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icemanxp300

What solder gun /kit do you recommend for a beginner?

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Interesting that the video says never use a file on the tip while I actually advised doing so! For me, it's just a matter of economics. The tip and coating will eventually wear down under heavy use, no matter how diligent you are with maintenance. Using a file can add life to a worn out tip so you can put off installing a new one.

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It stuck good at least it is very tight to me and no mess. What you think?

 

I think you've got too much bare wire exposed ;)

 

And yeah, you want to get the solder directly onto the wire, especially if you want the flux core to do its thing.

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Ok guys got my tactile switches in today and they appear to be good quality. Time to get ready for my 1st soldering job!! I have a question 1st. In the video below he talks about needing to bend or remove the opposite legs that will not be used. Can someone explain this to me, because it makes no sense to me how it can short and what not.

 

By all rights once the button is pushed the connection is going to be made, whats it matter if it is made by 3 points or 1? I really don't understand the reasoning as to why he is saying those legs need removed. The one leg is going to be soldered to the connection point regardless so whats it matter if the other two are touching? The connection isn't going to happen until that button is pushed.

 

Fast forward to 8 minutes.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_cRIFhsMSTU

Edited by icemanxp300

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Ok well I just folded up the ajacent leads regardless. Not too bad. Thge switches all work and have continuity. The only problem I have is top switch for up is too high by a spec. I need to go get something now to get that solder off them joints and bring it down a bit.

 

Soldering those was a bit harder than I thought LOL. Overall I'm happy with it. Ok tell me how it looks, what could be better. Thanks.

 

100_2930.jpg

Edited by icemanxp300

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Success!!!!

 

I decided to go get some desoldering ribbon stuff and ended up w/ a stupid desoldring iron that works like crap. I think I will return it. I did get the switch moved and finally got everything grinded down.

 

The controller works sweet. Takes no pressure at all to move. Pacman plays sweet :)

The clicky sound is pretty cool.

 

Thanks for the help guys!

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I just got back from my local gamestore and the guy was telling me I wa soldering wrong. He said it is better to apply heat to the joint, remove the iron and then touch with solder. He said by me holding the iron there and applying the solder it will ruin the tip and it's harder.

 

 

On a side note those switches are so tiny and a pain to keep in place would it be bad if I used a small amount of super glue on the bottom (maybe a corner) to make sure it is in proper place before I solder it or would the glue be bad on the board?

Edited by icemanxp300

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Cheap soldering irons typically have a tip core of copper, and a thin coating of iconel/nickel (or similar). Copper will corrode and wear quickly in the presence of heat + solder flux + oxygen + solder. So once the coating is worn off you need to keep sanding the tip again and again till it shrinks to a stubble. Oft times you'll see the copper inside disappear leaving a concave crater, with a shell of the protection material left behind, very much like a cavity!

 

Regarding heating the joint and then removing the iron, and then applying solder and flux.. good luck with that! The gamestop guy doesn't know his ass from a hole in the ground. There is not enough thermal inertia in the "to-be-soldered" parts to heat the fresh solder when the iron is removed. This would only work on thick metal pieces that can retain heat. Not even heatsinks or large copper groundplanes in PCB's would do this. A copper pipe, or screw or something similar might allow this to work.

 

Till gamestop guy demonstrates otherwise, I recommend having the iron in contact with the 2 parts to be joined as you apply solder. It is good to apply a bit of flux prior to (and sometimes during) the heating of the connection. Depends on the cleanliness and condition of the workpiece and type of solder. Most solder has a core of rosin flux "built-in". The purpose of the flux is to quickly eat away a tiny portion of the naturally occurring corrosion that happens to metals when they are heated in an O2 atmosphere. And it also cleans the surface and provides a temporary oxygen barrier when the solder is hot and flowing. It also slows down heat-induced electrolysis between dissimilar metals. That's why flux turns black, it's full of waste material!

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I just got back from my local gamestore and the guy was telling me I wa soldering wrong. He said it is better to apply heat to the joint, remove the iron and then touch with solder. He said by me holding the iron there and applying the solder it will ruin the tip and it's harder.

 

 

On a side note those switches are so tiny and a pain to keep in place would it be bad if I used a small amount of super glue on the bottom (maybe a corner) to make sure it is in proper place before I solder it or would the glue be bad on the board?

 

Ohh yeh, tips do wear out, so you replace them. What a concept!

 

As far as the super glue, it won't hurt anything. What you need to be sure of is the wicking action. Be sure the glue doesn't use surface tension and run itself up into the switch and to-be-soldered connections and holes and shit like that.

 

Why not use a bit of tape to hold stuff in place?

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I can try the tape, but man those switches are small. It might be better than the super glue so I can do a dry fit against the atari stick to make sure switches are placed properly before they are soldered. I know one thing next time I do it I'm only soldering one leg on each switch and doing a test fit. That way if it needs moved it will be alot easier to heat up the one joint and desolder it, than fighting w/2 joints.

