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Author Topic: soldering iron  (Read 4986 times)

kayash

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soldering iron
« on: August 13, 2008, 10:12:29 AM »

Hi all,

i'm new here, that looks like a fuckin cool forum.
Just about to buy my first soldering iron ever..woohoo...very emotional. I understand i need one with a really small tip to be able to reach circuit board properly but have a friend who fixed amps and stuff and told me he uses a bigger tip for that...so ideally i'd like to get one where i can change the tip so i can do both...not clear from amazon or ebay which ones let you swap the tips...
any suggestions?

cheers
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Circuitbenders

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Re: soldering iron
« Reply #1 on: August 13, 2008, 12:27:44 PM »

Just about any decent soldering iron will let you change the tips, mainly due to the fact that sooner or later any soldering iron tip will get coated in crap despite your best efforts and will have to be replaced.

I appear to be mainly using one of these at the moment http://www.xytronic.com/pi/p-200pt.htm which has an easily changed tip just by unscrewing the barrell shaft that holds the tip in and sticking in a new one. To be honest i only very rarely change the tip for different projects and mainly use a 1mm chisel tip i think
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kayash

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Re: soldering iron
« Reply #2 on: August 14, 2008, 10:56:02 AM »

hey thanks a lot for that!
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goldenbaby

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Re: soldering iron
« Reply #3 on: December 18, 2008, 05:06:26 AM »

OK, I was fixing a handheld cassette recorder the other day, and it turns out I suck at soldering.  Now that I have assumed full responsibility for doing such a hack job, let me explain.

When soldering, it takes like 5 minutes to melt existing solder points, and the solder isn't very thin when it drops.  Instead, it avoids previous soldering and will roll across the board in a bead, not sticking to any of the traces.  Is this because my soldering iron is only 25W?  That sounds awfully weak to me.  http://www.canadiantire.ca/browse/product_detail.jsp?PRODUCT%3C%3Eprd_id=845524441900243&bmUID=1229576514772

I've had this for like 6 years, and replaced the tip a month ago.
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Circuitbenders

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Re: soldering iron
« Reply #4 on: December 18, 2008, 08:12:49 AM »

well, the iron i use reaches 430 degrees by the link i posted up there. The one you linked to there reaches 250 degrees, which i think might explain taking forever to melt solder.

The other problem you might have with a cheap iron is that it'll be unable to actually sustain the temperature on the tip. Anything it touches will act as a kind of heat sink and pull heat from the iron. On a cheap one it'll take a while for the temperature to get back up to a usable level, if it ever does.

Solder should never 'stick to any of the traces' if you dropped it on the board. On a decent solder joint you have to heat the component or wire being soldered first and then flow the solder onto the joint rather than the iron.

Probably the most important advice i can give to anyone in circuitbending is to get a DECENT soldering iron and spend half an hour just soldering stuff together and learning how to use it properly before working on anything. Cheap irons really are a false economy.
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computer at sea

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Re: soldering iron
« Reply #5 on: December 18, 2008, 05:39:10 PM »

Probably the most important advice i can give to anyone in circuitbending is to get a DECENT soldering iron

AbsoLUTEly.

I just finally got rid of my craptastic Radio Shack iron that I've been using for the last two years and upgraded to a Weller WLC 100, which I highly recommend.  It's on the low end of the spectrum of nice irons, but I've been very happy with it.  The tip it ships with is a bit chunky so I swapped it for a ST-7 tip which works great for small stuff.



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goldenbaby

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Re: soldering iron
« Reply #6 on: December 19, 2008, 05:14:54 AM »

Thanks guys.  I'll trying looking for more heat.  This one takes about 15 minutes to heat up, which is probably, like you said, the reason heat disappears from the tip so easily.  Gonna do a little bit of searching and hope I don't buy a supposedly great iron by a trashy brand name.  I thought Mastercraft was a good brand, but I guess it's not (or this iron itself isn't good).
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Gordonjcp

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Re: soldering iron
« Reply #7 on: December 20, 2008, 05:32:30 PM »

15 minutes for a 25-watt iron to heat up?  It's either knackered, or you're using a 240V iron on 110V mains.

It should be ready to use within a couple of minutes at most.
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