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Re: [softrock40] Re: Softrock RX Ensemble II - Surface mount newbie needs advice.

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  • Alan
    ... Subject: [softrock40] Re: Softrock RX Ensemble II - Surface mount newbie needs advice. ... Attached my last effort. Go smaller than that but not too much,
    Message 1 of 27 , Feb 5, 2012
    ----- Original Message -----
    Subject: [softrock40] Re: Softrock RX Ensemble II - Surface mount newbie
    needs advice.


    >Also, I think my solder is too large for SMD work too. What kind of solder
    >would I need? Would it even matter?

    Attached my last effort. Go smaller than that but not too much, a lot of
    heat is required on the ground plane connections.

    I did need some solder wick, I bridged two pins on one of the ICs.

    73 Alan G4ZFQ
  • cbayona.cb
    I have an oven that I use for all SMT projects so I like oven soldering, however for just doing a couple of ICs and a few capacitors it s faster to do it with
    Message 2 of 27 , Feb 5, 2012
      I have an oven that I use for all SMT projects so I like oven
      soldering, however for just doing a couple of ICs and a few
      capacitors it's faster to do it with a soldering iron.

      What is expensive? For about $42 you can buy a Solomon SR-976
      temperature regulated iron that heats up from dead cold in 1.5
      seconds, maintains a constant tip temperature so you can solder SMD
      parts or ground planes with the same tip. My tip is over 20 years old
      and it still looks like new.
      <
      <http://www.circuitspecialists.com/sr-976n-solder-station.html>http://www.circuitspecialists.com/sr-976n-solder-station.html
      >

      Do not buy a station unless it's constant temperature, there are
      cheaper stations out there that all they do is vary the power with a
      knob, they take forever to heat up and the couple of dollars you save
      are more than made up by frustration.

      A decent station is vital to make good solder joints and it will last
      a lifetime if taken care off.


      At 09:16 AM 2/5/2012, you wrote:


      >--- In softrock40@yahoogroups.com, "alanzfq" <alan4alan@...> wrote:
      >
      > > You'll get responses like mine saying you do not need to reflow.
      > > If you really want to then I'd suggest doing it on something scrap.
      > > That will save the chance of making your kit scrap.
      > > But others will say otherwise...
      > >
      > > 73 Alan G4ZFQ
      > >
      >
      >What's the alternative then? I can't afford an expensive soldering station.
      >
      >As I said, I'm new to surface mount.
      >
      >
      >
      >------------------------------------
      >
      >Yahoo! Groups Links
      >
      >
      >
      Cecil
      k5nwa
      < <http://www.softrockradio.org/>http://www.softrockradio.org/ >
      < http://thepartsplace.k5nwa.com/ >
      < http://parts.softrockradio.org/ >

      Never take life seriously. Nobody gets out alive anyway.
    • richard
      On Sun, 05 Feb 2012 16:55:12 -0000 ... Try and get yourself some 0.6 mm solder, DONT get lead free, the lead helps it flow nicely. 60/40 solder is fine, you
      Message 3 of 27 , Feb 5, 2012
        On Sun, 05 Feb 2012 16:55:12 -0000
        "Nom Woot" <theperson49@...> wrote:

        >
        > > get yourself a rework flux pen, use it to put some flux on the pads
        > > before you solder the smd component down, then using a small thin
        > > tip on your soldering iron, 1.5 mm or smaller, 1/16",.
        > > Tin the bit as normal, and then put a small amount of solder on the
        > > tip, then touching the pad as close to the component as ossible you
        > > will see the solder wick betweem the pad and component.
        > > If you haven't got a small bit, you can wrap a piece of 18 swg
        > > copper wire around the bit and use the end of the wire as a small
        > > tip. that can be done , i change a surface mount 1210 fuse on a
        > > radio while on holiday, all that was available to me was a 200W
        > > iron with a 1" tip.
        >
        >
        >
        > I went and tried the wire trick and tested it on some old parts. It
        > worked! However, I was using some copper out of an old cat5 cable.
        > I'm not sure exactly what gauge cat5 uses, but I would imagine it's
        > too large. Also, I think my solder is too large for SMD work too.
        > What kind of solder would I need? Would it even matter?
        >


        Try and get yourself some 0.6 mm solder, DONT get lead free, the lead
        helps it flow nicely.
        60/40 solder is fine, you can buy 0.6 mm solder in small reels, they
        look the same as some of the solder wick plastic reels.
        Solder wick, 1.5 mm, 1/16" will get you out of trouble.

