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I give up!!! how do you solder??! - Page 2

post #16 of 28
I use a 15W grounded iron and a 30W regular. I've found that a lot of people when they first get into soldering don't wait for the iron to heat up all the way. They wait until it just starts to melt solder, then go to town, leaving bad joints all over the place and getting frustrated (a cold iron is hard to use). I plug mine in and then get everything else set up (about 10mins of work) and then tin the tip and clean it w/ a sponge (so its shiny), then let it heat again for about 2-5mins, then work. This way, when I work, its always at the right temp, and solder melts instantly.

Here's a few things I keep in mind while I solder:
  • Be ready, make sure the component is where you want it before soldering
  • Be quick, the soldering iron shouldn't be in contact for more than 1-2 secs
  • Don't use solder as a bridge, it isn't as good as a wire
  • Use thin solder, so you can use just as much as you need

Oh, and heatsink anything you think is gonna be tricky and will get damaged by heat, best to use sockets, that way ICs aren't damaged (and are switchable!).
post #17 of 28
all really great advice,just want to add-

I use a 40 watt iron for big surface mechanical connections such as jacks and binding posts,pots,terminal strips,ground busses,etc.

using a hotter iron actually prevents damage to these parts due to less actual "on part" iron time.with a smaller iron I have actually melted jack insulators
post #18 of 28
my 45 watt weller is great for large connections as rickcr said, but i find it almost usless for PCB's. In less than a second, it will melt the traces off the boards. Actually, i think most newbies don't use enough heat (not because the iron isn't hot enough, but because they're scared of damaging parts and pull away too fast) I like to heat up the joints well for a second, then apply a little solder and keep the iron there for another second. I never get cold solder joints.
post #19 of 28
I have to agree with Tomo, Antex makes the best iron I've ever used, that includes PACE systems in the military. I've had an Antex 18W for almost 20 years and I love it. You can get them from http://www.mmnewman.com/antexsi/antex_index.htm

I'll be ordering two on Monday, now that I've found out where to get them again!!
post #20 of 28
Could you let us know which model soldering irons you'll be ordering no_iq?
post #21 of 28
I'm currently looking at buying their 18 watt G series "miniature soldering iron." I'll have to wait a bit, since I had too many packages arriving at home (don't want to make the parents think I'm wasting a lot of money).
post #22 of 28

Other soldering irons are equally nice. Important part is temperature control and heat recovery rate. Ceramic heaters have both of these. So look for irons with ceramic heaters.

Personally, I like Antex because the way the tip is made. It does not have pen tips. They have slanted flat surface. I found that exceptionally good for soldering leads on PCBs.

Drawbacks for Antex are the replacement parts are hard to obtain. They are Brits-Made (I think) and I only buy these at stores in person.

Wellers are better alternative. They are reliable and very widely available in US. I would not go for simple irons. I would get Wellers soldering stations. They are exceptionally good. (I use at work ...) Again, if you can't get them for discount, it ain't worth it ...


P.S. Note discounts are everywhere IF YOU LOOK. If you can't find one, you are not looking.
post #23 of 28
Yes, Antex is the best manual soldering iron. Mine are 14 years old and still going strong.

FYI Today I had a chance to watch the demonstation of METCAL BGA (ball grid array) rework station. It has a digital camara to align the chip with the PCB, Heat blow unit and control unit. The process and heat application are very precise since it use the computer to monitor the heat applying. Too bad that it cost about 36,000 $US here :-(. Our new project need to use a BGA chip and we are trying to find the lower cost solution. They (METCAL) also have a induction type soldering iron which use the magnetic characteristic of the special metal at the tip to control the temperature. When the tip is too hot it will become less magnetic and the current induction will be lower to cool down the iron and when the tip is too cool it will become more manetic and the current induction will be higher to produce more heat. They claim that the variation at the tip will be +-1.1 degree C. And it cost........... 800 $US !!!!. If anybody want to try it you can find more information at www.metcal.com ;-). They have some soldering tips for SMT too.
post #24 of 28
I use 12W on PCBs since I don't want to destroy anything. Last month I saw Radio Shack online had temperature-controlled soldering station onsale for mere $29.95!!!! Must be a mistake. Picked up the phone and they sayed this item was severely backordered (no surprise, probably dealer shacks involved also) so no more new orders or rain check. Yack, missed the sale the year.
post #25 of 28
You pansies, get a REAL soldering iron!

A man's soldering iron!
post #26 of 28

I see that you have constructed your own lightsabre. It is much like your father's. ...
Very impressive.

Darth Tomo

P.S. What are you trying to do? Cut thru circuit board?
post #27 of 28
I was trying to use tungsten/carbon solder when I made put my Corda together, and my regular RS 40/20 watt iron just wasn't up the the job.

Seriously, I did use that RS 40/20 watt iron with RS 60/40 0.032" solder and had no problems. Actually it was quite easy IMHO even though it was the first real soldering project I'd ever put together. The only two mistakes I made (that I know of... ) was putting in the big supply caps backwards, but that more the result of confusion reading the schematic then anything (the schematic had the + side marked, but on the caps the polarity mark is on the - side). I caught the error when I used the pictures of the completed amp as a reference. The other potental mistake was not noticing until after I had been using the amp for some time that the two voltage regulators were NOT the same part! I have no idea what would have happened if I didn't by chance get them in the correct spots... but at the very least I did perform plenty of testing with a multimeter before actually plugging anything of real value into the amp.
post #28 of 28

You can use Wonder Solder. You can buy at many audio parts stores such as Sonic Frontieers.

This solder melts at very low temperature. This reduce the possibility of cold joints. Many professionals likes this solder. However, this could be heck expensive.

I use fine solder from RadioShack with some silver in it. It is pretty high quality solder and melts pretty fast. However, I like solder with higher quality flux.

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