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wickid
Curator: Carvin Museum of NY


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 22, 2013 10:55 am   Reply with quoteBack to top

( ... or My trip to RadioShack 1 day ... )

So, since I've been on a p/up re-vamping spree lately, I took a trip to my local RadiosHack to pick up some tools and necessary (dwindling) supplies. With the various solder types alone, I figured this may be a good discussion (perhaps) on whats best to use, or what you experienced guys use for the job. Might also be a good reference for newbs at p/up swapping.



Subject: Solder type:

Anyway, I couldnt believe ALL the different types of solder - and thickness. (Rosin core, lead-free, silver-bearing ...) I even forgot what kind I already had at home - only know its really thin. (.022 I think.) Turns out its the silver-bearing solder. Its thinness works great for the tiny p/up leads on the selector and tap switches. It heats up and melts quickly, but its so thin it almost seems to evaporate (mostly). Seems to work pretty good though.

I also noticed most of what comes with many kits is the 60/40 rosin core .032 size solder. I have some of that too. I think I used to use that years ago before I picked up the thinner silver stuff. This 60/40 as I recall took a bit of time to heat up and melt, so more patience and a steady hand was needed as I recall.

I also picked up some clear flux large size solder. I was thinking that may be needed for the stuff that goes to the back of the pots (grounding and such). Thats always been a CHORE for me. Not sure if this would be better for this purpose? I still havent tried this out yet. I figured the clear flux might give it more immediate "grab and hold" with less flux mess. Keeping the wires on the pots can be tricky.



Subject: Desoldering:

I've seen the "suckers" with the bulbs, and have tried them, but to little effect. In fact I just picked up more copper desoldering wick (or desoldering braid). That also takes patience, but I've had better results "sponging up" solder on those tiny "eyelet" connections/lugs. The sucker has that plastic or rubber tip, which i would think would melt if too close. probably a technique / practice thing to get that right I guess.



Subject: Solder iron wattage:

I kinda thought I was in need of a higher power iron, for the more arduous back of pot desoldering. I forgot what power I already had - but it turned out to be a 30W. That was a kinda good middle of the road - worked well for the mini-lug soldering, but took forever to loosen the back of pot work. (While at the store I thought it was either a 15W or 25W w/o knowing off the top of my head - didnt know until I came home and checked the fading label on it.)

They had ALL kinds of diff power irons to choose from. Since I wanted higher power, but a thin point, I limited it down to 2 choices. 1 was a variable wattage, from about 15 up to 50. The 2nd came with a holder, and had 2 selections 20/40. After much deliberation (I hate how long I take to make up my mind like this), I opted for the 20/40 (with a base/holder/sponge).
So as it turned out my old iron was right in the middle of that at ~30W. And I thought it was weaker, oh well. Anyway, I know if theres too much heat for too long, you could ruin the pots (did that at least once - but not often), or even melt the plastic that the lugs sit in on the switches. So I wasnt sure if 50W would've been too much? Plus, the tip of the 50W seemed quite large (for tight space work), even though it was a tapered point.

Anyway, I've only tried out the 20W setting so far. It does take a bit longer than the 30W of course. But given the uber thin solder I use, soldering to a lug wasnt that bad. Desoldering did take a bit more patience (I hate when a lead wire slips out of the lug while melting the solder - dont you?). I think either 20W or 30W would work for the small switches / lugs. The 20W might be safer (heat-wise), if it doesnt try my patience too much.



Subject: Other misc tips:

Other things that came to mind as I saw all the supplies there (I didnt want to spend like $100 - but probably could've), was things like tip tinning. I tend to do that with the solder I have - just add some to the iron tip. But they had something else specific for that. (I passed.)

They also had some kind of conductive heat activated rosin or flux stuff - in some sort of small syringe system, but wasnt sure if I could use that.

Another thing I never really got into was using heat-shrinking material. It looks like a good idea to insulate exposed things like ground or shield wires. I've typically used elec tape, but sometimes it comes undone. The tape isnt as neat of a job.


So, comments? What do you guys use?
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Guitardan
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 22, 2013 12:34 pm   Reply with quoteBack to top

I recently bought this soldering station from Parts-Express when they were on sale for $39.95. Now $59.95
http://www.parts-express.com/pe/showdetl.cfm?partnumber=374-200
It's great for all types of soldering tasks, heats up in a jiffy.
Bought a hand full of tips to go with...

I typically use Kester 44 solder, 60/40 - 0.031" on most things, including pup wiring and installation.
As long as the iron is hot enough, it works well on pots too.
I flow some on the pot then stick the wire to it while its still liquid or when I re-heat it. It helps to use a bigger tip, or use the side of a smaller tip to heat the surface faster.

For circuit board work (when I'm amp building) on small parts (resistors, caps) I will use a Kester 245 (no-Clean) smaller guage.
But for bigger parts, spades, lugs, sockets, etc, I'll use the 44 because it flows and covers better.
For the Hand-Wired amps, I use 44 on everything.

I have one of the de-solder bulbs and rarely use it cause...well...it sucks, or doesn't suck enough : ) -
For big blobs or de-soldering a part, I prefer the spring loaded solder suckers, then I follow up w/ the wick to clean the surface or suck out that last hard to get solder.

