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SkydivinGirl
10th December 2009, 23:21
Hey all you soldering masters...

I would like to get a decent soldering station that I can use for assembling an EasyFlash (http://for8bits.com/ef_bilder.php) board and for other soldering projects. I asked TheCorfiot if he could assemble this for me and he graciously agreed, but shipping directly to him from the seller turned out to be an issue so I'm going to put it together myself. :) I would really appreciate it if someone could recommend a decent station that is up to $50 that will work well for these types of projects.

I'd also love a good site explaining the proper way to solder, including the use of flux, dissipating heat, etc. I never really learned the proper way.

Thanks for your help everyone!

:thumbsup:

Heather

TheCorfiot
10th December 2009, 23:39
Heather

I wasn't aware that shipping directly to me was an issue.

Would you like me to buy the unit for you, build it & then post it to the states...

Go on PM me Girl !!!!

TC :p

SkydivinGirl
11th December 2009, 00:01
Hey Bas,

I've already ordered and it's on its way. :) I was going to tell you sooner but I kept forgetting! It actually looks like there are very few surface mount components because most of the chips themselves have sockets. That alone takes out most of the risk except for overheating the solder points and lifting a track. :)

Also, I really would like to figure out how to solder a bit better. Since getting into retro computing, I've ran into a few projects that are only available in kit form. One kit I'd love to get that is definitely beyond my skills is the VIC-20 Final Expansion 3 (http://for8bits.com/fe3_bilder.php).

:D

Heather

desiv
11th December 2009, 00:43
Also, I really would like to figure out how to solder a bit better. Since getting into retro computing, I've ran into a few projects that are only available in kit form. One kit I'd love to get that is definitely beyond my skills is the VIC-20 Final Expansion 3 (http://for8bits.com/fe3_bilder.php).


This guy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I_NU2ruzyc4&feature=channel has a bunch of soldering clips..
I hate him for his SMT soldering video.. God I hate him... :mad::blink:;)
But it's good vidz...

desiv
p.s. (Rather than replying.. :-) ), I'd be interested in a good station too.. Although, it's nice to be able to blame my junkie Radio Shack iron every time I burn myself..

SkydivinGirl
11th December 2009, 00:54
Oooh! That looks great! I'll definitely check those videos out. Thank you!

Now, what about a good iron, tips and accessories for these projects? I'd appreciate any suggestions.

Thanks!

Heather

RedDaemonFox
11th December 2009, 01:09
Don't go to radio shack, thats all you need. :) Also, make sure when you solder to heat the joint and apply the solder to the joint, not the tip, I made around 20 cold solder joints because of it.

SkydivinGirl
11th December 2009, 01:20
I found a Weller WLC100 Soldering Station (http://www.amazon.com/Weller-WLC100-Soldering-Hobbyist-Yourselfer/dp/B000AS28UC/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=hi&qid=1260493904&sr=8-1) that looks like it might work. Any of you professionals got an idea if this would allow me to do these types of projects? Also, should I use leaded solder?

*EDIT* Or perhaps a Weller WP25 25 Watt Professional Soldering Iron (http://www.curiousinventor.com/store/product/109)?

Thanks everyone!

Heather

RedDaemonFox
11th December 2009, 01:57
leaded is toxic, but melts better and is what i use. I use silver-bearing solder .125. Make sure to vent it while using

Zetr0
11th December 2009, 02:44
did some one mention soldering?!?!??!? =D


okay... lets get busy (wheres that knuckle cracking smiley?)


Before I recommend any equipement we need to look at some foundation in soldering. What I mean by this is to dispel myths and urban legends that most take for written when it comes to soldering.

1. Theres plenty of flux in solder...

Err if you are wielding solder the thickness of lugnuts then yes... but when you scale it down to thin solder there is not enough. you NEED FLUX =)

If theres not enough flux the solder wont flow. lack of flux is the no.1 reason for dry solder joints.

2. That looks clean

Nope.. no it isn't... its not clean untill its had all the dirt removed, prefeably by an alcohol solution, things like, IPA, Diluted Car screen wash and Vodka are perfect for this task.