        You could get a hot air pencil useful for getting components off the
        board.
        Weller make some nice ones ,but over $50, but VERY useful it you want
        to try solder paste. Its also great for robbing components off surplus
        commercial boards

        --

        --
        Best wishes / 73
        Richard Bown

        e-mail: richard@... or richard.bown@...

        nil carborundum a illegitemis
        ##################################################################################
        Ham Call G8JVM . OS Fedora FC16 x86_64 on a Dell Insiron N5030 laptop
        Maidenhead QRA: IO82SP38, LAT. 52 39.720' N LONG. 2 28.171 W ( degs
        mins ) QRV HF + VHF Microwave 23 cms:140W,13 cms:100W,6 cms:10W & 3
        cms:5W
        ##################################################################################
      • David Turnbull
        ... electronics work. Fixed that for you. SMT work is very difficult with the wrong tool and easier than through-hole with the right tool. Save up for a real
        Message 4 of 27 , Feb 5, 2012

          Come to find out, my $15 Radio Shack soldering iron won't cut it for SMD, and I'd need to buy a more expensive iron for this project.

          > Come to find out, my $15 Radio Shack soldering iron isn't suitable for electronics work.

          Fixed that for you.  SMT work is very difficult with the wrong tool and easier than through-hole with the right tool.  Save up for a real iron (or make a new friend).  A dimmer on a cheap iron is not temperature control - don't send good money after bad.  Proper temperature-controlled stations have cavities in their tips for the temperature probe.  A tool like this is nearly completely forgiving to beginner mistakes.  That's the secret.

          My soldering advice for a compromise; choose one:
          - An awesome iron can make up for years of experience.
          - Years of experience can compensate for the right tools.

          Also, get some lead solder 63/37 (or 60/40) that's 0.020" or 0.015" (<=0.5mm).  And some liquid/paste/pen flux of the same type as your solder. Here's what I recommend:

          Kester "44" solder http://amzn.com/B00068IJWC

          -david

        • The Silver Fox
          To each his own. I have built many dozens of kits with my $15 Radio Shack iron. All that you need is a fine pointed tip for it. I used the smallest one RS
          Message 5 of 27 , Feb 5, 2012

            To each his own.  I have built many dozens of kits with my $15 Radio Shack iron.  All that you need is a fine pointed tip for it.  I used the smallest one RS sells and filed it down to a suitable point.

            73’s

            Alan – W6ARH

             

            From: softrock40@yahoogroups.com [mailto:softrock40@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of David Turnbull
            Sent: Sunday, February 05, 2012 10:54 AM
            To: softrock40@yahoogroups.com
            Subject: Re: [softrock40] Softrock RX Ensemble II - Surface mount newbie needs advice.

             

             

            Come to find out, my $15 Radio Shack soldering iron won't cut it for SMD, and I'd need to buy a more expensive iron for this project.

            > Come to find out, my $15 Radio Shack soldering iron isn't suitable for electronics work.

             

            Fixed that for you.  SMT work is very difficult with the wrong tool and easier than through-hole with the right tool.  Save up for a real iron (or make a new friend).  A dimmer on a cheap iron is not temperature control - don't send good money after bad.  Proper temperature-controlled stations have cavities in their tips for the temperature probe.  A tool like this is nearly completely forgiving to beginner mistakes.  That's the secret.

             

            My soldering advice for a compromise; choose one:

            - An awesome iron can make up for years of experience.

            - Years of experience can compensate for the right tools.

             

            Also, get some lead solder 63/37 (or 60/40) that's 0.020" or 0.015" (<=0.5mm).  And some liquid/paste/pen flux of the same type as your solder. Here's what I recommend:

             

            Kester "44" solder http://amzn.com/B00068IJWC

             

            -david

             

          • MIKE DURKIN
            I built my first UHFSDR with a ratshack 25w iron .... filed down of course... it has a solid copper tip that was almost 1.5 long, probably 3/4 now .... Mike
            Message 6 of 27 , Feb 5, 2012
              I built my first UHFSDR with a ratshack 25w iron .... filed down of course... it has a solid copper tip that was almost 1.5" long, probably 3/4" now ....

