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Soldering

ndboarder

Bill Gates' Gimp
Members
Anyone do a lot of solder work?  I've generally not been the greatest at this, but one sister-in-law had brought a number of poorly treated electronic devices that needed some work.  I've soldered a 3.5mm jack onto something that was torn off before, so she had hoped I could fix them.  They've been sitting around for a couple months, but she'll be visiting again in a few weeks so I started looking at the pile of work last night.

Had a laptop charger, big brick that plugs into the wall with a cord that goes to the PC, the wall prongs were on a plate that had come off and wires to it had ripped off.  Managed to solder the wires back on and got the casing apart, cleaned up and glued together.

Next up was an Xbox 360 that had fallen when cleaning.  Some of the plastic pieces had come apart, but I pulled it all apart with my iFixit toolkit and got down to the guts just to check things out.  Found a bent piece on the WiFi circuit board that had bent and disconnected at a solder point.  I was not looking forward to soldering on a circuit board, but gave it a shot and it wasn't super pretty, but seemed to work.  Put everything back together (after gluing one other spot), powered it up and at least the xbox turned on.  Next up went to networking and hooray it saw WiFi, could connect to it and was able to download an update.

The last project will be a pretty simple one, just another 3.5mm end to put on a speaker where the factory one was ripped off.  I am looking into a decent solder station with variable temps and better tips for the iron though, as it would've made these simple projects simpler yet and I have some other projects planned where a good setup would be nice to have.
 

nodle

Cheesemonger
Administrator
I can do a decent job. I did a little for my old boss for our wireless stuff back in the day. Just recently did my part for my trucks. But there is defiantly a art to it just like soldering. I've always wanted a real nice set thought. The one down at work was a ok model. My Dad's was his Dad's I believe so it is quite old. You should get your self a professional one if your going to be doing that much.
 

ndboarder

Bill Gates' Gimp
Members
There's a number of options for stuff, but the crummy thing is that most stores don't carry decent soldering items anymore - it just isn't something people do a whole lot unless it is part of their profession.

Walk into any hardware store and you'll find crummy soldering irons, mostly likely with crummy conical tips, and then most likely very thick (>= 1mm) lead-free soldering wire.   I know lead is supposed to be bad, but the lead free stuff has a higher melting point so you have to heat everything up further, which increases risk to damaging nearby electrical components. 

I am looking at a Hakko soldering station, so basically just an adjustable temp iron with a nice stand and cleaning items built in.  Then would also want some chisel tips instead, they offer more surface area to transfer heat and are supposed to work much better. 
 

nodle

Cheesemonger
Administrator
but the crummy thing is that most stores don't carry decent soldering items anymore
Ya it's a lost art. Welcome to the age of just buy new. I remember when electronics stores did quite well where you could take your stereo, computer or basically any electronic device and they would solder new caps for you or fuses. Now you just toss it in the trash and go to the store and buy something new. Granted the new solder points are so tiny and precise that they need to be done robotically since the Human hand could not do it. But still it was a great skill at one time.
 

ndboarder

Bill Gates' Gimp
Members
Had ordered a Hakko soldering station - got it yesterday, did a bit of work with it.  Definitely a much better experience than the couple soldering irons I have around from big box home stores.  Granted the better soldering wire I ordered may help as well (thinner and not lead free)
 

ndboarder

Bill Gates' Gimp
Members
Did a bit of work with the Hakko again last night.  The control board for the little Inductrix quad I've been using for learning has a pigtail connector soldered onto it for connection to the 1s Lipo batteries.  It generally uses 150 mAh batteries, but with upgraded motors most are using 205 - 210 mAh instead.  So anyway, the factory installed pigtail is a bottleneck for the better batteries.

