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Old 08-30-2009, 09:03 PM   #1
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Default Soldering Irons

I'm not sure if this is the right place to post this, but I'm working on an on road car, here it goes. I was trying to solder up my Tekin RS system tonight and was having lousy luck. I'm not a soldering master, but I know a bad solder joint when I see one. I only have a 60 watt Weller unit, that just didn't seem up to the task. When trying to solder the cap on the posts of the ESC I had a hard time getting the solder to flow. The joints were dull and lumpy. I'm thinking 60 watts is not enough, plus the tip on the iron was more of a pencil tip then a chisle point. I'm thinking about getting a higher wattage unit, like 80-90 does that seem reasonable? Should I go for higher still? My local Frys has a Hakko soldering gun that goes to 130 watts. That seems kinda excessive, or is it? Is an Iron better then a gun?
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Old 08-30-2009, 09:11 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by MonkeyFist View Post
I'm not sure if this is the right place to post this, but I'm working on an on road car, here it goes. I was trying to solder up my Tekin RS system tonight and was having lousy luck. I'm not a soldering master, but I know a bad solder joint when I see one. I only have a 60 watt Weller unit, that just didn't seem up to the task. When trying to solder the cap on the posts of the ESC I had a hard time getting the solder to flow. The joints were dull and lumpy. I'm thinking 60 watts is not enough, plus the tip on the iron was more of a pencil tip then a chisle point. I'm thinking about getting a higher wattage unit, like 80-90 does that seem reasonable? Should I go for higher still? My local Frys has a Hakko soldering gun that goes to 130 watts. That seems kinda excessive, or is it? Is an Iron better then a gun?
I just used a 230 watt to do battery bars. It's nice to be able to heat things up quick because if you're waiting for the solder to melt, you're transferring all that heat to what you're working on while you're waiting. Better to heat it up quick and get it over with.

For wires, the 60 watt is enough for small gauge wires, but I'd rather use something hotter for battery wires. Guns aren't always more powerful than irons, but most of the time that is the case.

Oh yeah, a few tips: Don't be afraid to use solder to transmit heat -- the top of my battery bars have some extra solder on them because I use the trick of "connecting" my gun to the battery bar for heat transfer via some solder. Also, when you have your gun or iron applied, it is getting colder -- if you're having trouble getting hot enough, pull the iron or gun off and let it heat up again.
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Old 08-30-2009, 09:21 PM   #3
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The posts on the ESC are pretty hefty, and I'm soldering 12 gauge wire onto it. I think it's time to get something a bit more juice to it. I had a hard time tinning the wires even. I think the combo of low wattage and wrong tip was too much.
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Old 08-30-2009, 09:24 PM   #4
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The posts on the ESC are pretty hefty, and I'm soldering 12 gauge wire onto it. I think it's time to get something a bit more juice to it. I had a hard time tinning the wires even. I think the combo of low wattage and wrong tip was too much.
Try cleaning the tip when hot by moistening (ie, spitting) a paper towel doubled over a few times and lightly wiping the tip. if that doesn't make it shine, might be time to try some sand paper to remove excess carbon. Keeping it clean is key to transferring heat.
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Old 08-30-2009, 09:28 PM   #5
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I had a damp sponge to clean the tip, but I didn't try sanding it. The tip seemed nice, but the joints just seemed terrible.
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Old 08-30-2009, 09:49 PM   #6
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I use a cheapo 60 watt and it's great. I've soldered 3 RS esc's in the last few weks no problem. Make sure you clean the surface you are going to tin, and heat it up well before putting the solder on.
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Old 08-30-2009, 09:56 PM   #7
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I bought the 400 watt professional with the built in light from Sears. It was only $50 and heats up like NO other.
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Old 08-30-2009, 10:00 PM   #8
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replaced your tip 60 watts should be plenty for that application I have a weller industrial type soldering unit and i got 4 different tips fron pencil type to chisel looking tip I am using the pencil on on a circuit board type and small switches and the chisel one is for heavier application like 12 gauge wet noodle to esc or deans. You can get it from fry's electronics or mom and pop electronic store or may be radio shack.
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Old 08-30-2009, 10:12 PM   #9
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I'll stop by Frys after work and see what they have. First I'll try a new tip if that doesn't help I'll try a new Iron.
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Old 08-31-2009, 12:15 AM   #10
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You're on the right track Monkeyfist. A good chisel tip will do it. Make sure it's clean though.
Sometimes bars, posts, etc have a protective coating on them that needs to be cleaned beforehand. Heating them does the trick but if there are componding factors such as a dirty iron tip and so on, it may be too much in the end. A bit of industrial alcohol should be enough. Some people add flux beforehand on the things they want to solder and then come witht he iron and solder. A good idea also is to tin all things to be joined together before actually joning them. that way, when it commes to join all you need to heat up is the solder on both parts, not the wires, posts, etc.