              Mike KC7NOA


              To: softrock40@yahoogroups.com
              From: alan.r.hill@...
              Date: Sun, 5 Feb 2012 12:04:02 -0800
              Subject: RE: [softrock40] Softrock RX Ensemble II - Surface mount newbie needs advice.

               

              To each his own.  I have built many dozens of kits with my $15 Radio Shack iron.  All that you need is a fine pointed tip for it.  I used the smallest one RS sells and filed it down to a suitable point.

              73’s

              Alan – W6ARH

               

              From: softrock40@yahoogroups.com [mailto:softrock40@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of David Turnbull
              Sent: Sunday, February 05, 2012 10:54 AM
              To: softrock40@yahoogroups.com
              Subject: Re: [softrock40] Softrock RX Ensemble II - Surface mount newbie needs advice.

               

               

              Come to find out, my $15 Radio Shack soldering iron won't cut it for SMD, and I'd need to buy a more expensive iron for this project.

              > Come to find out, my $15 Radio Shack soldering iron isn't suitable for electronics work.

               

              Fixed that for you.  SMT work is very difficult with the wrong tool and easier than through-hole with the right tool.  Save up for a real iron (or make a new friend).  A dimmer on a cheap iron is not temperature control - don't send good money after bad.  Proper temperature-controlled stations have cavities in their tips for the temperature probe.  A tool like this is nearly completely forgiving to beginner mistakes.  That's the secret.

               

              My soldering advice for a compromise; choose one:

              - An awesome iron can make up for years of experience.

              - Years of experience can compensate for the right tools.

               

              Also, get some lead solder 63/37 (or 60/40) that's 0.020" or 0.015" (<=0.5mm).  And some liquid/paste/pen flux of the same type as your solder. Here's what I recommend:

               

              Kester "44" solder http://amzn.com/B00068IJWC

               

              -david

               

            • John Williams
              I am using the RS one that is this price and has the 3 pole plug. Works just fine. I purchased the finer tip for it (the smallest one that they have, and the
              Message 7 of 27 , Feb 5, 2012
                I am using the RS one that is this price and has the 3 pole plug. Works
                just fine. I purchased the finer tip for it (the smallest one that they
                have, and the smallest diameter rosin core solder. Worked perfect. For
                1206 parts, tin one pad. Use tweezers to hold the part in the correct
                orientation, touch the tinned pad and it will flow to the part. Then
                solder the other end. Lastly come back and touch up the first end.

                For ICs and small transistors, I tin pin one. I then hold the part with
                a toothpick in proper orientation, and touch pin one. That will usually
                hold it so that you can solder the rest of the pins. I then go back to
                the first pin and touch it up.

                My eyesight is not as good as it used to be. I usually wear glasses but
                add some 3.0 power reading glasses on top. Looks pretty strange with two
                pair of glasses but makes my vision much better for up close soldering.
                Also helps to have lots of good lighting.

                Give it a try and be patient and you will do fine.

                John

                On 2/5/2012 8:48 AM, Nom Woot wrote:
                > Come to find out, my $15 Radio Shack soldering iron won't cut it for SMD

                --

                John Williams

                KE5SSH - ham since 2007
                WQKA523 - GMRS for family use on the farm
              • richard
                On Sun, 05 Feb 2012 15:22:25 -0600 ... There is just one problem with doing that, that is by putting a layer of solder on the pad the component will not seat
                Message 8 of 27 , Feb 5, 2012
                  On Sun, 05 Feb 2012 15:22:25 -0600
                  John Williams <KE5SSH@...> wrote:
                  > For 1206 parts, tin one pad. Use tweezers to hold the part
                  > in the correct orientation, touch the tinned pad and it will flow to
                  > the part. Then solder the other end. Lastly come back and touch up
                  > the first end.
                  >
                  There is just one problem with doing that, that is by putting a layer
                  of solder on the pad the component will not seat down properly and the
                  surface tension of the molten solder will not be even across the end
                  cap of the component.
                  As the surface tension is uneven as the joint cools down there is a
                  tendency to tombstone. The pads are already tinned either by roller
                  tinning if a commercial board or chemically tinned if homebrew.
                  A layer of rework flux does a much better job
                  --

                  --
                  Best wishes / 73
                  Richard Bown

                  e-mail: richard@... or richard.bown@...

                  nil carborundum a illegitemis
                  ##################################################################################
                  Ham Call G8JVM . OS Fedora FC16 x86_64 on a Dell Insiron N5030 laptop
                  Maidenhead QRA: IO82SP38, LAT. 52 39.720' N LONG. 2 28.171 W ( degs
                  mins ) QRV HF + VHF Microwave 23 cms:140W,13 cms:100W,6 cms:10W & 3
                  cms:5W
                  ##################################################################################
                • edingraham
                  200W iron and SMT...I d say you have a small area reflow unit there.
                  Message 9 of 27 , Feb 5, 2012
                    200W iron and SMT...I'd say you have a small area reflow unit there.

