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Re: Soldering for dummies?

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  • 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 1 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 2 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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