If either contacts are not clean it wont weld properly. bad contacts = bad circuit or even a broken one.

3. Any ol' Iron will do

Nope... this is not the case... tips, heat and element all play a part in this, if all you are doing is sweating up some 10awg with some solder then a generic 35 watt iron from radio shack will do (you know a monster size tip, takes for ever to heat up)

Remember the *right* tool for the right job. in this case with that pitch of electronics, you need somthing thats NOT generic, more detail to follow shortly but by getting a generic pice of crap from radio shack is akin to using a knife to undo a plug socket screw....


with that lot in mind, I shall post some suggestions and some advice =)

Zetr0
11th December 2009, 03:00
lets talk Soldering Iron(s)

not all are constructed equal, irrespective of *tip* there are something you need to know..

CORES

yep, the Soldering Iron has a CORE, this core can either be Steel, Copper or Ceramic

Steel Core / Copper Core

Most Steel/Copper cores are solid one-piece applications, some have screw-heads most just have a screw to hold the head in place.

my personal experience with these it state to avoid them if you can. they take a long time to heat up, and are very prone to thermal shock.

Thermal Shock is the rapid transition of heat from the iron tip to the surface. Solid metal Cores have a poor recovery of their heat, as such it will take longer to reach a given set temperature and to maintain it. Over time thermal shock will damage the element.

Ceramic Core

These cores heat quickly and evenly, although not as high tempature rated as some solid metal cores, ceramic cores can easly achive 480c+ wich is more than enough for home brewing =D

Cermic cores retain thier heat, they are less prone to thermal shock.

Solder Iron Tips

There are several types of tip or nib, each one has a specific job, for point welding a rounded tip is recomended, for dragging techniques then "hoof" or "chisel" tip is suggested. Infact all these tips have been designed with techniques in mind. Youtube has some great examples.

Iron Power (Whats in the Watt?)

So now you will need to know what types of job your soldering iron has to do. with that comes the power that you need, its all well and good saying you need 320c, but how big are the welds, what type of solder, how often, and the contact surfaces of the welds... well let's not make this too complicated.

For the home / semi pro hobbyist you need atleast a 45 watt iron, anything less than that will make you lose hair. 45watt is good for most general purpose stuff as well as micro electronic and SMT based stuff too.

Zetr0
11th December 2009, 03:11
History -

when I got my current setup, I couldn't believe how blind I had been across the years as to not have it...

Going through year to year replacing irons here and there, testing this butane insta-heat method and that new cold fusion welding thingy...

It was all just an epic waste of time.

So lets talk Hardware Investment -

For the most part a few bucks will get you though most part of *at home* soldering, but I will say that you should try and get that little bit more than you need.

Firstly Theres nothing saying one couldn't solder an SMT chip with a $10 Radio Shag special,... it would just take me.... a long ... long looooonngg time... kinda like soldering with boxing gloves on.

So before you give yourself a budget or anything like that, you need to ascertain your needs first and then ask mom/dad for an early birthday prezzie later =D


Hardware Apraisal

Look at the task at hand, and reason its complexity, SMT being the hardest and Through hole being the easiest.

Most hobbiest boards are made with the latter in mind, however some can be quite complex with a mixture of SMT and Through-Hole technology, (like the one I am doing for Jimmers)

With this in mind, it should give you an idea on the iron you require, the power you need from it.

Now.... next up is the hardware recommendations =D

Zetr0
11th December 2009, 03:51
I will list the following in order of both price and productivity


Hotair Rework Station - $130 BIN (include delivery) + 10 various tips (http://cgi.ebay.com/SMD-Rework-Soldering-Station-HOT-AIR-IRON-2in1_W0QQitemZ320459889375QQcmdZViewItemQQptZLH_DefaultDomain_0?hash=item4a9ce5dadf) (220v ONLY)
http://i.ebayimg.com/18/%21Bc%21d+7gB2k%7E$%28KGrHqMOKiUEq4%29,nWfBBKyl0v,s8Q%7E%7E_12.JPG

This really is a one stop shop of everything you will ever need, it has a Ceramic Core Variable Soldering iron (from 100c - 480c) upto 80watts, with 10 differnt tips.