                    --- In softrock40@yahoogroups.com, richard <richard.bown@...> wrote:
                    >
                    > On Sun, 05 Feb 2012 15:16:03 -0000
                    > "Nom Woot" <theperson49@...> wrote:
                    >
                    > >
                    > >
                    > > --- In softrock40@yahoogroups.com, "alanzfq" <alan4alan@> wrote:
                    > >
                    > > > You'll get responses like mine saying you do not need to reflow.
                    > > > If you really want to then I'd suggest doing it on something scrap.
                    > > > That will save the chance of making your kit scrap.
                    > > > But others will say otherwise...
                    > > >
                    > > > 73 Alan G4ZFQ
                    > > >
                    > >
                    > > What's the alternative then? I can't afford an expensive soldering
                    > > station.
                    > >
                    > > As I said, I'm new to surface mount.
                    > >
                    >
                    > get yourself a rework flux pen, use it to put some flux on the pads
                    > before you solder the smd component down, then using a small thin tip
                    > on your soldering iron, 1.5 mm or smaller, 1/16",.
                    > Tin the bit as normal, and then put a small amount of solder on the
                    > tip, then touching the pad as close to the component as ossible you
                    > will see the solder wick betweem the pad and component.
                    > If you haven't got a small bit, you can wrap a piece of 18 swg copper
                    > wire around the bit and use the end of the wire as a small tip.
                    > that can be done , i change a surface mount 1210 fuse on a radio while
                    > on holiday, all that was available to me was a 200W iron with a 1" tip.
                    >
                    > HTH
                    >
                    >
                    > --
                    >
                    > --
                    > Best wishes / 73
                    > Richard Bown
                    >
                    > e-mail: richard@... or richard.bown@...
                    >
                    > nil carborundum a illegitemis
                    > ##################################################################################
                    > Ham Call G8JVM . OS Fedora FC16 x86_64 on a Dell Insiron N5030 laptop
                    > Maidenhead QRA: IO82SP38, LAT. 52 39.720' N LONG. 2 28.171 W ( degs
                    > mins ) QRV HF + VHF Microwave 23 cms:140W,13 cms:100W,6 cms:10W & 3
                    > cms:5W
                    > ##################################################################################
                    >
                  • richard
                    On Sun, 05 Feb 2012 21:52:22 -0000 ... not easy ,but that was wrapping a piece of copper wire around the bit. The hardest bit was the heat 85 degs, plus the
                    Message 10 of 27 , Feb 5, 2012
                      On Sun, 05 Feb 2012 21:52:22 -0000
                      "edingraham" <edingraham@...> wrote:

                      > 200W iron and SMT...I'd say you have a small area reflow unit there.
                      >
                      not easy ,but that was wrapping a piece of copper wire around the bit.
                      The hardest bit was the heat 85 degs, plus the radiated heat from the
                      iron in a tiny village in mainland Greece.

                      --
                      Best wishes / 73
                      Richard Bown

                      e-mail: richard@... or richard.bown@...

