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Old 12-15-2010, 07:51 PM #1
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Default Help with a soldering question...

I have a Weller butane soldering gun that I use for doing wiring in car work. Its got a decently fat tip, and gets pretty hot, is this going to work for what needs to be done with this hobby? I don't really have much exp. doing super small delicate work, mostly wiring and large repairs.

Will the Weller be ok turned down, or should I just goto Sears/Radio shack and get a cheap 40w iron w/small tip?


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Old 12-15-2010, 08:15 PM #2
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Default Re: Help with a soldering question...

Neither.

Problem with your butane iron is that it gives off TOO MUCH heat, and very short contact time might result in some self-inflicted facepalms later.

Cheapo irons are good for first few minutes, that is, up until the point you plug them in. Since they are not temperature regulated, they overheat the tip which goes from "Shiny, ooh" over "Oh, grayish" to "Holy sh?t what's that?!" very very fast.
Under that load, your tip deforms and looses it's pointy shape, eventually being unable to perform function it was meant to do : solder tiny parts.

I have used the cheapo stick before, simply because of funds shortage (money trees didn't do well here). I used it for 3 years, so much that the set screw for holding the tip in place got so corroded and overused that you could not even tell it was once tapped for threads.

One day, as it's common practise with fire-sticks, I swung it (Think Harry Potter ) to shake the excess solder off the tip, after solder joint has been made. 450C tip flew right out of it and somewhere into my great pile of mess on the desk.

It was pure luck I didn't destroy something. DIY Regulator for it was in a plastic box and tip landed very near the PCB which had 220VAC flowing through it.

Took me 1.2 seconds to click "Order" of the new soldering station

I'm just kidding, I took my time around 1 week or so and did a research on all available soldering stations in my price range. I have concluded that Aoyue 936 was the best bang for buck, and man, after 3 years ... I got reborn. Soldering with precisely controlled station is totally awesome.

You just won't know until you try it

So I suggest you order yourself a Soldering station affordable in your price range. You won't be sorry. I'm usually a dirt-cheap bastard but I gladly payed for this and I would totally do it again and again. It's just priceless investment in proper equipement.
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Old 12-15-2010, 08:26 PM #3
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Default Re: Help with a soldering question...

It wont work too well. I have a weller adjustable station I got fromMcMaster (part #7734A18) and it works very well for lots of electronic applications.
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Old 12-15-2010, 09:17 PM #4
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Default Re: Help with a soldering question...

Thanks for the awesome info Eudaimonium. I have a bunch of electrical components and wiring laying around (I work on and build computers for people) I think I'll do some practicing with that, and at least try my Butane iron. I've been watching a bunch of youtube vidoes on soldering, and I've learned a lot of good info on soldering. About the only thing I can't find a video for is soldering wire to the tip of a component. (like a diode)

I will also start looking around for a soldering station like you mentioned.
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Old 12-15-2010, 09:28 PM #5
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Default Re: Help with a soldering question...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Boosted240 View Post
About the only thing I can't find a video for is soldering wire to the tip of a component. (like a diode)

I will also start looking around for a soldering station like you mentioned.
You know how I solder wires to diode?

When I pressfit the diode into the aixiz, if I have a heatsink for the build nearby, I insert the module into the heatsink backwards, so the pins of the diode go where beam is supposed to go.

Then I grab hold of that in mini-plastic vice. Place small amount of flux on pins of diode, pretin wires I need to solder.

Then I grab my helping hands, and grab hold wire with it, and manouver the helping hands so the wire is parralel to the pin I'm soldering, touching it.

Wet the solder tip a little with solder, then, touch both the pin and the wire at the same time (alligment of the solder tip neccessary here!) and immediately proceed to add small amount of fresh solder with your other free hand, remove solder wire and solder tip at the same time. Do it all fast, before the flux on the pins has totally evaporated, and it's a very high quality joint.

In my experience though, I have found that, although it's much harder, the resulting joint is much more shiny and cleaner - don't use flux. It may take time to master that but shiny joints without flux are much better than ones with flux used.

Not that those with flux used suck, on the contrary, they are exeptionally good if properly done and will do the job. Rest is just aesthetical difference.
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Old 12-15-2010, 09:34 PM #6
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Default Re: Help with a soldering question...

OK, I'm gonna go give this a shot. I don't have any flux, so I'll have to try without. Do you still need it even with Rosin core solder?
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Old 12-15-2010, 09:42 PM #7
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Default Re: Help with a soldering question...

Well, you can't make any nice solder joints without solder with flux core in it.

So yeah, with proper high quality solder, you don't need flux if you are experienced in soldering.
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Old 12-15-2010, 09:45 PM #8
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Default Re: Help with a soldering question...

