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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 01-25-2012, 01:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Soviet
I worked on avionics in the Marine Corps and to this day:

1. Use flux.
2. Use silver-bearing solder 62/36/2 being my favorite.
3. Always solder at about 775F, sometimes 800F.
4. Pre-flux all connections, then pre-tin, then dip in flux again and solder the connection with minimal additional solder.
5. Each iron to object connection time is less than 1/2 second.
6. 91% isopropyl alcohol cleans all flux residue squeaky clean.


ALL of my joints are hot (shiny) and ultra-strong.

Note, I use a Weller WES 51D station. Folks do a lot better buying a name-brand station / iron as opposed to re-badged 'RC' products.

http://www.amazon.com/Weller-WESD51-.../dp/B000ARU9PO
Wow 800*F... byproduct of using silver solder. It makes a good joint, I just find it overkill and harder to use overall.

Yeah the 91% works well and is cheaper... will add that info to the post.

The Trakpower is a Hakko, and Hakko is a decent brand. It is something that is reasonable in price but still good quality. Getting people to spend $150+ on an iron is difficult at best.

BTW what was your MOS, what shop did you work in?
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Old 01-25-2012, 07:54 AM
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Originally Posted by marine6680
Wow 800*F... byproduct of using silver solder. It makes a good joint, I just find it overkill and harder to use overall.

Yeah the 91% works well and is cheaper... will add that info to the post.

The Trakpower is a Hakko, and Hakko is a decent brand. It is something that is reasonable in price but still good quality. Getting people to spend $150+ on an iron is difficult at best.

BTW what was your MOS, what shop did you work in?
Yeah, I know the trackpower and others are usually Hakko. What I meant to say was that folks usually do better price-wise if they just buy the Hakko or Weller straight up without the re-badging.

My other point is that yes, you're correct to recommend the lower temp, but that once folks get more experience, they can move to high-temp methods as long as they make it QUICK! I never get pitting either, perhaps because I'm always cleaning the tip while working. That and I keep it heavily tinned when storing. (ie. at the end of a job, get a nice coating on it and shut it down...) Although, checking my iron, it's set at 775F and has been for about 2 years, so not quite 800.

Was a 6112 (CH-46 Mech) that moonlighted at times in the Avionics shop and then made it to 6172 (CH-46 Crewchief). Was at HMM-774 NAS Norfolk. MAG 42, Det B, yada, yada...
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Old 01-25-2012, 08:21 AM
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CH-46 Mech, huh. I suppose that means you were a very busy man!!! Almost as busy as those MH-53 guys!!

Rode both...not something I want to do again.......EVER!!!
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Old 01-25-2012, 09:55 AM
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Originally Posted by J. Schwarz
CH-46 Mech, huh. I suppose that means you were a very busy man!!! Almost as busy as those MH-53 guys!!

Rode both...not something I want to do again.......EVER!!!
Yeah. They used to say about the CH-46 "Never trust a helicopter under 30..."

Honestly, it's far outlived it's usefulness. I've lost 2 good friends and one NCO due to mechanical failure on 'em.

The Marines were so stubborn to get the V-22, that they passed up Congress practically begging to give them Sikorsky H-92's in the mid 1990's.

While the H-92 may not have been some all-awesome transformer of doom, it was 'good enough' and FAR superior to the '46. Getting them in 95 would of saved quite a few lives...


Fun fact: Several of the birds I crewed on in the late 90's had visible skin patches where they took enemy fire. In Vietnam...
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Old 01-26-2012, 01:04 AM
  #245  
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Originally Posted by Soviet
Yeah, I know the trackpower and others are usually Hakko. What I meant to say was that folks usually do better price-wise if they just buy the Hakko or Weller straight up without the re-badging.

My other point is that yes, you're correct to recommend the lower temp, but that once folks get more experience, they can move to high-temp methods as long as they make it QUICK! I never get pitting either, perhaps because I'm always cleaning the tip while working. That and I keep it heavily tinned when storing. (ie. at the end of a job, get a nice coating on it and shut it down...) Although, checking my iron, it's set at 775F and has been for about 2 years, so not quite 800.

Was a 6112 (CH-46 Mech) that moonlighted at times in the Avionics shop and then made it to 6172 (CH-46 Crewchief). Was at HMM-774 NAS Norfolk. MAG 42, Det B, yada, yada...
Weird thing is, the hakko was usually more expensive than the re-brand.

Yeah, I think keeping it simple and safe at first is best. Problem is, you tell someone how to do something more advanced for when they get experiance, they will try it as a newbie anyway.

