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Soldering iron

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jeff wrote:

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.

Using your example you would know that when it is set at 15 watts it is not as hot as when it is set at 40 watts, but how hot is it exactly? The answer is that you don't know. With the temperature controlled model you would know that it is exactly 450 degrees or 675 degrees. It is more precise and therefore a better tool.

TED

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jeff wrote:

I guess I still don't understand the difference between the two.

Maybe this will help. Watt control is like using a light dimmer to control the brightness of a light with your eyes closed. Now try this with your eyes open! This would be like temperature control.



The temperature controlled irons have a sensor in or near the tip. When you set it to 650 degrees, it really is 650 degrees. When you solder something with greater mass, the iron will apply more power to keep the tip temperature constant.





BTW, the difference between the low cost iron and the one’s that cost several hundred dollars is the reaction time and amount of temperature compensation. I have a $500 dollar unit at work that will solder very small surface mount parts and will also solder a transistor to a steel plate. No kidding! It does this all at 600 degrees.

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Thanks for a good explanation. I guess the question now is: How do I know what temperature I want for a given component. In the LOR assembly manual it suggests having a 25 watt soldering iron and a 40 watt. I have no idea the temperature of a 25 watt or a 40 watt iron. All I need to know is that a 25 and 40 watt iron will do the job, according to the instruction manual. Perhaps the temperature controlled irons are for professionals who understand the temperature requirements and limitations of each component. BTW, I am not new to soldering. I have a cheapo 30 watt and 15 watt that I have used in the past for hobby kits from velleman, canakit and others. But this temperature thing is new to me and thats why it has struck a nerve. I'm just curious thats all. I am going to be ordering the LOR DIY kits and I want to do a pro job.

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jeff wrote:

I guess the question now is: How do I know what temperature I want for a given component.
BTW, I am not new to soldering.


Always use the lowest temperature to get the job done. This is typically between 600-700 degree's. Start at 600 and increase the temperature until a joint takes about 2 seconds to solder.

Semiconductors are rated to state the amount of time that they can withstand high temperature. If I remember correctly, it's about 7 seconds for all pins at the same time and only 3 seconds for 1 pin at 700 degree's. This time is a bit longer at lower temperatures.


Edit:

I checked several spec sheet that typically showed 500 degree's for 10 seconds.
An NEC μPD789304 Micro showed 562 degrees for only 3 seconds. I solder at 600 degrees and it takes less than 1 second for one pin. I do a lot of soldering though.

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Maybe the manual can be expanded to indicate the suggested temperature as well as the wattage of the soldering iron.

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Hi,

Got another tip or two for the new people soldering. Go to your local hardware store and buy you one of the $1.00 1" paint brushes. Now cut off all but about 1/2"- 1/4" of length on the brush. You will have what seems to be a really rough brush not good for painting. After you solder a few components on your board, take it and dip it in some alcohol and scrub the flux off your board where you soldered. Once you let this flux set up it is harder to get off.



Another tip is to spray your board with Krystal Clear Krylon. You need to take care here not to spray your dip switches and your fuse holders. Just take tape and place them over the dip switches. This is what we use in our applications at work. We used to use the real expensive spray on the boards, but after some research we found that Krylon and this spray are the one in the same. Also do not spray your heat sinks or your chips. Mount your chip holders to the board but leave the chips off. Put some tape over the holders to keep the clear from getting onto the contacts.



Also when putting components in boards it sometimes helps to fine a piece of soft foam and place the board on top of the foam and then push your components into the board into the foam. Then turn the board over and bend the wire flat in the direction of the trace then clip the wire off to about 1/16". Once you get several of one type in you can take your time and solder those componets to the board.



I am waiting on 10 controllers from LOR. I cant wait to put them together. I will probably only use 8 this year. I am also going to make a Mega Tree this year too. I have all of my lights ordered and wire frames ordered. I just need to order my FM transmitter then I think I will be close to being halfway done.



Hope my couple of hints help some.

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circus4u wrote:

Maybe the manual can be expanded to indicate the suggested temperature as well as the wattage of the soldering iron.

It's already in there.

TED

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