Also has HotAir, for any re-work that you need to do, plus lots of *other little things I use - the hot-air is a blessing, I use mine constantly for melting hot-glue in place, heat-tube shrinking, welding large surface plate contacts. infact, I find new uses for each day lol!

however the above is a serious investment, not just in money, but more so time - learning how to use it effectively.

-------------

60watt solder station - $59.98 BIN (free delivery) (200-480c) (http://cgi.ebay.com/60W-Solder-Soldering-Station-Iron-AT-936A_W0QQitemZ200370349523QQcmdZViewItemQQptZLH_DefaultDomain_0?hash=item2ea700e5d3) (110v / 220v)
http://www.mrscope.com/jim/welder/AT//936-003.png

Here we have a ceramic core variable soldering iron, looks good quality and a reasonable price for the most part.

The same thing again, same price but with 5 year warrenty (http://cgi.ebay.com/SOLDERING-STATION-IRON-TOOL-SOLDER-WELDING-60W-ESD-936_W0QQitemZ120486314430QQcmdZViewItemQQptZLH_DefaultDomain_0?hash=item1c0d8b41be)
http://www.mx-mart.com/images.ebay/auction/isolder/isolder.jpg

-------------

Star Buy -

Low Cost Solder Station $34.95 + $18 aprx pnp (BIN) (http://%22http://cgi.ebay.com/Low-Cost-High-Quality-Solder-Station-One-A_W0QQitemZ380174906464QQcmdZViewItemQQptZLH_DefaultDomain_0?hash=item588430b460)
http://i13.ebayimg.com/08/i/001/37/d9/4500_12.JPG

What we have here is a well constructed solder station, the Iron has a ceramic core with standard tip/nib replacment. pretty much like the above but cheaper.

Zetr0
11th December 2009, 04:17
Antithesis of a purchase

For the most part the Star Buy would suit quite well for the construction job, and probably with good care will last you a good term, but its highly likely you will out-grow it and require somthing bigger.

This is I think its blessing in disguise it will not only give you professional quality, it will provide you with a great stand point in learning with the propper tools so when that you do upgrade you will have the nessasary skills to make use of your new investment.


It's better to get the right tool that costs a bit more than attempting to -make do- with a lesser tool... more so now in the learning stage. Choosing the -make do- method would be akin to entering you in a bmx race on a smal girls three wheeled trike.... a pink one at that...

(No arnljot. we are not taking your bike away from you...)


What type of Solder ?

Well this comes down to two distinct points.. the job at hand and your preference.

Solder itself can get quite complicated with specific mixes and gagues what do you choose?

Solder Gauge -
Well insofar as Gauge is concerned a simple rule is nothing bigger than the pitch your are working with. the last thing you want to be using is 0.7 when your pitch is 0.128.

Unless I am working on PSU's I use two gauges 0.022dia and 0.015dia


Solder Mix
Whats in a mix I hear you say, well lots really... some leaded, some not, some tin, some silver... lots... again it comes down to both what you need and what you are comftable in using.

For micro-electronics and hobby work a 60/40 tin/lead will surfice, however IMHO a better mix would be a silver bearing mix of 62/36/2 of tin-lead-silver

Infact the ones I use are from Radio Shack -

PartNo: 64-013E
Gauge: 0.022dia
weight: 1.5 oz

PartNo: 64-035E
Gauge: 0.015dia
weight: 1.5 oz

There quite cheap and will last you a few projects indeed! I would suggest that you use the 0.022, its very managable, where as the smaller 0.015dia I use mainly for SMT based work.


Flexing the Flux

Now I cannot relay to you how important this area of soldering is.. a lot of people have no clue, and thier work is worse off for it..

every weld i do I use flux, infact I use flux-paste.

flux provides an environment for both the contact and the component to heat up evenly, it also picks up any dirt or debris in the welding target.

you can get flux past from you local plumbing store, its cheap and will improve your work 10times or more.

