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Soldering Starter Setup?

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Soldering Starter Setup?

Postby Jez Corbett » Mon Apr 17, 2017 2:59 pm

I'm looking to start soldering again after the last time being when I was back at uni like 500 years ago, so I can start making my own cables and potentially do a bit of analogue circuit modification once I feel confident enough.

Just wondering on what I should get.

From my initial research this suggests:

1. Decent soldering station, around £50-60 or so. Any recommendations?
2. Some suggestions implying lead-free solder is a bad idea?
3. Safety glasses
4. Magnifying glass
5. Small desk clamp

Thoughts?

Thanks!
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Re: Soldering Starter Setup?

Postby MarkPAman » Mon Apr 17, 2017 3:56 pm

Something to firmly hold whatever you're working on. I find my small vice that sticks to a bench by suction & has rubber inserts for the jaws very useful for this.

Bit like this one: https://www.rapidonline.com/Rolson-1629 ... GwodAYQEnQ

De-soldering tools (sucker & braid/wick) if you're going to take things to bits.

Flux
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Re: Soldering Starter Setup?

Postby Martin Walker » Mon Apr 17, 2017 4:29 pm

Jez Corbett wrote:I2. Some suggestions implying lead-free solder is a bad idea?


Hi Jez!

If you have commercial aspirations then lead-free solder is a must, as in 2006 the European Union Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive (WEEE) and Restriction of Hazardous Substances Directive (RoHS) came into effect, prohibiting the inclusion of significant quantities of lead in most consumer electronics produced in the EU.

Oldie DIYers like me still use lead-based solder because we still have reels of the stuff, it melts at a lower temperature, and we're not making commercial products :headbang:


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Re: Soldering Starter Setup?

Postby shufflebeat » Mon Apr 17, 2017 6:15 pm

I can't remember why I bought them but I've found a little scissor clamp to be really useful, not only for picking up and holding tiny things in hot places but also in preventing heat going places you don't​ want it.

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Re: Soldering Starter Setup?

Postby Folderol » Mon Apr 17, 2017 6:32 pm

If you are likely to solder a lot of the same type of plugs take the time to make a 'holder' for them.

This consists of a fairly chunky block of wood, with holes drilled in it that are a snug fit for the various different plugs. Every time you come across a new plug type, make the appropriate hole(s) for it.

You don't want the block to be too big, as you will want to turn it round as you work, but it will benefit from having something really heavy attached to the underside so it doesn't move when you're working with fairly stiff cables.

Things like 5pin DIN plugs in particular {cough} MIDI leads {cough} especially benefit from having individual holes for each pin. Even with the greatest care, the plastic is so soft there is a good chance the pins will move.

Under no circumstances let anyone know you've got it, or it's very likely that you soon won't have :(

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Re: Soldering Starter Setup?

Postby Music Wolf » Mon Apr 17, 2017 6:59 pm

Do not let the hot soldering iron tip touch the kitchen table (and especially do not do it twice).

You will not be allowed to forget it, ever (even after that table has long since been replaced).
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Re: Soldering Starter Setup?

Postby shufflebeat » Mon Apr 17, 2017 7:02 pm

On Fol's theme:

A good holder for, for instance, a female XLR is an old male XLR. This goes for all other connector types I've come across although I do like the sound of that block - but it wasn't me, honest guv.
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Re: Soldering Starter Setup?

Postby blinddrew » Mon Apr 17, 2017 7:19 pm

Is/was your block a cube Will? Just thinking that a 3" cube with holes on various faces would mean you could have your plug either upright or horizontal depending on what was easier. Might have to make myself one of these.
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Re: Soldering Starter Setup?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Tue Apr 18, 2017 1:06 pm

I use a Studiospares cable tester as my 'holder block' when wiring connectors. Almost every common audio connector known to man on it, and heavy enough not to move about when soldering!

H
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Re: Soldering Starter Setup?

Postby Trevor Johnson » Tue Apr 18, 2017 5:35 pm

I can't remember why I bought them but I've found a little scissor clamp to be really useful, not only for picking up and holding tiny things in hot places but also in preventing heat going places you don't​ want it.

They are (Halstead) Mosquito artery forceps and are widely available.
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Re: Soldering Starter Setup?

Postby Martin Walker » Tue Apr 18, 2017 6:47 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:I use a Studiospares cable tester as my 'holder block' when wiring connectors. Almost every common audio connector known to man on it, and heavy enough not to move about when soldering!

Now that's just showing off Hugh ;)

I'm going to drill some holes in a wooden block like Folderol, or just carry on with my Helping Hands Soldering Aid :beamup:

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Re: Soldering Starter Setup?

Postby Music Wolf » Tue Apr 18, 2017 7:28 pm

I have the same. The croc clips aren't the best way to hold things but, these days, the magnifying glass is a must for close up work.
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Re: Soldering Starter Setup?

Postby Terrible.dee » Tue Apr 18, 2017 8:42 pm

Definitely get some flux, people will say you don't need it

People are wrong

Also get a dedicated lamp with an adjustable neck, you NEED light,

Get some de-soldering braid too

All this stuff including the lamp can be had for less than $20
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Re: Soldering Starter Setup?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Tue Apr 18, 2017 8:52 pm

Welcome to the SOS forums T.D

I guess I'm one of those wrong people! While I agree with the need for good light and de-soldering braid, I disagree with the need for separate flux: good quality multicore solder has enough flux in it in my experience -- at least, I've never needed to add separate flux in over 40 years of electronics...

