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Guide: The Art of Soldering

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#26
I was wondering if anyone has any (good or bad) experience with this:
http://www.thinkgeek.com/gadgets/tools/69d3/
The ColdHeat soldering tool.
I had one.. They are nice, but mine didnt last very long.
While soldering, the solder on the small power switch melted, causing the wires to come loose and shorting out the unit.
Kinda ironic, i think.
 
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#27
http://www.cooperhandtools.com/brands/CF_Files/model_detail.cfm?upc=037103191311

That is the bare minimum to do any sort of board work. Radioshack irons are worthless. I have the wes51 and I've had the same tip on it for 3 years. It'll reach operating temp in about 30 seconds and maintain tip temp as long as it's on. The Radioshack type irons are not stable. Any tech is only as good as his/her tools. If you can't solder with a Radioshack iron, and do things like burn the flux off before the solder flows the joint or even fry traces right off the pcb, it could be because your pos Radioshack iron is 800+ deg.

EDIT - Coldheat is worthless btw.
 
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#28
http://www.cooperhandtools.com/brands/CF_Files/model_detail.cfm?upc=037103191311

That is the bare minimum to do any sort of board work. Radioshack irons are worthless. I have the wes51 and I've had the same tip on it for 3 years. It'll reach operating temp in about 30 seconds and maintain tip temp as long as it's on. The Radioshack type irons are not stable. Any tech is only as good as his/her tools. If you can't solder with a Radioshack iron, and do things like burn the flux off before the solder flows the joint or even fry traces right off the pcb, it could be because your pos Radioshack iron is 800+ deg.

EDIT - Coldheat is worthless btw.
Good to hear. I'm planning on getting soldering stuff sometime and I know that the one you linked is simply quality stuff. I was just wondering whether that Coldheat tool was any good.
 
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#29
Help???

Hi, I need some advice in soldering leds into a flex circuit from a Thermaltake case fan.


I am replacing all my fan leds with a different color. I have already soldered my fans with the regular +- wires. But this fan (above pic) uses a flex circuit board and I don't have any experience with this.:confused:


Q: How do I go about replacing these leds? ( I don't want to guess and end up melting through the belt).
 
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#30
The repair should be done quickly to avoid melting the tape. Reflow the joint by heating and adding fresh solder. The new flux from the solder will help it flow more quickly. Do that to all of them first then go back and desolder the LEDs. Personally I fold desoldering wick over the tip of my iron and work it around the joint. This way you can almost tap it around the terminal removing all the solder without having to apply too much heat. This is one situation where that Radioshack iron can do some damage.

$.02
 

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#31
Dont forget to use a soldering paste all the time if you`re soldering, I used soldering paste all the time, from testing if the soldering tip is hot enough (I dip it to see if its hot enough) if the tip is hot enough (I dip again) before and after the soldering (I dip it) :laugh: Now you can compare it to the manufacturer soldered points, You`re soldering joints will be shinier and sexier than the factory solderjoints (more durable and not easily cracked):cool:
 
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#32
I NEVER use soldering paste unless I'm soldering copper pipe or a radiator and even then the paste I use is acid core which should NEVER be used on electronics. Rosin flux is the paste you would use for electronics.

Flux core solder has more then enough flux to make a quality joint. I've been working with electronics for 25 years and there's no need for paste. I think I used it back when I was 5 years old and didn't learn to solder yet. =)
 
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#33
VERY NICE GUIDE
Thanks
 

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#34
I NEVER use soldering paste unless I'm soldering copper pipe or a radiator and even then the paste I use is acid core which should NEVER be used on electronics. Rosin flux is the paste you would use for electronics.

Flux core solder has more then enough flux to make a quality joint. I've been working with electronics for 25 years and there's no need for paste. I think I used it back when I was 5 years old and didn't learn to solder yet. =)
I have a longer experience too on electronics, since high school up to now:) ived used soldering paste since day one sir, from simple circuit projects to radars and communication equipments:)
 
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#35
I have a longer experience too on electronics, since high school up to now:) ived used soldering paste since day one sir, from simple circuit projects to radars and communication equipments:)
Then I'm sorry you havent learned to solder by now. :D
 

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#36
Then I'm sorry you havent learned to solder by now. :D

maybe:rolleyes: for me i always aim for perfection specially in soldering;) as much as possible nicer than the manufacturer`s solder joints, and you cant beat the manufacturer`s solder joints if you dont use soldering paste IMO:rolleyes:
 
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#37
thanks man, hit it home here...good tut :)
 
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#38
maybe:rolleyes: for me i always aim for perfection specially in soldering;) as much as possible nicer than the manufacturer`s solder joints, and you cant beat the manufacturer`s solder joints if you dont use soldering paste IMO:rolleyes:
What brand of solder are you using? It makes a huge difference. The other reason I like to stay away from paste is it can cause trapped pockets of paste to boil leaving cavities in the joints. I work with boards that carry 1000a loads. Any poor connections like to pop like fuses. Fun to watch when load testing. :D
 

