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I give up!!! how do you solder??!

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 
How?!? I have a 45 watt iron, ultra hot... with some solder that melts at something around 415 degrees (rosin flux core)...

So, I read several sites and they say not to touch the solder, rather heat the parts and let the solder melt on the parts, not the iron... well, it never works!, the parts do not get hot enough so I have to touch the solder with the iron for it to melt... am I doing something wrong?
post #2 of 28
Yep, something wrong.

First, if a 45w iron is touching an ic socket pin, it will melt right thru the plastic in about 8 seconds... it takes 1 second to do it, 3 is the max, 4+ seconds and youre better off letting it cool off and starting again.

Try it like this: put the solder against the part, then put the iron against the solder right over the part you want soldered... it should liquify 60/40 solder in a split-second with a 45w iron! And that's it, in that second it goes liquid, the flux wets the part and it flows, remove the heat and volia! a good joint. Done right you can do it in a second or even less.

It *DOES* take practice. Use cut pieces of wire to ruin. Don't start on components until you know what to expect.

As for why it's not transferring the heat, I don't know. Make sure the tip is fastened tightly. Make sure when you're using it, you make good contact. Also if the iron is tinned well it helps start the process; a dry tip will drive you nuts.

The best thing I can do for ya is tell ya IT GETS BETTER.

Check here if you want some tips (and pics!)... it's a basic Soldering 101 kinda site...

post #3 of 28
My guess is the tip hasn't been tinned at all yet. I've experieinced this with new irons in the past when I wasn't aware of tinning before first use (I used to somehow get the solder to melt and the iron eventually tinned itself while in use).

The first thing I did with another new iron just 1 week ago was tin it from the beginning. I'd hold the tip against solder (with pressure) until the solder melt, then let it bead up on the tip and eventually you can see the tip with solder take on a different color than the rest of the tip and iron.
post #4 of 28
post #5 of 28
Hello guys

When you solder it is important to have a good mechanical connection. If you don't have a good mechanical connection you can have cold joints and many other problems. One way to do it is to bend the leads of the component at a 45degree angle. That way the component does not move while is being soldered. Next the soldering iron has to be really clean and shiny ( you can use a wet sponge ) and it has to be tinned. Not too much solder though. Whenever you are ready, bring the point of the soldering iron and apply heat both to the component lead and to the circuit board ( if you are using point-to-point technique then make sure you heat up the surfaces that you want to solder ). After about 1 second you bring in the solder to the heated connection ( not the soldering iron ) and let it melt. It should take another second for this to occur and you will know when to stop. Don't apply to much solder and don't move the part while it cools. You will end up with a shinning connection, it it looks dull just apply a little bit more heat.

For electronics work, it is best to use a 15 to 30 watt soldering iron. I prefer a 25-30 watt unit. For solder I prefer SN62 available at Radio Shack.

Hope this helps
post #6 of 28
Thread Starter 
Heh, thanks for the responses, the tinning and the application suggestions finally made me solder properly... scrap wires at least.. Now, about the tips, what kinds should I use? currently I have this huge flat head screw driver tip on (1/4" wide I think) and I seem to have some really small tips.. like, really small pencil type tips which I can't seem to figure out how to put on my iron (I found my iron and the parts somewhere in my basement, never knew I had them)...
post #7 of 28
currently I have this huge flat head screw driver tip on (1/4" wide I think) and I seem to have some really small tips
Remember that the key is to let the parts melt the solder, not the iron. As the suggestions above mentioned, you want the iron to contact both the component and the PCB hole. Then place the solder against the component wire and the solder will flow into the hole.

That said, I would suggest that you go with a pointed tip, not the flat head. The pointed tip will allow better simultaneous contact with both the metal inside the PCB hole and the component to be soldered. You can get those at RS.

Keep practicing until you get comfortable with it. Good luck!
post #8 of 28
Thread Starter 
Hm, I think I will grab a new, less powerful iron for this work... I supose a 30W iron will fit my needs? Does this look good?


I can't even take off the 1/4" tip from my iron... too big for electronics work I suppose...

And how important is it to have 60/40 solder? I have some solder that isn't 60/40 but has a rosin flux core and on the packaging says its good for electronics work...
post #9 of 28
That'll work, but I would recommend a soldering iron rather than a gun. It is easier (to me) to solder while holding the iron like a pencil. Check out the 25 watt iron that they offer. That is what I use.
post #10 of 28
the red weller irons look very nice, too bad RS canada doesn't carry anything except cell phones and ghetto speakers
post #11 of 28
I have some soldering tips at this page (scroll down):
post #12 of 28
The best iron to use is a variable tempreture soldering iron. You get to know at what temp it is best to use it at, not too hot, just so it melts the solder and a bit more. You can use it a lot hotter when unsoldereing hard to get apart joints. When it is sitting idle you can turn it right down. Keep a wet sponge next to your iron and clean the tip regulary, ie wipe the tip after every new solder joint, the flux in the multicore solder leaves a residue. Apply the tip of the soldering iron in one hand and the solder in the other hand at the same time to tin the joint. After tinning, wipe the iron tip and apply a little solder to the iron tip then join what you are going to solder, hold it and let it cool then let go after making sure you have made a good mechanical joint. If unsoldering, apply a little solder to a clean iron tip, it will help break the bond. Before using a new iron let it get to working temp then wipe it and tin with solder a couple of times. After a bit of practice on scrap it becomes routine. Hope this helps.
post #13 of 28
Thread Starter 
Alright thanks guys... picked up a 30 watt iron from radioshack, I'll play with it later today.

I think I have this soldering thing down (ripped apart an old phone to play with the PCB and components)
post #14 of 28

I have been using 15W pens with ceramic heater from Antex for nearly 10 years. Despite other people, I find this pen to have ample power for most electrical soldering.

Every soldering remove heat from your irons. The most important thing is how fast and steady heat an iron can offer. Ceramic heaters are the standard now for good reasons. (Fast heating and high efficiency.)

I used to use 30W ceramic heater pens. But I find 15W cermic heater pens performs equally well.

The most important thing about soldering is that solder on the board should be SHINY. Cloudy means it is cold joint. This is NOT good.

To avoid this you can use following tactics. Use low temperature melting solders with 15~30W ceramic heater irons or equivalent temperature regulated solder stations. You will be able to do very SHINY and good soldering.


P.S. RS irons have very low corrosion resistance materials. I had my 30W RS iron tips melt right in front of my eyes.
post #15 of 28
I notice the small tip of my 25W Radio Shack iron (basically new, used for the first time last week) already wearing away and getting thinner. I've had the tip of my old 30W Weller iron actually wear away until it was a flat stub. I should look into these ceramic heater pens and find some good tips.
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