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Re: Soldering for dummies?

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  • rvn20012000@yahoo.com
    Hi Don and Gang, I m glad you come out from your lurking when you have the information someone needs. You did an excellent job of explaining soldering. I
    Message 1 of 12 , Nov 30, 2001
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      Hi Don and Gang,

      I'm glad you come out from your lurking when you have the information
      someone needs. You did an excellent job of explaining soldering. I
      solder small (sometimes surface-mount) electronic components to
      printed circuit boards for a living, and I use a variable temperature
      iron and several different sizes and styles of tips.

      I have the same set-up at home, and can use it for home, auto, and
      hobby projects.

      Once again, great explanation,
      Thom "Uncle Thom" Welsch
    • Wild Zontar
      Hi Don, Thanks for coming out of lurk mode to write this. I feel ready to graduate from Soldering for Dummies to Soldering for Really Inexperienced Rank
      Message 2 of 12 , Dec 2, 2001
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        Hi Don,

        Thanks for coming out of lurk mode to write this. I feel ready to graduate
        from "Soldering for Dummies" to "Soldering for Really Inexperienced Rank
        Amateurs." That's an improvement, right? I'm printing out your e-mail for
        future reference.

        Thanks,

        Greg


        At 13:20 11/30/2001 -0000, you wrote:
        >Hi Z heads
        >
        >I have ben lurking for a while but will give my points on soldering.
        >BTW I am a design engineer in the IC business. I also tend to write
        >long long posts so feel free to delete at will.
        >
        >Resistance soldering is very nice if you want to spend the bucks.
        >Applies heat to the joint and not to much elsewhere. But we are Z
        >scale and major heat to solder like G scale in my garden layout is not
        >needed. If anything a very lightweight soldering iron with a fine 1/16
        >or even 1/32 inch tip is more than enough. And a lot cheaper to get
        >and maintain. A good 25 watt Weller iron is quite inexpensive and
        >gives even excessive heat for the task.
        >
        >The main points of soldering for dummies is to clean _all_ the pieces
        >very well. No corrosion or water or glue or solder crud. Next use
        >enough flux. For Z track the solder for electrical work (60/40 rosin
        >core 24 gauge or smaller) with a flux core is more than good enough
        >but if you must; then use a tiny dab of a paste or a liquid rosin
        >based flux. Not acid flux unless you can remove all the acid residue.
        >Even then acid flux is a real problem in small work. Very hard to
        >remove.
        >
        >So first you prepair your soldering iron station. This is a place to
        >hold the iron while hot so you do not accidentally melt your favorite
        >boxcar or you sit on the iron. Also have a place to hold the wet
        >soldering iron sponge. The sponge you wet till soggy to help clean the
        >soldering iron tip.
        >
        >Probably the second most important thing is to melt a bit of solder on
        >the hot tip after the iron is heated up ("tin" the tip) and then wipe
        >the tip on the sponge right before applying heat to the joint. Each
        >time you solder a joint clean the tip first and sometimes you may need
        >to add more solder to the tip. The tip will get oxidized solder and
        >burned flux on it as it sits there all hot; and simply wiping it clean
        >greatly helps soldering small objects.
        >
        >Next apply the freshly cleaned tip to the joint. Try to touch both
        >pieces of the joint but as you gain practice you will heat up the
        >piece with the most mass more so both pieces get to the same
        >temperature at the same time. Be Quick. Touch a tiny bit of solder to
        >the joint after the joint is hot and let some solder melt and the flux
        >to flow. Generally not enough solder to do the complete job but just
        >enough to start the flux flowing and it will add more heat to the
        >joint. Once the flux in the joint spreads out and sizzles you then add
        >enough solder to make the joint. Keeping the iron on the joint and not
        >moving the joint then gently remove the iron tip. Do not move the
        >joint for a few seconds for the solder to harden. Once you gain
        >confidence with adding of solder to the joint it becomes so automatic
        >and you may not really notice a slight pause as you add all the
        >solder once the flux bubbles.
        >
        >If you did a good joint it will be shiny and uniformly smooth and not
        >have lumps of solder or rough areas. If the joint is grainy or dull
        >then you have a bad joint and need to start over again. Wait till the
        >joint is cool to start over. IF you had kept on adding heat to fix the
        >problem things will melt you probably did not wish to melt. If there
        >is not too much solder and it is grainy you can reheat the joint and
        >then gently remove the heat again. If it is still grainy then clean it
        >all up and start over for something was not fully cleaned and fluxed.
        >
        >Pre-tinning of stranded wires helps if you are soldering to circuit
        >boards and track. You simply heat and add solder to just get the
        >stripped part of the wire with a smooth flowing coat. Not enough to
        >completly encase the individual wire strands but just enough to hold
        >it all together so you can bend it into its final resting position. If
        >you add too much solder when tinning wires it will flow up into the
