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How to solder correctly (a not so brief lesson)

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How to solder correctly (a not so brief lesson)

Old 05-11-2010, 04:54 AM
  #151  
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My old Archer solder is quite old and works fine, but it's a very small "gauge" of solder. You are making sure there's a little solder on your tip as you heat the wire then feed in the solder right?
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Old 05-11-2010, 09:26 AM
  #152  
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Marine6680,

Thanks for taking the time to share your knowledge. I have been soldering for quite a while and within the last week or so I started wondering if there were any tips or tricks that I was missing since no one ever taught me, I just started going for it. After reading your post I feel more confident with my skills and definitely have to change a few bad habits. . Once again thanks for taking the time, subscribed.
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Old 05-11-2010, 02:38 PM
  #153  
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Weird. I did a search for soldering tips about 2 weeks ago and this did not turn up.

I had to switch from craptastic Losi mini connectors for my batts and Mini-T and mini crawler. So I jumped right in. I got a soldering iron from the 1970's that my pops had laying around at his pad. Grabbed some solder from HD and away I went.

First tested out doing some TRX plugs from an old nimh batt I had laying around. Burned my finger, dropped hot solder on to my Chuck Taylors, bent a plug and pretty much destroyed all that I tried to solder together... I did manage to stick the roll of solder to the traxxas plug before I quit for the day!

2nd attempt pretty much went the same way except I did not solder the roll to the plug I did however switch from trying to do TRX to Deans for my Mini vehicles. I'll keep everything on the 1/10th side TRX I guess.

3rd attempt... I was introduced to a little something called "pre-tinning". For you solder novices like my dumb azz this basically means putting solder on each of the things you want to solder together. What you then do is just pre-tin then put the two objects together and solder away. Sweet.

Now my soldering jobs look like globs of soggy cereal but I did it and I did it all on my own Sweet! Lesson here: try it out. be patient. practice practice practice. AND PRE-TIN

I gotta post up a pic up of my handy work. You'll all get a kick out of it! My signature move is melting the red plastic and shrink tubing together into one glob!

PS. Subscribed
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Old 05-16-2010, 11:56 AM
  #154  
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Thank you for the guide, I bought a Hakko 936 to replace my craptastic RatShack irons, used it for the first time yesterday and holy cow it's soooo much easier to solder. I waited to order the Kester solder and I'm glad I did, it melts and flows so much better than any crap I'd used before, plus it doesn't gunk up the tip like crap solder does and tins the tip oh so nice. If not for your guide, I'd be soldering like crap, thanks again marine6680.
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Old 05-16-2010, 12:24 PM
  #155  
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Just surfing around and found a Weller, which is the brand I believe I had back in my Navy days (1989-1995). This seems like a great deal, had I not just spent $11 at Radioshack, I might have bought this one http://www.wellersolderingstation.ne...ourselfer.html
I also recommend a solder sucker, or desoldering tool. It's spring loaded and sucks up the hot solder you're removing if you don't already have one.
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Old 05-17-2010, 02:24 AM
  #156  
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Originally Posted by Redlinez
Just surfing around and found a Weller, which is the brand I believe I had back in my Navy days (1989-1995). This seems like a great deal, had I not just spent $11 at Radioshack, I might have bought this one http://www.wellersolderingstation.ne...ourselfer.html
I also recommend a solder sucker, or desoldering tool. It's spring loaded and sucks up the hot solder you're removing if you don't already have one.
That might be a good mid range Iron. I have used their pro models, and they work well, but the lower end pro model hakko is cheaper than weller's low end pro models.

Originally Posted by Pointy71
I actually changed the tip already. The solder went on the tip nicely but (again) refused to get on the plug or wire in a fluid way. I'm starting to think my flux is the problem. It's a rather large bottle and I've been using it as long as I can remember (10 years?). Could that be an issue; flux past "due date"?
Flux that old could be an issue. Try fresh RMA type flux and a good 63/37 or 60/40 lead solder. If you still have issues, maybe a new iron as well; it may be getting weak from age and use. They do wear out, so most very high end models can be repaired, but the hobby grade ones are just as cheap to replace the whole thing. (the hakko iron handle costs $60 by itself) Also, make sure you put a small amount of solder on the iron tip before you touch it to the plug, that drop of solder helps heat to flow quicker.

PS. I have been relying on RC tech to email me when I get a reply here, and it has been failing it seems. I have not been to the site lately due to money issues forcing me out of the hobby for right now; though I do not want to abandon you guys. I wrote this guide and I want to support those who need help. RCtech will email me when I get a private message, so send one my way if you don't hear from me on this thread after a day or so and you need help. I do try to pop in here every few weeks just to check. I will also update the original post if anything gets brought up in here I think I need to touch on in the guide.

