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Thread: need some soldering advice

  1. #1
    Col. Skillz's Avatar Bacco,Tabacco,Venere
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    being that ive never soldered before i decided to test it out on some junk....what a disaster. i couldn't past tinning the tip. i really have no clue what went wrong...i made a vid and took some pics, but let me sum it for you. When I would rub the solder on the hot iron tip, the solder would melt in an instant (at first), and just disappear...smoke went everywhere(the inner flux?) and my solder "stick" lost a good 2 centimeters. at the end of that is a ball of harded solder. i COULD NOT get the solder to stick to the damn iron thouigh, it just kept beading off, like water on rubber. eventually a part of the iron starting holding solder, but when i looked closely i noticed the area was actually like eaten away. when i look at it from the side there is a big missing chuck. that was the ONYL part of the iron that actually held any solder on it and didnt just let it bead off onto my sponge.

    I tried to solder two wires, but i couldn't get the wire hot enough, i figure thats because the tip ws all contaminated.

    now thats it been sitting and cooled, i can see the tip area i ws trying to tin is BLACk, and when i rub it my fingers get black...expect for that one area that has a gap in it. shiny as hell though.

    any idea what happened here mate? im just glad i decided to test drive before tackling the project.

    heres a link to my vid http://www.megaupload.com/?d=L8M0ZUG6

    im thinking of just buying myself a little station, and want to know what you may think of which is better. i hear weller is the go to brand, but this other one has a temp monitor, which is nice

    Amazon.com: Weller WLC100 Soldering Station For Hobbyist And Do-It-Yourselfer: Home Improvement

    Amazon.com: Aoyue 937+ Digital Soldering Station: Home Improvement
    Last edited by Col. Skillz; 03-19-2009 at 04:23 AM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost

  2. Software & Hardware   -   #2
    Detale's Avatar Go Snatch a Judge
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    To begin what do you mean by you couldn't get the wire hot enough? Hopefully you mean the solder because you shouldn't heat the wires at all.

    How much soldering do you plan on doing that you want a bench?

    If the tip is black it means you burned it. Wait till it cools completely then wipe it off with a rag then you can gently use some sandpaper to remove whatever didn't wipe off. This is not 100% though, if you burned it too bad you can usually get a new tip as they are generally replaceable.

    Now from what you said it seems like you are making the solder too hot or you need a different solder. Also you could use some flux to help it stick if its that bad. Another thing you can do is create a little "trap" for the solder to fall into holding it there with the two wires while the solder cools for a few seconds, just like a little cup so you dont have to be perfect and it will not fall all over your board. Even a folded piece of paper will work anything really.

  3. Software & Hardware   -   #3
    clocker's Avatar Shovel Ready
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    Quote Originally Posted by Detale View Post
    To begin what do you mean by you couldn't get the wire hot enough? Hopefully you mean the solder because you shouldn't heat the wires at all.
    Tesco may be the final arbiter here (being an electrician and all) but I think this is wrong.
    I always heat the wires being soldered...you want the solder to flow into the strands, not just blob on top of them. Just melting the solder and dropping it onto the (cold) wire gives you no penetration.

    @Col.:
    Sounds like your tip was too hot to tin properly.
    Clean it, flux it and the solder should flow on with a nice silver coating.
    Too hot and the flux burns off before the solder can adhere.
    "I am the one who knocks."- Heisenberg

  4. Software & Hardware   -   #4
    I recently purchased a WESD51 for my son as a birthday present. I really have not done much soldering myself.My son had an older (25yr) weller and he says his soldier skills improved immensely with the new iron.I always buy him lead free solder and he says that joints with the old iron were dull looking.With the new one all are shiny.I'm a firm believer in buying the best quality tool you can.Observing my son I would also suggest buying one of those steel wool type cleaners for the iron http://www.amazon.com/Elenco-Dry-Sol...7474393&sr=1-2
    And I would also suggest a desoldering pump as well.Talking with my son he says that the steel wool was the trick for him...Not to sure on his reasoning (he is 15) but he says he "puts a blob of solder on the tip then inserts the tip into the steel wool"...Like I said I'm not sure on this but it seems to work for him and since he got the new iron and the wool the tips seem to last a lot longer.

