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Old 24th October 2001, 06:07 PM   #11
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Thanks so much for the guidence guys. I'm going to look into the solder Nelson recomended, and spend my money on some black gates. The info on technique used to create good solder connections is very helpfull. Does anyone know of a site or a book that would describe good soldering technique in more detail? Thanks for all your help.

Rob
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Old 24th October 2001, 11:14 PM   #12
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By the way could anyone recommend a good, resonably priced, soldering Iron that would do for my purposes. I'm planning on building an Aleph 3 or Aleph 5 and an Aleph L (I don't plan on using any surface mount devices.

Thanks again

Rob
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Old 26th October 2001, 09:38 AM   #13
hifiZen is offline hifiZen  Canada
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I guess that depends how much you want to spend. With the amount of soldering I do, I thought it was worth it to go out and spend $120 to get a nice ESD safe HAKKO. It's temp controlled, with a very quick heat up and a really nice stand (these guys really thought things through). Also, the build quality is excellent, and there is a good selection of tips.

But, if an ESD station with temp control is a little more than you think you'll make use of, you can find a very nice selection of stick irons from Weller. I still have a W60P iron which served me well for many years. Weller is again built to last, and you should be very satisfied with just about any of their products (just avoid the "toy" irons - you know, the cheapo 25W and 30W ones).

When it comes to tools, a soldering iron is one area where a few extra dollars are always well spent. Personally, I consider the cost of a good iron part of my projects, since the impact it will have on the outcome is so great. I consider it essential to get something with some sort of temp control. The W60P has a nifty ferromagnetic mechanism which changes magnetic properties with temperature, thus switching the iron on and off by attracting a magnetic switch actuator - more primitive and less precise than electronic control, but effective enough. Temperature control will allow you to achieve the consistency and control you need to do a good job on a serious project. Without it, you'll wind up burning pads off PCBs or getting cold solders etc. Another important thing is making sure the iron is powerful enough. I would consider 50W a minimum, as this allows the iron to heat up quickly, and recover from soldering large parts. You'd be surprised just how much power it can take to heat some things up to soldering temp, and of course the less time spent soldering a component, the less heat damage can occur.
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Old 26th October 2001, 06:24 PM   #14
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Cool Solder

If you do a proper solder joint, there is a good close mechanical connection between the parts being soldered. In this case I can not believe solder would add a sound. If you have loose, sloppy joints and the solder has to form a bridge between the surfaces, possibly it could. Good technique does matter if you want a top quality job in anything.

Also, for cleaning part leads, a scotchbrite work good and is much less messy than steel wool.

Regards,
Greg
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Old 26th October 2001, 07:22 PM   #15
tvi is offline tvi  Australia
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I have used one of these for years, I' d think they would be easy to make
<a href="http://shop.store.yahoo.com/tmt/beautleadcle.html"><img src="http://store1.yimg.com/I/tmt_1649_29130226"></a>
recently change the braid to scotchbrite, works just as well.
<hr width="95%" align=center>

As for solder, a low melting point might be more important than a addition of 2-4% silver.

A jab with a hot iron is the biggest (non-destructive) thermal shock that your components will see, so maybe <a href="http://www.hdpug.org/public/projects/reliab_char/low-temp/low_temp.htm">58Bi42Sn</a> with a melting point of 138C might catch on.

regards
James
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Old 26th October 2001, 07:31 PM   #16
sonnya is offline sonnya  Denmark
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I have found that some SMD parts are hard solder to PCB even with a good tin without silver.
With silver it was no problem ... Diode : SS34.

But your solderequipment and techic has to be OK as already stated.

Sonny
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Old 26th October 2001, 08:59 PM   #17
AuroraB is offline AuroraB  Norway
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Default Soldering irons...

I have used the Weller professional range for a great number of years now, and also use Pace tools for various other jobs. The new 80W WS80 is an excellent tool, as it has higher heat capacity, even with smaller bits, and thus don't loose the temp so fast. It is only marginally more expensive than the 50W, even if the older 50W design is also excellent. Bits for both are plentiful in size and shapes, even for SMDs at a later stage. Crude soldering tools is a mess to work with, and good, reliable solder joints is more important in itself than the top notch components.
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Old 27th October 2001, 10:39 AM   #18
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Ive also use the Weller for more years than I care to admit to and it is still going strong. Received some terrible abuse being taken on the road yet never let me down. Im sure there are better units available now, but not so long ago it was he norm to find these irons being used on the line, and for good reason too.

Cheers,

Pete
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Old 29th October 2001, 03:51 AM   #19
haldor is offline haldor  United States
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I used an old Weller solding station until it gave up the ghost last summer. When it died I sprung for a Hakko 936 ($99 at my distributor). What a nice iron! It heats up really fast, the temperature settings are very accurate, the holder doesn't tip over (nor does it have to stay attached to the heat control). The interchangable tips are nice, you can get a wide variety of sizes, plus it looks like most of the parts are field replaceable. This is a top notch iron, I would replace mine in a second if it ever wandered off or died.

Another thing that can really help soldering is a Flux pen (Kester #186). This looks like a felt tipped marker only it's full of rosen flux instead of ink. Makes soldering homemade, unplated PCB's much easier and is really a good idea for solding surface mount chips.

Phil Ouellette
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