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    soldering technique

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    tubes4hifi
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    soldering technique

    Post by tubes4hifi on Sat Mar 30, 2013 12:07 am

    I just posted this in a separate thread, but it's so important and so critical I wanted to make it a new topic to post:

    Something to think about - based on my 50 years of experience in electronics.
    You are better off learning (thru practice, of course) good soldering techniques before doing a project.
    There are literally dozens of soldering videos on YouTube - some of them are really good!
    AND you are better off using high heat for 2-3 seconds then low heat for 5-10 seconds.
    After buying a new 25 or 30 watt solder iron every year for about ten years, I bought a 40 watt Weller temperature controlled iron,
    been using it for about ten years now. I run it at nearly full temp (I'd say 11 on a scale of 10, you know, like the movie joke)
    but it's 4.5 on a scale of 5. A good solder joint at high heat never takes more than 2-3 seconds. Practice!
    This is kind of funny but it has stuck with me for 50 years, because my high school electronics teacher was a little crazy.
    He didn't use a typical 30 or 40 watt solder iron. He used a 140 watt solder gun with a nichrome wire installed instead of
    the usual huge copper element (those things were made to solder chassis parts, not PCBs) but he could solder anything in about 1/2 second with that heat.
    Any longer and of course the nichrome wire tip would break, just like a fuse does.
    The key - you have to heat the PCB AND the resistor/cap/whatever at the same exact time, AND use flux or good solder (here's my pitch for Kester 44).
    Put a small amount of solder on a freshly cleaned tip EVERY SINGLE time you solder a connection, and then you'll see.
    If the tip isn't clean, or there is not a tiny amount of solder on the tip, you don't get heat transfer to the board or the parts leads.
    Then it takes 5-10 seconds, meanwhile the board and the part get burnt. Do it hot and fast, not cool and slow !!!!!!!

    peterh

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    Re: soldering technique

    Post by peterh on Sat Mar 30, 2013 7:24 am

    Well spoken and every true !

    Maybe this text should be shipped together with the kits ?

    One could also think of selling wellers and solder together with the kits ?

    poconoman

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    Re: soldering technique

    Post by poconoman on Sat Mar 30, 2013 8:26 am

    Roy, what do YOU use to clean the tip?

    tubes4hifi
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    Re: soldering technique

    Post by tubes4hifi on Sat Mar 30, 2013 10:35 am

    wet sponge

    poconoman

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    Re: soldering technique

    Post by poconoman on Sat Mar 30, 2013 10:38 am

    I thought you use a non soap brillo pad. Sometimes it gets crusty.

    Luddite

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    Re: soldering technique

    Post by Luddite on Sat Mar 30, 2013 11:46 am

    poconoman wrote:I thought you use a non soap brillo pad. Sometimes it gets crusty.

    The wet sponge is quite sufficient the vast majority of the time. When necessary, I keep a tin of flux paste into which I plunge the tip and then wipe it on the sponge. Finally, if all else fails, I will use some very fine steel wool to lightly rub the tip. Caveat: Most soldering iron tips are plated. Be very cautious when using anything abrasive to clean them, and then only as a last resort.

    Best Regards,
    Charlie

    hawaii.ken

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    Re: soldering technique

    Post by hawaii.ken on Sat Mar 30, 2013 12:45 pm

    I use this


    Windup

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    Re: soldering technique

    Post by Windup on Sun Mar 31, 2013 9:18 am

    Great post, tubes4hifi!
    Good heat and a clean tip are the key! (...for soldering, of course).

    Why is every High school electronics teach a bit crazy? Lol

    Blitzen

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    Re: soldering technique

    Post by Blitzen on Tue Apr 02, 2013 9:44 pm

    I finally broke down last year and bought a Hakko FX-951 soldering kit. It's unbelievably nice! A really good iron these days is a necessity, when you come across the new no-lead solder formulations. My old iron, though it was supposedly a 70-watt, wouldn't melt some of the lead-free solder connections I've come across lately. The Hakko's tip-and-heater-in-one type tip I think is what makes its temperature control so much better than other types. It really is a joy to use. Tips are more expensive, but I'll bet they last longer.
    I've been using the bronze wool tip cleaners for a few years, and I think that's the way to go. You really can't wear it out- every once in a while you need to shake out the old solder and fluff it up a bit and you're good for another 1000 miles...

    peterh

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    Re: soldering technique

    Post by peterh on Wed Apr 03, 2013 3:12 am

    Stay away from the leadfree, at least for the nearest century.
    It won't add anything to your amp but it might create problems, not only by overheating.

    Blitzen

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    Re: soldering technique

    Post by Blitzen on Wed Apr 03, 2013 9:30 am

    peterh wrote:Stay away from the leadfree, at least for the nearest century.
    It won't add anything to your amp but it might create problems, not only by overheating.

