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Soldering iron

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I would like to purchase the DIY kits this May or June or whenever the sale is. I want to purchase a good high quality soldering iron for this purpose. I have a cheapy iron but not good for board work. Any suggestions?

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You could checkout MPJA.com. They have some soldering stations with LED temp displays for less than $50.

I read the instruction manual for the kit. It recommend two irons. A 25watt and a 40watt. The reason is that the high voltage things like the fuse holders, connectors and triacs have massive amounts of copper around them. That copper pulls the heat away very fast.

I think that a good temp controlled station will eliminate the need for two irons. Last time I checked the kits were coming with just about everything you need...thermal compound for the heatsinks and even the solder.

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Hey, I was just going to say that! You can get a good basic temperature controlled soldering station for $35 at http://www.web-tronics.com. Look at the "CSI-STATION1A". (I think mpja sells a similar one.) They also have good prices on LEDs and some of their other stuff. If you buy $50 worth of stuff you can get a free gift but you have to ask for it. There is a link on the page that explains it.

Direct link to the soldering stations:
http://www.web-tronics.com/solstat.html

There is a very good article on soldering at http://www.talkingelectronics.com/te_interactive_index.html. In the menu on the left side look for "soldering".

TED

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Dan, would it be possible to get a copy (PDF, etc) of the instructions for the kit?

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Ed wrote:

Dan, would it be possible to get a copy (PDF, etc) of the instructions for the kit?

Hi Ed,

I will get a copy posted next week. I know that the guy doing the instruction manual has a few small changes to make before we distribute.

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Thanks Dan, that would be great!!!


Ed

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Is there a difference between wattage control and temperature control? or is it considered the same thing. some soldering irons say temperature control and others say something like 5-40 watts.

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I have a Weller temperature controlled soldiering station and would use nothing else (unless I had too, then maybe I would). For basic soldiering on circuit boards I set the temperature at 650 degrees. And like Dan said, if your soldiering some bigger stuff with a larger mass then I increase the temp from 700 to 750. When soldiering you want to get both the board trace pad and part connection too temperature as quickly as possible, apply a small amount of soldier so that a nice fillet is formed and remove the heat. If you keep the heat on the board to long, you increase the chance of lifting the trace pad and that would not be good.

Remember when soldiering, clean the board and parts with alcohol prior to soldiering to remove any oxidation and after soldiering to remove any excess flux, and then a perform a good visual inspection, no globing allowed, the completed soldier joint should have a nice shinny surface. If it has a dull surface it is called a cold soldier joint and can be caused by several factors, soldiering at too low a temp, component moved before it cooled, dirty surface prior to soldiering. If you get a cold soldier use soldier wick or a soldier sucker and remove the soldier, clean the board a component again and try again.

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Bill, did you stay in a Holiday Inn Express last night?

Great soldering tips!

Thanks

Glenn

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Actually when I worked at Hughes (Electron Dynamics Division), I got a NASA certification for soldiering. The instructor inspected the students soldiered PC boards with a 50 power microscope. In my class I was the first one done with my board and the instructor found no defects. The next guy to get his done and pass was a day and a half later. I have been soldiering since I was a kid and when I went to that NASA class I actually learned what it was I was supposed to be doing. I used to Glob but now when I replace a component on a board you could never tell that it had been replaced. Really it comes down to is using a being clean, using the correct temperature and the right amount of soldier.

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Excellent soldering tips. But what is meant by temperature control and watts?

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jeff wrote:

Excellent soldering tips. But what is meant by temperature control and watts?

Jeff

When we refer to the watts of a soldiering iron it is the amount of power the soldiering iron draws at a specified voltage, generally the higher the wattage, the hotter the soldiering is going to get, but you really have no control of the temperature other than maybe a switch that allow you to switch between different power ratings. Temperature control on the other hand allows you to regulate the temperature at the soldiering iron tip, therefor if I set my Weller to 650 degrees that will be the temperature at the tip (before sinking it off) allowing me to regulate the temperature at which I am going to soldier.

