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How to solder?

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ToolBox

Member
Joined
Sep 14, 2003
Location
In a box
Anyone know some good pointers on how to solder?
I have a 15/30 watt dual soldering iron and I can't seem to get it to work. I touched the soldering iron to the wire and then touched the solder to the wire near where the iron was touching. But the solder didn't "flow" like it is supposed to. BTW its Rosin Core 60/40 I got from radioshack.
 

jonspd

Super Speedy Senior
Joined
Jan 18, 2003
All I can say is I'am glad we got the new section. Make sure the area you are soldering is good and clean and the best way to get better @ solding is to practice on dead board's or other dead hardware. I think most people use 25watter and under for solding.
 
OP
ToolBox

ToolBox

Member
Joined
Sep 14, 2003
Location
In a box
Yes. Yes I did, its upsetting. I think I'll give it one more try but with a dead mobo. I hear wires are tricky.
 

Artisan

Member
Joined
Dec 15, 2003
I've had that experience before. You have to get good contact with the wire, as in push the wire into the iron, to get it hot enough. You can use a tool to help push the wire into the iron.

Then, while holding the iron and pushing with a tool you use your third hand to hold the solder...hehe:D This is why it gets so tough.

Soldering two wires you can move around is the easiest. I twist them together (stripped ends of course, twist using pliers if you want to avoid getting oil on the ends) and set the iron on my workbench. Then I hold the wires to the iron, above the iron is best, with one hand and let it heat for about 5 seconds, then apply the solder to the wire. It melts and flows and works well.

I use a 30w iron for everything.

Soldering to a board gets tougher, and depends on what on the board your soldering to. For a chip leg, I would recomend striping your wire and melting a very small amount of solder on to it. This is called tinning. (I sometimes melt a small ball of the solder right on the iron and then dip the wire into it to get only a small amount on it)

Then I hold the iron vertically and perpendicular to the board, right above the chip leg. Then I touch the leg with the point for about 2 seconds. Then I move the wire in so it touches both the leg and iron at the same time. The solder already on the wire melts and flows a little onto the leg. I remove the iron while holding the wire steady.

Just don't leave the iron in contact with the chip leg for more than 5s, or you could damage the chip. Just back off and start again if its not working.

After doing this to mod my vdimm on my a7n8x-e I used hot glue to insulate the end of the wire and to secure the connection.

You may not have to solder to do a volt mod. I used just hot glue for my 2 vdd mods to a7n8x's, as the soldering point was tiny. You can also sometimes use some micrograbbers, but I havn't tried them

I was never trained profesionally so my methods probly aren't perfect but work well for me. I did practice on an old mobo first. Clamps are usefull too for many things, even holding the iron still on the workbench.
 

Veland

Member
Joined
Aug 13, 2001
Location
Bergen, Norway
As mentioned, make sure to tin the iron first. A "dry" iron will have very bed heat transfer, but some solder on it works to improve the heat transfer very much.

And if the iron is brand new, it needs some time to get really good. The tip is not "broken in" yet..

So do some soldering, thin wires, solderpads, everything you can find to get a feel for soldering and trying different approaches. Oh, and don't try too thick wires as they will sink to much heat and you get cold joints. 30 watt is a little low for heavy cables, but perfect for most stuff in your computer. 15W is good for pcb soldering.
 
OP
ToolBox

ToolBox

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Sep 14, 2003
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Okay, so I need to tin it, and then I should tie the stripped wires together and then put the soldering iron on for 5 seconds and then the solder melts.

I'll try this tonight and tehn see.
 

Oklahoma Wolf

Senior Warranty Validity Sealed Stick Remover
Joined
Mar 18, 2003
It may take more than 5 seconds depending on the wire guage, power of the iron, and whether it's been allowed to preheat to operating temp or not. Hold the iron and solder to the wires until it melts and flows along the entire joint.

I use a 25w and a 40w iron myself for electronics repair depending on the work to be done, but the 25 watter doesn't get much of a workout since the 40w is a little better quality and I've had years of practice with it. Unless your wire is really thin, I'd use the 30w setting myself. I also use a western union splice to join the wires, I find them cleaner looking than a simple pigtail. More info here: http://www.tpub.com/content/construction/14027/css/14027_122.htm
 

Veland

Member
Joined
Aug 13, 2001
Location
Bergen, Norway
So THAT's what it's called! Well, I prefer a variation, where the wire is bent like a "u" and the "u"'s hooked together and twisted. Even better for mechanical stress, but with a little extra "bump" in the middle..
 
