Getting components to work together requires that they are connected, powered and sharing signals. To ensure good connections we use connection blocks, readymade modules and if we can’t avoid it, we solder.
Bread boarding has the advantage of being able to literally throw the components onto the board, plug in and power up. However, over time the matrix of connection points suffers from the continual use and the connections either become unreliable or dirt gets in and you have the same result. Bread boarding is also preferably low current so no really high power requirements are recommended.
Soldering is a bit more fun! You get to join things together using a piping hot iron and solder. There in is the interesting part as you can really cause damage with a soldering iron and to yourself if you are not careful. Soldering can also be dangerous to your health as the fumes from the melting solder release toxic gases and noxious fumes.
Both methods have their place in prototyping. Breadboard is great for testing an idea quickly since you would usually only build part of a circuit i.e. the part that you need. The breadboard would usually stay on your desk as travelling breadboards tend to loose bits and pieces as they move around.
Once you have your collective ideas ready, soldering them onto either strip board or using a remanufactured prototyping PCB is the next step. Soldered components provide a higher degree of reliability and you can use this method for 1 of or small construction runs of the prototype.
The soldering iron chosen should be a reliable brand. I have used both Solomon and Magnum with good results. A temperature controlled iron is preferable. The Magnum that i have is a 60Watt iron, but has a small thermostat built in so I can regulate the temperature.
Always work carefully when using a soldering iron. Your work area should be well ventilated and rather switch the iron off if you leave the workstation.[E]