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Soldering Technique Question


GregP
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Hey all,

So as some of you know, I've been undertaking a major soldering job. I had good 'mechanical' connections before soldering (tested with the multimeter, more or less 'clamped' each wire into place!) so even if my actual soldering was 'mediocre', I'm convinced that it'll all still hold up.

However, I do have a fair bit of confidence in the soldering job. There was no evidence of cold joints, and I made sure to heat up the part and the wire before applying solder, as per all the instructions I've seen, rather than try to "apply" it with the tip of the iron itself.

One thing struck me as odd, though-- most instructions I saw said that the solder should never really contact the iron except when you're pre-'tinning' the tip for better conductivity. Beyond that, you apply the solder directly to the joint area that's been heated by the iron. Fair enough... but I could never quite get that area hot enough without fear of frying the capacitors, melting the wire's insulation jacket, or being concerned about damaging the pots.

Consequently, I ended up touching the solder to the tip of the iron "just a bit" in order to sort of... get it 'going'... ya know? At that point in time, it was then using the joint's heat for melting and flowing, rather than the tip of the iron.

Is it normal to give solder a 'jump start' by touching it to the tip of the iron, or am I STILL doing it wrong? Was I overestimating the amount of heat that was emanating from the pots and further down into the wire?

I just don't want to fry a pot or cap by holding the iron there for too long. I know it takes more than a second, so I WAS holding it in place, but the solder wasn't melting without that 'jump start'.

Greg

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with the proper heat range you can get in there quick and get out quick without frying any components. if you iron is hot enough [depends on what kind of iron you have i use a weller station that you can get for about 45usd or less on ebay that can go up to 900+ degree's F] you should have no problems. but soldering is truely an art. might i suggest takinga part an old vcr or seomthign and practicing alot to get your technique down as most of us who are solder junkies do this for along time to get ours down.

best wishes. if it it works and it isn't gray then its ok.

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Thanks, Ansil. I won't be doing much soldering, so while the Weller station looked nice (it was about $90 CDN at the shop here) I ended up just going for a 25-watt non-variable Weller iron. It was tough, though... enough people recommended the stations that I almost sprung for one. But I ended up with the $18CDN jobbie instead. Then $8CDN for the holder-thingy. :D

I had one grey joint, but I had read that it was a sign of a poor soldering job, so I re-heated the area with a super-hot iron, gave the wire a bit of 'tension' to maintain the mechanical connection, and then let it cool off again... after that, it seemed nicer and shinier.

Greg

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a good buddy of mine says "if it works for a week it will probally last forever" as his philosophy and he makes a pretty penny doing boutique fx so i will leave you to your thoughts on it. personally if it isn't going anywhere then its fine. yeah if you aren't doing a lot of soldering then a station isn't a necessety but for pot or jack soldering you need a higher wattage iron. 40+ range.

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woo hoo wildman joins the thread :D

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I can't spell it but my best guess is "technique". French or something. I can't solder a damn thing without putting a little solder on the iron itself like you said. One thing I did learn was cleaning the old solder off with flux and braid really helps. I have never seen the alloy option luvcraft says about but I am going to look. I hat gray solder joints. Rock, rock, rock! :D

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