I was backshop... 6423 At MALS 29

Originally Posted by Soviet
Yeah. They used to say about the CH-46 "Never trust a helicopter under 30..."

Honestly, it's far outlived it's usefulness. I've lost 2 good friends and one NCO due to mechanical failure on 'em.

The Marines were so stubborn to get the V-22, that they passed up Congress practically begging to give them Sikorsky H-92's in the mid 1990's.

While the H-92 may not have been some all-awesome transformer of doom, it was 'good enough' and FAR superior to the '46. Getting them in 95 would of saved quite a few lives...


Fun fact: Several of the birds I crewed on in the late 90's had visible skin patches where they took enemy fire. In Vietnam...
Don't forget... "If it isn't leaking, something is wrong, don't get on it."
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Old 01-26-2012, 01:48 AM
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+1 to a good thread I've seen lots of solder jobs that make me cringe.

Aircraft Electrician here, I'm now a HH-60 guy doing the CSAR thing. good to see other AVI guys in this thread
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Old 02-19-2012, 01:22 AM
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First, great instructional post! I started soldering in the mid 60's, scratch building slot car chassis. In the early 70's, I repaired pc boards as a communication tech in the Army, and I've built many a Heathkit. After a 15 year hiatus, my sons and I have returned to the hobby. I read your post because I think I've killed 3 Tekin RS esc's from too much heat. I am using a Hakko, and I was soldering at 750*-800*. I've since turned the iron down to 650*, and I might make a heat sink to clip onto the esc posts while soldering. I didn't know about using flux, and I will start in the future. While I agree heat is the number one killer of electronics, I don't know about the 6 second rule when soldering 12ga wire to esc posts... Anyway great post; a lot of useful and instructional info.
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Old 02-21-2012, 03:32 AM
  #248  
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A heat sink will help.

The 6 second rule is a rule of thumb, some devices may be more sensitive. I would think that an ESC would be a bit more robust than most, but the real small ESCs might not be. Those solder posts are fairly large in comparison, so they will hold heat and transfer it if you hold heat on too long.
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Old 03-06-2012, 05:55 AM
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I was in Target and saw a kids toy that was a bunch of rare-earth magnets in plastic rods with oversized ball bearings, Kinects or something. It was 12 bucks for what amounted to 100 or so rare-earth magnets. So I bought it.

Got home and began clipping the magnets out and doing some experimenting.

5 seconds with a 40 watt soldering iron on a button magnet will DESTROY it's magnetic field. It'll go from hard to pry off with fingers to won't hold a piece of paper to a pair of pliers.

I made a bunch of jumpers with the magnets for charging various LiIon/Lipoly batteries I have around the house. I ended up sticking the magnets to a honking big monkey wrench to heat sink it as best possible and dripping a dollop of solder on the magnet, then after pre-tinning the wire I'd melt as little of the dollop as possible to fix the wire. Then, after letting that cool down I'd hit the whole thing again till the whole solder blob spead out. I'd say I kept 90% of the original magnetic strength that way. Magnets do not like heat at all. All that chatter we hear about keeping motor temps down is some solid advice.

Small admission here. I love the smell of flux and solder. I'll solder something that really only needs a good crimp JUST to get that smell.
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Old 03-06-2012, 11:29 AM
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Its most likely my novice soldering skills, but I am having problems soldering 10 gauge wires. I can't even tin them like I do smaller gauge wires. I am using a 60/40 solder with a temp of 650, the solder melts no problem, I can never seem to get enough heat in the wire to tin it though. I am using the method of applying heat on one side of the wire, solder on the other waiting for it to heat up and pull through. I feel heat going down the wire itself, but it never seems to get hot enough to draw the solder through the 10 gauge wire.

I am only using the stock tip that came with my iron, so its just the small finely pointed one. I have two chisel type blades on order. Any help would be appreciated. What's this noob doing wrong?
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Old 03-06-2012, 08:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Schlong Connery
Its most likely my novice soldering skills, but I am having problems soldering 10 gauge wires. I can't even tin them like I do smaller gauge wires. I am using a 60/40 solder with a temp of 650, the solder melts no problem, I can never seem to get enough heat in the wire to tin it though. I am using the method of applying heat on one side of the wire, solder on the other waiting for it to heat up and pull through. I feel heat going down the wire itself, but it never seems to get hot enough to draw the solder through the 10 gauge wire.

