Soldering For Beginners.

Basic electrical and electronics, such as DC/Analog control.
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Mountain
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Soldering For Beginners.

Postby Mountain » Sun Dec 19, 2021 2:47 pm

Something that really helped me when I was learning how to solder and gave me great confidence as it saved my fingers from getting burnt on many occasions was to use a soldering gun.
These soldering guns heat up in seconds, so one simply plugs them in and presses the trigger and put it to use. No waiting. Just a few seconds. One is not supposed to keep ones finger on the trigger for long. I eventually melted mine when I was making scratchbuilt track because I was applying heat to the track for far too long. It actually still works but I thought to use my other conventional iron instead.

The soldering guns I found are much better for beginners as they give one far more confidence. I think we have all done it with conventional irons. One is soldering at layout height level. Ones iron is plugged into an extension lead at floor level. One goes to take the iron to a far reaching rail or wire to solder and one unknowingly steps on the lead of the iron, and ones irones movement stops but ones hand keeps going and the result is one ends up holding the hot part of the iron which oe suddenly notices and hopefully lets go! And the iron then falls on the layout in a random place or onto the carpeted floor while one is nursing ones hand and adds further damage to the calamity!
With a soldering gun this just does not happen. The shape of it is such that the likelihood that one will burn onself is remote (Apart from if one burns ones other hand on the tip by getting too close to the work, but this is more likely that the thing one is holding such as a wire is warming up rather than a direct hand to iron sudden full force heat).
It is the safety aspect that the shape of the soldering gun gives that inspires confidence for me when I was a beginner that made me progress forward in leaps and bounds when it came to learning the basics in soldering, and I am no expert. I tend to apply too much solder rather than too little, but I am still learning.
The second giant leap forward was in buying separate flux. Solder I used contains its own flux, but often this is not quite enough, especially when soldering rails to PCB sleepers, or soldering tinplate etc.
For tinplate, the gun type irons are not really ideal as one wants a conventional 40 to 50W iron for that. Always buy a nice heavy soldering iron stand if using a conventional iron. The few times I have had little burns withconventional irons apart from the seanrio above was before I had a solder stand. Having a decent stand has cut the liklihood of burnt fingers in half.
But I don't think I ever burnt any of my fingers when using a soldering gun.

Soldering gun says it is 100W but in reality it is equivalent to around a 25W iron in the heat applied to the work.

The other good thing about the soldering guns is they have a very convenient bulb to light up the area which one is soldering and it turns on when one presses the trigger which also applies the heat. It is very convenient too!

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End2end
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Re: Soldering For Beginners.

Postby End2end » Sun Dec 19, 2021 6:57 pm

Mountain wrote:I think we have all done it with conventional irons. One is soldering at layout height level. Ones iron is plugged into an extension lead at floor level. One goes to take the iron to a far reaching rail or wire to solder and one unknowingly steps on the lead of the iron, and ones irones movement stops but ones hand keeps going and the result is one ends up holding the hot part of the iron which oe suddenly notices and hopefully lets go! And the iron then falls on the layout in a random place or onto the carpeted floor while one is nursing ones hand and adds further damage to the calamity!

Erm, no I can't say that's ever happened to me. Far too dangerous.
If they were to print all the possible user errors in the manual it would bigger then the Bible, Mountain. :lol:

NEVER use less cable then you need. It's a hazard stretching cables taught. Imagine tripping over with with a soldering iron, even a cold one, straight in the eye!!! :o
ALWAYS use a PROPER soldering iron stand
NEVER walk away from a powered on soldering iron.

Your Safety first. :wink:
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Mountain
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Re: Soldering For Beginners.

Postby Mountain » Sun Dec 19, 2021 7:20 pm

The only way to increase the length is to dissasemble the soldering iron and solder a new cable as the ones they give when new are only so long.

abenn
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Re: Soldering For Beginners.

Postby abenn » Sun Dec 19, 2021 8:30 pm

Hmmm. Must admit I've never encountered the scenario you describe, Mountain :) I've installed a couple of mains sockets on the ends of my baseboard, which give my iron access to most parts of the above-board layout. If it's out of reach, the obvious answer is to bring the extension lead socket closer to the work at hand.

I did use a soldering gun many years back, but eventually abandoned it in favour of a 50-watt iron with interchangeable bits from 6mm to 0.1mm. That covers my model railway and electronics needs. Just got to remember to use a pair of pliers when changing the bits on the go :o

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Re: Soldering For Beginners.

Postby End2end » Mon Dec 20, 2021 8:51 am

Mountain wrote:The only way to increase the length is to dissasemble the soldering iron and solder a new cable as the ones they give when new are only so long.

Use a longer extension lead Mountain. :wink:
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jameslandry
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Re: Soldering For Beginners.

Postby jameslandry » Fri Apr 29, 2022 2:45 pm

The X-Tronic 3020-XTS solder iron station is a good option for those who experience back pain during soldering work. Such can be the case when it comes to the small circuit board projects that require close concentration.

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Bufferstop
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Re: Soldering For Beginners.

Postby Bufferstop » Fri Apr 29, 2022 11:28 pm

abenn wrote:Hmmm. Must admit I've never encountered the scenario you describe, Mountain :) I've installed a couple of mains sockets on the ends of my baseboard, which give my iron access to most parts of the above-board layout.

I hope these are totally enclosed sockets rather than the type you fix in a wall box and that their cables go unbroken to the floor or wall by the shortest route. It's important to keep mains wiring well separated from where you may need to work on the railway, especially areas where a soldering iron might be in use. Burning through its own lead should only need to blow a 3A fuse Burning through an extension lead 13A, burning through fixed wiring could be a 32A circuit breaker. Using an iron that has an earthed tip helps enormously as it will trip any earth leakage device should it get mixed up with mains wiring.
A colleague failed to unplug his soldering iron before leaving work one day. someone else leaving knocked it out of its stand without noticing. The end result was the destruction of a small telephone exchange, with the loss of service to 500 or so subscribers, an operation to bring in and install a mobile exchange, plus the earlier than scheduled replacement of the original exchange. He sweated for a few weeks but in the end he only got a minor reprimand as no one could have foreseen the subsequent events, and the fire spread to the structure because polythene cables had been loose laid over a plasterboard ceiling and dropped down to the racks below.
I always treat soldering irons with the greatest of respect!
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