Re: [z_scale] attn Bill Hoshiko
On Tue, 29 Feb 2000 16:40:53 -0800, you wrote:
Thank you for your very elaborate description on soldering.
I will follow it carefully, when I start soldering.
I managed to get some 0.56 mm solder with flux, but this is - I can
now see - not what I need.
Tomorrow I will go to a place a hundred miles or so south of here, to
visit a company where everything you ever dreamed of (if you ever
dream about soldering - - I do - all the time) can be bought. I will
go for water soluable flux and pure (no flux) solder.
>If you can, try to obtain Iain Rice's book. It was printed in England.
>"A Pragmatic Guide to Building, Wiring and Laying PCB TRACK" by Iain
I ordered the book from the company you mentioned. They had a "few
I'm hoping that it will arrive very soon now.
>You cannot be too careful laying track. If the track is not right the
>train won't stay on it. If the train won't stay on the track why have
Exactly! - I'm beginning to wonder why I have my trains. I only use
them for putting couplers on them, and as an excuse for buying all
these tools :-) (hardware AND software)
>I still have not put down any test track. I have already spent over
>$300.00 for stuff that I need to do a proper test section. Perhaps next
>week I can start a little section. Only need to spend a few dollars
Just like me :-) I have bought a lot of fine tools, materials etc.
Right now I am waiting for the above mentioned book and my Xuron
cutter to arrive. Perhabs I'm just subconsciously trying to avoid the
inevitable disaster, that no doubt will be the result of my efforts.
regards Ole Rosted, Denmark
I get my solder flux from plumbing supply stores (or mega hardware stores
over here). It is in paste form, which makes it easy to apply to the rails
with a disposable match stick. I pay $2 for a life-time supply in a metal
tin. I carefully read the label to insure it does not contain any acids.
Plumbers use rosin based flux when they solder (with a torch) copper pipes
together. And they certainly don't want any acid residue eating on the
copper over the years.
What works for me:
I use a wire scratchwheel in a dremel tool to briefly touch both the rails to
remove the paint (I paint the rails rust before they are installed) and other
oxides, oils, etc. that may be on the side of the rail. Rails should be nice
and shinny at the joint.
Then I use a toothpick/matchstick to just put a thick film (not a glob) of
paste across the joint.
I use a 60 watt soldering iron that's connected to a light dimmer (I can dial
in whatever temperature I want). I have marked the circular knob with
positions: rails, big lugs, pc boards, small wires, etc. for the various
temperatures I've found that work well.
The iron has a flat nosed screwdriver tip, so that it makes excellent contact
with both rails at the same time. You cant do that with a cone shaped tip.
Be sure to wipe the tip with a rag anytime it is not shinny, which is often.
When I start to solder, I touch the tip of the iron with the 60/40 solder to
"wet" it. You don't want a glob of molten solder on it, just enough to see
I apply the wet tip to the rails, and they smoke quite a bit as the solder
paste boils. If your tip was "wet" you should be transferring quite a bit of
heat to the rails at this point. If it is dry, then heat transfer will be
slow, and the ties/sleepers will melt before the job is done.
Before it solder paste is completely gone, I apply solder to the rails, not
the tip. I'm in, and out, in under 2 seconds.
Once the joint is cool, I pre-tinned 24awg wire (small) and flood the wire
end, so that it is left with too much solder (a tiny glob). I hold the wire
against the completed joint and touch the iron tip to the wire. I do not
leave the iron against the joint long enough for the solder on the rails to
melt, but just long enough for the solder on the wire to flow into the solder
on the rails. One second tops. That gives me my power connection to the
I push the wire down though a hole in the table for connector to a much
larger wire later. I don't connect all the wires under the table. Some are
just left coiled up and insulated. But later, if I want to block the track,
all I have to do it cut the rails, the power wires are already there. And I
don't have to tear into completed ballast to get to the rails later.
When your soldering iron tip is new, you can put a 45 degree bend in it.
This allows the tip to touch the side of the rail absolutely horizontal,
while your hand is at a comfortable 45 degree angle (just like when you write
with a pencil).
Thank you for your confidence in my soldering methods.
There are many different ways to solder. I am only suggesting one way.
Recently I have seen several posts where it is suggested that an iron of
much higher watts may be better because you can quickly get in and get
out before you melt any plastic ties or unsolder any previous joints.
Years ago I used an iron with 250 watts. It worked well for me. Many
of the modelers come from doing electronic component soldering and they
are accustom to using low wattage soldering irons.
I you join a group of model railroaders, you will find that each has his
own idea of how to solder, how to use a paint sprayer, how to lay track,
and how to do all the different things that we do in model railroading.
None of them will be wrong as long as it accomplishes their goal.
Try the method that I outlined and if it doesn't work well for you, try
others. The best method is whatever works for you.
Most first time solderer start with rosin core solder, making a mess.
Use too much solder, and apply heat for much too long.
The solder joint should not have a lump of solder. The cooled joint
should be shiny and smooth. If is dull than you must redo it.
Practice on various pieces of metals and find which works best for you.
Soldering wires to wire our railroad is different from soldering track
to PC ties.
I don't believe than anyone ever got it right the first time. If they
did, then they got it wrong the next 10 times. The first time was
Above all have fun. Don't forget that all of this is for entertainment?
Ole Rosted wrote:
> From: Ole Rosted <Ole.Rosted@...>
> On Tue, 29 Feb 2000 16:40:53 -0800, you wrote:
> Hello Bill,
> Thank you for your very elaborate description on soldering.
> I will follow it carefully, when I start soldering.