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Solder station - recommendations?

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With the Ramsey 30 & LOR boards I plan on building I don't think the pencil tip is going to cut it. From reading on here looks like I need a solder station
We had one at a job I worked, and I remeber a thread about one on here
But can't find the thread & there are a lot of stations out there

Anything specific I should look for? Ball park price range? Temp/wattage range?

http://www.soldertoolsdepot.com/listitemsdirect.asp?dept=480&main=79&item1=15860+TL&item2=15845+TL&item3=15140+TL&item4=15141+TL

Quick search brought up this: 48w $47

15845.jpg

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Dave,

The one in the picture should be fine for general PCB work, You may need to buy a larger pencil iron (60W to 75W) for the larger components like the BNC connector on your FM30 and the larger heat sucking connectors that you will come across. I just completed the FM30 and I have a temp adjustable 60W iron and it completed all joints without a hitch, just turned up the temp a wee bit for the large caps, rf and audio connectors. If you don't have yet, buy some wicking braid and a decent solder sucker for those mistakes that we all never make. Have fun building your Fm30. I finished mine in about 5 hours and when I connected the frequency counter from work, it was dead on frequency without adjustment. I now have about 30hours burn in time and it's functioning perfectly.

Daryl B.

aka grump010

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Kevin, to do my FM30B last year, I got one of these. Good little unit. It got good reviews on the web, and also on a post here on PC. Not cheap, but it did good by me, I found it on E-bay and it was right around this same price range:

http://cgi.ebay.com/New-Hakko-936-12-Soldering-Sations-with-907-Iron_W0QQitemZ120090705087QQihZ002QQcategoryZ109556QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

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I got this one:

http://www.circuitspecialists.com/level.itml/icOid/7483 (link doesn't go there
so you have to dig down though solder accessories)



I love it. It warms up quick. I can turn it up for those big hunks of metal and
the standard tip stays sharp and tinned.

Make sure you get one of those gold steel wool looking things to clean the tip,
it really makes a difference.



Attached files 125152=7443-webtronics_1935_8961034.jpg

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If you are considering soldering a number of boards now and in the future, a worthy addition is a circuit board holder like the PanaVise shown in the picture. It consists of a base unit and the board holder. They are very handy as they hold the circuit board in any position you desire.
You can check out the PanaVise web site HERE.

They are available from various on-line retailers. Try a google search for panavise.




Attached files 125184=7448-pana-vise.jpg

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I am going to get one of these too:



My eyes need a little help these days.


Attached files 125190=7449-30105186.jpg

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Kevin, a lighted magnifier is a MUST! I would never have completed the FM30B without it. One of those Helping Hands type devices would have been nice. My mom got a laugh watching me cuss at trying to get around NOT having one of those. Live and learn!

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Yeah this doesn't cut it::laughing:




Attached files 125196=7450-HELPH-M.jpg

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Wirekat

This is funny, I just ordered one of the solder stations , only I will be picking mine up in person :D

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It is funny. I have built a Ramsey FM100B, a SSTRAN 3000, and four LOR kits in the last four weeks with just a 30w pencil from Radio shack. I hav a 15/30W iron, a 30w iron, and 25 w iron AND I have a weller soldering station too.

But the weller was in a different area and I did not feel like moving it. SO I just used the 30w. The kits you mentioned should be fine with a cheap pencil tip.

It is more along the quantity of soldering that determines when a station really comes in handy for me.

I also have a tinning pot for tinning leads and it is very handy.

RW

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I used a dual power setting solder station from Radio Shack for my boards. The low setting was too low, but high worked perfectly.

I didn't buy a board holder. Sure would have been nice.

I always use 63% resin core solder, not the cheaper 60%. Fewer cold solder joints. Clean the solder strand with paper towel as you work to make it nice and shiny. A little extra flux always helps even with resin core, but clean it with alcohol quickly or it gets hard to remove. Keep solder on the tip if you are leaving it hot for more than a few minutes, then wipe it off in the "gold scrub" thing or on a wet sponge or wet paper towel. If solder stays hot too long, it starts to separate into tin and lead and will give you a bad joint.

Any idea when we will have to start using Silver Solder for home kits? I want to stock up on 63% solder beforehand.

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So the 63% tin (37% lead) does a better job?

I better try that.

Oh don't tell people that we're using lead to build our boards (Opps:shock:!)