I use an el cheapo no name brand 80 watt iron and it does anything I want, including batteries. The tip is always kept clean of oxides/carbon by using the wet sponge method. if it gets really bad and the sponge doesn't do it anymore, I just sand away the crusty deposits and then tin the tip again.

About soldering the capacitor (and more generally speaking small wires) to posts/wires, etc of heavier gauge. I prefer to first solder the heavy gauge stuff, let it cool enough that it won't come off and then with just a brief application of heat I attach the little wires/capacitor terminals/etc. Going the other way (thin wires first), you might actually unsolder the thinner wires before the heavy ones get stuck in simply because of the amount of heat you need to apply to solder the heavier wires.

With the Tekin speedy posts, I tin the heavy gauge wire terminals then flatten them in a vice until they fit in the little slots in the posts, trim a bit so they don't extend outside the posts too much, then solder them in there. I think that gives a better contact and mechanical strength. The capacitor I just attached with a couple of touches on the outside of the solder joints. You shouldn't need more than a few seconds of heat application to accomplish this. Neat and effective.
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Old 08-31-2009, 08:31 AM   #11
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If you have a hobby lobby craft store, they carry a nice 100 watt iron for stained glass for about $20. Works great for the big soldering jobs like speed controls and batteries. Am on my 3rd tip on mine now. new tip is $7.

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Old 08-31-2009, 09:24 AM   #12
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I just bought an LRP soldering station a few days ago and all I can say its very good and happy with it. I ve never enjoy so much soldering job before I have this one.
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Old 08-31-2009, 09:32 AM   #13
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If you have a hobby lobby craft store, they carry a nice 100 watt iron for stained glass for about $20. Works great for the big soldering jobs like speed controls and batteries. Am on my 3rd tip on mine now. new tip is $7.

john
Soldering is an art. Tinning of iron and parts to be soldered( post & wire). 60 watt irod is high enough, I actually use 30-40 watt iron. Smaller gauge wire, like 12ga to simple, larger gauge its just the way you do it in tinning the work. Shouldn't take you more the than a second.

Practice soldering on a metal coat hanger. Take bottom of coat hanger, cut out. Make two peices, sand them off if a paint hanger, Twist two parts together, and attempt to solder. This will teach you to tranfer heat, and melt the solder, not by applying solder to the iron, but on tinned work. Tinned work is alot easier to solder by touching the work. Alot easier then you really think!!

Good luck!! Learned my soldering technique by doing component level circuit board, (avionics in Navy).
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Old 08-31-2009, 10:18 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MonkeyFist View Post
I only have a 60 watt Weller unit, that just didn't seem up to the task. When trying to solder the cap on the posts of the ESC I had a hard time getting the solder to flow. The joints were dull and lumpy. I'm thinking 60 watts is not enough, plus the tip on the iron was more of a pencil tip then a chisle point.
I have the exact same 60watt weller soldering iron that I got from home depot I think, and it works PERFECTLY. The key, is to toss that pencil tip, and put on a new chissle tip. Also, make sure you are using quality 60/40 rosin core solder. If you are using lead free solder, you will struggle.

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Is an Iron better then a gun?
Yep. My 60 watt weller gets hotter than my 250 watt gun.
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Old 08-31-2009, 10:39 AM   #15
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Yep. My 60 watt weller gets hotter than my 250 watt gun.
Yeah, but I bet your iron doesn't get above 1000F in less than 10 seconds. That's why I hate wattage ratings on guns/irons -- they need temperature ratings. You can heat a tip up real hot with low wattage... OR it could absolutely suck.
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