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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)

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Old 02-04-2018, 10:18 AM
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Originally Posted by DMD View Post
raved007,

So far I’m very satisfied with the Hakko. I use a 3.5mm chisel tip and keeping it clean and shiny made a world of difference. I tried some Kester 63/37(.031) rosin core solder and rosin paste flux from SRA soldering products. This was the first time I was able to solder my electronics with ease. I need to continue to fine tune my technique but, I’m very satisfied for now. Here are some pictures. Any feedback is welcome. Thanks.
Use more flux, that will smooth out the flow of solder better.

That is a versatile tip size... But it may be a bit on the small size for larger wires, a bit more heat may help. Bump it up 10-15 degrees, and try that.
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Old 02-06-2018, 09:01 AM
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marine6680,

Thanks for all of your advice. I have larger tips that I will try and I will also use more flux.
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Old 02-06-2018, 09:59 AM
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DMD, Looking at your solder joints I can see that Hakko is doing to you what my buddie's unit does which is not maintain it's temperature. On his we'd turn it all the way up and wait a couple of minutes to ensure it reached max temperature and for the first solder it was ok (not great), but on the 2nd joint it would already have lost too much heat to continue soldering unless you let it sit to recuperate some of the heat it lost. And we work inside his trailer so there was no flowing air that could be considered. It just doesn't do the job well in my experience.

Overpriced, under powered.

I went with this one because the one with the display was out of stock and back ordered and it's easily the best station I've ever used. Temperature control is accurate and it heats up fast and maintain temp so well I have to turn it way down between joints so to keep from ruining the tip.

https://www.circuitspecialists.com/7...g-Station.html


This is the same unit with LED Display I wanted to get.
https://www.circuitspecialists.com/7...D-Display.html


FYI, these are the exact same units that are RC "branded" and sell for 2 – 4x more money.
If you continue to not have success with the Hakko, return or sell it and buy one of these. I've found the 60Watt units are pretty solid for RC, but only the cheap basic ones that built insane amounts of temperature, but ones with temperature control tend to lack the ability to maintain heat. That's why I went with the additional 15Watts and it was the right call.

As for your soldering job specifically, it doesn't look like you pre-tinned your leads well enough and if you did, you either used too much solder or didn't have the proper heat to get it to soak all the way through the wire.

Looking at your wires, I see 2 things that are immediate red flags for me.

1. You've stripped too much insulation. Usually .125" (1/8) is all you want to strip off the end of the lead. This helps teach how little solder you really need.

2. You used far too much solder on every wire. When done properly to the specification above, wire will lay smoothly from the insulation onward and in yours you can see where the solder is and how far up it ran inside the wire/insulation.

When solder goes too far inside the insulation it makes soldering even more difficult because the iron then has to work much harder to heat up enough to liquefy that mass of solder. And although an iron might reach a proper temperature, once it touches a lead with all that solder, the lead acts like a heat sink and draw temperature away from the iron, resulting in less than stellar joints.

The one thing I urge people to remember is that you only need JUUUUST enough solder on your leads to coat the entire thing all the way through, and that doesn't mean keep feeding solder into the lead until it reaches the underside. Usually solder wont want to soak through to the very bottom of a lead so it's a good idea to tin until it's coated down the sides and then turn the wire over and feed a smidgen of solder to the un-tinned portion of the lead. Also, it's good to have the lead secured and place the iron under the lead and feed solder into the wire from above. this allows gravity to help the wire soak up the solder.

Hope this helps.


Been saying this for some time now but I have to make the time to create a video series to share with you guys. Maybe this weekend.
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Old 02-06-2018, 10:06 AM
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dmd still need some work on soldering man..looks to cold a solder joint to me..smooth n shiny that's what you want..
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Old 02-06-2018, 10:12 AM
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I can't say I had the same experience when I had the Hakko FX888. I never had to turn the heat above 725f to solder up to 10ga wire. Must've either been a fake (which are actually quite prevalent on the internet now) or just a bad unit. I even upgraded to the Hakko FX951 because I had been so pleased with the fx888. I agree the price is steep for the FX888 but I think it's still a very good unit especially when you use the right tip for the job. I'd just be careful where you purchase them from.

And to echo others concern with the joints, they should be smooth and shiny. I see yours are somewhat shiny but you can see the strands of wire still which is an indication of the solder not flowing well enough. I'm sure the tips offered above should get you where you want to be the 3.2mm chisel tip should be fine up to 12ga wire. Any thicker I'd update to the 5mm tips
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Old 02-07-2018, 12:28 AM
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When I tin a wire, I hold the iron on the bottom, and feed solder from the top. The solder flows to the heat.

Quick and easy...

But you do need to practice, all of soldering requires some practice.

The larger the gauge, the more difficult it is to work with. If you can practice with smaller wires, it will help you develop the techniques. That should make working with larger wire easier.


As far as irons. The 60w and up ceramic element ones work very well. I use my Trakpower TK-950 at work now... It does just fine. I use the largest tips when soldering larger gauge wires.

The FX-888 is a 65w iron... It should have plenty of power to do the job.

