How to Fix a Cold Solder Joint: The Ultimate Guide

Table of Contents

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What is a Cold Solder Joint?

Cold solder joints are one of the most common problems with electronics manufacturing. They happen when two metal surfaces come into contact with each other and one or both of them has significantly less friction than the other, resulting in a cold solder joint.

Cold solder joint in pcb
Cold solder joint

These types of solder failures are especially common when manufacturing printed circuit boards (PCBs) because they involve so many metal surfaces that are exposed at once. To help you avoid cold solder joints in your electronics manufacturing process, we’ve put together this guide that covers all the details you need to know. It’s about how these problems occur and what you can do to prevent them from happening again.

We also go over some best practices for soldering in general as well as troubleshooting suggestions for specific situations if you find yourself struggling with cold solder joints time and time again.

How Does a Cold Solder Joint Occur?

There are a few ways that cold solder joints can happen. The most common is when two pieces of metal come into contact with each other, but one of them is significantly less “friction” than the other. The high-friction piece will warm up and melt the solder, but the low-friction piece will stay cold. Because they aren’t connecting properly, it’s easy for the cold solder joint to break under the right amount of stress.
Another way to get a cold solder joint happens when you’re soldering a joint that isn’t connected to anything else. Since you aren’t working with a joint that’s stressed, it’s much easier to do a proper solder joint.

Why Are Cold Solder Joints a Problem?

A single cold solder joint might not seem like much, but they’re a big problem. When you’re building or repairing electronics, you’re working with electrical circuits and sensor wires. If any of those circuits aren’t connected properly, it can cause big problems, including These types of problems are bad enough when they occur in new products, but they’re even worse when they happen during repairs.

When you’re working on an existing piece of equipment, you don’t have a chance to test everything out before it breaks. You may not even know something is broken until it happens, which can cause huge problems. This is especially true when you’re working with medical equipment, power grid infrastructure, and other important equipment that can’t be down for very long.

How to Find & Repair Cold Solder Joints

Fortunately, there are a few ways to identify and repair cold solder joints. You can often catch the problem before you even go into full production by doing a visual inspection of your manufacturing process. Once you’ve built your circuit boards, you can look for any joints that look weak or that have a gap between the pieces. You can take them out and resolder them to make sure everything is being joined properly.

If you’re building your boards manually, these are things you can catch before they cause any problems. If you’re using automated equipment, though, these are things you can check for after the fact. You may not be able to notice a problem unless you’re running a test with a verification process built in, but you can still repair it if you do.

Conclusion

Cold solder joints are one of the most common problems with electronics manufacturing due to their reliance on many metal surfaces coming into contact with each other. They happen when two metal surfaces are put together but only one of them is heated, resulting in an incompletely melted piece of solder that’s connecting the two pieces.


These types of solder failures are especially common when manufacturing printed circuit boards (PCBs) because they involve so many metal surfaces that are exposed at once. To help you avoid cold solder joints in your electronics manufacturing process, we’ve put together this guide that covers all the details you need to know about how these problems occur and what you can do to prevent them from happening again.


We also go over some best practices for soldering in general as well as troubleshooting suggestions for specific situations if you find yourself struggling with cold solder joints again.

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About Author

Aidan Taylor
Aidan Taylor

I am Aidan Taylor and I have over 10 years of experience in the field of PCB Reverse Engineering, PCB design and IC Unlock.

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