                      nil carborundum a illegitemis
                      ##################################################################################
                      Ham Call G8JVM . OS Fedora FC16 x86_64 on a Dell Insiron N5030 laptop
                      Maidenhead QRA: IO82SP38, LAT. 52 39.720' N LONG. 2 28.171 W ( degs
                      mins ) QRV HF + VHF Microwave 23 cms:140W,13 cms:100W,6 cms:10W & 3
                      cms:5W
                      ##################################################################################
                    • curtis.tooley
                      ... If it has a grounded tip! And the tip is cleaned and tinned. And it doesn t fry the component as soon as you apply heat you should be ok. I use 800 Degrees
                      Message 11 of 27 , Feb 5, 2012
                        --- In softrock40@yahoogroups.com, "Nom Woot" <theperson49@...> wrote:
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        > --- In softrock40@yahoogroups.com, "alanzfq" <alan4alan@> wrote:
                        > >
                        > > > >
                        > > >
                        > > > What's the alternative then? I can't afford an expensive soldering station.
                        > > >
                        > > >
                        > >
                        > > I'd say you don't need one.
                        > > A small, not too small, bit is all you really require.
                        > > If it gets too hot a lamp dimmer may control it. Make sure it is grounded.
                        > >
                        > > It's just that my careful attempt at reflow did not go well, you may find it as easy as others say, it's your risk.
                        > >
                        > > 73 Alan G4ZFQ
                        > >
                        >
                        > So all I have to do is get a new tip for my existing soldering iron?
                        >

                        If it has a grounded tip! And the tip is cleaned and tinned. And it doesn't fry the component as soon as you apply heat you should be ok.

                        I use 800 Degrees on the tip for chip caps 780 for ics. As long as you don't hold it there forever it will be ok. Heat the joint. Flow the solder into the joint remove the heat. Simple. Been doing it for 20+ years in a comercial environment. Very few failures.
                      • Chris
                        Hi there, I built my Lite II with a cheap student kit soldering iron and didn t have any problems. Granted it takes a good while to heat up but it
                        Message 12 of 27 , Feb 6, 2012
                          Hi there,

                          I built my Lite II with a cheap "student kit" soldering iron and didn't have any problems. Granted it takes a good while to heat up but it eventually gets there.

                          I used the normal tip until it got to the finer work and then had to file it down abit.

                          I found the trick to it all was getting the smaller diameter solder, the general stuff was too big and required too much heat from the iron. My soldering improved no end when I started using it.

                          I wouldn't say you can't do it with your soldering iron, I'd have a go at it and see how you get on, you won't know until you try.

                          If it's not up to the job at least you can put the project on hold until you can get a new one.

                          To my mind, it's a shame to go reflow soldering when there's so much to be learnt and practiced by the making these excellent kits using normal methods.

                          Good Luck

                          73,

                          Chris
                          EI1628

                          --- In softrock40@yahoogroups.com, "Nom Woot" <theperson49@...> wrote:
                          >
                          > Hi all! I purchased an RX Ensemble and received it a few weeks ago. Due to school and other things, I have been too busy to attempt to assemble it so far, but I'm going to have some free time in the near future that I could use to put my kit together.
                          >
                          > Looking at the instructions, I know I can handle most of the assembly, at least when it comes to the through-hole parts, but the surface mount components are going to be an entirely new experience for me.
                          >
                          > Come to find out, my $15 Radio Shack soldering iron won't cut it for SMD, and I'd need to buy a more expensive iron for this project. That's simply not going to happen at this point in time. However, I've heard some things about reflow soldering, and that it can be accomplished with a repurposed toaster oven. It just so happens that I have one of those available and doing nothing for anyone. Perfect.
                          >
                          > I'd like to know exactly what I'd need to do to make this happen. Where do I get the paste and what kind would I need? How do I use the oven properly? Is there anything else I should know?
                          >
                          > I'm sure you get asked questions similar to this all the time, so I apologize if this is a waste of time for you. I appreciate your help.
                          >
                          > Thanks and 73s.
                          >
                        • fred
                          I m not sure how more could be learned from soldering versus reflow. Either way is a means to an end-- whatever gets the job done. 73,Fred k6kub
                          Message 13 of 27 , Feb 6, 2012
                            I'm not sure how more could be learned from soldering versus reflow. Either way is a means to an end-- whatever gets the job done.
                            73,Fred
                            k6kub

