i need some help soldering

Discussion in 'Tips & Tricks' started by kase, Mar 10, 2008.

  1. kase

    kase New Member

    wall1 i have been trying to solder my ho track but Every time i end up melting the ties :curse:
    :confused: can some one give me some pointers please and thank you:twisted:
  2. yellowlynn

    yellowlynn Member


    There will be someone along shortly that knows lots more than I do. But I can tell you what this old geezer does. A bit of flux on the joint. I have a soldering gun, which works better for me than an iron. Hold the trigger for a few seconds to get the tip hot, touch the solder to it to check it melts good, Touch the tip to the joint, then touch the solder right there at the tip. It should flow along as the tip is moved, soldering the joint.

    I have melted ties only a couple times, but it happens.

  3. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way

    There is an article with pictures in the current edition of the Gauge eMag regarding soldering tracks. The magazine is here.
  4. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    The other trick is large metal heat absorbing bits each side of where you're soldering. I use track gauges because they put the rails back in position when the ties cool. Any metal clip will help; you can buy soldering clips.
    Some people make do with wet cloth/paper towel.
  5. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

    Good write up Don!

    I'd just like to highlight Don's recommendation to keep that tip clean! It's almost always the difference for me between a nice soldering job and failure.
  6. b28_82

    b28_82 Member

    Another thing to add to a clean tip is the more surface area of the iron that touches the rail the quicker it heats up which means the quicker the solder melts and the less time you spend on the rail.

    It takes some practice. Luckily for me the practice happened in the form of a two week High Reliability Soldering School that i went to. The first thing we learned to do is file down a "perfect" soldering iron tip. This meant 2 equally filed 45 degree angles that met at a 90 degree angle at the end. It took some guys days because each side had to be perfectly flat. The reason being what I stated above.
  7. nachoman

    nachoman Guest

    experience helps, too. I used to have problems, but not so much anymore. Lately, I have been using a 25W pencil iron on code 70 rail and zero issues. The best advice I have is a good, clean tip, and good clean rail that you are soldering. I use a paste rosin flux along with 60/40 electronics solder.

  8. Jim Krause

    Jim Krause Active Member

    You can also cut the plastic segments between the ties and slide a couple of them back down the rail until you finish soldering.
  9. kase

    kase New Member

    thanks you guys
  10. tetters

    tetters Rail Spiking Fool!

    Pre-tinning your joints and wires helps you work quicker too.
  11. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    I basically figure that if I can solder reasonably well, then anyone can! I'm not at all technically or mechanically minded but I was doing some soldering last weekend and I rarely manage to melt the ties.

    I use a soldering gun as well that I bought at an LHS. So it's fairly small and easy to use, and I simply keep the hot metal tip well away from the ties. I only position the tip and the wire that I use near the metal of the track and fishplates and it seems to go well.

    Sometimes the soldered area will end up having a bit of a bump or uneven surface, but a bit of filing and sanding removes that. I would suggest using a good soldering iron suitable for hobby use and just lots of practice. Maybe practice on some pieces of scrap track first?

    All the best!

  12. stary

    stary Member

    another thing you can use is a wet cotton ball on either side of the joint. (these are called "heat sinks")
  13. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    Another good idea is to use an iron of sufficient wattage to heat the area quickly. If the parts to be joined are clean, and with a little flux applied to the area, simply hold the tip of the solder against the area to be joined, then press the iron to the top of the rail immediately above the solder: once the parts to be joined have heated sufficiently, the solder will melt and be drawn into the joint. Remove the iron as soon as this occurs. I use an 80 or 200 watt iron, with track gauges to hold the rails in place, and any metal objects (pliers, machinist's blocks, etc.) as heat sinks.

  14. stary

    stary Member

    200 WATTS FOR N SCALE???:shock::-o
  15. nachoman

    nachoman Guest

    200 seems VERY excessive to me. I have aan 80w pencil iron, and while it will heat up the rail quickly, it is also bulky, and the radiant heat from that thing will melt the ties. N scale is code 55-70-80 rail. I am currenly using code 70 in HO, and am doing just fine with a 25w weller pencil iron. Takes about 5 seconds per joint.

  16. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    You're probably right that 200 watts is overkill, but I like it because it heats up so fast. :-D It's also very efficient to use - only a second or two per rail joiner, so the heat is concentrated at the site to be soldered. I've melted far more ties using an underpowered iron than I have with this baby. I'm currently :rolleyes: using the same iron to detail a brass steamer for my good friend cn nutbar, and with careful use of heat sinks, the job is much easier than with a pencil iron.

  17. stary

    stary Member

    I use a 35 watt pencil-tip iron, and it works perfectly.
  18. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way

    The higher the wattage iron, the hotter it will be. Yes, it will melt the solder quicker, but it will also overheat whatever you are soldering and will cause it to oxidize and even change properties and become brittle. Best to use a low wattage iron and have a bit more patience. Control is a big part of a good soldering job. The hotter the iron, the more you lose control. You can't always have a temperature-controlled iron, but if you can get one, that's my recommendation.
  19. bitlerisvj

    bitlerisvj New Member

    Hi, I don't know if you are still having problems, but after going through this, I saw only one post that touched on cleaning the rail. There are a lot of good tips here and you definitely want to review them. First of all, unless you are using G gauge steel rail the 200 watts is WAY too big. For HO and N, you should be able to do the jub with a 25 watt or 35 watt, anything larger and it gets tricky to handle. Keep in mind the first 3 rules of soldering are:
    1. make sure the soldering surfaces are clean!
    2. make sure the soldering surfaces are clean!
    3. make sure the soldering surfaces are clean!
    The best way to do this for rail is with a small riffler file, but a popsicle stick wrapped with some emory cloth or wet dry sandpaper will also work. Dab a bit of soldering past/flux (rosin, NOT acid) on the wire and on the spot on the rail. The joint should take place in seconds. If it it doesn't, then usually the places are not clean, or the soldering iron is severly weak. Good luck and post your results, so we can help some more.
  20. RonP

    RonP Member of the WMRC


    make it so simple and quick.

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