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All about SOLDERING

xuzme720

Dedicated foam bender
Mentor
#1
I thought I'd post this since I see a lot of questions from people about soldering. Bruce(RCModelreviews,X-Jet) put up a great video detailing everything from iron selection, to how-to solder and heatshrink. It's a long video but unless you're already soldering more than the average person, you should find something informative in here.

 
#3
all i know is whatever they are using for solder over in China has an almost supernatural resistance to my iron (must be the lead).....takes all my Hakko can handle sometimes and leaves me yelling "I need more power Scotty!!"
 

vk2dxn

Senior Member
#4
Wish they never canned lead solder, I had no probs getting a clean joint with it and lucky I still have an old roll left. The new lead free stuff requires a bit more effort and more flux. It may be just me or my technique but lead free solder is a thorn in my side.
 

MrGravey

Senior Member
#7
all i know is whatever they are using for solder over in China has an almost supernatural resistance to my iron (must be the lead).....takes all my Hakko can handle sometimes and leaves me yelling "I need more power Scotty!!"
And it has always been that way it would seem. My other hobby is classic gaming and that puts me working on very old solder joints. The stuff on the original NES can be quite difficult to deal with even now.

I have never had a really nice iron but it is used enough in this hobby to justify the larger purchase price.
 
#8
And it has always been that way it would seem. My other hobby is classic gaming and that puts me working on very old solder joints. The stuff on the original NES can be quite difficult to deal with even now.

I have never had a really nice iron but it is used enough in this hobby to justify the larger purchase price.
I have the newer Hakko (blue and yellow) but ebay search "Hakko 936".....they have been around FOREVER and great little machines with a ton of accessories to be found online. Believe a 936 can be had in the $30-$50 range. If you like me, once equipped with a good soldering setup you will find other stuff around house that could use a dab of rosin core.
 
#9
The Hakko 936 was discontinued and replaced with the 888. I have read that the changes are cosmetic only, and the circuitry inside is identical. Obviously the new digital 888 has a re-designed control board. The user interface on the digital version rather sucks and doesn't provide any advantages, so there is no reason to avoid an older cheaper used 888 or 936.

I just saw that the 888 can be had for $70 at Fry's. Unfortunately In-store only.

Also, lead content is what makes solder easy to solder. Lead-free solders melt at considerably higher temperatures which is why they are more difficult to solder. More than likely your wire ends have been tinned with lead-free solder for sale in the EU. However, with a decent temperature-controlled iron you should should not see any difference when the temperature is adjusted appropriately.
 
#10
True the HAKKO 936 has been discontinued for some time now but rather than harangue on about the backstory, I suggest anyone interested in either a genuine Hakko (still a ton that have been sitting on shelves in unopened boxes) or one of the many many clones thereof (ATTEN, KOMEC, YIHUA, AOYUE, SAIKE...so on and so forth) start their search with "Hakko 936". As previously stated I own the 888 and its a great station but almost wish i hadn't sold my 936, this 888 just looks all wrong....out of place on a working man's work bench. Plus there are a skins out there for the 936 to customize as you wish.....happy hunting.
http://www.darksidedesigns.net/solderingiron.html
 
#11
Do you have a good source for new-old-stock 936s? I haven't seen any for sale in a while now.

I agree that the styling of the 888 looks like it should be a kindergardener's toy. Not sure why anyone would ditch a 936 for an 888 unless they *like* the styling of the 888.

I generally recommend the Weller WES-51 for people who don't care for the aesthetics of the Hakko 888, but I have heard rumors of Q/C issues on recent models.

Word of warning about the clones... they all have *very* high failure rates and the quality of the tips is poor. The few extra bucks for the Hakko is well worth it.

Personally, for soldering large connectors, I just use an old Hexacon 24s 60 W pencil iron I picked up for just a few bucks at a hamfest 30 years ago...
 

xuzme720

Dedicated foam bender
Mentor
#12
I'm using the clone YIHUA 936 with some better Ebay tips. So far it has impressed me with it's versatility and speed to temp...
I do use better tips on mine so that might help and I mostly don't leave it on when I'm not using it, usually! :p
For $15, I am happy.
 

RoyBro

Senior Member
Mentor
#14
This is one of the soldering irons I use. It is a Weller 18 watt WPS18MP. It runs off a 12v power supply. It heats up very rapidly so I don't have to keep it on during the short periods between soldering jobs. But it performs like a 60 Watt iron with a fixed temperature of 900 F. The power plug is detachable, and although I haven't tried it yet, I'm sure it would run of a 3s lipo for emergency field repairs.

large_621_wps18mp.jpg

I wish I had the room for temperature controlled soldering station, but I don't so I use this one for the higher temperature jobs and and cheap little soldering pencil for the small jobs.
 
#15
Radio Shack still carries leaded solder. I just got a roll and what a difference it makes. If I can help it, I will not go back to Pb free. I have ruined quite a few connectors fighting lead free solder. I put a couple Deans connectors on today with the Pb solder and it's never been easier!! Just stay out of the fumes and don't chew on it! I understand that lead is a heavy metal and it can harm you, but sometimes the fear mongering that is perpetrated is REALLY aggravating! If stupid people want to misuse lead solder, let them... it's called natural selection. I am getting extremely tired of being protected from myself. Almost anything used improperly is harmful. Rant over.

I have also discovered that with the finer solders (i.e. smaller diameters), having a bit of rosin about really helps! I don't have a solder station, and I do almost everything with a 60W Hobbico iron, so it's easy to burn out all the flux in a thin flux core solder. A thermostatically controlled solder station is high on my list of "need to gets", but for now, the 60W is great for everything but the little stuff. I just have to be prepared to move quickly.

And I concur, that is a great video. I learned quite a lot!
 
#16
I had a mil-spec soldering certificate back in the late '80s and did it professionally for 10 years. I haven't touched an iron at all this century though... Solder isn't made of lead anymore? Wow...
 
#17
Europe has restrictions banning leaded solder for most devices. To avoid multiple versions of products, most companies have switched to lead-free solder.

These restrictions do not apply to military or hobby use. As others have mentioned, soldering with lead-free solder is quite a bit more difficult than 60/40, so very few people use it when it isn't legally necessary.