soldering iron

Made some other form of traditional fishing tackle.
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Tizer
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soldering iron

Post by Tizer »

Morning, Can you tell me what soldering iron/station you use please, I am pulling my hair out trying to do simple jobs like soldering a bit of wire to a small lug on a mirco switch or a leg on a l.e.d to a bit of wire,etc It took me half hour trying to do just one joint and i gave up in the end, I know that just having 2 hands is not enough when soldering and have all sorts of clamps etc, I have read up on it and saw that you need to tin the iron so I cleaned the iron (witch seems to get dirty again before I have even used it) and touched the solder on it but it would not stay on the tip and coat it as I had seen in the pictures,,the solder is 60/40 if that means anything,A example of what happens is that the mirco switch starts to melt before the wire is soldered to the lug, I am trying to make simple drop off alarms for my pikeing next winter, I have made loads over the years but keep trying to make them smaller and also work all of the time not just some of the time............But I must add that it does keep me busy in the shed,happy days

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Santiago
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Re: soldering iron

Post by Santiago »

How do you clean the soldering iron tip before use? I use medium grade wet/dry paper.

Before you attempt to heat up the switch you need to be able to melt the solder. At school we use lead free solder and don't have any problems.
Also it's very important to degrease the surfaces before soldering them. Alcohol will suffice, like lens cleaner.
"....he felt the gentle touch on the line and he was happy"

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Watermole+
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Re: soldering iron

Post by Watermole+ »

Santiago is right. When soldering, it is vital that both the component parts to be soldered together are absolutely clean. This is the first job of the flux, but make sure that the surfaces are clean from grease and dirt before you start. Some electrical wires have coatings on them. Careful scraping with a craft knife blade with usually remove it. The golden rule is that all joints MUST be clean and bright.

Soldering is not difficult; the key to success is thorough preparation before you start. Go through a "dry run" beforehand, working out in advance, where and how to hold everything.

For joining fine wire etc. to a switch terminal, a soldering iron with a low heat output is ideal as you don't want to overcook it and melt the wire insulation! I am still using my 60 year old 25w Henley-Solon iron, but you have to be careful with small items with this one. A small 15w iron is plenty good enough.

'Tinning' the iron is essentially, plating the tip with solder, ready for applying to the joint. After thorough cleaning, allow the tip to heat up and just touch it with a little flux which should dissipate over the end. Allow a few moments for the iron to get back up to temperature, then touch it with solder which should then readily flow onto the tip. If it does not immediately stick, then there is either a deposit on the tip repelling it, or the solder is not suitable.

Choice of solder and flux type is vital. Do not attempt to use anything other than LEAD-FREE, LOW TEMPERATURE electrical solder for this, usually sold as wire, coiled in handy little tubes. If there are lead deposits already on the wire, cut the end off and bare a new end. Check that the flux is suitable for electrical work. Some fine solders are already flux cored.

If you can anchor or hold the micro switch gently between two small, thin pieces of wood or something, (put two, same size pieces, one each side and hold the ends of the wood together with elastic bands. Yes, it is crude, but you are only holding it, not clamping it!) you can then hold the soldering iron in one hand and the end of the solder wire with the other.
It is helpful to have a small fragment of old chamois leather or cloth in a small cup of hot water to hand. You can use this for quickly wiping the joint whilst it is still warm, to remove unwanted flux and dirt-and you will be surprised at what dirt comes away.

Apply a LITTLE flux to both ends and touch the wire against the switch terminal. Your iron should of course, be pre-heated and waiting. Touch the tip of the iron against the joint and a few moments after the flux has turned to liquid, the solder should quickly flow from the iron over the joint, at which point, remove iron at once to prevent unwanted heat transfer. If the switch is very small, another dodge is to wrap it with a piece of wet cloth, leaving only the wire showing.

Happy soldering!

wm+

"Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? Yet one of them shall not fall without your Father knoweth" ..Jesus of Nazareth, King James AV

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ReelMaker
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Re: soldering iron

Post by ReelMaker »

Flux does help ,so that’s the first requirement.Terry

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Tizer
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Re: soldering iron

Post by Tizer »

Santiago wrote: Tue May 10, 2022 11:56 am How do you clean the soldering iron tip before use? I use medium grade wet/dry paper.

Before you attempt to heat up the switch you need to be able to melt the solder. At school we use lead free solder and don't have any problems.
Also it's very important to degrease the surfaces before soldering them. Alcohol will suffice, like lens cleaner.
I used wet and dry/ a stanley knife/ a file and the little sponge thing that comes with it,

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Tizer
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Re: soldering iron

Post by Tizer »

Thank you for your help

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JAA
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Re: soldering iron

Post by JAA »

Tizer wrote: Tue May 10, 2022 3:03 pm Thank you for your help
As the panel have said off-the-shelf lead-free solder will do the job and most now comes with flux cores built-in. 60/40 sounds like lead based, so either don't use it or use it outdoors only and stay upwind.

Even with lead-free don't breath the flux fumes, they are also pretty bad for you! (Most industrial throuhg-hole stations have their own extractor-fans.)

It makes the job easier if you 'tin' both the parts to be soldered together first, which is to say, apply solder to each of the clean contacts seperately and cover them with a thin layer of solder. Then hold/clamp them together, put the iron on the joint and feed the wire with the other hand. The thermal contact between the tip and joint is often poor at first. Once a little pool/blob of solder had built up, the joint will heat up much more quickly so a little patience might be required unitl the sodler cna be seen to flow on the sufaces.

If you don't have another way, a pair of pliers with a thick laccy band around the handle makes a fine third hand.

[I pre-date lead-free solder, the old toxic stuff was so much easier to use...much harder to manfacture electronics with lead free and the results are less reliable - if you need high reliability lead-based solder is still used (defense, nuclear and so on).]
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Tizer
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Re: soldering iron

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