                            --- In softrock40@yahoogroups.com, "Chris" <c_m_jefferies@...> wrote:
                            >
                            > Hi there,
                            >
                            > I built my Lite II with a cheap "student kit" soldering iron and didn't have any problems. Granted it takes a good while to heat up but it eventually gets there.
                            >
                            > I used the normal tip until it got to the finer work and then had to file it down abit.
                            >
                            > I found the trick to it all was getting the smaller diameter solder, the general stuff was too big and required too much heat from the iron. My soldering improved no end when I started using it.
                            >
                            > I wouldn't say you can't do it with your soldering iron, I'd have a go at it and see how you get on, you won't know until you try.
                            >
                            > If it's not up to the job at least you can put the project on hold until you can get a new one.
                            >
                            > To my mind, it's a shame to go reflow soldering when there's so much to be learnt and practiced by the making these excellent kits using normal methods.
                            >
                            > Good Luck
                            >
                            > 73,
                            >
                            > Chris
                            > EI1628
                            >
                            > --- In softrock40@yahoogroups.com, "Nom Woot" <theperson49@> wrote:
                            > >
                            > > Hi all! I purchased an RX Ensemble and received it a few weeks ago. Due to school and other things, I have been too busy to attempt to assemble it so far, but I'm going to have some free time in the near future that I could use to put my kit together.
                            > >
                            > > Looking at the instructions, I know I can handle most of the assembly, at least when it comes to the through-hole parts, but the surface mount components are going to be an entirely new experience for me.
                            > >
                            > > Come to find out, my $15 Radio Shack soldering iron won't cut it for SMD, and I'd need to buy a more expensive iron for this project. That's simply not going to happen at this point in time. However, I've heard some things about reflow soldering, and that it can be accomplished with a repurposed toaster oven. It just so happens that I have one of those available and doing nothing for anyone. Perfect.
                            > >
                            > > I'd like to know exactly what I'd need to do to make this happen. Where do I get the paste and what kind would I need? How do I use the oven properly? Is there anything else I should know?
                            > >
                            > > I'm sure you get asked questions similar to this all the time, so I apologize if this is a waste of time for you. I appreciate your help.
                            > >
                            > > Thanks and 73s.
                            > >
                            >
                          • richard
                            On Mon, 06 Feb 2012 18:25:17 -0000 ... There s not much in it Fred, by the time you put paste on each pad and placed the components , you can solder the lot
                            Message 14 of 27 , Feb 6, 2012
                              On Mon, 06 Feb 2012 18:25:17 -0000
                              "fred" <blackbelair@...> wrote:

                              > I'm not sure how more could be learned from soldering versus reflow.
                              > Either way is a means to an end-- whatever gets the job done. 73,Fred
                              > k6kub
                              >
                              There's not much in it Fred, by the time you put paste on each pad and
                              placed the components , you can solder the lot down.
                              If you do the job properly and have a mask made for the board IR relow
                              is faster. But masks are expensive .
                              Reflow will look prettier , but there are some techniques that can be
                              used to reduce the rugged look of hand soldering.
                              For reflow the pcb must be thoroughly cleaned, grease and sweaty marks
                              will cause joint imperfections , some of these will be a failure.

                              take your pick
                              --
                              Best wishes / 73
                              Richard Bown

                              e-mail: richard@... or richard.bown@...

                              nil carborundum a illegitemis
                              ##################################################################################
                              Ham Call G8JVM . OS Fedora FC16 x86_64 on a Dell Insiron N5030 laptop
                              Maidenhead QRA: IO82SP38, LAT. 52 39.720' N LONG. 2 28.171 W ( degs
                              mins ) QRV HF + VHF Microwave 23 cms:140W,13 cms:100W,6 cms:10W & 3
                              cms:5W
                              ##################################################################################
                            • edingraham
                              If you follow the step-by-step instructions from WB5RVZ and hand assemble, you will become quite familiar with the schematic and circuit operation. 73, Ed WX4S
                              Message 15 of 27 , Feb 6, 2012
                                If you follow the step-by-step instructions from WB5RVZ and hand assemble, you will become quite familiar with the schematic and circuit operation.

