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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 03-08-2012, 08:25 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.
I just went up one size larger again from 1.6mm to 2.4 mm and now to 3.2mm blade tip. The 6 second rule is now a piece of cake.
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Old 03-09-2012, 11:05 AM
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Thanks for taking the time to give us this great info. I did a better job soldering this time around and realized how many mistakes I was making before. The 6 second rule is tough one with a crappy soldering Iron. I Bought the nice Hakko fx888 but didn't realize the tip is so small. The 6 second rule is even tought with a nice hakko when using such a small tip.
So I ordered up the 5.2mm wide for my next job with esc, and motors. etc...

They do carry the 63/37 solder at Frys Electronics, as well they had a paste like rosin soldering flux. Although I've not seen "RMA" anywhere FIY.

The guys at the hobby shop are always pushing the Novak silver solder which I have but put it aside as per your suggestion.

Thanks again.
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Old 03-10-2012, 11:20 PM
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Thanks for the compliments. Glad this is helping.
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Old 03-24-2012, 05:02 AM
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Updated with info for soldering to circuit boards.
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Old 05-11-2012, 03:01 PM
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I have an ESC that came with 12 gauge wire -- way too big for my application. I got some nice, flexible 16 gauge wire from TQ Racing.

Any tips/thinks to keep in mind when I replace them on the ESC? The current wire end go through the green circuit board and have a pretty good sized blob of solder on the bottom...

Will I need a solder sucker? Any other tips?
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Old 05-12-2012, 10:41 AM
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Originally Posted by btsai
I have an ESC that came with 12 gauge wire -- way too big for my application. I got some nice, flexible 16 gauge wire from TQ Racing.

Any tips/thinks to keep in mind when I replace them on the ESC? The current wire end go through the green circuit board and have a pretty good sized blob of solder on the bottom...

Will I need a solder sucker? Any other tips?
A solder sucker or some solder braid will be helpful. (add some flux to the braid end just before using, it has some on it from the factory but it dries out and stops working by the time you buy it)

You are going to need a clean, large tip to heat the wire quickly without burning the board, and keep the temp below 650*
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Old 05-12-2012, 01:06 PM
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Thanks, Marine!

(And thanks for serving our country.)
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Old 05-16-2012, 09:13 PM
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Thanx heaps marine6680

My soldering has drastically improved from your advice but Iv still got a long way to go before NASA will hire me

Cheers from the land of OZ
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Old 05-17-2012, 08:14 PM
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No problem guys, glad to help.
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Old 05-25-2012, 09:05 AM
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Nice write-up. But I kinda disagree with your view on silver solder. A good silver solder is great on delicate electronics. It makes easy beautiful connections that doesn't require much heat. Perfect for soldering pigtails to servo circuit boards, because it bonds before the wires get hot enough to start melting the insulation. I prefer these 3 types of solder: WBT 0820, Cardas Quad Eutectic, and Wonder Solder. Wonder Solder is probably the easiest to use. It can make a noob look like a pro. FYI, I use about 3 pounds of solder a year.
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Old 05-26-2012, 03:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Killer RC
Nice write-up. But I kinda disagree with your view on silver solder. A good silver solder is great on delicate electronics. It makes easy beautiful connections that doesn't require much heat. Perfect for soldering pigtails to servo circuit boards, because it bonds before the wires get hot enough to start melting the insulation. I prefer these 3 types of solder: WBT 0820, Cardas Quad Eutectic, and Wonder Solder. Wonder Solder is probably the easiest to use. It can make a noob look like a pro. FYI, I use about 3 pounds of solder a year.
Yes... and No...

The properties of all solder, like melting point, physical strength, and conductivity depends on what metals are used and the ratios of the mix. Earlier mixtures of silver solder have higher melting points, and over the past few years research into different mixtures has resulted in new versions. The Lead free rules have spurred development of new ratios and new solders.

All the ones you mentioned have lead in them BTW... but Wonder solder does have a lead free option.

The WBT solder you mentioned melts at 180*C vs 183*C for 63/37... only 3 degrees cooler. (about 5*F difference)

Wonder solder melts at 193*C so 10* hotter. (about 18*F) (and the lead free needs around 50*C more, a big jump)

Cardas has the lowest melting point of 170*C (13*C is 23.4*F so this is a difference I would call significant so I concede that this solder is better in terms of melting point and it is eutectic just like 63/37)

Some mixtures have lower melting points, others have higher, and there physical strengths vary, as well as their conductivity.

