Same here ... keep the board clean and no cleanup required, right?
Your tools will make or break the job there. Here's my gadget assortment ...
It's all about transferring the heat to let the solder flow without overheating the connection.
- A good hot iron (for me, a Weller WES51 at around 720F) is a must. Use a cheap iron, and your results will show it. A soldering station tends to have much better recovery time too. Each connection will cool the iron for a short bit - any decent soldering station will monitor that and let you know when you're ready for another go. The Weller is almost instantaneous.
*EDIT > The WES51 analog station is the same iron as the digital version except for the display. I find the vernier scale to be more than accurate enough for setting the temp, and the indicator light is a no brainer, letting you know when it's ready. The standard tip that comes with the station is nice for most anything you'll do, but there's other tip types available. I've also got a couple screwdriver flat types that are handy if you're doing a lot of point to point or heavy ground connections.
- Tip tinner. Oft overlooked, but a quick plunge will resurface the metal for better heat transfer. Mine's hiding in the pic next to the flux. I'll usually tin the tip with every session - you'll know when it's needed once you get used to your setup. You'll want to clean off any residue prior to soldering.
- Paste flux. A quick dip here makes the tip "wet" and lets the solder flow easier in the joint. Also promotes heat transfer, and it's all about the heat.
- I also touch the solder to the tip prior to each connection to "prime" it.
- Quality solder as well. "Green" solder has a learning curve, so leave that to the pros. Good ol' 60/40 lead is a lot easier to work with and makes for more dependable connections. I personally use Cardas Quad - also a learning curve, but better flow and connectivity than anything else I've tried once you get used to it.
- And throw that stoopid sponge tip cleaner away. The brass thingie in my pick is the real deal for keeping things.
PS ... the green handled iron is my favorite new toy. The Jameco SA6-R is a real deal in a desoldering tool. Mine rates at 42 watts per the Dial-A-Watt, so plenty of heat and quick recovery so you can move right along. Just set the plunger, set the point on the old solder and twist it a bit to get it flowing, press the button, and the solder magically disappears. Especially nice for PCB work, but also works well on point to point. For $30, which is a whole lot less than a pro station, and for my money, just as good for the hobbyist.