1. Welcome to our site! Electro Tech is an online community (with over 170,000 members) who enjoy talking about and building electronic circuits, projects and gadgets. To participate you need to register. Registration is free. Click here to register now.
    Dismiss Notice

Soldering questions

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by Technoid, Apr 12, 2014.

  1. throbscottle

    throbscottle Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2012
    Messages:
    1,783
    Likes:
    113
    Location:
    Nuneaton, Warwickshire, UK
    Holding parts to the board whilst you solder - just bend the leads outwards (or inwards if it suits you) a little bit so they grip the part in place. Very rare for this to not work.
    Something I've found to be of enormous help recently is liquid flux - just cheap stuff in a bottle, nothing fancy. A little drop of that on the joint before soldering is marvellous.
    Going back to when I was taught to solder, I was taught to clean the pads so they are shiny, and clean the component lead by scraping it, so it's shiny. Most of the time though this isn't necessary, but it may help you.
    Those battery clips are probably difficult to solder anyway due to their plating.
     
  2. Technoid

    Technoid Member

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2014
    Messages:
    69
    Likes:
    0
    I set it somewhere between 500-600/700 degrees farenheit usually, anymore than that and it smokes like crazy and pops/bubbles a lot. That is only the numbers on the station, should I get a tempature reading thing to see what the real tempature is?

    I didn't understand that at all..

    What kind of foam?
    I'll look for that tool.

    I use a sponge and a metal coil/wool type thing that doesn't need water.

    Mosaic,

    Sometimes when I add more solder to it (or don't and just heat the already applied solder more so that it's molten again), it becomes a brown/gold mess, I guess that's the flux? I've never tried putting solder on the pad by itself though.

    With those plug-in irons? Was yours really good or something?

    I tried that with tiny resistors and it became a bit of a mess. Although I didn't just bend them a little bit, I bent the whole thing, I don't know how to do it a little bit and have them stay in place.
     
  3. Mosaic

    Mosaic Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2010
    Messages:
    2,569
    Likes:
    128
    Location:
    Caribbean
    I use my iron @ 300C. Eventually if u reheat the flux it will brown & blacken.

    I used uncontrolled irons a lot....$$$ issue.

    Perhaps you could check out you tube for the soldering tutorials.
     
  4. dave

    Dave New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 1997
    Messages:
    -
    Likes:
    0


     
  5. KeepItSimpleStupid

    KeepItSimpleStupid Well-Known Member Most Helpful Member

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2010
    Messages:
    9,916
    Likes:
    1,097

    This isn't bad:

    At 3:18 explains SLT. (Solder-Lead-Tip)
     
  6. throbscottle

    throbscottle Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2012
    Messages:
    1,783
    Likes:
    113
    Location:
    Nuneaton, Warwickshire, UK
    Maybe this will help you. Nice clear guide to soldering, showing component leads being bent to hold the part in place! https://learn.sparkfun.com/tutorials/binary-blaster-assembly-guide

    Looking at your photo, it looks mostly fine - you just need to trim those leads! You don't need to clean off rosin flux. Any other kinds, just make sure it's described as a "no clean" flux.

    To be honest, from your description and photos it looks like the iron isn't hot enough and you are holding the iron to the joint for too long. Hot and quick is the way to go, and wipe your tip very often. You just need to practice, and learn to get the right amount of solder first time. Tin/Lead solder is easier to use, so as a beginner you should be using that. Lead free solder tends to be a bit gloopy. Don't worry about exact composition for now, you don't have the experience to appreciate the difference. Also, you are not doing enough soldering to have to worry about health risks.