        >area covered by insulation or worse melt the insulation. Ideally the
        >solder should stop flowing up the wire a bit before the insulation was
        >removed and you can still flex it.
        >
        >The real key to good soldering is Practice. Just enough heat and for
        >just enough time for the mass of the metal pieces. Too hot an iron and
        >it is hard to learn to solder for you need to be so very quick. So a
        >45 watt iron is overkill. A 25 watt iron is good for most things but
        >for some Z things it may be too hot as well. The problem is not the
        >wattage but really your speed at doing the joint. A lower wattage and
        >smaller tip will allow you more time to do the joint and then to gain
        >enough practice so you can eventually do that same joint with more
        >heat and faster. You do not want to pop a printed circuit board land
        >off the board with too much heat. You also do not want to melt your
        >track all out of gauge.
        >
        >Last thing is after the last joint is done, power down the soldering
        >iron and as it cools melt some solder on the tip. This protects the
        >tip and helps keep it clean for the next time you need to use the
        >iron.
        >
        >Yes I know, I write way way too much but 1000 words sometimes are
        >better than one picture. (not often but sometimes)
        >
        >Don Smith
        >
        >
        >
        >"Z" WARNING! HANDLE WITH CARE! Highly addictive in Small DoseZ!
        >
        >
        >Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
        >
        >
        >
      • td25scorpio@ntlworld.com
        Hi Don you wrote ... i wouldnt say you write way way to much , i would say extremely well explained and accurate in the details, i too have saved this info.
        Message 3 of 12 , Dec 2, 2001
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          Hi Don
          you wrote
          >Yes I know, I write way way too much but 1000 words sometimes are
          >better than one picture. (not often but sometimes)
          >
          i wouldnt say you write way way to much , i would say extremely well
          explained and accurate in the details, i too have saved this info.
          well done, i look forward to more of your descriptions on z subjects
          regards
          simon
          --- In z_scale@y..., Wild Zontar <wildzontar@a...> wrote:
          > Hi Don,
          >
          > Thanks for coming out of lurk mode to write this. I feel ready to
          graduate
          > from "Soldering for Dummies" to "Soldering for Really Inexperienced
          Rank
          > Amateurs." That's an improvement, right? I'm printing out your e-
          mail for
          > future reference.
          >
          > Thanks,
          >
          > Greg
          >
          >
          > At 13:20 11/30/2001 -0000, you wrote:
          > >Hi Z heads
          > >
          > >I have ben lurking for a while but will give my points on
          soldering.
          > >BTW I am a design engineer in the IC business. I also tend to
          write
          > >long long posts so feel free to delete at will.
          > >
          > >Resistance soldering is very nice if you want to spend the bucks.
          > >Applies heat to the joint and not to much elsewhere. But we are Z
          > >scale and major heat to solder like G scale in my garden layout is
          not
          > >needed. If anything a very lightweight soldering iron with a fine
          1/16
          > >or even 1/32 inch tip is more than enough. And a lot cheaper to
          get
          > >and maintain. A good 25 watt Weller iron is quite inexpensive and
          > >gives even excessive heat for the task.
          > >
          > >The main points of soldering for dummies is to clean _all_ the
          pieces
          > >very well. No corrosion or water or glue or solder crud. Next use
          > >enough flux. For Z track the solder for electrical work (60/40
          rosin
          > >core 24 gauge or smaller) with a flux core is more than good
          enough
          > >but if you must; then use a tiny dab of a paste or a liquid rosin
          > >based flux. Not acid flux unless you can remove all the acid
          residue.
          > >Even then acid flux is a real problem in small work. Very hard to
          > >remove.
          > >
          > >So first you prepair your soldering iron station. This is a place
          to
          > >hold the iron while hot so you do not accidentally melt your
          favorite
          > >boxcar or you sit on the iron. Also have a place to hold the wet
          > >soldering iron sponge. The sponge you wet till soggy to help clean
          the
          > >soldering iron tip.
          > >
          > >Probably the second most important thing is to melt a bit of
          solder on
          > >the hot tip after the iron is heated up ("tin" the tip) and then
          wipe
          > >the tip on the sponge right before applying heat to the joint.
          Each
          > >time you solder a joint clean the tip first and sometimes you may
          need
          > >to add more solder to the tip. The tip will get oxidized solder
          and
          > >burned flux on it as it sits there all hot; and simply wiping it
          clean
          > >greatly helps soldering small objects.
          > >
          > >Next apply the freshly cleaned tip to the joint. Try to touch both
          > >pieces of the joint but as you gain practice you will heat up the
          > >piece with the most mass more so both pieces get to the same
          > >temperature at the same time. Be Quick. Touch a tiny bit of solder
          to
          > >the joint after the joint is hot and let some solder melt and the
          flux