Last edited by marine6680; 05-17-2010 at 02:44 AM.
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Old 05-17-2010, 02:36 AM
  #157  
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Originally Posted by el_Fernando
Weird. I did a search for soldering tips about 2 weeks ago and this did not turn up.

I gotta post up a pic up of my handy work. You'll all get a kick out of it! My signature move is melting the red plastic and shrink tubing together into one glob!

PS. Subscribed
I haven't bumped the thread in a while, though it should turn up in search, so very odd.

I am glad you are all finding this useful. And thanks/your welcome to everyone offering kind words.

Pictures of that nature may make my brain implode...
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Old 06-09-2010, 05:27 AM
  #158  
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Default Thanks for this! And a question..

Hi Marine,

Thanks!

Very self less of you to have gone to such long lengths and posted this. I also liked the whole approach to your post! Making clear up-front why someone should listen to you - was a gem

And then the whole format - summary followed by details - then pictures - all very nicely done -with a lot of "heart".

I am NOT into RC. I just registered to thank you and ask you a question.

I was trying my hand at electronics and just couldn't get good soldering done. I was trying "free-forming" - soldering components directly on to IC sockets. (This was for small robots).

The whole thing looked ugly - I had solder blobs and it all looked very untidy and weak. I searched for tips and stumbled on your post.

So thanks again. I learnt so much - probably everything there is to know about soldering.

I guess its practising this now - that will make me good. The "fundamentals" are up here.

So here are my questions - please spare some time - and help:
- After reading your post - I went home - stuck a IC socket into a general purpose PCB and began to solder
- Gun tip was cleaned and tinned.
- I held the tip BEHIND the IC socket's pin, applied the solder in front and waited for the solder to melt and form the joint
- I counted more than 10 seconds and still no melting!
- I then took the solder and now applied BETWEEN the gun tip and IC pim.
- NOW it melts and forms - what I feel a good joint. Concave.
- I even applied reasonable amount flux in more attempts. Still couldn't do it under 6 secs.
- Would take more than 10-15 secs even. Seemed like a long time - pressing and pressing and waiting.

So - I have violated the 6 sec rule. And I think not done properly - it should have melted from the heat when applied from behind the IC pin.


Question is: Could this be attributed to the quality of solder? Or the gun tip?

My previous soldering attempts - I have kept the gun on for more than an hour Now that I read your post - I know thats a sin. But I did it earlier - could that have damaged the tip?

What color should the solder tip be? Mine is drak grey. Its not shiny. Shoiuld it be?

Should I file or sand-paper the tip? Will that damage the nickel plating? (Wow - I learnt so much from your post - didn't I )

I use a Goot (Japanese) soldering gun 30 Watts.

Once again Marine thanks for your time.

regards Rajesh
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Old 06-12-2010, 05:27 PM
  #159  
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Originally Posted by rajeshs
Hi Marine,

Thanks!

Very self less of you to have gone to such long lengths and posted this. I also liked the whole approach to your post! Making clear up-front why someone should listen to you - was a gem

Question is: Could this be attributed to the quality of solder? Or the gun tip?

My previous soldering attempts - I have kept the gun on for more than an hour Now that I read your post - I know thats a sin. But I did it earlier - could that have damaged the tip?

What color should the solder tip be? Mine is drak grey. Its not shiny. Shoiuld it be?

Should I file or sand-paper the tip? Will that damage the nickel plating? (Wow - I learnt so much from your post - didn't I )

I use a Goot (Japanese) soldering gun 30 Watts.

Once again Marine thanks for your time.

regards Rajesh
Thanks for the complement

Solder color should be shiny, unless it is lead free solder; it tends to be duller in looks when used.

No sandpaper, it can help clean the tip, but after a short while, the tip will be ruined. (the more sanding done the faster this happens, if you see copper when sanding, you have just minutes) You could use it as a last resort effort to do a quick solder job, but then the tip will need replaced. The tip should be clean and shiny, not pitted, covered in black gunk, or discolored; if you can't get it back to clean and silvery shiny, then replace it.

The soldering your doing is even more sensitive to heat. R/C can get away with some breakage of the 6 second rule for things like bullet connectors and plugs.

What type of solder are you using, what is your temperature set to? Lead free needs more heat and more time to melt and flow. If using lead solder and good flux, 650*F should do the trick, but 700 degrees may be needed sometimes. Lead free solder needs about 50* more on average.

