Did I get the right soldering iron?

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by spitfire, Dec 27, 2004.

  1. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way

    Good choice Val. Her are a few tips that might help you. Some we've already discussed.

    1. never use a soldering gun. no control, tip way too big.
    2. use heat-controlled tip if you can, 700 to 800 degrees with pointed or slightly chizled tip.
    3. always use flux. I use a water-based flux and apply to both surfaces with a small brush. The flux already in the solder is never enough. use either rosin-core or water-based flux solder, never use acid flux around electronics.
    4. repeat, always use flux, even on nickle-silver rails since they can corrode.
    5. repeat, always use flux, pre-tin copper wire by first applying flux, then heat, then solder.
    6. heat the joints first, then apply solder. leave heat on joint a second or two after you think you've got a good solder joint.
    7. do not move anything on the joint until the solder hardens. if the joint appears dull, you have moved something and now have a poor solder joint.
    8. as pointed out, a good solder joint will flow, not ball. This is called a "cold solder joint", same goes if the solder doesn't flow up the wire, but surrounds or just meets it. Reheat the joint and add some flux if it isn't right.
    9. control the solder. more solder doesn't make a better joint and looks really bad, especially when it starts to flow on top of the track or drip on the scenery.
    10. Use solder-wick to de-solder a joint.
    11. Alway, and I mean always, pick the iron up by the handle. The money you save in bandages and ointment will pay for a better iron someday. :oops: :oops:
  2. spitfire

    spitfire Active Member

    Thanks for the run-down Don! I'll practice on some scrap pieces of rail first. Oh, by the way, should I use flux? :) :rolleyes: :D
  3. docsnavely

    docsnavely Member

    yes, YES, and YES!!!:D :D
  4. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way

    Gee Val, I don't know, really can't be sure. :D :D But maybe you'd better, just to be on the safe side.... :wave: :wave:

    I used to think I knew how to solder, but my wife taught me the virtues of using flux and I have been ever since. Most of these rules I learned from her. She ran the production half of our business for over 25 years. :thumb: :thumb:
  5. spitfire

    spitfire Active Member

    That's cool Don!

    Way back when I was in art college I did a lot of fine metal soldering using acetylene torches. Not only did we flux everything, we also had to clean the metal prior to soldering in a weak acid "pickle". Special copper tongs were required because steel would react with the acid and ruin any silver soaking there. We also used solder of different melting temperatures, because quite often sub assemblies were attached together.

    So, I'm pretty sure I understand the basic principals. It's just going to require a bit of practice to get the hang of using an iron instead of a torch. And, the fact that I haven't done any soldering of any kind in over 20 years!!!!!

    Anyway, thanks for all the great advice everyone - it's much appreciated. :thumb:

  6. dwight77

    dwight77 Member

    Weller 5-40 watt model WLC-100 soldering station???....I noticed that a few of you have mentioned having at least a 40watt soldering iron. Does anyone have experience with the Weller WLC-100 unit???..It costs around $40, including the iron, and they have a $13 rebate available now. It looked like a nice setup with a control unit that could be used for most any iron to regulate the heat.
  7. Pitchwife

    Pitchwife Dreamer

    The variable heat regulation is good, but the best option is experiance and the only way to get that is practice practice practice.

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