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Superfreak3
08-04-2010, 11:26 PM
Not quite sure if this is the proper forum for this, but I tried to start soldering my SS8 board last night, but wasn't very successful.

I tried two soldering irons, but neither seemed to be either hot enough or had a good tip. I couldn't tin either tip and I even tried a brand new tip on one of the irons. No matter what I tried, I couldn't get a good joint.

I don't know if its because I was doing it in the basement that the tip was becoming nasty right away or what.

PLEASE HELP with any suggestions as to what to do or what might have been wrong.

dirknerkle
08-04-2010, 11:29 PM
If you can't even tin the soldering iron, that makes it pretty tough to solder with it! How long did you let the iron warm up before you started? What blend of solder are you using? Some kinds require higher heat (ROHs-compatible solder)...

g2ktcf
08-04-2010, 11:30 PM
Not quite sure if this is the proper forum for this, but I tried to start soldering my SS8 board last night, but wasn't very successful.

I tried two soldering irons, but neither seemed to be either hot enough or had a good tip. I couldn't tin either tip and I even tried a brand new tip on one of the irons. No matter what I tried, I couldn't get a good joint.

I don't know if its because I was doing it in the basement that the tip was becoming nasty right away or what.

PLEASE HELP with any suggestions as to what to do or what might have been wrong.


did you put flux on the tip? Also, what iron and what solder are you using?

Matt_Edwards
08-05-2010, 12:02 AM
As the others have noted, it is important to make sure the iron temp is correct.
What make and type of Solder are you using?
Is the Soldering Iron a variable Temp type or fixed Temp?
Can you take a photo of the resultant soldering attempt?

ctmal
08-05-2010, 12:21 AM
I've found this (http://www.radioshack.com/search/index.jsp?kwCatId=&kw=tip%20tinner&origkw=tip%20tinner&sr=1) very usefull in keeping my tip clean.

Superfreak3
08-05-2010, 09:53 AM
I think they're 30 watt irons, but one may be a 25. I'm actually using solder that I got with a kit that I believe has a flux core. I'm not at home right now, but will get the specs of the irons and solder when I get home. I'll also post some pics of the feable attempt. Knowing me, I probably toasted the board! :(

I left the irons heat up for about 5 mins or so.

Thanks for all of the replies so far.

UPDATE: Here's on of the irons: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0002KR9DO/ref=oss_product

I used two tips with this one.

dmcole
08-05-2010, 05:02 PM
Yeah, 25-watters and/or 30-watters ain't gonna do it.

Most people on this board are going to say you need an adjustable iron and if you're going to do any amount of PCB building, that is sound advice. If you're going to build only a couple of boards, you *may* (and I use that term advisedly) be able to get away with a 40-watt iron from Radio Shack, but don't be surprised if you have trouble even with it and/or it dies during the build.

Here is Wayne J's video on soldering for neophytes:

http://www.doityourselfchristmas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=9556

There are plenty of others around the web ... just Google them.

You should probably break down and get an adjustable iron just to have one ... expect to spend at least $40-$50 ... Lady Ada (Limor Fried) has a nifty section on the tools you need to build her kits, which applies greatly to what you'd be doing around here:

http://www.ladyada.net/library/equipt/kits.html

Best of luck.

\dmc

Superfreak3
08-05-2010, 05:10 PM
I think the other iron I have may actually be a 40 watt'er and that one worked fine for the small learning kit I used. However, I know the tip on that iron is probably toast, but I thought I'd give it a quick shot as a last resort.

I'll check out the details and post pics tonight. Worst case, if the board isn't damaged and someone wants it I'll sell it and parts as I don't really need it. I was just going to use it for smaller seasonal shows and in addition to my Christmas boards.

Again, thanks to all for the help, pointers, advice so far.

Ronp
08-05-2010, 05:24 PM
I would go to radio shack and get some soldering flux. You could use a tooth pick to apply some to the legs of the part then solder.

I used cheap 25-40 watt irons for years.

hartlove
08-05-2010, 07:42 PM
I built my first Ren 24SS with a 20 watt Radio Shack iron. It worked fine until I got to the triacs; I couldn't even get the solder to melt. I bought the selectable 20/40 watt that was in my local Radio Shack so I could finish up, and that worked pretty well. I just finished my second Ren 24SS with that one, and had no problems at all.

mschell
08-05-2010, 09:26 PM
I haven't broken down yet and bought a variable temp iron. I've built lots of boards over the last year or so with a Radio Shack 20/40 W iron.

I have bought new tips every so often, since that will make a difference.

For soldering the triacs and other items with large traces on the board, you'll need at least the 40 W and as already mentioned, the ones with variable temp settings are the best.

You need to "tin" the tip first, so be sure it's silvery with solder before trying to do anything on a board. A good flux core solder or separate flux paste is necessary to make a good joint.

Superfreak3
08-05-2010, 11:11 PM
My other iron is also a 30 watt.

The solder I'm trying to use is .031" dia Rosin Core 99.3 tin, 0.7 copper.

Entropy
08-06-2010, 12:30 AM
A 25-30 watter should do it. After all my Aoyue is only 35W.