 

Thanks for the input. I think the gamestop guy was pretty much saying as you add the solder removge the iron away at same time, real fast kind of deal. I'm gonna see if it works, but if not I'll just hold it there the entire time. For that matter I think I would do better and cleaner sucking the solder off the tip for such a small connection. Even though that is "improper".

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Soldering is an art as much as a technical skill. There are many subtle differences in the ways connections are made. However it is done.. the technique should result in a smooth and blemish-free shiny surface.

 

The shapes, sizes, materials, workpieces, and tools come in thousands of varieties; so there is no "one" exact set procedure..

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Well, I'll give my experiences. I have a background in electronics, went into programming. Never really did much circuit work. Go into pinball about 10 years ago, started doing some small board repair (replacing some damaged connectors). Later did some more board repair (rebuilding areas damaged by battery corrosion) and doing some stuff lately like putting the AV mod in my 2600 - among other odds and ends. I had a lot of theoretical knowlege about electronics, but very little practical hands on building. Soldering sounded easy in practice, but as Ketah said it's very much an art. I started out trying to use the Radio Shack 15/30 Watt irons, and I never cared for them. I popped $90 for a Weller temperature controlled iron (the one with the temp on an analog dial; didn't need to have a digital readout). I did buy myself a flux pen, but later found it was much cheaper to just buy a bottle of flux and use a small paintbrush. Things I've learned the hard way... in no particular order.

- 650 is what I keep my iron on for general work. Any less and it seems to take too long to melt (and I don't like holding heat on things for long), any more and it's way too hot - risk of melting things or burning things.

- Always tin the tip, and clean/retin liberally

- Don't soak the sponge, wet is good... some people think that if you give the tip too big of a temperature "hit" when you touch it to a soaking wet sponge can cause thermal damage to the tip over time. Not really sure, but I do know that inadquate cleaning of the tip can really seem to foul things up.

- Most people say don't file tips for those irons. The tips do have a coating on them. I used to file the radio shack ones, they had no coating.

- Hold the pre-tinned iron in contact with the part, and apply the solder to the the pad (or if you're using a wire, hold the pretinned iron on one side of side of the wire & apply solder a little further down the wire) - doing so insures you have adquate heat for the solder to melt and flow.

- Most people say you usually don't need flux on most things, especially if your solder has rosin, but for me it just seems to make things flow a little nicer. I have a spray bottle of flux remover to clean thigns up when done.

- I use both the solder-pult and the wick to desolder. I buy the wick with flux in it. I found that if I'm desoldering big blobs (like the power connector on the 2600!) the soldapult is the best. melt with the iron while holding the cocked soldapult right near... pull the iron away, quickly move in and trigger it - clean! For small things like removing a chip, I like the wick approach. Sometimes when working with old stuff, I find adding a bit of solder helps a joint to melt nicely and makes it easier to remove (by either soldapult or wick).

- Make sure your parts are clean before you solder!

 

The one problem I still have is finding the finesse of tinning a wire, then tinning a lead from a connector, and then soldering them together. My hands jitter a bit, so I use a tweezer to hold the wire - the only probelm is the heat sometimes (especially on small wires) tends to deform the insulation leading to a little impression of the tweezer teeth. I think I'm heating it a little too long, plus I have to sometimes melt it again - the jitter leads to a dull joint, and I'd rather try to make it shiny. I often will use a bit of heat shrink when joining a wire to a lead from a connector to make the final thing clean and neat.

Edited by TVisitor
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Thermal shock to tips, electronic parts, almost anything, isn't a good thing to induce. It cracks the molecular structure of stuff and then things corrode, or break, or whatever. I also agree with everything in post #39.

 

Additionally if I'm removing an SMT chip I don't need to save (and don't want to fire up met-cal), I'll either cut it off with a razor, or run a solder bead across all leads and lift up one side at a time. Board clean-up is easy with a wick afterwards.

Edited by Keatah

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The only other iron I ever filed was a giant iron with a tip that was about 1/2" in diameter. It was a beast from the 50's. Put out TONS of heat. The only time I *ever* used it on "electronics" was to solder a bundle of 20 ground wires together. Probably could have found a better way to do that ;-)

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Ok I just did my first real solder job. It took me some time to figure out how to suck the solder out of the board, but I figured it out. A friend had a bad Snes Nosferatu cart. The pins were all eaten away and missing. He let me use it as a test to see if I could fix it. I unsoldered the chip and then grabbed a mortal kombat as a donor and unsoldered it's chip. I then resoldered the nosferatu chip on the MK board and it works.

 

I think my solder connections came out pretty damn good for my first time soldered anything other than tactile swicthes on a wide open atari controller.

 

100_3990_zps678a8653.jpg

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The bottom row is hard to see, but the top row looks good. Nice wet looking, properly shaped solder fillets.

Edited by 5-11under
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