Selective Soldering Versus Wave Soldering

Selective soldering and wave soldering are two of the most commonly used soldering methods on PCBs. However, it is important to know that these methods come with a number of advantages and disadvantages which you should consider before selecting a particular type of machine for your application.

Let us have a look at some of the most common soldering applications and the type of soldering that you should use for those applications.

Through-Hole, Surface Mounted Components

While there are a number of applications in which wave soldering is highly recommended, this soldering method is commonly used when several components are to be mounted to a PCB through surface mounting or in applications where through-hole soldering is needed. This type of soldering is done with the help of a pump which produces a wave in the pan with molten solder. The waves solder the components when the boards pass over the molten solder pan.

Before wave soldering, the components, as well as the circuit board, should be washed with flux and pre-heated. This will help in cleaning the components which need to be soldered and will also protect you from thermal shock during the soldering process. While wave soldering was very commonly used in the past, reflow ovens have replaced this method, and due to this the wave soldering machine price too, has reduced considerably in the past few years.

Precision Soldering

Selective soldering is usually recommended for applications which require enhanced precision. This method is typically used when wave soldering or another type of soldering might pose a lot of heat damage risk for the board or the components which need to be soldered to the board. For instance, when most of the components are already soldered to the circuit board with the help of wave or another soldering method, selective soldering with the help of a selective soldering machine can be used for the remaining few components.

Selective soldering can be done with the help of many different methods like selective aperture tooling over the wave solder, miniature selective solder fountain, etc.

How to Select between Selective Soldering and Wave Soldering?

The best soldering method between selective and wave soldering is the one which best suits your application. If you have a lot of components which need to be soldered to a PCB, wave soldering can be an excellent choice. However, if you have a few components which you want to solder on sensitive or specific locations of a PCB, selective soldering will be a better option.

Thus, the decision to choose between selective and wave soldering depends on the nature of the application and the type of precision required. Both come with their own set of advantages and disadvantages. Make sure you choose the right process to get the correct desired result.