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For Those Who Know How to Solder...

Discussion in 'Audio & Video' started by dysfunctnlretard, Oct 17, 2009.

  1. Oct 17, 2009 at 11:26 PM
    #1
    dysfunctnlretard

    dysfunctnlretard [OP] Hi

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    I have a few mods in mind for the next few weeks that require some soldering (of wires/electronics). Im always interested in learning new things and I'd really like to learn how to solder. I was planning on purchasing a "kit" to begin learning on how to do it but before I did I had a few questions:

    1). Is it "soldering" extremely technical os is it pretty simple to learn?
    2). What equipment do I need? Just the soldering gun/tool and solder?
    -Any type/brand I should look for?
    3). What should I expect to pay?

    Thanks for you helps guys
     
  2. Oct 17, 2009 at 11:42 PM
    #2
    Menametony

    Menametony Well-Known Member

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    remember! the bigger the GLOB the better the JOB! lol... i dont think you need anything expensive... just a solder gun/wand and some solder.. just practice alot..
     
  3. Oct 17, 2009 at 11:45 PM
    #3
    lookylookitzadam

    lookylookitzadam Retrofit Club!

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    1. pretty simple. If you have good dexterity and patience its not hard at all.
    2. probably will want a decent gun/iron with interchangeable tips. Also invest in something to de-solder with, be it the copper braids or the blowers/suckers. Depending on what you are soldering you will need (want) different wattages for the gun. You can get some irons that have adjustable power, which is convenient because you can solder larger wires as well as PCB's with the same iron. With this you might want different size solder wire. Again, its dependent on what you are working with.

    I like weller stuff but its all subjective. Radioshack has stuff that isnt half bad.

    3. probably can get everything you need for around $50 and be set.
     
  4. Oct 17, 2009 at 11:50 PM
    #4
    dysfunctnlretard

    dysfunctnlretard [OP] Hi

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    Nice. That isnt too bad for a set, considering it wil provide plenty of benefits.
    Given that Im soldering small electrical wires, how many watts do I need?
     
  5. Oct 17, 2009 at 11:53 PM
    #5
    lookylookitzadam

    lookylookitzadam Retrofit Club!

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    I think I have a 15watt gun that I used for smaller wires and PCB's. 25watt for anything larger than 16 gauge I think? Otherwise it takes to long.

    Main concern about the wattage is the heat. If you are doing just wires and stuff its fine. Just be weary of heat damage on things like PCB's and their components (diodes, resistors, etc.)
     
  6. Oct 18, 2009 at 5:20 AM
    #6
    Raylo

    Raylo Well-Known Member

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    The key thing to any kind of soldering is to heat the wires (or pipes), NOT just the solder. You need to get the work pieces up to temp then touch the solder to it. Once the wires are good and heated you can touch the tip of the iron to the solder where it touches the work then to accelerate the process a bit. The heat in the material will then suck the solder in. Then work the tip around the work area to make sure the solder flows to all of it. If you just heat the solder and let it plop onto the wires it'll just fall off or if it sticks it won't make a good connection.

    Also, if you intend to do big starter or ignition wires those little 15/30 irons won't work. I have Radio Shack 170W that works well, and a mini butane torch that works even better for that. Gotta watch where the flame is pointed.

    I have heard the the Craftsman 200W is one of the best guns. Weller is also good. My Radio Shack 170W is OK... and RS was right across the street.
     
  7. Oct 18, 2009 at 5:29 AM
    #7
    jwhelan

    jwhelan Well-Known Member

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    +1 on heating the wires first, also if you have a helper near by, have them hold the the wires together with a needle nose pliers so you are not fumbling around with a hot stick.
     
  8. Oct 18, 2009 at 6:07 AM
    #8
    mike s

    mike s Well-Known Member

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    If you are soldering wires together than a gun will be fine, solder flus helps the solder flow properly. Be aware that the insulation on the wires could start to melt if you keep the heat applied too long.
    If you are soldering on a circuit board, then you will want an iron, not a gun (unless you have a bunch of experience) be careful not to keep the heat applied longer than you need to. have everthing cleaned with alcohol, and heat the board, component lead only as long as necessary to allow the solder to flow. If you heat too long, then components will start to get damaged.
    If you are soldering a wire into some type of plug or eyelet, it will really help to tin the wire first, that is apply solder to about 1/4 to 1/2" of the end of the wire first before soldering it in place.