    Yes, I still use good old Kester 44 60/40 in my builds. But I come across boards made in a factory on occasion. Industry uses all lead-free, and you'll know it if you try melting it!
    -Brian

    noooz

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    Re: soldering technique

    Post by noooz on Wed Apr 03, 2013 11:26 am

    hawaii.ken wrote:I use this


    Im also using this

    tubes4hifi
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    Re: soldering technique

    Post by tubes4hifi on Wed Apr 03, 2013 12:48 pm

    a couple of good solder irons on sale at Amazon -
    the Weller SLC-100 (the one I use)is $39 http://astore.amazon.com/tub02-20/detail/B000AS28UC
    the Velleman 50w temp controlled is $19 !! http://astore.amazon.com/tub02-20/detail/B000I40HFQ

    Tom

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    Re: soldering technique

    Post by Tom on Wed Apr 03, 2013 1:17 pm

    ^I have that Velleman iron, bought it for the price and it's turned out great.
    Turned all the way up (is there any other setting for irons and amps?) it does most joints in just a couple of seconds. Smile

    sKiZo

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    Location : Michigan USA

    Re: soldering technique

    Post by sKiZo on Wed Apr 03, 2013 2:48 pm

    First post alert ... First post alert!

    Just pulled the trigger on a VTA ST-120 kit, so yet another forum to troll ... er ... attend ...

    Soldering is all about the equipment and technique. A good iron can make or break the connection. Got me a Weller WES51 Analog Soldering Station a while back and couldn't be happier. I run it at around 650-700F and get perfect joints every time. That's even hot enough to attack those stubborn large mass joints like jack pads and such. One oft overlooked advantage to a station ... the "pen" is much lighter and easier to fit into tight spots, and the recovery time on the tip is almost immediate, as indicated by the ready light on the base.

    Next up - good cleaning. I use one of those brass cleaning thingies ...


    Works way better than a sponge IMHO. Just poke the tip into the brass when needed and it comes out clean as a whistle. Brass is lower on the hardness scale than the tip itself, so no worries about abrasion. Every now and then, pull the brass out of the holder and shake out the old solder - you'd be amazed how much can accumulate after a project.

    Almost last - paste flux. I dip the tip in a cup just prior to any connection, then just a touch of the pen to fluxed solder to "prime" the tip. That's usually good enough to get me thru half a 14 pin dip or thereabouts before it starts to feel ... not right. Single connections with significant wait times between touches, I'll do the dip 'n prime every time. The tip will skin some if you leave it waiting and result in a not poor, but not perfect connection.

    And of course - quality solder ...



    Big fan of Cardas Quad here ... bit of a learning curve, but it's easy to work once you get the hang of it.

    sKiZo

    Posts : 1310
    Join date : 2013-04-01
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    Re: soldering technique

    Post by sKiZo on Wed Apr 03, 2013 3:17 pm

    Blitzen wrote:
    peterh wrote:Stay away from the leadfree, at least for the nearest century.
    It won't add anything to your amp but it might create problems, not only by overheating.

    Yes, I still use good old Kester 44 60/40 in my builds. But I come across boards made in a factory on occasion. Industry uses all lead-free, and you'll know it if you try melting it!
    -Brian

    I find that adding a bit of a blob of fresh solder to a clean iron tip works wonders. Gives you a right nice contact point for quick heat transference.

    Maybe not the right thread, but a good DEsoldering tool is a must too. I went thru a bunch of solder suckers over the years - too cheap to pay the big bux for a professional tool - and finally stumbled over the trusty old RatShack special ...



    Takes a few minutes to heat up, but the tip is massive enough that it stays hot during a session. Also surprisingly easy to maneuver around considering it's size. Just touch it to a joint, give a little twist to improve the contact, and release the bulb when the solder puddles. Perfect clean joint more times than not. I just did a bunch of IC sockets on a project, and once I desoldered all the pins. As always, a few rebonded to the pads, but just a slight touch and wiggle with the tool was enough break them loose so the old components pop right out.

    Good to have an old can or whatever to blow the solder out regularly. Get too much in the barrel, and it can leak back out the tip ... not good. Also worthy of note ... most connections, you can just drop the iron over the wire or whatever and it'll stay centered. If you don't have a protrusion for the tip to lock onto, or a tab it won't fit over, it can skid some when the solder puddles. Bad enough, and you could damage the board, so ... like ... pay attention!

    PS ... you WILL singe your fingers a time or two while getting used to this tool. Doesn't take long - a time or two, and the "does it hurt when you do that? well don't do that" instinct kicks in. People tend to be fast learners when pain is involved ...

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