Soldering

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Hulldude15
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Soldering

Postby Hulldude15 » Tue Mar 23, 2010 4:40 pm

Hi,

I am having problems with my soldering, at first I thought the end of the soldering iron wasn't clean, so I used a damp sponge to clean it followed by meths and then washed the meths off. This didn't help, then (I think this was a mistake) I used sandpaper to take the dirt off, this worked but it quickly got dirty again, but now the solder won't even stick to the iron, it just melts but sticks the wire of solder, these means I can't put a blob of solder onto my iron as it just falls off. I did buy a really cheap iron off eBay, I really need to know what has gone wrong and what I should do to keep the iron clean.

Thanks in advance,

hulldude15
Last edited by Hulldude15 on Tue Mar 23, 2010 5:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

m8internet
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Re: Soldering

Postby m8internet » Tue Mar 23, 2010 5:31 pm

You're not supposed to put solder on the iron
You need to pre-tin the soldering iron tip only

Pre-tin the connecting wire
Heat the receiving point and offer solder up to it
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Roger (RJ)
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Re: Soldering

Postby Roger (RJ) » Tue Mar 23, 2010 5:34 pm

As you have used sandpaper on the tip, you have possibly removed any iron coating (if any) that was put on to make the tip last longer. What I think you need to do is re-tin the tip. This won't replace the iron coating but should make the iron usable.

Clean the tip with some more sandpaper or a fine file, then plug the iron in and as it is heating up apply some flux cored solder to the tip. Keep touching the solder to the tip until it begins to melt. As it melts the flux in the solder will coat the tip and then the solder should melt and stick to the tip.

noel
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Re: Soldering

Postby noel » Tue Mar 23, 2010 5:34 pm

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There are plenty of threads available on soldering: try using the search facility.

"Cleanliness is next to Godliness" when it comes to soldering.

Your sandpaper may not be fine enough: emery paper or steel wool may be better.

If the tip is solid copper, you may need to file it to get a clean tip: then flux it well.

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Son-1
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Re: Soldering

Postby Son-1 » Tue Mar 23, 2010 6:49 pm

The tip is knackered. Most irons for electronics have a soft iron core, with a thin tinned outer coating. Once you are through the outer coating, the iron corrodes with the flux and the end eventually collapses in on its self ( I've had this happen several time ). I doubt it is recoverable, but multicore do/did a tip cleaner. this will corrode the soft iron quicker though.
Stephen T

Hulldude15
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Re: Soldering

Postby Hulldude15 » Tue Mar 23, 2010 7:55 pm

Thanks for all the advice, I will probably buy a new one, with replaceable tips. Mine was cheap so I don't think you can replace tips. I was thinking about this: http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=120544622630&ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT#ht_2353wt_987 , anyone use/d it?

So what is the best way of keeping a brand new iron clean? And should I buy lead or lead free solder, what's the difference?

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Flashbang
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Re: Soldering

Postby Flashbang » Tue Mar 23, 2010 8:15 pm

Hulldude15 wrote:Thanks for all the advice, I will probably buy a new one, with replaceable tips. Mine was cheap so I don't think you can replace tips. I was thinking about this: http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=120544622630&ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT#ht_2353wt_987 , anyone use/d it?

So what is the best way of keeping a brand new iron clean? And should I buy lead or lead free solder, what's the difference?

Hi
Excellent iron for general use. I have had one for some five years and a 18 watt version too. Both never any problems and replaceable bits and elements readily obtainable.

I still have a roll of lead rosin cored solder still unused, so I'm well stocked up.
I haven't seen any lead content rosin cored solder around for a year or so now, so I'm unsure its still available, unless its some old stock??

Wiping the tip when its heated, between soldering joints and again before the iron is turn off on a damp sponge will clean the tip and preserve it.
The use of one of these will also help http://www.maplin.co.uk/Module.aspx?ModuleNo=3929
But whatever you do, don't use a file or any abrasive papers on the Antex irons tip. :D
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Broken? It was working correctly when I left it.

Hulldude15
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Re: Soldering

Postby Hulldude15 » Tue Mar 23, 2010 8:35 pm

Is solder with lead in it dangerous?

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Son-1
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Re: Soldering

Postby Son-1 » Tue Mar 23, 2010 8:56 pm

Flashbang wrote:and again before the iron is turn off on a damp sponge will clean the tip and preserve it.