I can't recommend this site enough.

Tangent Tutorials

I gained more confidence using these video tutorials than anything I'd come across before, or since.
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Old 12-15-2010, 09:56 PM #9
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Default Re: Help with a soldering question...

bbshamsa- Thanks for the link, looking now.


Ok, this is my first try. No flux, Rosin core solder. I tinned the wire first. This is using my Weller butane on about 1/2 power. I cleaned the tip on the sponge, then applied a small dab of solder to the tip, then touched the under side of the joint, then applied solder. I would say I had the iron on the joint for about 2 seconds.
Thoughts? (its not pretty) Don't worry about hurting my feelings.

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Old 12-15-2010, 10:22 PM #10
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Default Re: Help with a soldering question...

Here's another link to one of the best user-friendly free paint packages available...

... Paint.NET - Free Software for Digital Photo Editing , so you can easily resize your pics to 800x600 before posting them on here.

Just makes it easier to read posts with images.

That's a very neat job there.

I'm only a novice, but personally I like to put a little more on there, just enough to completey cover the wire strands so they can't fray as you handle the joint.

By the way, I've no idea how much experience you have, but one thing I recently started using for the first time and I can't believe how I got on without it is de-solder braid.

One thing about this hobby is that when you come to solder to drivers, and diode pins there's so little space that one small mistake can easily cause an apparently permanent mess.

When trying to solder the bridges on my first flexdrive, I managed to cover the entire set of four resistors in a single blob AND desolder them in the process.

I almost wrote it off and put it down to experience, until I found out about de-solder braid.

It's just amazing; sucks up solder and leaves the job like it was never even there!

If you haven't already got some, get some.
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Old 12-15-2010, 10:24 PM #11
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Default Re: Help with a soldering question...

Quote:
Originally Posted by bbshamsa View Post
Here's another link to one of the best user-friendly free paint packages available...

... Paint.NET - Free Software for Digital Photo Editing , so you can easily resize your pics to 800x600 before posting them on here.

Just makes it easier to read posts with images.
Sorry I use photoshop. Left the image larger than my normal size of 1280x*** to try and show the detail close up. Next time I'll crop it smaller...


*pic fixed*
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Old 12-16-2010, 03:19 AM #12
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Default Re: Help with a soldering question...

I just wanted to thank you guys for your help, I feel like my soldering skills have tripled just playing around today.
I got some flux, boy what a difference that makes. Tinning wire, pins, etc works MUCH better with it. Also tried the de-soldering braid and thats amazing. I was able to desolder a lead on an old board, and resolder it attaching a tinned wire lead. Also my wire to pin joint was much improved with the help of the flux.
The only problem I had with my Weller butane iron was the tip being kinda large and the gas flow was fluctuating at times changing the tips temperature. I'm going to at least go get a decent 30-40w iron, then look into a station for later on.

Thanks again for all the info and help you guys provided.
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Old 12-16-2010, 09:49 AM #13
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Default Re: Help with a soldering question...

By the way, another tip in case you don't already know, but a great tip cleaner that'll last you a lifetime is a scouring pad...

... Amazon.com: 3M Scotch-Brite 214C Stainless Steel Scouring Pad, 3-Count: Home Improvement

Just poke the tip in before starting work and it comes up like new every time.
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Old 12-16-2010, 01:28 PM #14
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Default Re: Help with a soldering question...

Oh yeah, that. Only shiny tip is a good tip.

Remember, don't clean the tip before you put the iron away, clean it before making a solder joint. Before putting it away, load the tip with solder, it will protect it from corrosion.
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Old 12-16-2010, 02:39 PM #15
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Default Re: Help with a soldering question...

That wire joint looks fine, but i wonder how well it will work with smaller components.

Its really best to get an electric soldering iron with temperature control for electronics work. They don't need to be expensive, you can get something perfectly useable for $50 or so.

As for flux: I never use any seperate flux, just quality rosin core solder does the job fine in most cases. Flux can be handy if you are working on corroded components or circuit boards, but if everything is new, its not required.
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Old 12-16-2010, 04:04 PM #16
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Default Re: Help with a soldering question...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Benm View Post
That wire joint looks fine, but i wonder how well it will work with smaller components.

Its really best to get an electric soldering iron with temperature control for electronics work. They don't need to be expensive, you can get something perfectly useable for $50 or so.

As for flux: I never use any seperate flux, just quality rosin core solder does the job fine in most cases. Flux can be handy if you are working on corroded components or circuit boards, but if everything is new, its not required.
Somebody said small components?


Ahh I love that one.

Seriously, $40 soldering station did that. I love my station, go and get one!
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