I am only using the stock tip that came with my iron, so its just the small finely pointed one. I have two chisel type blades on order. Any help would be appreciated. What's this noob doing wrong?
10 ga wire is a LOT of wire, it's heatsinking. Going to need more energy in the system somehow. I was soldering some 12 ga the other day, Wet Noodle stuff. High quality copper stuff and the wire got almost too hot to hold about 4 inches away from the end before it would take the solder. If you can shorten the wire that might help, as it will saturate the wire and allow higher temps.
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Old 03-07-2012, 01:50 AM
  #252  
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Originally Posted by malinios
I was in Target and saw a kids toy that was a bunch of rare-earth magnets in plastic rods with oversized ball bearings, Kinects or something. It was 12 bucks for what amounted to 100 or so rare-earth magnets. So I bought it.

Got home and began clipping the magnets out and doing some experimenting.

5 seconds with a 40 watt soldering iron on a button magnet will DESTROY it's magnetic field. It'll go from hard to pry off with fingers to won't hold a piece of paper to a pair of pliers.

I made a bunch of jumpers with the magnets for charging various LiIon/Lipoly batteries I have around the house. I ended up sticking the magnets to a honking big monkey wrench to heat sink it as best possible and dripping a dollop of solder on the magnet, then after pre-tinning the wire I'd melt as little of the dollop as possible to fix the wire. Then, after letting that cool down I'd hit the whole thing again till the whole solder blob spead out. I'd say I kept 90% of the original magnetic strength that way. Magnets do not like heat at all. All that chatter we hear about keeping motor temps down is some solid advice.

Small admission here. I love the smell of flux and solder. I'll solder something that really only needs a good crimp JUST to get that smell.
Yeah, heat can really kill them.

You might want to try not sniffing the flux too much.

Originally Posted by Schlong Connery
Its most likely my novice soldering skills, but I am having problems soldering 10 gauge wires. I can't even tin them like I do smaller gauge wires. I am using a 60/40 solder with a temp of 650, the solder melts no problem, I can never seem to get enough heat in the wire to tin it though. I am using the method of applying heat on one side of the wire, solder on the other waiting for it to heat up and pull through. I feel heat going down the wire itself, but it never seems to get hot enough to draw the solder through the 10 gauge wire.

I am only using the stock tip that came with my iron, so its just the small finely pointed one. I have two chisel type blades on order. Any help would be appreciated. What's this noob doing wrong?
A bigger tip is needing for such large wire. It really does come down to tip size, you have to overpower the wires tendency to wick heat away, bigger tips can dump heat into the wire faster. With the proper tip, you can tin the wire without getting the wire more than a little warm a couple inches down.

Also try using a little solder on the tip to help carry heat into the wire as well. And flux, make sure you use enough.
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Old 03-07-2012, 02:32 AM
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Originally Posted by marine6680
Yeah, heat can really kill them.

You might want to try not sniffing the flux too much.



A bigger tip is needing for such large wire. It really does come down to tip size, you have to overpower the wires tendency to wick heat away, bigger tips can dump heat into the wire faster. With the proper tip, you can tin the wire without getting the wire more than a little warm a couple inches down.

Also try using a little solder on the tip to help carry heat into the wire as well. And flux, make sure you use enough.
+1. I switched to a larger blade tip (1 size larger than stock on a Hakko 888) after reading this article (How to solder correctly (a not so brief lesson) Plus tips and more... ), and it made a huge difference in time and ease of soldering.
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Old 03-07-2012, 05:25 AM
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Guys, Thanx for all of the replies. My new tips arrive today along with 63/37 solder.
Looking forward to trying out the larger tips. I ended up buying a Xytrnic LF-1600 soldering station and I am amazed how fast these things heat up.
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Old 03-08-2012, 05:42 PM
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Originally Posted by 1mrdad
+1. I switched to a larger blade tip (1 size larger than stock on a Hakko 888) after reading this article (How to solder correctly (a not so brief lesson) Plus tips and more... ), and it made a huge difference in time and ease of soldering.
Glad it helped.

Originally Posted by Schlong Connery
Guys, Thanx for all of the replies. My new tips arrive today along with 63/37 solder.
Looking forward to trying out the larger tips. I ended up buying a Xytrnic LF-1600 soldering station and I am amazed how fast these things heat up.
Quality irons make a difference.

Also remember that large wire sizes have a lot of air gaps. (all stranded wire does, large wire just has more) All those spaces between the wire strands, though small, resist heat flow. So as the wire size gets larger the more resistant to even heating it is.

On large wire, it can help to add solder closer to where you are holding the iron. As the solder melts and flows it fills in the gaps and helps the heat spread to the rest of the wire.
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