Teaching myself how to solder.... - Jemsite
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-08-2013, 12:08 AM Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
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Teaching myself how to solder....

Well the plan was to rewire my JS1, but it turned out to be a day of just practicing (probably for the best). It was my first time wiring anything in my life. I started out with a butane powered soldering iron, but I didn't like it. It was too small for my hands, and I had to keep refilling it. Anyway I used an old pup switch and just kept practicing removing the wires and solder and reattaching them.

I bought a Radio Shack 20/40 watt switchable soldering iron that comes with stand and sponge. Seems to work just fine, but the tip is all dirty even though I'm using the wet sponge and wiping it frequently. I did read it's a nickel plated tip not copper so don't know if that's why. looks like a little chunk of it came off too...again not sure why. Below are pics of my work so far and the rosin core I'm using. I have a few questions about them......first off does my work look like crap, second am I using the right kind rosin core? Third should I be using a thinner/smaller gauge for the rosin core?



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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-08-2013, 02:30 AM
 
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Re: Teaching myself how to solder....

Hey bro, soldering seems to be a popular subject this week!

http://www.jemsite.com/forums/f21/so...on-128803.html

here's a handy link which might help, with pics of good, bad and ugly solder joints.

http://www.kingbass.com/soldering101.html

Instead of a sponge you can also use a soldering iron tip cleaning ball which will look like this;

http://i01.i.aliimg.com/wsphoto/v1/5...l-enduring.jpg

Your solder wire looks quite thick for the work you are doing but it will still work. Make sure to 'tin' the cable before joining it to a contact. Make sure you have a drop of solder on the tip of the iron when you go to make the join and you'll be grand.

Good luck!
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-26-2013, 10:51 AM
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Re: Teaching myself how to solder....

It's always great to see people take the bull by the horns and learn something on their own--KUDOS!

There are a few good links in this sticky that will help you.
http://www.jemsite.com/forums/f35/an...ad-110579.html



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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-28-2013, 04:38 PM
 
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Re: Teaching myself how to solder....

Looks pretty decent for a first time. It does look like you're using pretty thick solder, though. I use skinny stuff for guitar work. Radio shack stuff in a tube, not sure of the gauge or ratio but I think 60/40 is typical.
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-28-2013, 08:28 PM
 
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Re: Teaching myself how to solder....

Quote:
Originally Posted by AlaskaBat View Post
It's always great to see people take the bull by the horns and learn something on their own--KUDOS!

There are a few good links in this sticky that will help you.
http://www.jemsite.com/forums/f35/an...ad-110579.html
Indeed! Learning to solder opens up a whole new can of worms. I've done worse than that. As long as it works and holds u should be okay. Like was mentioned, tinning is key. Good luck and post pics when done.
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-02-2013, 08:06 AM
 
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Re: Teaching myself how to solder....

Hello Scott,

That's a great first attempt. I've seen a hell of a lot worse from people who were supposed to be professionals. As guys have said try a thinner solder, you could nearly weld your car engine to the chassis with the stuff you're using.

Also (this is not healthy so wear a protective mask), a lot of the people who mentored me on the finer points of soldering were heading towards retirement or had passed it by a decade or two, they all loved the cheap chinese solder you can sometimes pick up, basically the stuff which still has a high lead content so do not inhale it. Another point, your tips are probably becoming damaged from leaving them on when your not using them. Only turn them on just before using them and get a set of grips like this:

This way you can hold things in place while you solder. Remember to get a tiny bit of solder on the tip first. Hold the iron in one hand, the solder in the other and slowly introduce both together to the clamped wire or connector. Less is always more when it comes to solder.

To avoid that "robot money shot" finish - twist the bare wire, gently coat it with a TINY amount of solder, then pass it through the connector terminal and wrap it once over the top of the connector. Then add a little solder and iron at the same time to the connector and ensure there are no big blobs, just a smooth silvered finish.

Also pick up one of these:


There are constant arguments between engineers over solder gause/mop and pumps when de-soldering. I prefer pumps, always have, but I have colleagues who sneer at the idea. I prefer pumps because sometimes the quality of gause is not uniform and you can end up buring wires or components when trying to de-solder, but each to their own. To use the pump, simply add a tiny amount of solder to the tip of your iron, introduce the tip to the area you wish to de-solder, when the solder melts, press the button and you're burning rubber.

Finally, I said this earlier, less is always more, you can always add a little more solder to a connection, but having it spill on neighbouring connections and de-soldering it is always more of a pain in the arse than adding more. Also, practice soldering for a day or 2 on some old broken electronic item before attacking your much loved axe. Hope this was helpful and apologies for the chapter.

Cheers,

Laobi
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-02-2013, 01:00 PM
 
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Re: Teaching myself how to solder....

Desoldering pumps save a ton of time and money. Get a soldering iron that has an adjustable temp too IMHO.

tinning powder also helps keeps tips lasting longer.
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-02-2013, 01:38 PM
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Re: Teaching myself how to solder....

Pumps are good, but I've always preferred the braid.



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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-02-2013, 02:23 PM
 
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Re: Teaching myself how to solder....

It all depends on the job.

Desoldering stations are the best ;-)
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-02-2013, 02:42 PM
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Re: Teaching myself how to solder....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ke^in View Post
It all depends on the job.

Desoldering stations are the best ;-)
Yes, they are!
But--when starting out, it's best to get the most for as little $$$

Then, once experienced and moving up to bigger and more frequent tasks--invest in better equipment.

Still remember my first gun decades ago--a $10.00 Radio Shack.
Now--it's a full on station with adjustable temp and all the trimmings.



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