I couldn't find a pic that showed the back side of this board, but the image below is bigger than the actual board is in person.  I removed the dab of white glue, then from the back side heated the solder and got the pigtail off the board, then was able to re-heat and push through wires from the upgrade pigtail (slightly higher gauge wire is the main difference I think)

 

nodle

Cheesemonger
Administrator
Did you get into soldering @ndboarder? I was thinking about picking up a nice kit. I would like to practice some more on it. I think I could be ok at it. I know enough to get by, but I would like to do a little more professional job. We have a old Weller (I think) soldering iron that was my Grandpa's out in the garage. The box it came in looks like it is from the 50's or 60's. But it does the job. I was looking at Amazon and see they have some kits. Some look pretty generic though, but would like to have a nice little setup. Since I have been playing with my Pi there are so many projects you can create with them, some involving soldering. Did you ever get yourself a nice kit?
 

ndboarder

Bill Gates' Gimp
Members
Had ordered a Hakko soldering station 
I'd highly recommend the Hakko I got.  When I was looking they were one of the most recommended.  Variable temp, easily set, fast to heat up.  You can get many tips, but really the super small tips aren't always best for small jobs, it's about surface area so flatter types of tips work well since it's about getting heat on the components fast enough to join the solder to components and then get out before frying things with the heat.

https://www.amazon.com/Hakko-FX888D-23BY-Digital-Soldering-FX-888D/dp/B00ANZRT4M/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1494266591&sr=8-3&keywords=hakko
 

ndboarder

Bill Gates' Gimp
Members
Also - make sure you get quality wire as well.  You generally want some nice thin wire for any job, not the big thick crap you'll likely find at any local store.  I couldn't find the thin size I wanted other than online.  Make sure to get some wick as well for removing solder (either for removing components that are in place, or fixing your mistakes)
 

nodle

Cheesemonger
Administrator
Make sure to get some wick as well for removing solder
See I always wanted one of these. I have got to much on before and had no way of getting it off besides heating up up again and hoping the glob would attach to the tip and pulling it away. It's one of those jobs where your work is based off the quality of the tool and having the right tools to do the job.
 

ndboarder

Bill Gates' Gimp
Members
I also picked up a "Helping Hand" (you can see it in the Amazon link as a frequently bought together item).  Has come in handy a few times for holding one or two wires and freeing up hands to do a better job.
 

ndboarder

Bill Gates' Gimp
Members
See I always wanted one of these. I have got to much on before and had no way of getting it off besides heating up up again and hoping the glob would attach to the tip and pulling it away. It's one of those jobs where your work is based off the quality of the tool and having the right tools to do the job.
Yeah, I have the wire wick (also seen as a frequently bought together item in the link), but also ordered one of the "sucker" things where you hold the plunger down, warm solder and put it next to the solder while releasing a plunger to suck the solder away.   I've not perfected that and the wick worked better than the solder vacuum thingy for me.
 

nodle

Cheesemonger
Administrator
I also picked up a "Helping Hand" (you can see it in the Amazon link as a frequently bought together item).  Has come in handy a few times for holding one or two wires and freeing up hands to do a better job.
Ya, these are those little alligator clip holders right with a magnifying glass attached? I always end up using a vice because I need another pair of hands. I think even @C Pav use to help me hold wires together if we needed it for work a few times.
 

ndboarder

Bill Gates' Gimp
Members
Ya, these are those little alligator clip holders right with a magnifying glass attached? I always end up using a vice because I need another pair of hands. I think even @C Pav use to help me hold wires together if we needed it for work a few times.
Yep, that's the thing.  Found mine in a local hobby shop.  Mine doesn't have the magnifying glass.  Still helpful, but I would get the one with a magnifying glass if shopping around again.
 
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nodle

Cheesemonger
Administrator
I was intrigued watching this video last night. It's amazing such a place exists where you can walk down the street and purchase things like this. A great video I watched the whole thing through.

 

ryanator

Mathematical
Members
Would like to have good soldering skills, but it's one thing I never did a lot. I need to get my self a full soldering kit, I just have the classic yellow handle one. I did though recently solder a power adapter wire for an elliptical I just sold. You know where the bending usually is on the equipment connection end, I had to cut it away until I saw the contact points, cut the wire clean, and soldered them on good and used electrical tape to secure them (I need to get shrink tubing). Good as new, I can do the same with an older hair trimmer I have. Most people probably think the motor or some circuit goes out, but many times it's the power cord.
 

nodle

Cheesemonger
Administrator
Ordered the Dremel butane model above today. Seems to fit what I want to do.
 
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