The only down side to flux is the requirement of cleaning. Most decent fluxes are caustic and if left unclean will eat copper like an a500+ mobo battery... or Michael Moore looking for a hotdog!... so CLEANING is improtant.. even if its just washing with soap and water.. you must remove ALL traces of flux...

I use and electric tooth brush and diluted car screen wash =D

Zetr0
11th December 2009, 04:47
I think now beginneth the lessons =)


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I_NU2ruzyc4

This is great Youtube for soldering, have a look for Curious Inventor as well.

there is only 2 points I will add..

1. NEVER use a damp sponge... instead use a metal scouring pad.. and dab the tip of the iron in that.

2. Remember the smaller the gauge of solder the less flux in the core it has. at the pitch that I have suggested you will need to add more.

3. Liquid flux has a very low evaporating point.. ( a little over 230c) with most through hole components to get the right heat you will be needing about 260c, this is why I suggest the use of paste.

But this tut, is a great start =)

Zetr0
11th December 2009, 04:49
eventually.... one day -


T862++ IRDA REWORK SOLDER/DESOLDER STATION $515
http://i.ebayimg.com/21/%21B%284zBqQCGk%7E$%28KGrHgoOKi0EjlLmWv+IBKemRZcpjg%7E%7E_12.JPG


[swoon.... :inlove: :inlove: :inlove: :inlove: :inlove:]

MagerValp
11th December 2009, 07:13
Goddamn Z, that one needs an NSFW tag!

Merlin
11th December 2009, 08:50
Just to add a couple of caveats to Zetr0's comments...this is an ideal repository for the wisdom of the l33t......

More Watts is good - feel the powah!!

Not necessarily. Most cheap irons are around 25 watts which can vaporise small tracks or SMD (Soldering of Mass Destruction :lol:) devices. For the smaller stuff, a 12 to 15 Watt iron is plenty. If you get a fine needle tip with a rounded end for it, it will cover you for most small jobs, right down to soldering 30 AWG wire onto chip legs.

Buy a decent branded iron

I swear by Antex irons, they are the mutt's nuts as far as i am concerned. Over time, you will find a brand that suits you, but DON'T buy a cheap one, as they rarely last very long. Antex, Weller and Iroda are all top notch brands and will serve you well.

Gas Soldering Irons

I noticed that Zetr0 didn't mention these. Gas Irons can be an extremely flexible piece of kit, in that they can be fitted with all of the usual soldering tips as well as hot knife and hot air tips and they don't have the obvious restriction of a power cable. They take a lot more getting used to than electrical irons, however, once you have the knack, you will always want one in your toolkit. With care, you can remove and replace TSOPS and SMDs with a gas iron fitted with a hot air blower. As before, always buy a decent brand, such as Iroda.

Fluxes

I totally agree with Zetr0 on this, a good flux is vital and can make or break a joint. NEVER use plumber's flux as it is too corrosive for electronics work. You should be using a good liquid or resin-based flux. Chipquik, Fluxite, and Fry's Solder Paint are all excellent one in my opinion.

Patience, my precious....

The best bit of advice I can give you is to have patience. Plan your work and have a few dummy runs with a cold iron to work out the best ways to approach the task. Take your time and don't rush things, the best work takes time to create and will be the most reliable.

Solder Pumps and Solder Wick

Sometimes, you need to remove solder and this is where these babies come into play. They both have good and bad points. A solder pump is a spring-loaded vacuum pump that sucks the solder from the surface and is best used to clear through holes on circuit boards, but it's as subtle as a brick in the face to use as it fires off.

Solder Wick is usually a copper braid impregnated with flux and it comes on a roll, and is the best for drawing solder away from legs of chips and components and tidying up surface mount chips where some of the legs have been accidentally bridged with solder (it happens to the best of us). Solder wick allows for a lot more control and finesse as to how you remove solder. In an emergency, you can knock some up with some stripped and twisted multi-core copper wire which has been dipped in flux.

I'll add more as the thread progresses.

moijk
11th December 2009, 10:52
Just to add a couple of caveats to Zetr0's comments...this is an ideal repository for the wisdom of the l33t......

I'll add more as the thread progresses.