  5. Software & Hardware   -   #5
    Col. Skillz's Avatar Bacco,Tabacco,Venere
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    thanks guys, i started to think this too, that the tip was too hot. how the heck can i avoid this though? i cant control the temp on this thing

    ok i did what you said detale, and it worked! i sucessfully soldered two wires together jsut now =)

    im having trouble with soldering wires onto a circuit board though. im practicing on a old crp board and using 30AWG wire. I need to practice this type of sooldering for my wiikey2 installation. i really have no idea how to do it though. i always end up with cold solders thatcome off with a slight tug.

    i hear people say i need to tin the wire, do they mean adding solder to the wire?

    what ive been doing is puting the wire on the board, touching the wire with the iron, and then putting some solder on the iron to melt onto the wire. the soloder never wants to leave the iron though, its attracted to it for some reason


    bah
    Last edited by Col. Skillz; 03-19-2009 at 05:05 PM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost

  6. Software & Hardware   -   #6
    clocker's Avatar Shovel Ready
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    "Tinning the wire" means that you heat the wire and coat it with solder before you insert it into the circuitboard.
    Once inserted, just a touch of heat will melt the preapplied solder and cause it to flow.
    "I am the one who knocks."- Heisenberg

  7. Software & Hardware   -   #7
    Col. Skillz's Avatar Bacco,Tabacco,Venere
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    alright thanks, so when i tin the wire, do i put all the solder ill need on it? or just coat the wire so its nice and shiny?

    I don't need to insert anything, i need to lie a wire down on a little gold connetor and put a glob of solder on it, like this guy. i just dont know how he gets those nice little globs.

    http://img221.imageshack.us/img221/549/img1372pg5.jpg
    http://img91.imageshack.us/img91/1023/img1373ij1.jpg
    http://img84.imageshack.us/img84/430/img1375nf4.jpg

    my wii doesnt need the ir legs soldered

  8. Software & Hardware   -   #8
    lynx's Avatar .
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    Most cheap soldering irons are over-powered and have no temperature control. The result is that they heat up very quickly, which seems great to the novice, at first. The trouble is that they keep on getting hotter and hotter, so unless you use them very quickly you get overheating of the solder and it oxidises and won't stick, exactly as you've described.

    Part of the trick is to match the size of soldering iron to the size of the job. Too big and you will overheat the work spot and put excessive heat into the whole item - not goo when working with electronic components. Too small and you won't heat the work quickly enough, which may tempt you to leave the iron in one place and again spread heat throughout the surrounding material.

    I've got 2 irons, 12w and 18w, a stand, and a desoldering pump.

    The only other tool you might need is a set of helping hands if you can't fasten any of the parts down.

    I certainly wouldn't advise you to waste money on a soldering station if you aren't going to be doing LOTS of soldering.

    -----

    One of the main problems associated with soldering is lack of cleanliness. Solder won't stick to dirt, grease or oxidised metal so make sure everything is clean, including the tip of the soldering iron. Hot solder can oxidise very quickly so it is useful to have a piece of damp sponge (real sponge, NOT ruber/plastic substitute) to wipe the tip of the soldering iron. A soldering iron stand will usually come with a sponge pad - soak it in water for a minute then squeeze out the excess water.

    You need just put enough solder on the wire to give it a coating. Hold the wire firmly (in a vice or similar), heat it with the iron for a second then bring the solder up to it and the solder should flow over the wire. The whole process should not take more than a couple of seconds.

    You also need to tin the contact point. The procedure is similar to tinning the wire but you need to leave a small blob.

    Now put the wire on the blob of solder and the tip of the soldering iron on top of that. The blob of solder should melt very quickly and the wire should sink in to it. Remove the iron and the solder will solidify round the wire.
    .
    Political correctness is based on the principle that it's possible to pick up a turd by the clean end.

  9. Software & Hardware   -   #9
    Detale's Avatar Go Snatch a Judge
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    Oh those helping hands are fantastic. I have to take a pic of mine. I fashioned one with 4 arms instead of two. I got the idea from this pic


  10. Software & Hardware   -   #10
    Col. Skillz's Avatar Bacco,Tabacco,Venere
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    thanks for the VERY helpful post lynx. The price of a good soldering iron and stand from amazon is 30++ anyway, so i might just let that wlc 100 station. $40 and be done with it.

    what exactly does a desoldering pump do?

    and back to the soldering question. that simplifies things a lot. tin the wire, blob on the contact point. i just gotta b quick because if i keep the solder on there too long it gets burnt or what i think might cold solder. another problem with my cheap soldering iron. its a 35 watt too, which is pretty OP if you ask me. i think the adjustable temp will be very nice.

    will there be good contact made doing it this way? i want to make the strongest joint possible, I don't want to have an unexpected error one day and have to reopen my wii

    thanks again, your post was very helpful to me =)

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