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Soldering problem

Discussion in 'General Electronics Discussion' started by McDroogie, Jan 19, 2013.

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  1. McDroogie

    McDroogie

    37
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    Dec 25, 2012
    I’m still fairly new to soldering and I’ve noticed after I change my tip and use it for a few hours the solder it melts blobs onto the copper trace with difficulty. However when I first use it, it doesn’t blob and contacts with the copper trace immediately. Any suggestions? Is this a common occurrence?
     
  2. (*steve*)

    (*steve*) ¡sǝpodᴉʇuɐ ǝɥʇ ɹɐǝɥd Moderator

    25,497
    2,838
    Jan 21, 2010
    Are you regularly cleaning your tip whilst it is in use?

    A damp sponge or a ball of what looks like brass swarf are two common ways.
     
  3. McDroogie

    McDroogie

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    0
    Dec 25, 2012
    I do clean after each application, but I use steel wool. Do you think a damp sponge would be a better option?
     
  4. ben1s

    ben1s

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    Jan 19, 2013
    try not to use any solder. just use what you have on the tip. plus try to lower or higher your
    soldering temperature. let us know how are you doing.
    goodluck.
     
  5. Externet

    Externet

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    166
    Aug 24, 2009
    Take it as religion : to solder properly, the components, traces or leads to be soldered have to be hot, not just the solder.
    You heat them by touching with the solder wetted tip, then apply solder to the junction of tip and component for only as long as to produce the proper flow and amount of solder.
     
  6. (*steve*)

    (*steve*) ¡sǝpodᴉʇuɐ ǝɥʇ ɹɐǝɥd Moderator

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    Jan 21, 2010
  7. McDroogie

    McDroogie

    37
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    Dec 25, 2012
    I just tried the damp sponge and it works great. I figure now, the steel wool worked, but it only took of large shards of cold solder; the sponge however gets everything.
     
  8. CocaCola

    CocaCola

    3,635
    5
    Apr 7, 2012
    Avoid the steel wool, your are adding foreign contaminates to your tip... Get a sponge or even a damp paper towel or rag...

    Even though Steve said to ignore ben1s advice, and I mostly agree... I have to ask is this a soldering station with an adjustable temp range or just your generic wand? If you have temperature adjustment, you might very well have it too hot...

    Also how often are you changing tips? If you take care of a tip it should last a LONG time, years for a casual hobbyist if maintained...

    And last but not least, flux is your friend...

    ** edit since you tried the sponge, try cutting a hole in it vs just wiping over the top, with the hole you can drag across the edge/side of the sponge and the excess solder will fall in the hole vs being all over the surface of the sponge...
     
  9. McDroogie

    McDroogie

    37
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    Dec 25, 2012
    I change tips probably bi-weekly. I'm using a fixed wattage of 30W. I will get rid of the steel wool.
     
  10. CocaCola

    CocaCola

    3,635
    5
    Apr 7, 2012
    There is not need to change the tip every two weeks, you need to instead focus on proper maintenance... Before you unplug the iron for the day, take fresh solder and coat the tip of the iron and let this blob of solder cool and remain on the iron until the next use... This will help protect the tip from oxidation and it should then last a long time... Also don't just leave the iron cooking away hours on end unless you are using it...
     
  11. Steve Johnson

    Steve Johnson

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    Feb 10, 2012
    All surfaces must be clean before you attempt to solder.

    The tip should last a long time with proper care. If you have to replace it every two weeks you definitely need to do proper maintenance on it. Steel wool can damage the tip. The brass wool is softer and will usually clean the tip without damaging the surface. A small low wattage iron may take a few seconds to recover and be back to soldering temperature if using a sponge thats too wet.

    There are a lot of training videos on soldering techniques and tip care. Some are only a few minutes long. Here is a list I put together of of some of them.
    Soldering Instruction and videos
     
  12. poor mystic

    poor mystic

    1,071
    33
    Apr 8, 2011
    :)
    $0.02
    A lamp dimmer makes a good controller for a soldering iron.
     
  13. Harald Kapp

    Harald Kapp Moderator Moderator

    11,530
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    Nov 17, 2011
    Allow me to disagree. With a dimmer you may be able to set the temperature of the iron in a coarse way. But that is an unregulated setup.

    A well regulated iron will reduce the energy consumption of the iron when not used but will heat the tip at full power when the energy is needed.
     
  14. poor mystic

    poor mystic

    1,071
    33
    Apr 8, 2011
    Yes, I agree that it is not an ideal way to run things. Still, turning the iron down represents an advance on an iron left "on" while decisions are made. And the iron quickly leaps to life when it's wanted!
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2013
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