    Practice is the key, its not really hard.
     
  9. Oct 18, 2009 at 6:16 AM
    #9
    Krazj

    Krazj Active Member

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    if you do it right it looks almost magic. just practice to get a feel for the amount of heat needed for the materials your using.
     
  10. Oct 18, 2009 at 8:34 PM
    #10
    MarkOlson

    MarkOlson Gray beard

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    Make sure you buy rosin core solder, not acid core solder. The acid will destroy your wires over time.
     
  11. Oct 18, 2009 at 8:42 PM
    #11
    07tacoark

    07tacoark ridin dirty

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    my 1st time to solder was on the gauge cluster with the LEDs. it was extremely easy... yet time consumin bc u had to be very careful. we didnt use all the extras everyone else said they needed to do the job.

    i bought a solderin iron from radio shack with the smallest tip for like $8+tax.

    its really pretty easy, at least to me it was. :D
     
  12. Oct 18, 2009 at 8:55 PM
    #12
    Yoytoda

    Yoytoda The Little Truck That Could

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    where are you in CA? I soldered professionally for 2 years assembling electronics for Philips Medical Systems. I could teach you how to solder.
     
  13. Oct 18, 2009 at 9:01 PM
    #13
    dysfunctnlretard

    dysfunctnlretard [OP] Hi

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    Im in Orange County.

    I bought a Welsh soldering station today with a helping hand stand to help me keep the stuff straight. It should be in this week so Ill solder my PA system this friday, and let you guys know how it went after.

    So make sure I get rosin core solder, is there any other specifications for the solder I would need? Once again, Im soldering some audio/PA wire to a 3.5mm jack plug
     
  14. Oct 18, 2009 at 9:03 PM
    #14
    Yoytoda

    Yoytoda The Little Truck That Could

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    the key is keeping the wire at the right temp. It takes practice you can solder anything with a gun but dont keep constant contact.
    its easier to start off if you get a professional setup like a weller from Fastenal it will cost a bit but you can change the tips and it has a built in potentiometer to limit the wattage you want. circuit boards 10w, for 22-16 gauge 15-25w 16-10 55w.
     
  15. Oct 18, 2009 at 9:07 PM
    #15
    Yoytoda

    Yoytoda The Little Truck That Could

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    if its a glob of solder its no good... you need to "wick" or "sweat" the solder in or it will not hold. It will look like you "chromed" the wire. After you make a connection dont be afraid to tug on it to test the strength. Also get heat shrink tubing not electrical tape and your connections will be permanent. Down forget to slide the shrink tubing on before you make you connection.
     
  16. Oct 18, 2009 at 9:08 PM
    #16
    dysfunctnlretard

    dysfunctnlretard [OP] Hi

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    Yea I meant to add on a few tips to my order but I forgot to so Ill probably do that in a bit.

    IN regards to constant contact with the wires, if I have the right wattage set, can I have constant contact? The Welsh Iron I bought has an adjustable range of watts, from 5-50w. So if I were doing some 10 gauge, could I just turn it to 40w and give constant contact untill the solder melts on it?

    I saw a few how-to videos on youtube, they all had excellent ratings and Im pretty certain I understand it.
     
  17. Oct 18, 2009 at 9:19 PM
    #17
    Yoytoda

    Yoytoda The Little Truck That Could

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    yes but your PA wires are probably 16g i would go with 25w and you can hold the tip til the solder melts on the wire, not the tip. Oh and on a new iron you want to tin the tip. with rosin core solder turn you iron on 35w then hold the solder on it. When the solder starts to flow keep feeding the solder all over the tip. if you turn the iron on without tinning the tip the tip will "burn in" and the solder wont melt on it and the tip is shot "useless".you will want to do this outside or over a stainless steel kitchen sink. Another tip for you is to keep a wet sponge near by when soldering. even though the tip is tinned it will collect black dirt on it which will prevent thermal conductance. use the wet sponge to wipe off the black stuff periodically while soldering. i live in san burn, i travel to Orange on a regular basis for work. I will be in the area tomorrow. I could give you a hand if youd like.

    For 10g id use 50w
     
  18. Oct 18, 2009 at 11:39 PM
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    MarkOlson

    MarkOlson Gray beard

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