Just remember to wash your hands!

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Thanks for all the information!!

And tips. I bought a headband magnifier - looking for hands free
I need to setup an are & get to work on my 30
It's going to be warm before I know it

Problem is, I do anything that makes a smell & the wife is worried about the kid
Basement is still warming up after the cold spell - it's up to 57.6
Once its back up to 63 I should be good

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Im not sure about this solder , I have a 1lb roll of Kester QQS-571 core 66 alloy Sn63 flux 282 , dia.031, it's been sitting around for a few years, I can't find it in the Kester catalog, anyone have any info on this stuff ?

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RayNMesa wrote:

Im not sure about this solder , I have a 1lb roll of Kester QQS-571 core 66 alloy Sn63 flux 282 , dia.031, it's been sitting around for a few years, I can't find it in the Kester catalog, anyone have any info on this stuff ?
63% tin, 37%lead
kester's famous 66 rosin core
good stuff
I believe it may even be the old standard mil spec!

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RayNMesa wrote:

Im not sure about this solder , I have a 1lb roll of Kester QQS-571 core 66 alloy Sn63 flux 282 , dia.031, it's been sitting around for a few years, I can't find it in the Kester catalog, anyone have any info on this stuff ?

This looks like the MSDS if you're interested. Just don't eat it!

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In case you're curious about 63/37 vs the more common 60/40 solder, the 63/37 is referred to as Eutectic solder (sometimes a Non-Eutectic). When you apply heat to solder it melts and it becomes very fluid. As it cools, there is a point where it becomes "plastic" rather than a solid or liquid. That is the Eutectic point, and with 60/40 solder, that covers a range of several degrees as it cools. If the wire or component lead moves during that time, it can ruin the structure of the joint, causing a classic "cold solder" joint. 63/37 solder has practically no Eutectic range at all, going from liquid to solid so fast that it is very difficult to get a cold solder joint from movement. It is the solder of choice for quality electronics, especially when hand soldering.

RayNMesa, you have a good roll of Kester. Treat it nicely. I'll mention again, polish the last few inches of the solder with cloth or paper towel before use so you don't get any of that dull corrosion layer into your joint. The only good solder joint is a shiny joint with a nice fillet. Pretty. :D

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wirekat wrote:

RayNMesa wrote:
Im not sure about this solder , I have a 1lb roll of Kester QQS-571 core 66 alloy Sn63 flux 282 , dia.031, it's been sitting around for a few years, I can't find it in the Kester catalog, anyone have any info on this stuff ?

This looks like the MSDS if you're interested. Just don't eat it!


And all this time I’ve had a hankering for a plateful of .01 picrofarad capacitors’ smothered in melted solder, hummm hummm , makes my mouth water just thinking about it. This is not a habit you want to get into. Although I have ran across some Techs that look like they have been eating solder for a long time.

Thanks all for the info, I will be assembling the Ramsey FM30 and 4 of LOR’s CTB16KD DYI kits within the next few months, just trying to get some of the prep work out of the way first.

JonB256 Thanks for that info, I will treat that solder with a little more respect. Thank you all for your info.

Ray

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The soldering stations are nice but not necessary. As long as you have a circuit board vise any soldering you do can be handled by a good quality pencil type soldering iron. They're simple and cheap. If you were going into business soldering boards I would say go with the station but for a few LOR boards and a transmitter just get the pencil type and buy a couple of extension cords:D

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What causes the tip to erode? Are there better tips that don't do that? I have the radio shack dual temp.

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Tip erosion is caused by the molten solder. It actually dissolves the metal (iron or copper) over time. I have always preferred copper tips, keeping them well tinned and always wiping them clean before use if they have been sitting with molten solder on them. A side effect of tip erosion is that if you don't clean that old solder off, any dissolved iron or copper will now be deposited on your new solder joint.

If you are using Tin/Lead solder, your joint should be SHINY! If it isn't, then your solder is either not hot enough, you "moved" the joint while it cooled or have contaminated solder.

If any of you are using Silver (no-lead) solder, you just have to live with dull solder. I'll start using no-lead when they come to my house and confiscate my hoard.:)

When a tip gets bad, you just file it smooth, re-tin it with lots of flux and solder, and continue on.

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Thanks for the tips & solder info
We've had a cold front move in for 2 days, back down to single digits
Basement is the coldest it has been - 55.4

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What is a cold solder Joint

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