More of this and I'll find the confidence to solder on the modchip to my xbox, been sitting on the shelf for some years now waiting for it :P

SkydivinGirl
11th December 2009, 13:52
Wow! All this excellent information! I really appreciate it Zetr0 & Merlin!

@Zetr0

I bought one of the Hakko 936 ESD Soldering Stations you suggested above. I wanted something I could grow into without outgrowing it too quick. I think this one will work well. I had already decided to go with one of the dry tip cleaners instead of the sponges. I'll drop by Radio Shack this afternoon to pick up some project boards to test my soldering and get used to the new iron.

The only question I really had about cleaning the flux off the board is how to clean underneath the chip/socket/resister/whatever. It seems like it would be near impossible to clean underneath a component when you use flux. Any information about this would be great!

I'm very excited to finally learn how to do this stuff. I almost got into electronics before I got into computers but my high school's career center only had 3 people from 4 different schools who signed up for the electronics class so it was canceled. :( Of course, the auto shop classes were overflowing! LOL!

Thanks again everyone! More information is always better, so please keep it coming.

Heather

Zetr0
11th December 2009, 14:28
And so thus.... on the 11th day.... the blue and red Wizards did battle -

=D



More Watts is good - feel the powah!!

Not necessarily. Most cheap irons are around 25 watts which can vaporise small tracks or SMD (Soldering of Mass Destruction :lol:) devices. For the smaller stuff, a 12 to 15 Watt iron is plenty. If you get a fine needle tip with a rounded end for it, it will cover you for most small jobs, right down to soldering 30 AWG wire onto chip legs.


I know exactly what you are saying, however - 12watt-15watt are ONLY good for VERY small micro welding work. the problem here is recovery time from weld, for some one at our skill level this wont be a problem, for through-hole stuff they're pretty pointless and would never have enough power to heat up the welding area.

For the beginners -

60 watt is fine, but no more than 3 seconds per through-hole weld... remember count in your head like this "....1000....2000.....3000...." and lift.

have a look at the youtube tutorial, this also explains how to protect heat sensative components.



Buy a decent branded iron

I swear by Antex irons, they are the mutt's nuts as far as i am concerned. Over time, you will find a brand that suits you, but DON'T buy a cheap one, as they rarely last very long. Antex, Weller and Iroda are all top notch brands and will serve you well.


Yes, a good quality iron / setup is worth its price, however there are a lot of good quality components from china that are both reasonable in price and construction.



Gas Soldering Irons

I noticed that Zetr0 didn't mention these. Gas Irons can be an extremely flexible piece of kit, in that they can be fitted with all of the usual soldering tips as well as hot knife and hot air tips and they don't have the obvious restriction of a power cable. They take a lot more getting used to than electrical irons, however, once you have the knack, you will always want one in your toolkit. With care, you can remove and replace TSOPS and SMDs with a gas iron fitted with a hot air blower. As before, always buy a decent brand, such as Iroda.


Gas / Butane soldering is NOT for the beginner, we are quite lucky in that our skills include GSI's, they are tricky to master and require a fair amount of practice.



Fluxes

I totally agree with Zetr0 on this, a good flux is vital and can make or break a joint. NEVER use plumber's flux as it is too corrosive for electronics work. You should be using a good liquid or resin-based flux. Chipquik, Fluxite, and Fry's Solder Paint are all excellent one in my opinion.


LOL.. I heard the revile in your words... yes you are right I should mention there are other *less caustic* flux pastes compared to copperlux (plumbers flux) paste.

Herein lies the problem, as we develop our skills we develop habits, some good, some bad. for me at least I have not found a solder dedicated flux as good as the copperlux (plumbers flux) paste that I use.

You just have to be anal in your cleaning up afterwards... which is a good habit to get into anyway..

Zetr0
11th December 2009, 14:39
The only question I really had about cleaning the flux off the board is how to clean underneath the chip/socket/resister/whatever. It seems like it would be near impossible to clean underneath a component when you use flux. Any information about this would be great!


Pending on your flux that use some will be water soluble, others will need alcohol.