H
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Re: Soldering Starter Setup?

Postby slewin49 » Tue Apr 18, 2017 10:29 pm

I think I learned to solder in about 1964. For electronics work with rosin-core 60/40 solder we didn't need additional flux then and we don't need it now.

If you need extra flux I'd suggest you're using the wrong solder.

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Re: Soldering Starter Setup?

Postby jaminem » Wed Apr 19, 2017 1:39 pm

I use an Aoyue 937 soldering station - its been totally reliable, and allows you to adjust the temp which is handy

I found some 'Knipex Super nips' also really good cutters for trimming the legs from components off the backs of circuit boards

RE the clamps - I have a maplin one and don't use it. I make a lot of 500 series stuff and Ive found some of the plasticky heavy packing foam really useful - its sturdy enough to solder on, but soft enough to push the components through the top side of the pcb so you can get the close when you solder from the reverse side.

Desoldering braid really useful as is a pump...
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Re: Soldering Starter Setup?

Postby jaminem » Wed Apr 19, 2017 1:40 pm

p.s. also as a wrong person i've never needed flux in 10 years....
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Re: Soldering Starter Setup?

Postby Folderol » Wed Apr 19, 2017 4:45 pm

Martin Walker wrote:
Hugh Robjohns wrote:I use a Studiospares cable tester as my 'holder block' when wiring connectors. Almost every common audio connector known to man on it, and heavy enough not to move about when soldering!

Now that's just showing off Hugh ;)
Well, there's always one posh kid :)

I'm going to drill some holes in a wooden block like Folderol, or just carry on with my Helping Hands Soldering Aid :beamup:

Image


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Never had any success with those helping hands thingies (come to think of it nor have any of the guys at work)

However, Some years ago I did get the boss to fork out for a decent quality (and size) magnifier. After the jokes about old men and poor eyesight died down it was remarkable how often the younger guys were using it :bouncy:
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Re: Soldering Starter Setup?

Postby Tomás Mulcahy » Wed Apr 19, 2017 7:17 pm

The Maplin stuff is actually decent, and often on sale. Just make sure to buy some extra tips with it. I recently bought one, first time I ever personally owned a temp controlled iron and it's soooooo much easier!
http://www.maplin.co.uk/p/48w-mains-sol ... tion-n34fb

PS make sure they give you the right one, in my local they had trouble with the catalogue number...
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Re: Soldering Starter Setup?

Postby shufflebeat » Wed Apr 19, 2017 7:28 pm

Music Wolf wrote:Do not let the hot soldering iron tip touch the kitchen table (and especially do not do it twice).

You will not be allowed to forget it, ever (even after that table has long since been replaced).

Yet again the large bathroom tile is your friend.
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Re: Soldering Starter Setup?

Postby Folderol » Wed Apr 19, 2017 8:45 pm

shufflebeat wrote:
Music Wolf wrote:Do not let the hot soldering iron tip touch the kitchen table (and especially do not do it twice).

You will not be allowed to forget it, ever (even after that table has long since been replaced).

Yet again the large bathroom tile is your friend.
Not if SWMBO is holding it ,cos you burnt the table :?
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Re: Soldering Starter Setup?

Postby James Perrett » Thu Apr 20, 2017 9:36 am

shufflebeat wrote:Yet again the large bathroom tile is your friend.

My first soldering surface was a sheet of asbestos :o

Even with decent reading glasses, I find a large illuminated magnifier to be useful for tiny connectors or small surface mount parts.
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Re: Soldering Starter Setup?

Postby Martin Walker » Thu Apr 20, 2017 6:15 pm

I do also use a neck magnifier, which comes in quite handy during soldering operations:

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(that's not me by the way - I hired an actress - and I certainly don't grin like that when soldering ;) )


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Re: Soldering Starter Setup?

Postby slewin49 » Thu Apr 20, 2017 6:41 pm

Apart from the temp-controlled soldering station I've had for years, my anglepoise type magnifying lamp is the best buy I've made...particularly as I insist on playing with SMD components even though my eyesight is getting a bit antique.

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Re: Soldering Starter Setup?

Postby ef37a » Fri Apr 21, 2017 7:16 am

Re flux. If soldering to bigger objects, pot cases, tags that are 'heat shunted' by a chassis, flux can help a good deal to get things to flow (NB. Pot cans are often plated, hack it off with a file or emery cloth. 'Er nail boards work a treat!) However, IF you use a flux you must wash it off with the correct cleaner.

Many solder iron/station instruction tell you to use a damp sponge (often supplied) to clean the tip. Don't, this will crack the iron plating. Instead use brass wool or, my choice, kitchen paper. If the tip should go very black and won't clean do NOT file it! Maplin do a tiny pot of tip cleaner. Use infrequently because it is very aggressive.

However, if you tin, wipe, tin the tip often and MOST importantly clean then tin before you put the kit away you should have little trouble. These issues are all worse at Pb free temperatures.

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. Oh, and don't solder and smoke, eat or drink (the fume from Lead free is actually more toxic I was told than Lead!)

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