    Looking at the temperature ranges you have given, (and to put it into units I can understand!) 500F = 260C, too cool for soldering. 600F = 315C, ok for very small joints, 700F = 371C, ok for mid-sized joints. A lot depends on the size of the iron tip though, it has to be able to store a certain amount of heat to transfer into the joint - so if the iron tip is small compared to the joint, it needs to be hotter because the joint will cool it down more, and if it is large compared to the joint, you can have it a little cooler, but you may find problems because of the size. But a bog standard 30W mains iron with a standard tip will do 90% of through hole joints 90% of the time, and the other 10% just need a bit more care. As I said before, if it's too hot you can extend the tip out a bit so more heat is wasted. Looking at the board you have soldered, you need a mid-sized tip, very ordinary and boring. The sort that is round and cut off at an angle seems to be the easiest to use (called "bevel" or "hoof").

    (Edit: KISS - I started writing this a couple of hours ago, before you posted the video - good video!)
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2014
  7. KeepItSimpleStupid

    KeepItSimpleStupid Well-Known Member Most Helpful Member

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2010
    Messages:
    9,916
    Likes:
    1,097
    Thanks throbs. I wanted to get across the idea of using the iron to heat the material(s) (pad+lead) and then apply solder "opposite the heat".

    I did some work for a guy that made models out of etched brass and he was literally dripping the solder on the brass. I convinced him to get a "resistance soldering" station which worked really well for him. Some of his models sold for $3000 USD each.
     
  8. Technoid

    Technoid Member

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2014
    Messages:
    69
    Likes:
    0
    Since Audioguru said you shouldn't have fumes, I've been trying to make the iron as cool as possible, and it still has fumes. ???

    Isn't it a good idea to anyway?

    The tempatures I was thinking of may have been in C, besides for 700 was F, I will check my station.

    I have been using the SN100E lead-free solder KISS gave me.

    I forgot to mention I did the PCB kit with my plug-in iron that didn't work well that I sanded a flat side into, but I did the battery connector with my station.

    I got the same kit again, I originally planned to use the parts for other stuff, but I haven't really, if I can find them I'll try it again with my station.

    I haven't looked at the video or the link you gave me good yet, will update on that.

    May not be able to do much til next year since I solder outside..
     
  9. throbscottle

    throbscottle Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2012
    Messages:
    1,783
    Likes:
    113
    Location:
    Nuneaton, Warwickshire, UK
    Some people will insist you must always clean off flux, but really it's just making extra work. I'd probably clean off the black cruddy stuff if I was going to bother. But clean flux is an insulator - rosin is made from pine tree resin after all, so you would need to be building extremely sensitive circuits for it to make a difference. Even when it's black, although it's got conductive carbon in it, it's still bound in an insulating matrix, so unlikely to make any difference.

    You will always have fumes. It's more important to have the iron hot enough. The flux is an organic material, so any temperature hot enough to melt solder will burn or vaporise a certain amount of flux - so you may as well have the correct temperature. You can rig a little fan to blow the fumes away as someone else mentioned. Personally I have never bothered.

    That plug in iron you will now find develops a hole in the part where you sanded it - so you will have to keep sanding it back into shape. Not a worry though since you have a station. If those temperatures are in C, then that's really hot! If you have the means to do so, it's worth checking the actual tip temperature with a thermometer.
     
  10. audioguru

    audioguru Well-Known Member Most Helpful Member

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    Messages:
    32,445
    Likes:
    937
    Location:
    Canada, of course!
    The material in the tip of my Weller soldering iron controls its temperature. When it reaches its "Currie temperature" then it is no longer pulled by a magnet so the iron turns off. When it cools a little then it turns on.
    It is rated at 700 degrees F (371 degrees C) and it has always been used with name-brand tin/lead rosin-core solder. The tip lasts for years and has never been filed nor sanded.
    I do not notice much flux on my solder joints, most of it boils and evaporates away when I solder each joint in about 1 second.

    Maybe your "smoke" is actually the oxides on the copper traces or wires being cleaned away by the flux (or the wire insulation burning). Maybe the flux in lead-free solder makes smoke.
     
  11. Technoid

    Technoid Member

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2014
    Messages:
    69
    Likes:
    0
    What sort of thermometer should I use? It seems I should be careful not to melt it.

    I did notice the sanded tip getting a hole.

    I've also used lead solder and it, if anything, smoked more, though I may have had the iron too hot.

