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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 04-11-2017, 08:58 AM
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Sorry for the random question but I am having an issue I never faced before. For some reason when I try to clean the solder tip on a wet sponge, there always seems to be some solder left over on one side of the tip. I have to make several more passes over the sponge before all of the old solder is gone. Could I be using too much water on the sponge? The tip is practically new with no visible pitting or damage.
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Old 04-11-2017, 10:42 AM
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Try dipping quickly into flux, and I'd suggest you use steel wool because the minerals in the water become heavy deposits and can taint the cleanliness of your tip. The advantage of using steel wool is that it literally scrape the surface of the tip gently enough to not on the coding but generally removes every last bit of solder.
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Old 04-11-2017, 10:54 AM
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Originally Posted by the incubus
Try dipping quickly into flux, and I'd suggest you use steel wool because the minerals in the water become heavy deposits and can taint the cleanliness of your tip. The advantage of using steel wool is that it literally scrape the surface of the tip gently enough to not on the coding but generally removes every last bit of solder.
Thanks for the response, I may need to give the tip a good scrub with the steel wool if there is some residue on there. I've never tried dipping it directly into flux I might have to give that a shot too.

And when storing the iron, should I just wipe off the old solder as best I can with the steel wool and then put some tin on the tip for storage? Or should I still clean the tip with something damp before I tin it?
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Old 04-12-2017, 03:36 PM
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It's not a problem if you don't get off all the old solder, it's more important to get the flux residue off. You just want most of the old solder off, so you do not accidentally add too much solder to the joint. If it takes a couple wipes, no problem.


Remember the section on shoveling in the how to?

Basically you are looking to prevent that, and keep the flux residue from turning into a charred mess on the tip.

Also... If you are worried about mineral deposits, you can use distilled water.

There is a couple reasons to use a wet sponge...

The first is cleaning off old solder and flux...

The second is to "thermally shock" the tip... giving a quick and brief drop in tip temp of a few degrees.

In a good iron that electronically attempts to hold a set steady temperature, the sudden heat loss from the water, will ensure the heating element is on/active when you touch the tip to your connection.

This helps ensure fast heat transfer, as the iron is not trying to keep up as much. The element is already on and ready to hold the proper temp.

One more reason a quality iron is helpful...

Originally Posted by EbbTide
Thanks for the response, I may need to give the tip a good scrub with the steel wool if there is some residue on there. I've never tried dipping it directly into flux I might have to give that a shot too.

And when storing the iron, should I just wipe off the old solder as best I can with the steel wool and then put some tin on the tip for storage? Or should I still clean the tip with something damp before I tin it?
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Old 04-12-2017, 06:05 PM
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Originally Posted by marine6680
It's not a problem if you don't get off all the old solder, it's more important to get the flux residue off. You just want most of the old solder off, so you do not accidentally add too much solder to the joint. If it takes a couple wipes, no problem.


Remember the section on shoveling in the how to?

Basically you are looking to prevent that, and keep the flux residue from turning into a charred mess on the tip.

Also... If you are worried about mineral deposits, you can use distilled water.

There is a couple reasons to use a wet sponge...

The first is cleaning off old solder and flux...

The second is to "thermally shock" the tip... giving a quick and brief drop in tip temp of a few degrees.

In a good iron that electronically attempts to hold a set steady temperature, the sudden heat loss from the water, will ensure the heating element is on/active when you touch the tip to your connection.

This helps ensure fast heat transfer, as the iron is not trying to keep up as much. The element is already on and ready to hold the proper temp.

One more reason a quality iron is helpful...
Now that's the advice I was looking for, thank you . It's good to know the leftover solder isn't a big deal. I was beginning to think I ruined my equipment lol
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Old 04-13-2017, 12:00 PM
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Not a problem...

Metal wool is commonly used as well, as it is more aggressive at cleaning a tip. The specially made is similar to chore boy scrubbers.

The metal wool does clean an overly dirty tip pretty well... And I see it more often in civilian manufacturing than in aviation.

Originally Posted by EbbTide
Now that's the advice I was looking for, thank you . It's good to know the leftover solder isn't a big deal. I was beginning to think I ruined my equipment lol
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Old 04-14-2017, 11:27 AM
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Well I know this is kinda random but I just got this little gadget today and I thought others might want to try it out for desoldering situations. normally I use a hand-fed roll of copper weave but I found this little gizmo hiding on TowerHobbies and had to pick it up. Easy to use, cuts off used wick, replaceable wick drums etc.

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Old 05-18-2017, 11:16 AM
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Marine6680, I just wanted to take a second to say THANK YOU. I've always been the type who likes to do their own thing, but soldering was always that rung that was just out of reach due to time and the inability to practice in a meaningful way. We all know, to get better at soldering, you need to practice on different materials, with different solder choices and so on. This "Article" puts all the information in one place, so you can focus on the important part, PRACTICING.
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Old 05-19-2017, 08:09 AM
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I'm glad it is helping people.

Originally Posted by dzydvl
Marine6680, I just wanted to take a second to say THANK YOU. I've always been the type who likes to do their own thing, but soldering was always that rung that was just out of reach due to time and the inability to practice in a meaningful way. We all know, to get better at soldering, you need to practice on different materials, with different solder choices and so on. This "Article" puts all the information in one place, so you can focus on the important part, PRACTICING.
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Old 05-28-2017, 07:37 PM
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I have a choice of purchasing 2.2% or 3.3% flux content in the solder.
Will either be ok for general R/C electronics work?


Thanks.
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Old 05-29-2017, 12:12 AM
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Originally Posted by roylo
I have a choice of purchasing 2.2% or 3.3% flux content in the solder.
Will either be ok for general R/C electronics work?


Thanks.
Either is fine.

More flux in the core of the solder, can be helpful though... Especially to those who do not apply flux.
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Old 06-02-2017, 12:34 PM
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Is solder with a D.O.M four years ago still OK? That's the only one they have in stock.
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Old 06-04-2017, 09:52 PM
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i just bought some 63/37 solder and the test joins i did on some battery posts are really dull. the 60/40 has a nice bright finish but the 63/37 looks like dull aluminium. is that just how it looks?
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Old 06-05-2017, 08:59 AM
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Originally Posted by roylo
Is solder with a D.O.M four years ago still OK? That's the only one they have in stock.
It should be fine... The flux may dry out and not be very good, but the alloy itself should be fine.

I have used stuff that is a few years old, and had no issues.

Generally though, new is better, just for the fresher flux.

You will need to apply extra flux if the solder core flux is not working well.
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Old 06-05-2017, 09:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Lunchie
i just bought some 63/37 solder and the test joins i did on some battery posts are really dull. the 60/40 has a nice bright finish but the 63/37 looks like dull aluminium. is that just how it looks?
Should be shiny.

Could be contamination causing it.

If the solder is old, and you do not use flux, it will not flush away the contamination and oxides very well.
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