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Soldering Starter Setup?

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Re: Soldering Starter Setup?

Postby James Perrett » Fri Apr 21, 2017 8:48 am

ef37a wrote:And lastly..DON'T leave the iron 'cooking'! Modern stations get the tip to working temp' in less than 60secs so if you have a fag/pee/'er indoors callout break, switch off.

I must admit that I've never had a problem leaving a decent (Weller, Oryx or Antex) iron on for a whole day. We used to do it in the TV repair workshop where I worked as a teenager and I've done it in the lab ever since.
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Re: Soldering Starter Setup?

Postby Martin Walker » Fri Apr 21, 2017 4:40 pm

James Perrett wrote:
ef37a wrote:And lastly..DON'T leave the iron 'cooking'! Modern stations get the tip to working temp' in less than 60secs so if you have a fag/pee/'er indoors callout break, switch off.

I must admit that I've never had a problem leaving a decent (Weller, Oryx or Antex) iron on for a whole day. We used to do it in the TV repair workshop where I worked as a teenager and I've done it in the lab ever since.

I'm with James - my Weller soldering station is still going strong on the same tip after nearly 40 years, AND I still use the moistened sponge that came with it. I can in theory understand the benefits of using brass wool instead of a wetted sponge, but in practice I've had no problems with 'tip longevity' :beamup:


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Re: Soldering Starter Setup?

Postby Music Wolf » Fri Apr 21, 2017 6:54 pm

Maybe I'm not following best practice - but I find that the heavy base of my Weller temperature controlled solder station is quite useful for hammering screws into walls :headbang:
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Re: Soldering Starter Setup?

Postby Folderol » Fri Apr 21, 2017 10:49 pm

Music Wolf wrote:Maybe I'm not following best practice - but I find that the heavy base of my Weller temperature controlled solder station is quite useful for hammering screws into walls :headbang:
OK smarty pants, what do you use to hammer the glue on? eh? eh?
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Re: Soldering Starter Setup?

Postby Jez Corbett » Sat Apr 22, 2017 7:53 pm

Hey all, thanks for the replies - I definitely have a better idea of all the things I need now.

One thing however I'm still stuck on is ... what soldering station to buy!

From searching, it seems the internet's general thoughts that "the best soldering station for under $100!" is the Weller WES51. Cool I thought, that would be about £60-70 so around the budget I'm considering. Except they sell for at least £150 in the UK. Argh!

Other than that, there seems to be so many choices, and so many dodgy cheaply made stations out there, I really don't know what to buy.
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Re: Soldering Starter Setup?

Postby Folderol » Sat Apr 22, 2017 8:22 pm

Weller kit is not cheap, but generally it is reliable. Also they maintain a very complete set of spares/replacements, and seem to keep these for quite old models too.

A couple of years ago at work, we had the vacuum pump die in a (then) 10yo re-work station. Once we identified the model they were able to send us a replacement.
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Re: Soldering Starter Setup?

Postby ef37a » Sun Apr 23, 2017 6:08 am

James Perrett wrote:
ef37a wrote:And lastly..DON'T leave the iron 'cooking'! Modern stations get the tip to working temp' in less than 60secs so if you have a fag/pee/'er indoors callout break, switch off.

I must admit that I've never had a problem leaving a decent (Weller, Oryx or Antex) iron on for a whole day. We used to do it in the TV repair workshop where I worked as a teenager and I've done it in the lab ever since.

Yes James but in a workshop the iron is in regular use, being tinned/cleaned all the time. I maintained some 100 Weller stations in a factory. They would be used for about an hour doing some 2000 joints on RJ45 jacks or Krone blocks then 'parked' for the rest of the day, several hours untouched. This is the cooking I mean that tarnished tips.

Then, the (mostly lady) solderers found the stock #7 bit too 'slow' and used a long form #8 conical bit. These blacken more quickly. Note, the #7 is 'ok' for general work but a chisel tipped #8 is more useful and jeeust about hot enough for small Pbfree work. The #9 is better but beware, it is close to the ignition point of paper and wood!

'Damp' sponges? Human nature says, "If damp is good, soaking wet must be better!" This is where the thermal shock comes in . The caveat came from visiting Weller technical people who came to sort us out for Lead free work.

http://www.maplin.co.uk/p/48w-mains-sol ... 0wodtn4FZA

Have had one of those ^ for some years now, fine for 'domestic' use and can be cranked up for Lead free work. (in case the link does not work. Maplin prod code N34FB.