                                73, Ed WX4S

                                --- In softrock40@yahoogroups.com, "fred" <blackbelair@...> wrote:
                                >
                                > I'm not sure how more could be learned from soldering versus reflow. Either way is a means to an end-- whatever gets the job done.
                                > 73,Fred
                                > k6kub
                                >
                                > --- In softrock40@yahoogroups.com, "Chris" <c_m_jefferies@> wrote:
                                > >
                                > > Hi there,
                                > >
                                > > I built my Lite II with a cheap "student kit" soldering iron and didn't have any problems. Granted it takes a good while to heat up but it eventually gets there.
                                > >
                                > > I used the normal tip until it got to the finer work and then had to file it down abit.
                                > >
                                > > I found the trick to it all was getting the smaller diameter solder, the general stuff was too big and required too much heat from the iron. My soldering improved no end when I started using it.
                                > >
                                > > I wouldn't say you can't do it with your soldering iron, I'd have a go at it and see how you get on, you won't know until you try.
                                > >
                                > > If it's not up to the job at least you can put the project on hold until you can get a new one.
                                > >
                                > > To my mind, it's a shame to go reflow soldering when there's so much to be learnt and practiced by the making these excellent kits using normal methods.
                                > >
                                > > Good Luck
                                > >
                                > > 73,
                                > >
                                > > Chris
                                > > EI1628
                                > >
                                > > --- In softrock40@yahoogroups.com, "Nom Woot" <theperson49@> wrote:
                                > > >
                                > > > Hi all! I purchased an RX Ensemble and received it a few weeks ago. Due to school and other things, I have been too busy to attempt to assemble it so far, but I'm going to have some free time in the near future that I could use to put my kit together.
                                > > >
                                > > > Looking at the instructions, I know I can handle most of the assembly, at least when it comes to the through-hole parts, but the surface mount components are going to be an entirely new experience for me.
                                > > >
                                > > > Come to find out, my $15 Radio Shack soldering iron won't cut it for SMD, and I'd need to buy a more expensive iron for this project. That's simply not going to happen at this point in time. However, I've heard some things about reflow soldering, and that it can be accomplished with a repurposed toaster oven. It just so happens that I have one of those available and doing nothing for anyone. Perfect.
                                > > >
                                > > > I'd like to know exactly what I'd need to do to make this happen. Where do I get the paste and what kind would I need? How do I use the oven properly? Is there anything else I should know?
                                > > >
                                > > > I'm sure you get asked questions similar to this all the time, so I apologize if this is a waste of time for you. I appreciate your help.
                                > > >
                                > > > Thanks and 73s.
                                > > >
                                > >
                                >
                              • adhollander61
                                As long as we re on the topic of being a surface mount newbie building a RX Ensemble II, I ve hit a little snag that I d like some advice on. For those of you
                                Message 16 of 27 , Feb 6, 2012
                                  As long as we're on the topic of being a surface mount newbie building a RX Ensemble II, I've hit a little snag that I'd like some advice on. For those of you unfamiliar with the RX Ensemble II, the most difficult SMT part to solder is very nearly the first SMT part to solder. This is a 3.3 V voltage regulator that is about the size of a large tick; the IC has 5 leads on it to solder to some pretty small pads. The part is a bit of a trial by fire for SMT newbies.

                                  Anyway, I was working on this stage of the radio build, thought I did alright soldering in the voltage regulator, but the stage failed the voltage test. Close inspection with a loupe revealed that the part was a bit askew vertically on one end, so that a couple of the leads were not in fact soldered to the pads. I've gone over the part a number of times with the soldering iron, but right now the middle lead of the row of three on one side of the IC still isn't connecting to its pad (there's maybe a 1/20th of a millimeter gap there).

                                  Right now I just can't seem to be able to coerce the solder to flow under that middle lead to bond it to the pad. What are the tricks for doing that? My plan right now is get some solder flux with a needle applicator and apply that to the lead and pad, and then resolder the lead. Is that likely to work? Is there any special sort of solder flux to use here?

                                  Thanks,

                                  Allan KG6KDJ
                                • Tony Estep
                                  ... ========== That should do it, Allan. There s a viscous flux that is made to work with needle applicators. Squirt a tiny bit on, tin your iron, touch it to
                                  Message 17 of 27 , Feb 6, 2012
                                    On Mon, Feb 6, 2012 at 2:56 PM, adhollander61 <adhollander@...> wrote:
                                     

                                    ...plan right now is get some solder flux with a needle applicator and apply that to the lead and pad, and then resolder the lead. Is that likely to work?...

                                    ==========
                                    That should do it, Allan. There's a viscous flux that is made to work with needle applicators. Squirt a tiny bit on, tin your iron, touch it to the joint, and you'll have it.

                                    Tony KT0NY 
                                  • cutsgems
                                    As stated elsewhere, get a rework flux pen, Kester 186, you can get them on Ebay. Flux the board & the part. Any time you have to re-heat a joint, flux it.
                                    Message 18 of 27 , Feb 6, 2012
                                      As stated elsewhere, get a rework flux pen, Kester 186, you can get them on Ebay. Flux the board & the part. Any time you have to re-heat a joint, flux it. Also an Optivisor is mandatory.