          > >to flow. Generally not enough solder to do the complete job but
          just
          > >enough to start the flux flowing and it will add more heat to the
          > >joint. Once the flux in the joint spreads out and sizzles you then
          add
          > >enough solder to make the joint. Keeping the iron on the joint and
          not
          > >moving the joint then gently remove the iron tip. Do not move the
          > >joint for a few seconds for the solder to harden. Once you gain
          > >confidence with adding of solder to the joint it becomes so
          automatic
          > >and you may not really notice a slight pause as you add all the
          > >solder once the flux bubbles.
          > >
          > >If you did a good joint it will be shiny and uniformly smooth and
          not
          > >have lumps of solder or rough areas. If the joint is grainy or
          dull
          > >then you have a bad joint and need to start over again. Wait till
          the
          > >joint is cool to start over. IF you had kept on adding heat to fix
          the
          > >problem things will melt you probably did not wish to melt. If
          there
          > >is not too much solder and it is grainy you can reheat the joint
          and
          > >then gently remove the heat again. If it is still grainy then
          clean it
          > >all up and start over for something was not fully cleaned and
          fluxed.
          > >
          > >Pre-tinning of stranded wires helps if you are soldering to
          circuit
          > >boards and track. You simply heat and add solder to just get the
          > >stripped part of the wire with a smooth flowing coat. Not enough
          to
          > >completly encase the individual wire strands but just enough to
          hold
          > >it all together so you can bend it into its final resting
          position. If
          > >you add too much solder when tinning wires it will flow up into
          the
          > >area covered by insulation or worse melt the insulation. Ideally
          the
          > >solder should stop flowing up the wire a bit before the insulation
          was
          > >removed and you can still flex it.
          > >
          > >The real key to good soldering is Practice. Just enough heat and
          for
          > >just enough time for the mass of the metal pieces. Too hot an iron
          and
          > >it is hard to learn to solder for you need to be so very quick. So
          a
          > >45 watt iron is overkill. A 25 watt iron is good for most things
          but
          > >for some Z things it may be too hot as well. The problem is not
          the
          > >wattage but really your speed at doing the joint. A lower wattage
          and
          > >smaller tip will allow you more time to do the joint and then to
          gain
          > >enough practice so you can eventually do that same joint with more
          > >heat and faster. You do not want to pop a printed circuit board
          land
          > >off the board with too much heat. You also do not want to melt
          your
          > >track all out of gauge.
          > >
          > >Last thing is after the last joint is done, power down the
          soldering
          > >iron and as it cools melt some solder on the tip. This protects
          the
          > >tip and helps keep it clean for the next time you need to use the
          > >iron.
          > >
          > >Yes I know, I write way way too much but 1000 words sometimes are
          > >better than one picture. (not often but sometimes)
          > >
          > >Don Smith
          > >
          > >
          > >
          > >"Z" WARNING! HANDLE WITH CARE! Highly addictive in Small DoseZ!
          > >
          > >
          > >Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to
          http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
          > >
          > >
          > >
        • Greg Elmassian
          I second Simon s & Greg s de-lurk request(s) and compliments... I learned to solder long ago, and it s technique and cleanliness absolutely) I am also a
          Message 4 of 12 , Dec 2, 2001
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            I second Simon's & Greg's "de-lurk" request(s) and compliments...

            I learned to solder long ago, and it's technique and
            cleanliness absolutely)

            I am also a garden railroader, so I must purchase a resistance
            unit, anyone know a good place to buy?

            Greg E.

            -----Original Message-----
            From: td25scorpio@... [mailto:td25scorpio@...]
            Sent: Sunday, December 02, 2001 11:42 AM
            To: z_scale@yahoogroups.com
            Subject: [z_scale] Re: Soldering for dummies?


            Hi Don
            you wrote
            >Yes I know, I write way way too much but 1000 words sometimes are
            >better than one picture. (not often but sometimes)
            >
            i wouldnt say you write way way to much , i would say extremely well
            explained and accurate in the details, i too have saved this info.
            well done, i look forward to more of your descriptions on z subjects
            regards
            simon
            --- In z_scale@y..., Wild Zontar <wildzontar@a...> wrote:
            > Hi Don,
            >
            > Thanks for coming out of lurk mode to write this. I feel ready to
            graduate
            > from "Soldering for Dummies" to "Soldering for Really Inexperienced
            Rank
            > Amateurs." That's an improvement, right? I'm printing out your e-
            mail for
            > future reference.
            >
            > Thanks,
            >
            > Greg
            > snipp...
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