Is the solder older, the flux? You should not be having that much difficulty with PCB soldering. Is the flux RMA type or at least rosin based? Did you try putting a small amount of solder on the tip before attempting to solder the connection? That small amount of melted solder will spread out and increase the surface area when it touches the part; this helps heat flow better.

Try a bigger tip in the iron, but not too big, experiment with different ones and see what you work best with. As far as changing up the technique, (solder between the tip and component) just remember sometimes you must bend a rule on occasion; bending one rule a bit in order to follow the rest, and/or do a good job/just get it to work. This is where experience pays off, you learn what to look for and how to read a situation.
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Old 06-17-2010, 06:10 AM
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Thanks - for replying.

Well you are right The tip was covered with black sticky kind of coating.

I got a new replacement tip and I feel like I got off a bicycle and sat in a Mustang!!!!!!!

It solders under 2 secs. Infact now it heats up the wires so fast that I sometimes melt a previously soldered connection that is near by (if the same wire is running between them).

So I am having to learn to - first let the previous solder cool. Then solder the next connection and be quick about it!

Oh by-the-way After I had asked you about sanding and filing the tip and hadn't heard from you for a couple of days - I actually went ahead and did it!!!

And yes - I damaged the tip But I learnt from this experience.

What I am trying to learn now is - applying the heat to the component and the solder to the component. Occassionally am getting the solder all stuck up on the tip! and nothing on the component.

I hope I am done bothering you Thanks for the detailed post - I guess I am good to go on my own now.
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Old 06-17-2010, 08:50 AM
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Originally Posted by rajeshs
Thanks - for replying.

Well you are right The tip was covered with black sticky kind of coating.

I got a new replacement tip and I feel like I got off a bicycle and sat in a Mustang!!!!!!!

It solders under 2 secs. Infact now it heats up the wires so fast that I sometimes melt a previously soldered connection that is near by (if the same wire is running between them).

So I am having to learn to - first let the previous solder cool. Then solder the next connection and be quick about it!

Oh by-the-way After I had asked you about sanding and filing the tip and hadn't heard from you for a couple of days - I actually went ahead and did it!!!

And yes - I damaged the tip But I learnt from this experience.

What I am trying to learn now is - applying the heat to the component and the solder to the component. Occassionally am getting the solder all stuck up on the tip! and nothing on the component.

I hope I am done bothering you Thanks for the detailed post - I guess I am good to go on my own now.
Thought so, good to hear.

Just remember to let things cool if the solder joints are near each other. You can also try wrapping a piece of damp cloth or paper towel around the wire to slow heat transfer to other components.
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Old 11-11-2010, 04:09 AM
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Time for a bump, been lots of soldering questions lately.
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Old 11-11-2010, 04:27 AM
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Very good write up... and while I do TONS of soldering I still learned a trick or two from reading it... thanks for taking the time... and... happy Veterans Day!
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Old 01-03-2011, 12:34 PM
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First off let me say that this is an awesome "write up" thread!! Since I am giving up nitro and committing to electric, its time I get the tools of the trade. I think I have found the soldering station I want below. Its the Team Checkpoint TC950. I believe I read it is the same thing as the Hakko 936 but $10 cheaper. Correct? My biggest concern is I have read alot where different people recommend getting a good solder and good flux. I was wondering if anyone can suggest exact brands, and where to get them? I have looked at several big hardware stores but really didnt come up with much. Any good places online to get soldering supplies? Thanks!

http://www3.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin...?&I=LXWFJ8&P=0
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Old 01-04-2011, 04:00 AM
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Originally Posted by TheGasman
First off let me say that this is an awesome "write up" thread!! Since I am giving up nitro and committing to electric, its time I get the tools of the trade. I think I have found the soldering station I want below. Its the Team Checkpoint TC950. I believe I read it is the same thing as the Hakko 936 but $10 cheaper. Correct? My biggest concern is I have read alot where different people recommend getting a good solder and good flux. I was wondering if anyone can suggest exact brands, and where to get them? I have looked at several big hardware stores but really didnt come up with much. Any good places online to get soldering supplies? Thanks!

http://www3.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin...?&I=LXWFJ8&P=0
That is a good iron. Kester brand is one of the bigest and most common high quality solder and flux brand I know. You can find their stuff all over the internet, try amazon and ebay.

I'm guessing that unless I visit this site more regularly, it will not send me email updates on thread replies. I'm down to one R/C that is just a basher, so I'm not on here for setup tips much any more. I do want to stay on top of this thread so I can help answer questions though.
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