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Here is one I ended up going with from Radio Shack (picked it up at my local store):

http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2062750&cp=&origkw=solder+station&kw=solder+station&parentPage=search

It was only $23 and has two temperature settings which should be good enough when I order the LOR DIY kits.

I just put in my order for a FM25B transmitter so I can get something started.

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What ever you do DO NOT buy the "Cold Heat" thingy that started showing on Weather Channel a couple of years ago. It started showing up at Radio Shack at Christmas. Will probably be at Big Lots or better yet the Dollar Store before long. If you want to melt any circuit or just the wires itself...go ahead and use it. It is like taking a car battery and "Helliarcing" (sp?) the thing! What your LOR board melt before your eyes :)

Somewhere I have an article using a dimmer switch inline with a regular ole 40 watt iron. Espcially good for those "tight" solders.
Robert

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Thanks Ted!



I needed a new soldering station and Fry's was just too much.

I ordered a web-tronics.

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wirekat wrote:

Thanks Ted!
I needed a new soldering station and Fry's was just too much.

I ordered a web-tronics.

You are very welcome! I'm glad it helped.

TED

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jeff wrote:

Is this a good soldering iron?

See Grembler's explanation of watt control vs. temperature control above. Why would you want to spend $41 on a watt controlled station when you can get a temperature controlled station at the link I posted above for $35?

TED

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TED wrote:

jeff wrote:
Is this a good soldering iron?

See Grembler's explanation of watt control vs. temperature control above. Why would you want to spend $41 on a watt controlled station when you can get a temperature controlled station at the link I posted above for $35?

TED

I guess I still don't understand the difference between the two. It was explained in gremlers post that "the higher the wattage the hotter the iron will get". And "you really have no control over the temperature other than a switch that allows you to switch between different power ratings" To me, that sounds like temperature control. If I have a Weller 5-40 watt station and I adjust it to 15 watts it is not going to be as hot as when I set it to 35 watts.

I'm not trying to be difficult here, it just comes naturally.

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The difference is with temperature control you know what the temperature is you are applying to the board, with wattage control it is really a guess. When I am soldiering on an expensive circuit board I want to know I am applying 650 degrees, not to hot were I take a chance of lifting the soldier pad off the board (as long as the iron is not left on the board to long) or not hot enough were I don't get a good bond.

P.S it is really hard to type laying on my back so I am going to stop for now.

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After seeing the link here, I ordered the soldering station from WebTronics yesterday. UPS delivered it today. Turns out that WebTronics is located near Phoenix, only about 60 miles from me here. Haven't tried it yet, but looks like a good unit. I also ordered 1000 nylon cable ties from them, 84 cents per 100, as well as some cooling fans for other projects. My order came to a little over $50 , so I got the digital multimeter free. Really a nice meter and great service from them. Now, I just need the LOR kits when they go on sale.

Oh yeah, UPS delivered my Lawn Lights today too. Is it Christmas yet?

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I'm happy for you and really interested on how well it works, I recommend practicing on an old circuit board first. Pick up some soldier wick from Radio Shack and practice de-soldiering a component and then re-soldiering. Keep in mind that when you de-soldier the soldiering iron most likely will require a higher temp then when just soldiering due to the soldier wick heat sinking. When I de-soldier I will usually take it to about 700 degrees. Keep your sponge damp (not soaked) with water and keep your tip clean.

Bill

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I haven't put a kit together in years, but do have plenty of old circuit boards lying around so that's a good idea to practice. One question though, what type size/type tip do you think would be best to use for soldering the LOR kits when they are released? Although it comes with a tip installed, there are several optional tips that can be purchased/used.

Denny

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Here is a pic of the tip I use, it is about .040 inch at the tip, not to pointy, not to blunt. I also forgot to mention to put a little soldier on the tip when ever you put it back in the holder, then wipe the tip on the damp sponge just before your ready to use it.

Attached files 44548=2623-Soldier iron tip.jpg

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