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#39
What brand of solder are you using? It makes a huge difference. The other reason I like to stay away from paste is it can cause trapped pockets of paste to boil leaving cavities in the joints. I work with boards that carry 1000a loads. Any poor connections like to pop like fuses. Fun to watch when load testing. :D
Im using an ordinary 80 Watt soldering iron with a long life tip on all my soldering jobs, and im using hot air soldering station on all my surface mount IC remove and install, I can even install an LED backlight on a cellphone using the 80 watt iron back in the days where cellphones are still black & white:laugh:, speaking of precise estimate of the melting point of the soldered joints, its really impossible for me to do it without the paste, I use soldering paste to have an idea on how hot my tip is and estimate the tip`s hotness depending on what im soldering at the same time polished solder joints without overmelting the parts or damaging the parts i soldered and improving heat transfer from the tip to the solder joints, even manufacturers use paste in assembling their circuit products:toast:

Note: you need to have a long life tip to have a better soldering jobs,
ordinary tips tends to overburn thus building carbon deposits on
the tip itself, then poor heat transfer, my soldering iron only cost
$8 and the long life tip cost $20:laugh: but the finished soldered
joints are more nicer, looks shinnier, I know how manufactrurers
soldered thier circuits;) a 3 second job for the entire circuit, that`s
why i can say that soldering with paste makes more quality and
more durable than the manufacturers:toast:
 
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#40
Im using an ordinary 80 Watt soldering iron with a long life tip on all my soldering jobs, and im using hot air soldering station on all my surface mount IC remove and install, I can even install an LED backlight on a cellphone using the 80 watt iron back in the days where cellphones are still black & white:laugh:, speaking of precise estimate of the melting point of the soldered joints, its really impossible for me to do it without the paste, I use soldering paste to have an idea on how hot my tip is and estimate the tip`s hotness depending on what im soldering at the same time polished solder joints without overmelting the parts or damaging the parts i soldered and improving heat transfer from the tip to the solder joints, even manufacturers use paste in assembling their circuit products:toast:

Note: you need to have a long life tip to have a better soldering jobs,
ordinary tips tends to overburn thus building carbon deposits on
the tip itself, then poor heat transfer, my soldering iron only cost
$8 and the long life tip cost $20:laugh: but the finished soldered
joints are more nicer, looks shinnier, I know how manufactrurers
soldered thier circuits;) a 3 second job for the entire circuit, that`s
why i can say that soldering with paste makes more quality and
more durable than the manufacturers:toast:

80w? :eek: maybe thats why. You can solder radiators with that. I do most my PCB work with 15-20w. 650deg tip thermally controlled. 80w will vaporise the flux in flux-core before it has any time to work. That's probably the issue. A thermally controlled soldering iron/station typically run $99 and up. My tips are $8 and I've used the same one for about 7 years now. lol I don't know what their made of or plated with but they last a hell of a long time.
 
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#41
Hi,
I new to electronics world.I do soldering perfect for my circuit.But I get it here and it helps me to improve my technique.I have faced problem with overheating of circuit of monitor.Problem caused removal of soldering.
 
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#43
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#45
And if I want to solder/desolder SMD components, would a hot air station be the best solution?
 
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#46
80W can easily damage circuit boards and destroy components, unless that iron is temperature controlled, in which case it should be suitable for everything, even lead-free solder and 6-layer boards. Apparently Radio Shack is closing out a 70W temperature-controlled soldering station for just $40, making it a great bargain, but it can be hard to find.

Hot air irons and rework stations are great for surface mount soldering.and even through-hole soldering.
 
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#47
How about the use of a "tip activator"? Never tested one. Going to get one at the end of this month.
 
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#48
Well my five cents... 80W are tooo much... and if you are planing to solder something on motherboards etc... you will need a preheater owen from below, otherwise it is quite of failure of a task.

And... hot air gun also is good option... especially for transistor soldering etc...

Third... always use Pb containing solder for repair works, as it has a lower melting point temperature.

And use some proper soldering flux!!


 
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#49
Great writeup! Having to solder thousands of components a week- Just wanted to offer up a few recommendations that are affordable and can help with this thread
- I have owned a LOT of soldering stations, this unit combined with an LF-16D tip (tip good for most all basic TH work) is the best station I have found for most applications. Unit heats up in about 10 seconds to solder. Tips are quick change and handle to tip end is nice and tight offering better control. If cleaned properly, and with good solder, tips last tens of thousands of solder joints. And tons of tips to choose from
http://www.circuitspecialists.com/soldering-system-bk3000lf.html

I also have this unit as a backup which is cheaper and performs identicle / uses the same tips
http://www.circuitspecialists.com/lead-free-soldering-station.html
Some will question the lead free designation - that just means it is certified for it can be used either way

- For solder, once again I have tried so many, many types from exotic to rat shack. A basic no clean .031 like MG chemicals works for most applications and flux is not terribly bad for normal colored PCB's. Also does not turn acidic over time. However what I recommend if you like clean work is Kester 331 .031. Flux is water soluble which means you can use distilled water and a scrub brush to clean. Your joints will turn out like fine chrome and they will stay that way period. Also in high temp applications, I have not noticed any degradation or solder rot even after years of use. Last, for SMD, I use kester R500 which is just a paste version of 331 / can buy in a handy tube and again cleanup is a snap. I personally cannot stand any lead-free that I have ever tried so cannot recommend any for the DIY crowd.
 
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