Soldering Techniques

The reliability and accuracy of this instrument can be maintained only if proper soldering techniques are used to remove or replace parts. General soldering techniques, which apply to maintenance of any precision electronic equipment, should be used when working on this instrument.


To avoid an electric-shock hazard, observe the following precautions before attempting any soldering: turn the instrument off, disconnect it from the ac power source, and allow approximately three minutes for the power-supply capacitors to discharge.

Use rosin-core wire solder containing 63% tin and 37% lead. Contact your local Tektronix Field Office or representative to obtain the names of approved solder types.

When soldering on circuit boards or small insulated wires, use only a 15-watt, pencil-type soldering iron. A higher wattage soldering iron can cause etched circuit conductors to separate from the board base material and melt the insulation on small wires. Always keep the soldering-iron tip properly tinned to ensure best heat transfer from the iron tip to the solder joint. To protect heat-sensitive components, either hold the component lead with long-nose pliers or place a heat block between the component body and the solder joint. Apply only enough solder to make a firm joint. After soldering, clean the area around the solder connection with an approved flux-removing solvent (such as isopropyl alcohol) and allow it to air dry.

Attempts to unsolder, remove, and resoider leads from the component side of a circuit board may cause damage to the reverse side of the circuit board.


Some components are difficult to remove from the circuit board due to a bend placed in each lead during machine insertion of the component. The purpose of the bent leads is to hold the component in place during a solder-flow manufacturing process that solders all the components at once. To make removal of machine-inserted components easier, straighten the component leads on the reverse side of the circuit board with a small screwdriver or pliers. It may be necessary to remove the circuit board to gain access to the component leads on the reverse side of the circuit board. Circuit-board removal and reinstallation procedures are discussed later in this section.

2. When removing a multipin component, especially an IC, do not heat adjacent pins consecutively. Apply heat to pins at alternate sides and ends of the IC as solder is removed. Allow a moment for the circuit board to cool before proceeding to the next pin.

Excessive heat can cause the etched circuit conductors to separate from the circuit board. Never allow the solder extractor tip to remain at one place on the board for more than three seconds. Solder wick, spring-actuated or squeeze-bulb solder suckers, and heat blocks (for desoldering multipin components) must not be used. Damage caused by poor soldering techniques can void the instrument warranty.

3. To replace the component, bend the leads of the replacement item to fit the holes in the circuit board. If the component is replaced while the board is installed in the instrument, cut the leads so they protrude only a small amount through the reverse side of the circuit board. Excess lead length may cause shorting to other conductive parts.

4. Insert the leads into the holes of the board so that the replacement component is positioned the same as the original component. Most components should be firmly seated against the circuit board.

The following techniques should be used to replace a component on any of the circuit boards:

1. Touch the vacuum desoldering tool to the lead at the solder connection. Never place the iron directly on the board; doing this may damage the board.

5. Touch the soldering iron to the connection and apply enough solder to make a firm solder joint. Do not move the component while the solder hardens.

6. Cut off any excess lead protruding through the circuit board (if not clipped to size in step 3).

7. Clean the area around the solder connection with an approved flux-removing solvent. Be careful not to remove any of the printed information from the circuit board.

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