Learning to solder

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draxkooch
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Learning to solder

Post by draxkooch » Mon Jul 01, 2002 4:13 pm

I've got a bunch of burnt, crapped out computer
parts. I was wondering if it would be a good
idea to learn to solder/desolder with these.<p>Also, if these would be good to practice on
what type of soldering iron/solder is good
for a newb to learn with?

billdar
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Re: Learning to solder

Post by billdar » Mon Jul 01, 2002 4:56 pm

It will be good to learn on them as far as PCB soldering goes. <p>for small resistors and most surface mount components, use a 25 watt iron with a fine tip. For through-hole or Planer componets, I use an 80 watt iron with a high density tip.<p>Make sure you have a clean tip on the iron. Either use a tinning block or scrape it with an exacto knife. <p>There is too much to put in all of this, but some hints:
- flux is good ( I dig the pine scented stuff)
- High heat is good (just be quick)
- Acid resistant tweezers are good.
- when in doubt/trouble, clean with acetone and try again.

draxkooch
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Re: Learning to solder

Post by draxkooch » Mon Jul 01, 2002 5:50 pm

Thanks, I appreciate the tips.<p>I've found lots of guides floating around
on the 'net. So I should be able to find specifics
on anything else I need to know.

Dean Huster
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Re: Learning to solder

Post by Dean Huster » Tue Jul 02, 2002 10:44 am

80 watts is a pretty stiff iron! Through my year at Tektronix and since, my main iron for circuit board work has been a little 15-watt Antex. They're at soldering temperature in about 20 seconds and are light and easy to handle. They're not temperature-controlled, but I've never wrecked a circuit board with one.<p>I've never needed a larger iron than my 45-watt Ungar in a #777 handle.<p>Soldering guns should be kept at the OK Corral. Their only advantage is that the tips are free if you use scrap #12 housewiring.<p>You can be told how to solder just as you can be told how to play a musical instrument. But with that analogy, you know what you have to do to really LEARN how to solder well.<p>Dean
Dean Huster, Electronics Curmudgeon
Contributing Editor emeritus, "Q & A", of the former "Poptronics" magazine (formerly "Popular Electronics" and "Electronics Now" magazines).

R.I.P.

draxkooch
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Re: Learning to solder

Post by draxkooch » Tue Jul 02, 2002 5:35 pm

Yep, same as it is with everything.
I taught myself to be a pretty decent programmer
I think I can teach myself this :)

billdar
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Re: Learning to solder

Post by billdar » Wed Jul 03, 2002 11:04 am

The 80 watt iron is for things like voltage regulaters that have their backs soldered to a power plane. Or pulling out large SMT or through hole capacitors. Those parts suck the heat out of the little irons and takes a minute or two to pull off.<p>Yeah, but most stuff gets done with the little guy. <p>If you had specific soldering questions, I got lots of experience with EXTREME soldering. Like replacing the 10ohm SMT resistor packs on a SDRAM module with single 0603 15ohm SMT resistors. They would only fit if you soldered em on their edges...

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jollyrgr
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Re: Learning to solder

Post by jollyrgr » Wed Jul 03, 2002 3:03 pm

A couple of hints:<p>Get a decent solder vacuum (solder sucker) and/or solder wick. DO NOT use compressed air to blow away liquid solder. <p>Keep cleaning and tinning the soldering iron. A piece of sand paper, a file, etc. are good for the badly coated soldering tips. I like to use a wet rag or piece of wet paper towel to get the dirt off while I'm soldering. <p>I (and others) suggested that you tin the soldering iron. In case you (or others) don't know what that is, let me explain. Tinning is the coating of the tip with solder. The "tinning" should be a smooth thin layer of liquid solder and should not be a ball or lump of solder sitting on the end of the iron. With certain things (like wire) it helps to tin both the wires and the connection they are going to. For instance, if you plan on soldering a wire to a terminal strip, tin the wire by heating it with the iron and then coating it with solder. With stranded wire, the solder should go all the way into the wire. Also coat the metal terminal that you are going to solder the wire to.<p>Another thing that is not obvious when you first start soldering is that the components and connection being soldered should melt the solder. In other words you don't melt the solder onto the tip of the iron then dab it onto the connection. If you do this you will make what is called a cold solder joint. The connection may look like it is soldered but it is not. You heat the connection with the iron until it melts the solder and flows smoothly around the joint. Apply enough solder to make a nice clean even joint, remove the soldering iron just a moment after you remove the fresh solder supply.

You are doing it right by testing with old boards first. Start with two and three lead devices first. This will save you a lot of problems when it comes to removing things like 14 pin (thru hole) ICs. Once you get the thru hole devices down, then work with the surface mount devices or SMT (surface mount technology). These get to be real fun.
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ampedtech
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Re: Learning to solder

Post by ampedtech » Fri Aug 02, 2002 5:37 pm

Saftey!
Eyes (You know what to do)
Vent (Small fan, best to outside)<p>Live long and make cool things!

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