OP
ToolBox

ToolBox

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Sep 14, 2003
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I'm having a hard time tinning my iron (I think I ruined a tip.)
Can someone give some very clear, detailed advice on tinning?
 

madsam

Member
Joined
May 3, 2002
Location
New York
when i soldered a lot, i used a hotter iron, but i was in practice, and could solder small stuff rather quickly. if your iron is not hot enough, you will have to hold it on longer, and the heat will eventually travel further, and possibly cause damage....by the same token, if you iron is too hot, the damage is obvious...

as for tinning, i used to heat the soldering iron, and then i'd melt some fresh solder on it, and then wipe it gently on a wet sponge. the solder should tin the tip nicely.

i also suggest using thin solder for these circuit board jobs, and even for soldering small guage wires, as the thin solder melts easier, and flows nicely, especially if you are using the common lower powered irons....15-30 watts.

also, if there is moving air, or cold temps in the room where you are doing this, it will definately hamper a good solder job. we used to also clean the circuit board's contacts with acetone, and then alcohol before we soldered to clean the area, and after the job was done, we would follow up with acetone again to remove the flux that might be left behind....this was because we had some issues with some boards after a year or so, and the problems were related to corrosion at the fixed solder areas where old flux was not removed after repairs were done.

another common problem i see is when the solder doesn't want to flow onto the wire, many folks have a tendency to melt the solder with the iron, and let it drip onto the solder joint, or connected wires, which can cover a spot with solder, but will not bond at all. avoid this as much as possible.

when i connect 2 wires, i like to fan out the strands, and then kinda mash them together with the other wire to be soldered, and then i twist them up, and they ment nicely..........i slide a small piece of heat shrink tubing on one wire beforehand, and after i solder the 2 wires that have been meshed together, i slide the tubing over it, and heat it up til it shrinks and forms to the connection.

one more tip, i usually use the flat side of the tip to heat the wire to be soldered, and it seems to melt and flow the solder into the wire, and to the iron. many folks use only the very tip, and that's fine if it's a tiny spot you plan to solder, but for wires, i use one of the flat sides of the iron tip.

these all seem like small factors, but collectively, they can make a solder job go right, or go wrong....;)

hope this helped...
 
OP
ToolBox

ToolBox

Member
Joined
Sep 14, 2003
Location
In a box
Okay, when tinning:
I melt the solder over the iron (well on the iron) and do I wipe it with a damp spong while its still on, or do I unplug it and then wipe it. I think thats what got me...

(sorry if this sounds stupid)
 

sandman001

Just Freeze It
Joined
Mar 11, 2003
I always wiped mine while it was still on, but if you just unplug it then wipe it, it will still be hot.

the solder has to be liquid to come off the Iron.
 

L337 M33P

Member
Joined
Jun 5, 2003
Location
TEH INTERNETS
Screwed up how? If it's all black and manky then you could take a file to the end of it to remove the oxide. Then the solder would stick. Or if it's a little tip then use sandpaper.
 

elec.tron

Member
Joined
Nov 11, 2002
Location
Shoreline, Washington
You might also try your friend Google, lots of soldering "how to's" with some great info and tips. how +to +solder Also, a cheap ($10) soldering vise from Radio Shack is most helpful. But probably the best tip I can give you is lay off the coffee before hand hehheh.
Good Luck
elec.tron
 
OP
ToolBox

ToolBox

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Sep 14, 2003
Location
In a box
Okay, I did my first soldering, after replacing the tip!

I soldered two wires together, and then made a toggle switch (soldered wires to these little hubs) and it worked :)

Now, I tried to vmod a dead mobo (just for practice) and I can't seem to get it right. How do you get the wire to connect to the little controller? (I think what I was doing might be harder because its 18 AWG, maybe I should try 22AWG.)


I feel so dumb :(
 
OP
ToolBox

ToolBox

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Joined
Sep 14, 2003
Location
In a box
And btw, the very tip of the soldering iron isn't hot enough to melt the solder. Don't ask my why, but I got bored and touched the tip to some solder, and it didn't mealt. Is this normal? I had to use the side near the tip to melt it.

HELP!? (maybe this is why its hard to solder)
 

madsam

Member
Joined
May 3, 2002
Location
New York
ToolBox said:
And btw, the very tip of the soldering iron isn't hot enough to melt the solder. Don't ask my why, but I got bored and touched the tip to some solder, and it didn't mealt. Is this normal? I had to use the side near the tip to melt it.

HELP!? (maybe this is why its hard to solder)

as quoted in my earlier post: "one more tip, i usually use the flat side of the tip to heat the wire to be soldered, and it seems to melt and flow the solder into the wire, and to the iron. many folks use only the very tip, and that's fine if it's a tiny spot you plan to solder, but for wires, i use one of the flat sides of the iron tip."