Personaly I recommend using a 50/50 diliution of IPA and Water.

You can find this in pre-diluted car-screen wash, its relatively cheap so be VERY liberal, infact drop the whole item in it if you can give it a good swashing around and then place in clean water.... give it a good swashing and then leave it to dry for a few hours... an airing cupboard is good for this.

When I repair motherboards, I will use the dishwasher to clean the board after i have worked on it.

You dont need to add any cleaning agents, the dishwasher salt will do all the work for you... at 50c with NO DRYING cycle is recommended. then leave in the airing cupboard for a day (12 - 24 hours)


For little jobs, like cables / connectors I just clean the ends of flux with diluted car-screen-wash, dab it dry and when its dry enough I test... job done..

SkydivinGirl
11th December 2009, 15:46
Thanks Zetr0! It's funny thinking about putting a motherboard in the dishwasher. How much dishwasher salt should be used? I think I got the rest. :)

Heather

Flink
11th December 2009, 16:40
Masters, please, I humbly ask that you answer my quick question...

It's been a while since I soldered something, and I picked up a small board the other day. Since I had no flux, I stole my father's flux tin. It's a paste, not liquid. It worked well, but I powered the board before cleaning, and the thing is conductive! :blink: I could measure 12V on the main pin, and 7V on the nearest, 5V on the next, and so on! :blink:

Later I asked my father, and he told me this flux is better suited to solder big things, but that it is extremely corrosive. Is this the paste you refer to, Zetr0?

I've since bought a liquid flux with a small brush (looks like a girl's nail polish), and that works very well (despite my basic iron).

Now I must raid my electronics store to get decent soldering equipment... I humbly thank you Masters, for your sharing of your experience and wisdom! :bowdown:

Merlin
11th December 2009, 18:21
@ Flink

No problemo, my child.....

That conductive stuff you are using sounds like the Fry's Solder Paint I use for repairing damaged circuit tracks; you can paint it on with a small brush over a masked area just like Tippex (do people still use Tippex?), yet once heated up, it becomes a conductive track. I find it much easier to work with than a wire pen or conductive paint pen. It's fairly expensive but it's damned good stuff.

@ Zetr0

I'd best hold off from the advanced TSOP soldering and PS3 repairs using a hot air paint stripper gun just for now, until the n00bs catch up, eh?

:lol:

Zetr0
11th December 2009, 22:11
Thanks Zetr0! It's funny thinking about putting a motherboard in the dishwasher. How much dishwasher salt should be used? I think I got the rest. :)

Heather

Ahh yes I keep forgetting some of the difference in our localities. In the UK we have a nortorious hard-water issue, infact 90% of britain is buld on Limescale lol! Anyway as such our dishwashers use salt to help soften the water and add an mild abbrasive to the water itself.

To behonest, I have never changed any regularity of the salt in my dishwasher and just put it on 50c wash cycle. 30 mins later its done =D

best thing to do, would be to give it a try, note the areas of your work and inspect them closely when the wash cycle is complete, if it feels greasy or somthing of the like then perhaps a smidge (real technical term here) of washinging up liquid or detergent in and re-do the cycle.

I will say, that its wise to clean the filter trap before and after =D


@Flink

If the 20 mins of tapping out has helped then, it was worth the effort.

Most flux is caustic, by its nature it is a mild acid at best and a corrosive agent at worse. Flux when heated removed the thin - film of oxides that builds up on copper and other soldering metals. In doing this it allows the solder to atomically BOND and not just stick.

There are a few solders that are electrically conductive, not many these days but there are a couple I will have look, most are used in electro-conductive welding.

I use plumbers flux paste, although its not electrically conductive its perhaps some of the most cuastic (acidic) fluxes to use, you can get safer fluxes, but with ALL fluxes you MUST clean your work after. even if you are using thick solder and using the rosin core (which would be silly)

Now there are NO-CLEAN fluxes, these are non-caustic and some even provide a barrier after its cooled to protect the work from oxidization, however - I have found all that I have tried... useless.... unless you are low-temp soldering most just evaporate to quickly, and there use in re-work / repair is beyond pathetic.