As far as conductivity... I stand by my statement that the difference is so small as to not matter in the RC world.

Conductivity of the solder depends on the same things as the melting point, the ratios of the different metals.

In the various solder ratios that contain silver that the average person will use... the difference in conductivity (measured in percent of copper's conductivity) is less than .5% to at best) a few percent difference. (3 or 4 depending on mixture) 63/37 is 11.5% and silver solder ranges between 11.9 to 16%, and most hover in the 12-13% range. That difference is too small for you to notice... BTW all the solders you mentioned are aimed at the high end audio crowd and they wouldn't notice the differences either. (just like the Monster Cables $100 6ft HDMI cord works no better than a cheap $5 6ft cord... but some just feel better using the expensive cable)

There are better conducting solders... gold solder scores higher than copper so it is better than 100%.

Indium based solders have the best conductivity other than gold. Pure Indium is 24% and Indium silver alloy is 23%... but they are designed for soldering gold connectors when purity of the connection is vital... and prepare to pay out the rear for it... over $100 for 3ft of it is the best price I have seen. (there is a company called Indium Corp that sells all types of solder, so don't think that roll of $50 solder they sell is Indium based)

The solders you mentioned are costly, here are their prices. (based on what I could find)...

The cheapest US source for WBT 0820 was $300 per pound (sold in .5lb rolls, so two $165 rolls to make a pound... found it from a seller in England on ebay for $170 per pound)

Wonder solder was $50 per pound.

Cardas Quad was $135 per pound. (sold in .2lb rolls at $27)

You go through 3lb of solder a year... I noticed you make RC parts/electronics according to your website.

At $25-30 per pound, I would consider switching to the 63/37 for cost savings over the solders you mentioned. Kester brand with 44 rosin core (their RMA) is a good choice, Indium Corp makes some as well for the same price range.

Seriously, give 63/37 a try, if you have never used it, it will probably surprise you... I would bet it is just as easy to use as the ones you mentioned. Of all the types of solder I have tried, it was the easiest to use, and makes better connections the most other solders.

Other than the significant cost savings it provides... The electrical properties are not much different than silver solders, and the melting point as I shown is better than two of your options, and practically the same as the third. The cheapest you mentioned needs a good deal more heat like I said. And it probably is just as easy to use as they are too.

Edit: Fixed some typos

Last edited by marine6680; 05-26-2012 at 03:43 AM.
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Old 05-26-2012, 02:45 PM
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Any tips on disassembling and soldering traxxas male connectors (broke off my merv esc) and :O how long did it take you to type that? (the first one)

Last edited by cs3087; 05-26-2012 at 02:47 PM. Reason: Cuz I felt like it LOL
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Old 05-26-2012, 07:00 PM
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Originally Posted by cs3087
Any tips on disassembling and soldering traxxas male connectors (broke off my merv esc) and :O how long did it take you to type that? (the first one)
Traxxas connectors are designed as a one time use kind of deal, but you can push the solder tab out from the front with a flat blade screwdriver.

And a long time. I am not a touch typist, I have to think about it, and I hit the wrong keys a good bit. I am getting better though... I switched to Dvorak layout keyboard and that helped, but I got a new laptop and never bothered with swapping the keys around, so its back to Qwerty.

Not to mention all the edits for clarification, grammar, and new info.
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Old 05-26-2012, 07:52 PM
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Should I just switch over all my stuff to deans or try with the traxxas ones traxxas connectors=toy grade rc one. Time use LOL
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Old 05-26-2012, 10:01 PM
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Originally Posted by cs3087
Should I just switch over all my stuff to deans or try with the traxxas ones traxxas connectors=toy grade rc one. Time use LOL
They are actually rated to handle higher amps than the Deans will. (75A vs 60A I believe... from memory)

You can pop the contacts in and out, but I wouldn't think that they would be able to do that but a few times without wearing out.

You usually don't need to change connectors on a battery often, and if you pick one type and stick with it, you wouldn't need to worry about them much.

I actually like the Traxxas connectors, they have bigger connection areas.
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