post above, so make sure you read it thoroughly before starting your journey of soldering.
I hope you got the importance of soldering in Arduino projects. Now, it would be easy for you to decide whether your project requires soldering or not.