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Old 22nd March 2007, 07:36 PM   #1
beerman is offline beerman  United States
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Default Soldering iron

The parts used for a GC are very small, I would imagine they're also sensetive to heat build-up, what should I look for in a soldering iron?

I have one that I used for installing my car alarm and remote start, but the tip is very large. If I can find a smaller tip, should I consider it?
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Old 22nd March 2007, 09:44 PM   #2
Fenris is offline Fenris  United States
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A 25-50 watt iron is about right. Most decent irons have tips that can be replaced. If not, it's a cheap iron. You could always grind down the tip with a file to give a nice point. Don't be too concerned, most of the components aren't that sensitive to heat, mostly the capacitors and the chip itself, but decent technique won't put them anywhere near their limits.
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Old 22nd March 2007, 09:53 PM   #3
beerman is offline beerman  United States
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Quote:
Originally posted by Fenris
You could always grind down the tip with a file to give a nice point.
LOL, didn't even think of that. And it is replaceable, I have a replacement tip on it.

Quote:
Originally posted by Fenris
Don't be too concerned, most of the components aren't that sensitive to heat, mostly the capacitors and the chip itself, but decent technique won't put them anywhere near their limits.
Thanks for the reassurance!
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Old 22nd March 2007, 11:33 PM   #4
jpg is offline jpg  Germany
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Quote:
You could always grind down the tip with a file to give a nice point.
Yeah, you can do that with a $2 iron where it really doesn't matter and throw the thing away when the tip is burnt off (and it will burn off pretty quickly when you file it down to the copper core) and no replacement tips are available. With quality stuff, this would be very bad practice, as a soldering tip is more than a piece of metal that gets hot.
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Old 22nd March 2007, 11:45 PM   #5
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jpg: Solid advice. In my youth, I used to do just that(file the crud off the tip to make it nice and shiney) until my uncle told me I should use a wet sponge to clean the tip. I had filed off the iron plating, and sure enough it started to disappear. The roson in the solder eats copper like crazy.
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Old 23rd March 2007, 04:37 PM   #6
Minion is offline Minion  Canada
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I actually do exactly that....I buy these Cheapo $1 soldering irons and then Grind the Tip down to a sharp point and use it that way.....Each iron lasts me about 2 months and then I just replace it with another $1 Iron.....They actually work surpriseingly well....


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Old 23rd March 2007, 07:35 PM   #7
impsick is offline impsick  United States
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SO YOU SAY A SPONGE WILL HELP FROM THE TIP EVAPORATING? IT SEEMS THAT EVEN WITHOUT SHARPENING IT DOWN IT STARTS TO GET SHORTER. IS THERE NO WAY TO PREVENT THAT? OR DO MORE EXPENSIVE TIPS LAST LONGER?
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Old 23rd March 2007, 08:04 PM   #8
juma is offline juma  Germany
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Quote:
Originally posted by impsick
SO YOU SAY A SPONGE WILL HELP FROM THE TIP EVAPORATING? IT SEEMS THAT EVEN WITHOUT SHARPENING IT DOWN IT STARTS TO GET SHORTER. IS THERE NO WAY TO PREVENT THAT? OR DO MORE EXPENSIVE TIPS LAST LONGER?

Buy a quality soldering iron. I have three solderinh irons. All 3 are WELLER (15W, 25W and 50W). They are 17, 10 and 25 years old, all with original tips (a dozen of them - for different purposes and temperatures - from SMD and SOIC chips soldering to soldering of steel metal sheets).
I clean them only with dry, dense linen cloth while hot (quick stroke over the tip is all they need). These tools saw a lot of heavy duty use over the years without deterioration.
Wet sponge is out of question because fast cooling makes tip's protective surface material to crack.

If you plan to avoid stress in your hobby, invest in good tools. WELLER has my recomandation for quality and longevity.
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Old 23rd March 2007, 08:30 PM   #9
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Hi,

These ones sell in Europe for around EU20.-

Click the image to open in full size.

http://www.aoyue.com/en/Product.asp?...LE%20SOLDERING

Full blown genuine Chinese but excellent quality We have several in our production workshop and the tips last very long. After half a year of continuous use they are still in perfect condition.

Cheers
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Old 24th March 2007, 05:02 AM   #10
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Best thing to clean a hot tip is blue jeans

Spend more time cleaning and tinning than soldering. That's always produced my best results. Whether using good or cheap.
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