- Dan

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Bundy
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 22, 2013 10:51 pm   Reply with quoteBack to top

Most of my solderin' stuff is from Radio sHack (I love that, dude!). My solderin' stick is a simple straight-iron pointy-tip that has a 15/30-watt switch-- and it stays on 30W. I've had it for almost a decade and replace the tip about every other year or so.

I use the rosin-core .032 solder for most of the small stuff (PCB and cable construction/repair) but might break out the rosin-core .050 for ground leads to the back of a pot. I also have this little tin with tip cleaner/tinning material in it that I just dip a clean solderin' stick into before going to work. I'll use a 100-120 grit sandpaper to clean the tip to a shine before tinning and getting on with it.

The solder sucker I use is the pen-type that's spring-activated. Works great.

While some suggest a wet/damp sponge for cleaning off the excess, I actually use #0000 steel wool instead. It just seems to do better for me.

Happy solderin'! Very Happy

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Delta362
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 23, 2013 2:20 pm   Reply with quoteBack to top

For the iron, I use a Weller W60P iron with a pencil tip, and a Weller PH60 iron holder. I've had that iron for close to 20 years now, going back to my field service days when I worked a lot on heavy duty circuit boards. I also replace the tip when I notice the shape wearing down.

With many years of experience, I can get away with using a 60W iron, but I don't recommend this higher wattage for new users as they'll most likely lift the solder pads and/or traces on circuit boards until they become proficient at it.

The sponge on the station is kept damp and I wipe the tip when necessary to ensure the tip is clean and not holding a blob of solder on it. The tip gets tinning as necessary.

Solder is the Kester 44 63/37 rosin core 0.031, though sometimes I'll buy 60/40 instead.

I don't like the solder braid/wick, probably because I learned with a solder sucker in the beginning. For the sucker, I use a modified Soldapullt DS017, which I've had just as long as my iron. I used my cutters and notched about 1/16" square out of the side of the bottom tip. Then I held my hot iron tip on it to conform to the tip's shape. This allows me to hold the iron on the part to heat the solder while also holding the Soldapullt in the exact spot I need. Works great for me.
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carve1
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 23, 2013 3:55 pm   Reply with quoteBack to top

invaluable from top to bottom on this topic post. ironically, i find myself involved in just this recently.
bookmarked for my use. Stir the Pot Thanks!
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Brian D
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 23, 2013 5:03 pm   Reply with quoteBack to top

This was a very colorful discussion. Very Happy

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treg
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 23, 2013 8:02 pm   Reply with quoteBack to top

Here's my list and color added to the discussion:

Radio Shack 15/30W soldering iron that came with a holder, sponge, and heat sink. Was about $12 for the set back in 2008. Before that, I used a really old and barely functional iron from my dad's toolbox. It worked fine the 2 or 3 times I used it over 5 years or so. I use sand paper to clean it off when it gets icky and it functions well again. Haven't needed to replace the tip since I don't use it much.

Solder: the 60/40 rosin core from Radio Shack. I think mine is .06" or something like that. Much thicker than what comes with a Bolt kit. I never liked the idea of heating up a pot until the solder melted, probably since the iron I used was barely functional. I just melt the solder onto the pot and then spread it until it holds. Dancing

I used to use a copper wick, and still do, but recently got a desoldering pump off ebay for about $4 shipped from one of those sellers that has locations in China and NY or NJ. I use both the wick and pump depending on how much there is to remove or if one doesn't work particularly well in a certain application.

I don't do circuit boards or anything like that, just wires, pots, and switches. My technique is just enough to get by and I don't do any heat shrink tubing, just electrical tape when needed.

GFS has some soldering equipment and supplies on their site that they say is the same as they use. I haven't tried it though. Think

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wickid
Curator: Carvin Museum of NY


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 24, 2013 11:04 am   Reply with quoteBack to top

treg wrote:
...

I don't do circuit boards or anything like that, just wires, pots, and switches. My technique is just enough to get by and I don't do any heat shrink tubing, just electrical tape when needed.
...

Same here. Sorta like guitar ... and golf ... I've been doing this for some years, but really am still a hack at it, but a "functional hack". Wink (I make liberal use of that pickguard or cavity cover.) I figured it could all be good info for others, especially since I went into RS and saw how much was available, and wasnt sure what was necessary, and what was more for convenience.

I like the color in this convo - and am glad someone finds it useful for new guys. I broke my initial post into categories like that to try and make whatever info one may be looking for easier to find.
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maxoom
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 17, 2013 2:11 pm   Reply with quoteBack to top

I use the Kester 60/40 rosin core .031 and CARDAS Quad Eutectic Silver Solder. Many of the instructional sites say heat the part being soldered to then apply the solder but I always pre tin the parts being soldered and I often find I need to use flux on all surfaces or wires I tin.

I use a Weller WES51 soldering station.I retired all the other guns. Nothing like being able to adjust the temp for different jobs and be ready to solder in 30 seconds.









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X100BNut
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 14, 2016 2:14 am   Reply with quoteBack to top

You'll want flux remover to clean off the flux unless you're using no-clean solder. Flux is corrosive (no clean goes pretty harmless at room temperature), and flux will make the solder flow nicely. They sell little pump jars to keep the flux remover in, and cheap bags of brushes for application. Wipe off the remains with a Q-tip or paper towel for a big job. Flux pens are a nice luxury.

File the back of your pots a bit to improve solderability. Tin the tip of your iron before each use.
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