[Coco] Its about that day again (soldering)

Chad H chadbh74 at hotmail.com
Sat Dec 26 11:28:09 EST 2015

I agree fully here.  I'm not a 'professional' solder person by occupation, only by hobby, but when I bought my Hot Air SMD rework station (Chinese made I think) It included a temperature controlled iron and I prefer it over my Weller SPG40, which is adjustable but not truly temperature controlled.

I used to solder SMD capacitors before getting the hot air gun and it could be done but a lot slower and messier with the iron.  I bought one of these and it has everything I need in one unit.  Even has a handy DC power supply/meter function.

- Chad H

-----Original Message-----
From: Coco [mailto:coco-bounces at maltedmedia.com] On Behalf Of Zippster
Sent: Saturday, December 26, 2015 9:34 AM
To: CoCoList for Color Computer Enthusiasts
Subject: Re: [Coco] Its about that day again (soldering)

My 2¢ on soldering…..  :)

Hotter with less dwell time is the way to go.  Low wattage irons end up heating the components MUCH more.  And for some things they’ll never generate enough heat to keep up with dissipation, large ground plane sections for instance.

One thing I would suggest also is to try a chisel shaped tip on your soldering iron (2.4mm or so for most stuff).  These give much better control when applying heat to pads and leads than the common conical tips on both through-hole and SMT parts.

If you’re going to solder on a regular basis or do more than a few boards, get a temp controlled iron.  Chinese units (with hot air wand too) are available cheaply all over eBay.  This will give you more control over temperature.

Getting good results boils down to being able to control the temperature, controlling heat transfer, and the proper use of flux.

Get some flux in the syringe type dispenser, something like Amtech 4300 to keep next to you when working.  This is very useful on through-hole components, and absolutely necessary for any SMT work.

- Ed

> On Dec 26, 2015, at 8:49 AM, farna at amc-mag.com wrote:
> I've only used a cheap pencil type soldering iron on my CoCo projects 
> -
> $20 or less. For standard ICs and components you can get by with one 
> just fine. I've done many repairs and re-packs with just that 45W 
> pencil. A 40-60W is what you want. The lower wattage ones take too 
> long to heat solder and will try your patience. A guy who used to do a 
> lot of CoCo repairs and build a few things for the CoCo told me once 
> there are two ways to solder components -- slow and steady or quick 
> and fast (low watt pencil or high watt). Some people used 20-25W 
> pencils and swore by them, but you have to hold them on the joint for 
> quite a while to soften and remove or solder to. A quick touch with a 
> 40-50W and you're done. You'd think the higher wattage would be more 
> harmful, but you only touch the joint for a second and heat doesn't 
> sink up into the component, solder absorbs most. With a lower watt gun 
> you have to hold it to the joint 3-4 times as long and the component can actually get hotter.
> Sure, a station with a temp controlled iron is better, but if you're 
> just doing a little soldering the 40-50W pencil is all you need. I use 
> a manual "solder sucker" to de-solder joints when necessary, but 
> remove most ICs destructively (cut pins, hold stubs w/needle nose pliers, heat and pull).
> A pencil could lift traces on some of these new boards, but CoCo 
> boards are the old thick variety and are pretty robust. You won't have 
> a problem with any etched single or double layer board, I wouldn't 
> think. There are some home brew boards that have pretty thin coatings 
> that could be a problem, but in general if the solder is hot (liquid) 
> enough you won't pull a trace. You can tell when it changes color 
> (becomes shiny) that it's liquid.
> Here's a good guide:
> http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Pick-the-Best-Soldering-Iron/
> Check Amazon for "soldering station". You c an get variable temp 
> pencils from around $20 and up. The lowest cost ones just have a high 
> to low or numbered setting, no temp associated with the controls. 
> There are a few with temps on the dial or digital readouts in the 
> $40-50 range. Of course you can spend a lot more! There are even a 
> couple hot air re-work stations with pencil and hot air gun under $70. 
> Read reviews, and determine what you need and how much you can/want to spend.

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