I would advise you avoid the LACO liquid flux, I wil get its actual part number / designation but of the 3 I have here NONE of the them are any good.

Zetr0
11th December 2009, 22:12
@ Zetr0

I'd best hold off from the advanced TSOP soldering and PS3 repairs using a hot air paint stripper gun just for now, until the n00bs catch up, eh?

:lol:


Now now merly.... we were all N00bs once my friend... infact it would be interesting to see what you were like in them days... I know how much of a tenacious monster you get when something is under your skin =D

okay hints and tips time people.

Zetr0
11th December 2009, 22:31
Beginers Hints and Tips -

The following seem to work for me, I cannot guarantee that these will work for you, but you might find them handy -


1. Applicators

Soldering is a 3 hand job, since you only have 2 hands Applicators will help you - whants an applicator? well it can be near enough anything like a spool-reel-holder to a flux pen, or even a flux syringe -

I use an old ink-jet refill kit - I have modified the syringe and needle, and now I fill it with flux paste and apply it to where I need it most, in small amounts, this is truly fanastic for SMD and micro SMT based work


2. Tubs and Tubes

Keep these, you can keep small bits in them, or even use them to store cleaning solution - 30awg wire. I have a collection of empty Minto's tubs that I use for pretty much everything really lol.


3. Cable/wire strippers

when you get to 26-30Awg wire, forget cable stripers they just wont work properly, instead invest in some small baby-nail-clippers... you will need to learn the pressure required to strip the plastic, but its worth it indeed!


4. Clearning the Iron -

Use a metal scouring brush to clean you tip as you work.
http://i6.ebayimg.com/02/i/000/db/fd/0979_1.JPG
Now dont be affraid to add a little flux to the tip to aid cleaning.


5. To much heat or not enough

When you begin, you will most likely be (i hope) apprihensieve in the use of the Iron to the components - this is quite natural, but its also going to be infuriating to you as how long do you leave an iron on the component?? .. well the only tip here is put on some nice trancey-like tunes somthing like enigma or enya... this will help you both in focus and relaxation


6. Arrgh, I keep fudging it up!!!

Before you throw tools from the window in vain, remember, even the best artists took time to figure out how to draw and render - if its not going you way... then just stop... turn the iron off... go and make a coffee.. relax... drink coffee and socialize with loved ones =)... jump on your favy forums and relax... I find chillin with youtube pretty good... and remember if you are stuck youtube has lots of tutorials so kickback drink ya drink and watch the tubies =D

rkauer
11th December 2009, 22:33
To add one note to the discussion: never use vodka to clean a board! Send the bottle to me and I'll refund you with proper IPA (IsoPropyl Alcohol, or isopropanol).

Merlin
11th December 2009, 23:16
Another highly useful gadget to get hold of is called a 'Helping Hands'. Basically it's a solid cast iron base with some articulated arms and either little crocodile clips or a magnifying glass at the end of the arms; they come in different flavours depending on what you need.

You will find as you start to solder that you simply run out of hands or maybe get sick of burning your finger tips and this is where this little device comes in really handy.

Merlin
11th December 2009, 23:24
Here are some of the flux materials I mentioned earlier. Fry's Solder Paint is now called Fryolux.

Kin Hell
12th December 2009, 12:27
Fluxite R0X0rZ. :thumbsup:

Kin

Magno Boots
12th December 2009, 16:12
I like the nailclipper tip there Zetr0 :thumbsup:.
It must be better than using my teeth to strip small wires!

Let's not forget the advantage of using blu-tack to secure and hold small components whilst soldering.

I personally have had little success with the Rosin liquid flux. This seems to burn off very quickly. I have been using a wax flux for a while with great results (see pic).

One more tip.. don't use a fibreglass pen indoors unless you wear slippers!

SkydivinGirl
9th July 2014, 03:28
Digging up this old thread to both bring it to the attention of new wielders of soldering irons and because I've successfully stepped into the world of SMD soldering. Everything I've learned started in this thread thanks to the comments by the many members of AmiBay.

