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DIY Earbuds

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  1. DBaldock9
    Jsingh4 likes this.
  2. Merlin-PT
    I don't have a soldering station, so I don't have experience to recommend one.
    I was looking the other day at youtube for soldering stations and saw everybody was talking about the next generation T12 tips. So search for "T12 soldering station" and also take a look at what people say about these. There are some T12 clones with oled screen that are cheap and look good. Again I don't have one, so I don't know how they perform.

    My concern with clones is safety and quality control, still I would like to try one of those T12 oled clones, but would need to look at the reviews to find the better ones. Advantages are changing the tips to different tip shape/size and lower price tips. Also the T12 tip can put more heat in large surfaces, than the older technologies.

    I have (since ever) and use two JBC classic irons, JBC 30S and JBC 14S, they are good and I'm happy with them. They last a life time.

    Irons usually come with round tips, but I prefer a small chisel tip (0.8mm or 1.2mm).
    We need small tip for precision, but we also need a big contact surface size to transfer heat.
    The bigger the contact surface, the better heat is transferred and round tips only make a very small point in surface contact, because they are all curved.
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2019
  3. HungryPanda
    I use a fine point tip when soldering drivers as I do it quickly
    JackFlash likes this.
  4. Merlin-PT
    In my previous post I assumed it wasn't only for earbud work.
    For earbud DIY only, a small tip is the best and a soldering station is not needed.
    The JBC 14ST nowadays costs more than 45 eur, maybe it's a bit expensive for only earbuds work.
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2019
  5. Jsingh4
    Thank you guys. I really appreciate your advice, so let's say I just want to use it for earbuds, and I use an iron so how much power do I need (watts) and exactly how thin Should be the tip.
    Thanks again
  6. Merlin-PT
    For the tip I would say:
    fine tip: 1mm or 1.2mm (diameter). Because it's round, initial contact surface it's like 0.1mm.
    chisel tip: 0.8mm or 1.2mm (chisel wide). Because it's flat, initial contact surface is 0.8 or 1.2mm and solder in the tip also stays in that flat spot.
    You only need one of these and all work well.

    If the iron is not temperature controlled, 11 wats to 30 watts.
    It's difficult to say, because not all irons can put all the power into temperature at the tip.
    11 watts is good for soldering the drivers, but can be a bit weak to solder thick wires.
    30 watts is too much for soldering the drivers and small wires, so you need to do it fast, to not melt plastic.

    If it's temperature controlled, you can get 60 to 90 watts, it should have a thermostat and apply only the needed power to maintain the selected temperature. Not all have thermostat to select the temperature, in some you can only select the power level.

    Try to get a ceramic resistance iron, they leak less current and are much better.
    Make sure the iron mains cable has earth.
    If you can change the tips it's also a plus, if T2 too expensive, previous tech 900M tips are also good and very cheap.
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2019
  7. Jsingh4
    Guys thank you so much @DBaldock9, @HungryPanda, @Merlin-PT you are the best.

    Also if the film has been seperated from the driver it can be soldered back using the coil but will it have any effect on sound

    Also if I have adjustable temp solder iron at what temp I should work on for the driver.
  8. HungryPanda
    300C desolder, 400C solder
    Jsingh4 likes this.
  9. subwoof3r
    Personally I solder/desolder everything at 300C, excepted at 320C to help melting some various copper wires (even if I still have some difficulties, as it generally burns at least 1 good centimeter of the plastic from wires).
    My iron is 65W but has digital control for the degrees.
    Merlin-PT likes this.
  10. Merlin-PT
    If you happy with it maybe you could post a link?

    I got a cheap CXG E90WT from AliE, (CXG E60WT also enough power for earbuds), The CXG tip that came with it is good and it solders very well.
    For soldering electronics and safety I connect it to an earth mains power socket.
    I've read some reviews in youtube about this cxg model, but Chinese quality is so-so, after 2 months one of the buttons doesn't make good contact, I have to press it several times to lower the temperature.
    I have some safety concerns about connecting cheap Chinese electronics to the mains power, but I didn't have any issue yet.

    Regarding the temperature it depends on the iron power, tip size, the surface size to solder and the solder type.
    Not all tips are good, a bad tip can make a good iron not soldering. Solder must stick to the tip easily for good heat transfer.
    When you soldering, the tip gets oxidized, every time it's oxidize you need to clean it in a wet sponge before you continue soldering.

    With the cxg I've being using 300C to 320C to solder electronic components and only going to 340C when I need to solder large copper surfaces. The higher the temperature, the lower the tip life, high temperature will damage the tip and burn the surface we are soldering.

    Always use the lowest temperature possible that melts the solder well.
    Apply the temperature the lowest amount of time possible.
    Clean the tip in a wet sponge to remove the tip oxidation when soldering, do it every time the tip is not bright or to remove solder.
    Use a noncorrosive flux to help the solder stick to the surface, a good soldered spot must have a very bright finish without any oxidation.
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2019
    subwoof3r likes this.
  11. JackFlash
    Some good soldering advice on this board.

    I have heard good things about the TS100 and TS80 soldering irons. I haven't used them myself, but the TS80 looks like a good bet for tight and careful work.

    Also, this guy has some really helpful soldering videos on Youtube. Sometimes it's hard to find the good stuff with all the BS out there.
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2019
    Merlin-PT and subwoof3r like this.
  12. subwoof3r
    I'm using this iron (chinese one but quality looks OK to me (while not exceptional) :


    I just checked for the direct link but looks like the product has been retired from Amazon and is no longer available :frowning2:
    It was called "VICTSING iron 220V 65W with Digital Screen LEDs" etc.
    My unit is working well since few months. For what I need to do I'm happy with it for now

    I heard good things about TS irons. Great quality price ratio!
    Merlin-PT likes this.
  13. Merlin-PT
    The other day I was buying some soldering iron sponges in aliexpress, but nowadays all I can find are these:
    Years ago sponges were much bigger and better, but I can't find those now, the new ones are small and only keep water for a day.

    Interesting is what I read in the comments, a guy says we could buy any cellulose sponge and recommends bigger cellulose cosmetic sponges.

    I wanted a bigger sponge, so it doesn't dry in a day, so I searched Ali for cellulose sponges and I bought these:

    It's much better than the other ones, it's smooth and dense, it keeps water for several days.
    Now I treat my iron tip like a girl's face :)
  14. subwoof3r
    Hiya, did you received these drivers yet @HungryPanda ? :) still highly interested in your thoughts (especially compared to original PK1 red film drivers, if possible)
  15. chrislawrence
    Well, I made the earphones with the 600ohm beryllium membrane drivers and i'm completely blown away by how good they sound. I am relatively new to the audiophile world, and I realise hearing and tuning will be different for everyone, but they don't sound light on the bass to me (although i did mess with the various tuning options until I got soundstage and bass nicely balanced - for me). They sound delicate, nicely balanced, PLENTY of sub-bass, soundstage on the scale of open-back headphones, and very detailed without an inkling of sibilance. Highly recommended if anyone is still deciding on them. I driving them on the Zishan DSD AK4497EQ, which has no issues at all powering these little monsters. For my first DIY project, I am as giddy as a schoolboy that found a magical corridor into an edible chocolate world. Thank you all, for the recommendations!
    Rhino73, rahmish, golov17 and 7 others like this.
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