So long as it can hold the temp well, and you use the correct sized tip. But it is a smaller iron handle, and therefore the tips do not have a lot of mass. That will make technique more important when working with large wires.
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Old 02-07-2018, 09:06 AM
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Thank you for the much needed feedback gentlemen. I set the iron to 650 degrees and this being the first time the solder actually flowed, I thought the heat was sufficient. I will retry using more heat and perhaps a larger tip. If the Hakko is a dud, I will definitely look into circuit specialist iron as suggested by incubus. Well thanks all. I have to get back to soldering. Those joints aren’t going to solder themselves.
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Old 02-07-2018, 09:17 AM
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Originally Posted by DMD View Post
Thank you for the much needed feedback gentlemen. I set the iron to 650 degrees and this being the first time the solder actually flowed, I thought the heat was sufficient. I will retry using more heat and perhaps a larger tip. If the Hakko is a dud, I will definitely look into circuit specialist iron as suggested by incubus. Well thanks all. I have to get back to soldering. Those joints aren’t going to solder themselves.
When I was using the fx-888 I found that right around 700f was a good point for most work. Only time I needed more was with larger than 12 gauge wire. I imagine at 650, with the effect of heat transfer, that may be why the joints aren't as good as they can be. But they look a lot better than some I've seen so you're on the right track.
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Old 02-07-2018, 09:17 AM
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Hands down the best soldering iron I have ever bought for RC!
Gets good and hot and is totally portable for track side repairs or even soldering out in the woods where there is no electricity.

https://www.masterappliance.com/ultr...ron-heat-tool/
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Old 02-07-2018, 09:58 AM
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I'm with you van bee ..but i have gone thru 6 of these the defuser gets clogged ..i have replaced and then the ignition goes ..so now it sits in a box ..best iron i have used was my unger 80 watt turn it on set my timer then 3 minutes later its ready to solder...cant let it sit there without unplugging it cuz it gets to hot..
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Old 02-07-2018, 12:26 PM
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Originally Posted by the rc guy View Post
i have gone thru 6 of these the defuser gets clogged ..i have replaced and then the ignition goes
I know what you mean about the diffuser (if I'm correct in thinking it's the same part). I was told Butane doesn't burn very clean. I stuck a small wire in there and after about 2 hours managed to get it clean enough that the gas would start flowing again. I've cleaned it more often lately and it's working well. It's a black sticky gunk that comes out of it. The thing is actual about 20 years old now. The little honeycomb catalyst has broken and I've replaced 3 tips over it's lifetime but all in all I am super happy with it since I've cleaned the diffuser.
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Old 04-18-2018, 01:06 PM
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Curios if there's a trick to removing factory installed wires? When buying let's say a LRP Flow, it comes with the wires installed. I like my wire black so I usually have to remove the wires. I noticed that even on my XR10 stock that it's really hard to remove them. I have my Hakko set at 800 degrees and it takes for ever to heat up the area to remove from the post on the ESC board. I'm assuming there's maybe a different solder used at the factory and that maybe it has a higher silver content or something. Is this what makes it difficult to remove? I removed the wires but the heat sink on the ESC was awfully warm but it still works. Just wondering what the secret is?
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Old 04-18-2018, 01:18 PM
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2 things you need to do to remove factory wires quickly…

First, place a bead of flux on the solder joints and then be sure to apply a touch of solder to the tip just before touching the solder joints.
The solder on the tip of the iron means you'd be touching the existing solder at maximum sustained heat and the flux will allow the heat to transfer more rapidly into and through the entire joint.
Shouldn't take more than 2-3 seconds each.

NOTE: You want to use at least a 3mm wide tip. A narrower tip takes longer to transfer heat. If set my iron to 700 or higher and follow those steps I'm done removing factory wires in no time.

When soldering new wire, strip just a tiny sliver of the insulation and tin the ends thoroughly but lightly. Then dip the the tinned leads LIGHTLY into the flux and present into the holes on your
board. You want the wire to sit INSIDE the holes with no stray strands of wire hanging out/over. If you're having a difficult time getting them in the holes fully, you can crimp a tad with pliers until
they seat fully and cleanly. From there, make sure you have flux on the ends of the leads and then touch your tip to it while applying a touch of solder and release.

Should result in a factory-like joint.
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Old 04-18-2018, 10:07 PM
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Originally Posted by the incubus View Post
2 things you need to do to remove factory wires quickly…

First, place a bead of flux on the solder joints and then be sure to apply a touch of solder to the tip just before touching the solder joints.
The solder on the tip of the iron means you'd be touching the existing solder at maximum sustained heat and the flux will allow the heat to transfer more rapidly into and through the entire joint.
Shouldn't take more than 2-3 seconds each.

NOTE: You want to use at least a 3mm wide tip. A narrower tip takes longer to transfer heat. If set my iron to 700 or higher and follow those steps I'm done removing factory wires in no time.

When soldering new wire, strip just a tiny sliver of the insulation and tin the ends thoroughly but lightly. Then dip the the tinned leads LIGHTLY into the flux and present into the holes on your
board. You want the wire to sit INSIDE the holes with no stray strands of wire hanging out/over. If you're having a difficult time getting them in the holes fully, you can crimp a tad with pliers until
they seat fully and cleanly. From there, make sure you have flux on the ends of the leads and then touch your tip to it while applying a touch of solder and release.

Should result in a factory-like joint.
I'll try the flux. Never really used it but will and remove my stock wires off my LRP. Thanks
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Old 04-19-2018, 12:01 PM
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You got a good reply.

It is also possible that the specific formulation of solder used is causeing an issue. New regulations in several areas, means that most have transitioned to lead free solders for manufacturing and assembly.

Flux, and tip size make a big difference, start there.
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