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Re: Soldering Starter Setup?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Sun Apr 23, 2017 9:18 am

I have an old-school Weller from my early BBC days in my 'travelling' soldering kit, but on my bench is exactly the same unit as Dave has listed from Maplin (although I got mine from CPC). It's cheap and Chinese, but very controllable and it works just fine for occasional/light hobbyist duties with leaded or lead-free solders. I also use a brass-wire tip cleaner rather than the damp sponge.

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Re: Soldering Starter Setup?

Postby A Mole » Sun Apr 23, 2017 10:20 am

Hugh Robjohns wrote:on my bench is exactly the same unit as Dave has listed from Maplin. .... I also use a brass-wire tip cleaner rather than the damp sponge.

H
+1. Have been using this setup for a while. I also use Maplin silver solder which I find works very well.
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Re: Soldering Starter Setup?

Postby Martin Walker » Sun Apr 23, 2017 12:14 pm

A Mole wrote:I also use Maplin silver solder which I find works very well.

Yep, the silver lets more electrons through :beamup:


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Re: Soldering Starter Setup?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Sun Apr 23, 2017 12:25 pm

Only if you feed it into the solder joint from the right end... surely... ? ;-)

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Re: Soldering Starter Setup?

Postby A Mole » Sun Apr 23, 2017 1:30 pm

Martin Walker wrote:Yep, the silver lets more electrons through

Makes my leads more attractive to pirates too
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Re: Soldering Starter Setup?

Postby blinddrew » Sun Apr 23, 2017 1:45 pm

I can't believe I actually have soldering iron envy.
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Re: Soldering Starter Setup?

Postby slewin49 » Sun Apr 23, 2017 3:09 pm

It took me a while to realise how good a proper soldering station is compared to the old Antex 25W that did duty for many years. These days I use a 60W Xytronic, good quality but a bit dearer than the Maplin one.

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Re: Soldering Starter Setup?

Postby ef37a » Mon Apr 24, 2017 8:21 am

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Genuine-Japane ... B00SRQ53MO

Quite the finest station I have ever used ^ (nearly went under my coat!)

I only had a week or so on one soldering earth tags inside 2mtr ally channels for antennas but the deceptively small 80W pencil coped easily with them even though they were heat 'shunted' by the chassis.

When you park the pencil (shut up at the back boy!) the power drops to 50% iirc but is back to Pbfree temp' as soon as you are back on the job (I WON'T tell you again!)

I also did a lot of resistance heated soldering of large RF connectors. Such Fun! Then they got a 5 minute ultrasonic wash then a VHV breakdown test.

Only had the job for a month (J.Beam Ltd) but learned a lot.

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Re: Soldering Starter Setup?

Postby pilot-wave » Mon Apr 24, 2017 10:19 am

Something I never really properly considered over the years is adequate ventilation in the presence of solder flux fumes.

On preparing to resume synth DIY activities after a few years break, I'll be finding some way of dealing with this, probably in the utilisation of a spare PC fan (placed near the work area) and some flexible tubing to draw fumes away from nose, mouth and eyes and out of the room via a window. At the very least have some kind of air flow to direct fumes away from the immediate work surface and face.

Reactions and tolerance to inhalation and eye irritation can vary widely, but it's probably a good idea to minimise exposure to avoid potential health problems further down the line.

Recently invested in a Hakko FX-888D solder station (In tasteful silver finish option rather than the usual toy-like blue/yellow rendition) and I'm very happy with the feel and performance.
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Re: Soldering Starter Setup?

Postby nathanscribe » Fri May 19, 2017 12:03 pm

Has anybody used the Antex stations? I've had a standalone Antex iron for years, but not used one of their stations and am looking at a replacement. Or would a shift to Weller/Hakko be better?
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Re: Soldering Starter Setup?

Postby ef37a » Sat May 20, 2017 11:01 am

As sloddering has come up again? I have found a couple of Weller magnastat 48W pencil sleeves, the part with a threaded collar that retains the bit.

No use to me now and they DO wear out/get damaged. PM with an addy and I shall jiffy them.