Key question though: Leaded or lead-free solder? Leadfree has a much higher melting temp and requires a higher wattage iron. (The soldering irons I've seen sold for leadfree work are 70W as compared to my 35W.)

Also, if you go beyond 25W or so, get something with temperature control. Aoyues (Chinese clones of Hakkos) are quite good and dirt cheap. My Aoyue 937+ is 35W, temp controlled, I love it, and only $50.

WireWrap
08-12-2010, 07:08 PM
my other iron is also a 30 watt.

The solder i'm trying to use is .031" dia rosin core 99.3 tin, 0.7 copper.

BINGO!! You should get yourself some 63% tin / 37% lead solder. 60/40% is almost as good, but not quite. You will find it MUCH easier to work with than the lead-free stuff. The working temperature needed (183C) is just about 80% of what the lead-free needs (227C). The size you selected is a good one (.031"). Some liquid flux will also improve your work. Lead-free is tough enough to use when you are experienced -- starting out with it is just asking for grief.



:)

jerryinmich57
08-13-2010, 09:16 AM
I have only soldered three ren 16 boards (so far) but I have a 15 watt pencil type radio shack special at about $7.99 using .032 solder, sure it takes a while to heat up for the first solder joint but I like coffee.
Jerry

Superfreak3
08-15-2010, 08:04 PM
I guess it was the solder. I picked up some 60/40 and that seemed to work better. The first joints were a little rough, but was eventually able to tin the tip and all seemed to go OK after that.

WireWrap
08-19-2010, 02:34 PM
...
The first joints were a little rough, but was eventually able to tin the tip and all seemed to go OK after that.

Now just practice, practice, practice. You'll be amazed how much better you'll get as you do.

(Hmmmm, do I have some boards I still need built??? Free labor.... Hmmmmmm...) :twisted: :twisted: :twisted:



:)

Superfreak3
08-19-2010, 03:13 PM
LOL! If I had the time I would do it.

Actually about half way through the job it seemed I was getting quite good at it.

WireWrap
08-19-2010, 03:46 PM
LOL! If I had the time I would do it.

Actually about half way through the job it seemed I was getting quite good at it.

Wait until you look at your work under a 30-power stereoscopic microscope. When I went to USN micro-miniature component repair school back in the '80s, my work at first looked like I had thrown balls of molten solder at the joints. And I thought I was pretty good at the time (before the training). Boy, did I learn better!!! Final exam was to repair a burnt-out run on the 7th layer of a 14-layer PC board. I learned a LOT!!!


:)

Superfreak3
08-19-2010, 04:42 PM
Well now seeing if the board actually works is a different story!

The only thing I've done so far is powered it up and the led glowed green! I'm waiting for another triac I was short then I'll try running a sequence through it for my final exam.

hartlove
08-20-2010, 11:29 PM
Not to threadjack, but since you guys were already talking about solder, I thought I'd ask here.

Is there any reason to use / not use silver bearing solder? I have a 1.5 oz spool of .022 62/36/2 that I used for 2 ren 24s, a ren64 and a few SSRs, but I also have a half pound spool of .032 60/40 sitting on my bench, waiting for the little spool to run out. I still have at least half of the .022 left though, so I haven't done a comparison.

chilloutdocdoc
08-21-2010, 09:16 AM
Not to threadjack, but since you guys were already talking about solder, I thought I'd ask here.

Is there any reason to use / not use silver bearing solder? I have a 1.5 oz spool of .022 62/36/2 that I used for 2 ren 24s, a ren64 and a few SSRs, but I also have a half pound spool of .032 60/40 sitting on my bench, waiting for the little spool to run out. I still have at least half of the .022 left though, so I haven't done a comparison.

not to respond to a thread-jack, but...

if it works for you, and you're getting good, clean, solid solder joints, then i'd say there's no reason not to use what you have on hand, personally though i would not buy any more silver solder. just stick with the leaded stuff.

covewi
08-28-2010, 07:11 PM
My cheap Radio Shack soldering iron wont cut it any more.

Very hard to control the temp and get in tight spots.

Would kind of irons do others use and would you recommend?

Jrd
08-29-2010, 12:54 AM
My cheap Radio Shack soldering iron wont cut it any more.

Very hard to control the temp and get in tight spots.

Would kind of irons do others use and would you recommend?

Read this (http://doityourselfchristmas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=454).

Superfreak3
08-30-2010, 08:51 PM
I just got around to testing my work and.....

WE HAVE BLINKY FLASHY!! IT WORKS!!!!

My first crack at building one of these beautiful boards was a shining success. I really feel like a DIYer now!!!

THANKS ALL

Jrd
08-31-2010, 12:35 AM
Congratulations! :D Another one joins the ranks.

Superfreak3
08-31-2010, 04:18 PM
I don't know why I held off so long in building my own board. I guess it was my perception of lack of time, but its not all that time consuming at all. Now, granted, I only built an SS8, but once you get the hang of it, you can fly.

For those reading this and having reservations... buy and try, that's all I can say. I've purchased completed boards and ran shows that were cool. But building your own makes it all that much more satisfying.