There are differing views on this. A wiped clean tip oxidises the tip, where as a tinned tip has flux residue that could corrode depending on the flux. I tin before turning off with no-clean rosin cored, this is because when we had IPC J-STD training it was expected for us to leave the iron tinned when not in use.

Hulldude15 wrote:Is solder with lead in it dangerous?


Yes and No. I've been using leaded solder for over 20 years and still here. Just wash your hand after using it. I may have a spare part reel if you're interested, assuming you're up the road over the bridge.
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Flashbang
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Re: Soldering

Postby Flashbang » Tue Mar 23, 2010 9:06 pm

Son-1 wrote:
Flashbang wrote:and again before the iron is turn off on a damp sponge will clean the tip and preserve it.


There are differing views on this. A wiped clean tip oxidises the tip, where as a tinned tip has flux residue that could corrode depending on the flux. I tin before turning off with no-clean rosin cored, this is because when we had IPC J-STD training it was expected for us to leave the iron tinned when not in use.

That may well be the case with some training courses. Perhaps related to the use of Lead Free solder?
In practice, and some 45 plus years of virtually daily soldering, I have always wiped my soldering irons tips clean before switching off the iron and then again wiped it on the next turn on once the iron has fully heated. A damped sponge being the ideal medium for the wiping. My soldering irons have lasted for many years of service!
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Broken? It was working correctly when I left it.

D0260
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Re: Soldering

Postby D0260 » Tue Mar 23, 2010 10:30 pm

A damped sponge being the ideal medium for the wiping.


Absolutely agree, but can I quickly add that this is a 'real' sponge , not the 'plastic' variety which will lead to almighty mess when it melts on the tip.....

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Tosh
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Re: Soldering

Postby Tosh » Wed Mar 24, 2010 11:10 am

My grandad used to tell me on many occasions
"look after your tools lad and your tools will look after you" :D
Beer,making ugly women look beautiful for thousands of years.....

D0260
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Re: Soldering

Postby D0260 » Wed Mar 24, 2010 1:22 pm

"look after your tools lad and your tools will look after you"


Was your Grandad 'Trigger' in OFAH's then?
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Zunnan
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Re: Soldering

Postby Zunnan » Thu Mar 25, 2010 3:50 pm

When I'm working the frame I carry a damp chamois leather cloth, between uses/wipes I re-tin the tip as it can be left on and in sproadic use for the full 8 hour day at work, but at the end of the working day I'll always remove any trace of solder. I've had the same tip on my iron for about 5 years, many other engineers seem to get through tips in 12-24 months, so I must be doing something right. Its when the tip gets scratched or damaged that trouble soon begins, so the better you look after it, the more use you'll get from it.

As others have stated, don't apply solder to the tip and then to the work, you'll more likely end up with a 'dry joint' which is next to useless. Apply the tinned HOT tip (let it warm up to full working temperature before using it) to the work and allow it to heat up the joint for a second or three, use a heat sink if you must to protect delicate parts such as plastics/components, then apply the solder to the point where tip meets work and let it flow in for a moment before removing or moving the tip. Larger joints will require a longer pre-heat, whereas smaller delicate work will require very little pre-heat to get the job done. The main point being that you want the work nice and hot so that the solder gets a good adhesion, but not so hot that parts around it become damaged. Its a bit of a balancing act, and definately a good idea to practice on scrap pieces similar to what you are going to be working on if you've any doubts beforehand.

Re. lead based solder, try to limit its use in confined spaces and don't work with your face directly over the piece you're working on to get a better view. Where this can't be avoided, open a window/door, anything to get a slight draft to take the fumes away from you. I bought one of those cheapy battery desk fans that you can buy in markets for £1 and set it up to draw away the fumes as much as possible, invaluable when you're soldering up point motors under a baseboard, or soldering up 100 (usually morelike 1000+) telephone lines to an old MDF on a cable changeover! And of course, as already mentioned, wash your hands thoroughly after handling/working with lead based solder.

noel
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Re: Soldering

Postby noel » Fri Apr 02, 2010 4:29 pm

+

Zunnan wrote:
......... Re. lead based solder, ..... wash your hands thoroughly after
handling/working with lead based solder.


When making white metal kits the warning was always: never eat
"Lettuce and Tomato" sandwiches at the same time!

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