    I still don't see how you don't get smoke/fumes, audioguru.
     
  12. audioguru

    audioguru Well-Known Member Most Helpful Member

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    Messages:
    32,445
    Likes:
    937
    Location:
    Canada, of course!
    I do not put rosin-core solder directly on the tip of the soldering iron. The tip heats the joint then the joint gets the solder.
     
  13. Technoid

    Technoid Member

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2014
    Messages:
    69
    Likes:
    0
    Isn't that what you're supposed to do? Do you get smoke when you tin the soldering iron?
     
  14. Mosaic

    Mosaic Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2010
    Messages:
    2,569
    Likes:
    128
    Location:
    Caribbean
    I use 300C pencil tip or small spade and smoke is minimal. I also use 300C for hot air.Lately I have gone back to using phenolic PCBs as they are easier to machine & drill....a lot of heat burns them.

    I have stopped sanding the soldering tips as after a year or so you can get a hole in the iron. I now use the brass scrubbie to clean it more frequently so that sanding/scraping isn't required.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  15. audioguru

    audioguru Well-Known Member Most Helpful Member

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    Messages:
    32,445
    Likes:
    937
    Location:
    Canada, of course!
    My tip came tinned from the factory and everyday use keeps it tinned. I clean it when it is hot with one wipe on a damp grooved sponge. I have never used a brass scrubbie.
     
  16. throbscottle

    throbscottle Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2012
    Messages:
    1,783
    Likes:
    113
    Location:
    Nuneaton, Warwickshire, UK
    AG, I'm really quite impressed. Is it possible you could post a short clip of you soldering a few joints? I feel I could learn from a master (well, guru) here... (as could others)
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  17. audioguru

    audioguru Well-Known Member Most Helpful Member

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    Messages:
    32,445
    Likes:
    937
    Location:
    Canada, of course!
    I use old-fashioned tin-lead solder with a rosin core.
    My soldering iron always keeps its tip at 700 degrees F because it has automatic temperature control. It does not use a simple stupid light dimmer control.

    You do not need to see a video of how I solder:
    1) I heat the joint for half a second with the chisel-shaped tip of my soldering iron.
    2) I apply the solder to the heated joint for another half second.
    3) I clean the tip with one wipe across my damp grooved sponge after maybe 10 solder joints.
     
  18. tvtech

    tvtech Well-Known Member Most Helpful Member

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2010
    Messages:
    3,166
    Likes:
    348
    Location:
    South Africa
    Ah hah

    There is the difference. AG you build new things. Not fix old things. Therefore your tip is always shiny.

    Old solder/lead free eats tips. Eventually your tip will wear out. Repairs encounter all kinds of enemies or "eaters of tips".

    My tips go black after taking out an IC with solder wick. Then I have to re tin and hope for the best.

    Regards,
    tvtech
     
  19. throbscottle

    throbscottle Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2012
    Messages:
    1,783
    Likes:
    113
    Location:
    Nuneaton, Warwickshire, UK
    I worked out the same thing whilst I was filling my face. Every iron I have had has been used to desolder and rework cruddy joints, especially since I collect board pulls. I think at last I can justify having two irons! Yay!
     
  20. tvtech

    tvtech Well-Known Member Most Helpful Member

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2010
    Messages:
    3,166
    Likes:
    348
    Location:
    South Africa
    Good for you Buddy :)

    Just saying stuff. I think after around 25 years of mixed experiences..I might know a little..

    Hey, I could be wrong :nailbiting:

    Never know though :)

    So, while I think about this, I peacefully sleep :D

    Regards,
    tvtech
     
  21. audioguru

    audioguru Well-Known Member Most Helpful Member

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    Messages:
    32,445
    Likes:
    937
    Location:
    Canada, of course!
    I have a solder slurper (the kind that has a piston in a cylinder) that is used fairly often with my soldering iron to remove parts from old electronic stuff.
    The tips on my soldering iron are iron plated, factory tinned and last for years.
     

Share This Page