                                      I originally planned to use the skillet method of reflow soldering but instead figured I'd build the Ensemble RX with the solder iron if I could make it past the tiny v-reg. I did and I ended up building the whole thing using a standard 700 deg tip in a Weller WTCPS.

                                      Anyway, check out the youtube videos by this user:
                                      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5uiroWBkdFY
                                      I pickup up a lot by watching, especially the drag soldering of IC's, it's the cats meow. As for the v-reg, flux it, put a tiny dab of solder on the tip, touch it to the pad and it will wick right to the part then you can finish the rest of legs. Same for the chip caps. I solder the non-ground end of the chip caps first because it takes less heat. I place & hold them with an Exacto knife. Flux on the board really makes a difference.

                                      I'm now half way done with an RXTX, man I hate winding toroids....

                                      --- In softrock40@yahoogroups.com, "adhollander61" <adhollander@...> wrote:
                                      >
                                      > As long as we're on the topic of being a surface mount newbie building a RX Ensemble II, I've hit a little snag that I'd like some advice on. For those of you unfamiliar with the RX Ensemble II, the most difficult SMT part to solder is very nearly the first SMT part to solder. This is a 3.3 V voltage regulator that is about the size of a large tick; the IC has 5 leads on it to solder to some pretty small pads. The part is a bit of a trial by fire for SMT newbies.
                                      >
                                      > Anyway, I was working on this stage of the radio build, thought I did alright soldering in the voltage regulator, but the stage failed the voltage test. Close inspection with a loupe revealed that the part was a bit askew vertically on one end, so that a couple of the leads were not in fact soldered to the pads. I've gone over the part a number of times with the soldering iron, but right now the middle lead of the row of three on one side of the IC still isn't connecting to its pad (there's maybe a 1/20th of a millimeter gap there).
                                      >
                                      > Right now I just can't seem to be able to coerce the solder to flow under that middle lead to bond it to the pad. What are the tricks for doing that? My plan right now is get some solder flux with a needle applicator and apply that to the lead and pad, and then resolder the lead. Is that likely to work? Is there any special sort of solder flux to use here?
                                      >
                                      > Thanks,
                                      >
                                      > Allan KG6KDJ
                                      >
                                    • wb5rvz
                                      I built nearly all of my Softrock kits uswing my (once) trusty Velleman solder styation. Temp controlled, grounded tip, tip adequate for SMT 1206 and SOT23.
                                      Message 19 of 27 , Feb 6, 2012
                                        I built nearly all of my Softrock kits uswing my (once) trusty Velleman solder styation. Temp controlled, grounded tip, tip adequate for SMT 1206 and SOT23.

                                        After 3 years in relatively heavy service, it crapped out.

                                        I just checked Frys online:
                                        http://www.frys.com/product/4825190?site=sr:SEARCH:MAIN_RSLT_PG


                                        Velleman VTSS5U 50W Solder Station
                                        $19.99

                                        De Robby WB5RVZ
                                        www.wb5rvz.com
                                      • Tom Hoflich
                                        That is the one that I use. Mine is getting pretty shabby.  Last time I was at Fry s, I got a spare since it was only only $20. I expect that any day, I will
                                        Message 20 of 27 , Feb 6, 2012
                                          That is the one that I use. Mine is getting pretty shabby.  Last time I was at Fry's, I got a spare since it was only only $20.
                                          I expect that any day, I will need it. Cheap insurance.

                                          Tom KM5H
                                           


                                          From: wb5rvz <rrrobson@...>
                                          To: softrock40@yahoogroups.com
                                          Sent: Monday, February 6, 2012 6:12 PM
                                          Subject: [softrock40] Re: Softrock RX Ensemble II - Surface mount newbie needs advice.

                                           


                                          I built nearly all of my Softrock kits uswing my (once) trusty Velleman solder styation. Temp controlled, grounded tip, tip adequate for SMT 1206 and SOT23.

                                          After 3 years in relatively heavy service, it crapped out.

                                          I just checked Frys online:
                                          http://www.frys.com/product/4825190?site=sr:SEARCH:MAIN_RSLT_PG

                                          Velleman VTSS5U 50W Solder Station
                                          $19.99

                                          De Robby WB5RVZ
                                          www.wb5rvz.com



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