Soldering

Check first

  • Was the circuit baked long enough? Symptoms of poor baking include browning of the pads. Make sure you allowed enough time for the bake to finish and cool down. If not, you need to restart your circuit.
  • Was the circuit flipped during the bake process? The circuit must have been flipped after printing and placed on the clamp ledges, ink facing towards the print platform, for the conductive ink to bake properly.
  • Was the circuit burnished? Burnished pads should appear faintly silver, not white. If the pads still appear white it may be possible to salvage the pad by burnishing until it appears silver. This does not usually work after soldering has been attempted.
  • Are you using the correct solder alloy and temperature? Most solder alloys will damage Voltera PCBs. Use the supplied solder alloy and correct temperature. See the soldering guide for more details.
  • Correct device package? Make sure the pad sizes match your component package.

Hand Soldering Problems

Refer to the best practices guide for proper procedures to hand solder Voltera PCBs.

Solder Does Not Wet The Pad

This can happen if the pad has been damaged by excessive heat or soldering time. In these cases, the ink will appear dark brown or black, and solder will ‘ball up’ on the ink. Circuit damage is irreversible, so if this happens you must re-print the circuit.

Temperature control is critical to good soldering! 

Hot

Components Break Off

While the Voltera ink is quite hard after baking, it is also brittle. Applying too much shear stress or torsion will break the ink. Take care when handling soldered components.

For components that will be put under stress, choose through-hole components. This includes connectors, headers, and components such as trimpots or variable resistors that will be adjusted manually. 

Bad Solder Joint

When reflow soldering on ink it may sometimes appear that the solder has not formed a proper joint. Due to the nature of the conductive ink the wetting and joining behaviour of solder is quite different from copper. There is likely still a good mechanical and electrical connection, even when it may appear unusual.

Reflow Does Not Melt Solder Paste

The built-in Voltera reflow profile should be sufficient for the majority of cases.

Do not leave solder paste on the board for extended periods. Reflow the board immediately after dispensing or applying solder paste for best results.

Reflow soldering PCBs with high thermal mass or using a different solder paste may require a different reflow profile. Use the Manual Reflow feature to tune your reflow profile as desired.

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