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Re: Soldering Starter Setup?

Postby James Perrett » Sat May 20, 2017 7:29 pm

nathanscribe wrote:Has anybody used the Antex stations?

I've used the one that accepts all kinds of SMT tips and, like most Antex irons, it was fine for small items but I still prefer a Weller as it seems to have better heat reserves for larger joints.
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Re: Soldering Starter Setup?

Postby nathanscribe » Sun May 21, 2017 4:14 pm

James Perrett wrote:...I still prefer a Weller as it seems to have better heat reserves for larger joints.

Gotcha. Cheers!
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Re: Soldering Starter Setup?

Postby jagraphics » Mon May 22, 2017 10:16 am

1 Having trained, in the 1970's as an Avionics technician (aerospace systems) with multi core solder that contains flux you do NOT need separate flux.

2 Do NOT use desoldering braid. Use a suction system. The reason being you have to heat the braid for it to work. This adds more heat to the work. The vacuum sucker does not. It removes the molten solder with no additional heat.

3 Light, yes a daylight ballanced modelling/craft light is good. Also a magnifier. I have a magnifier/light all in one.

4 Fumes... don't worry about it. Unless you are using lead solder or working all day every day in a confined, poorly ventilated space it is not in reality going to be a problem. More people get hit by a bus.... (you try finding a bus these days let alone one that is moving fast enough to do damage. :-)

5 Temperature controlled iron is a must. (personally I use a Weller but I was given my system)

6 THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IS A WET SPONGE. to keep the tip and thus the joints clean.
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Re: Soldering Starter Setup?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Mon May 22, 2017 11:28 am

Hi Jagraphics -- and welcome to the SOS forums.

Like you, I'm a fan of solder-suckers rather than braids... but I think both probably have their places and roles in different situations.

I was also trained in the 70s and damp sponges were definitely the de facto tip-cleaning device at that time. However, I'm not convinced that's still 'best practice' these days, with the much hotter temperatures needed for lead-free solders. I moved onto using a brass wool bowl for tip-cleaning several years ago and find it a much better arrangement.Image



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Re: Soldering Starter Setup?

Postby ef37a » Mon May 22, 2017 1:54 pm

I am sorry Nathan but this is not the 70's.

Solder suckers might be fine on super high grade FR4 Milspec print but believe me they LIFT print on run of the mil domestic stuff as found in TVs and VCRs.

Braid has to be used with care and skill! You need a good quality product and timing is of the essence. In any case I see no other way to clean the board after removing a 4 sided SM processor?

I was told that Lead free solder fumes were MORE harmful than leaded (the lead part quickly 'falls out' of the smoke) but so long as you keep the fume blown away from you and you are just doing the odd cable, no harm. I would treat solder fume like tobacco, not near kids! Wash hands after.

We never should have used a WET sponge! Barely damp was the requirement. Almost all bits are iron plated these days to stop the bare Copper from leaching metal from the tracks. The thermal shock cracks the plating.

These matters were told to me by the technical force sent to the factory from Weller. We had about 100 Maganastat stations and they came down to help with the transition to Lead free. In addition to hand soldering we had 3 wave soldering machines and one (only one in the country) CC soldering machine that had an X/Y/Z controlled solder pot which used an eddy flux pump and could solder between existing components. The bloody silly MD sold it.

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Re: Soldering Starter Setup?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Mon May 22, 2017 3:42 pm

ef37a wrote:Solder suckers might be fine on super high grade FR4 Milspec print but believe me they LIFT print on run of the mil domestic stuff as found in TVs and VCRs.

They certainly ~can~ lift the PCB tracks in some situations, but it's far from a universal problem and much depends on the quality of the PCB manufacture, the size of the tracks, and how much heat you're putting into the board in the first place.

Braid has to be used with care and skill! You need a good quality product and timing is of the essence.

I think you could say exactly the same for the solder sucker! :-D

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Re: Soldering Starter Setup?

Postby ef37a » Mon May 22, 2017 5:04 pm

Hugh, no matter how much care you take with a sucker, once you hit that button..BANG! The operation is out of your control.

Yes the quality of the print matters. Maybe you never had to change the sound chip in a GEC TV!

And I STILL cannot see a sucker being much use for SM board cleaning?

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