For my first try at such a small pitch SMD component, I think I did rather well. While not as clean looking as I'd like, I've checked and re-checked all the pins and everything looks electrically sound.

72188

Thanks to everyone who helped me get to this point. While it's definitely not the last of my soldering goals, it's a big step.

:inlove::inlove:

Heather

keropi
9th July 2014, 10:00
It looks really nice Heather , remember this is hand soldering, not some machine doing it :)

Kudos on you soldering skill level-up! :thumbsup2:

ElectroBlaster
9th July 2014, 10:46
Good old Zeets! Sage advice :D I am gaining quite a few good skills from all you guys here :D

Soldering is like an art form, once you get the nack its actually quite nice. FLUX IS IMPORTANT! END OF!

I still cannot forget walking into Maplins and having at least 3 of their staff insist you do not need flux lol... I just thought WTH? I wanted a pen, liquid bottle and a tub of the stuff. Total waste of time going in there imho.

So now I have a cheap solder vacuum station and planning to buy a solder station to go with it. Going one step at a time though. Youtube has been great for this sorta thing :)

- - - Updated - - -


Digging up this old thread to both bring it to the attention of new wielders of soldering irons and because I've successfully stepped into the world of SMD soldering. Everything I've learned started in this thread thanks to the comments by the many members of AmiBay.

For my first try at such a small pitch SMD component, I think I did rather well. While not as clean looking as I'd like, I've checked and re-checked all the pins and everything looks electrically sound.

72188

Thanks to everyone who helped me get to this point. While it's definitely not the last of my soldering goals, it's a big step.

:inlove::inlove:

Heather

Spot on! Excellent work. I will be attempting this sort of thing sometime in the future :)

protek
9th July 2014, 10:56
Very nice work there, Heather! :)

Did you use a hot air rework station and solder paste or just an iron with lots of flux?

By the way, where can you find no clean flux that has vaseline-like consistency? I only have the clean afterwards type of variety and the no clean stuff is liquid.

plazma
9th July 2014, 12:23
By the way, where can you find no clean flux that has vaseline-like consistency? I only have the clean afterwards type of variety and the no clean stuff is liquid.

I have to check what brand I use. It got the vaseline-like consistency. It's hard to burn this flux. It evaporates and leaves no residue if used properly.

SkydivinGirl
9th July 2014, 14:06
Kudos on you soldering skill level-up! :thumbsup2:
Thanks Leo! I was certainly nervous with this one, but it turned out well. As with anything, I'll get better as I do more. :D


Spot on! Excellent work. I will be attempting this sort of thing sometime in the future :)
Lots of flux, time and patience. It took me quite a while to do this last night, but my patience paid off.


Did you use a hot air rework station and solder paste or just an iron with lots of flux?
I used an iron with lots of flux. I think I could have used a little more flux than I did, but I'll dial that in as I do more. I used a water soluble liquid flux pen (http://www.mouser.com/ProductDetail/Kester/83-1097-2331/?qs=sGAEpiMZZMtVjQNhW0kfZmu6DsCYUfLIVUfX1E%252bJVpY%3d) that cleaned up nicely after I was done. I have a bottle of flux that I have used in the past that leaves a very sticky, difficult to clean mess so I'm glad I found an alternative. Let me know if you find the kind you are looking for as it may not dry out as fast.

Heather

Allen1
9th July 2014, 17:32
A very nice piece of soldering there Heather and especially so as its been done by hand :thumbsup:

I have just sent off for some of the flux that Magno Boots mentioned to give it a go next time I attempt to solder any kit form project. This could have been handy when I built the 2MB memory board that I bought here a year or two back, those surface mount memory chips may have been easier to tack down using that kind of flux (well worth trying for the price).

Merlin
9th July 2014, 20:10
Achievement unlocked. :thumbsup:

SkydivinGirl
9th July 2014, 20:25
A very nice piece of soldering there Heather and especially so as its been done by hand :thumbsup:
Thanks Allen! I'm excited about doing some more. :D


Achievement unlocked. :thumbsup:
LOL! If only we had skill badges, like those that Adafruit sells (http://www.adafruit.com/category/70).

Heather