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Old Feb 17, 2013, 01:42 AM
Against Helicopter Cruelty
Heli Pad's Avatar
Joined Aug 2011
6,165 Posts
Aaron, I could see that you're eager to get the repair underway. But having the right tools makes a huge difference in soldering. I used to have a cheap soldering iron. I did accomplish a few jobs, but they were not pretty. But after I invested in a variable temp soldering station with a good soldering tip, boy, things were very different. Mine was really not that expensive. But it made a huge difference. So, if you could wait for the right tool... order one.

It is not a must, and if you can't wait, you do what you need to do. Another advice is to get a flux pen dispenser. Flux is your friend in soldering. It makes the job much easier and cleaner. Get the finest solder you could find, with Lead. If you're a beginner, do not use the Lead-Free solder. They sound good, but it is a lot harder to apply.

Excellent soldering tutorial HERE.
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Old Feb 17, 2013, 01:58 AM
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United States, CA, Long Beach
Joined Feb 2013
168 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by Heli Pad View Post
Aaron, I could see that you're eager to get the repair underway. But having the right tools makes a huge difference in soldering. I used to have a cheap soldering iron. I did accomplish a few jobs, but they were not pretty. But after I invested in a variable temp soldering station with a good soldering tip, boy, things were very different. Mine was really not that expensive. But it made a huge difference. So, if you could wait for the right tool... order one.

It is not a must, and if you can't wait, you do what you need to do. Another advice is to get a flux pen dispenser. Flux is your friend in soldering. It makes the job much easier and cleaner. Get the finest solder you could find, with Lead. If you're a beginner, do not use the Lead-Free solder. They sound good, but it is a lot harder to apply.

Excellent soldering tutorial HERE.
Thanks! I might just see what they have locally, I do want to get the repair underway and keep flying. I'm just learning. I've been trying to fly everyday for about 15 minutes for the past week or so. I've successfully broken the landing skid, tail boom, flybar, and almost wrecked the tail motor All parts are working okay though now after some replacing. It's not vital to me that the solder job is of good quality. Just want to keep my practice momentum going. Worst comes to worst, I buy another one for $30 (which I should just do anyway).
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Old Feb 17, 2013, 02:54 AM
ITS ME DAVID's Avatar
United States, CA, Los Angeles
Joined Apr 2011
595 Posts
Get a gun with a small tip and a higher wattage gun so it melts the solder faster so u don't need to keep the top on the board long it should be quick and smooth search youtube for soldering videos.
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Old Feb 17, 2013, 02:59 AM
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United States, CA, Long Beach
Joined Feb 2013
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Originally Posted by ITS ME DAVID View Post
Get a gun with a small tip and a higher wattage gun so it melts the solder faster so u don't need to keep the top on the board long it should be quick and smooth search youtube for soldering videos.
A user a couple posts ago suggested a 10-15 watt soldering unit. Does that sound correct? I'm not too familiar with what classifies as a high watt soldering unit.
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Old Feb 17, 2013, 03:43 AM
ITS ME DAVID's Avatar
United States, CA, Los Angeles
Joined Apr 2011
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I'm using a 40 watt radio shack iron and even that takes awhile to heat up I believe a 60 is perfect.
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Old Feb 17, 2013, 08:06 AM
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Sooo tired of fighting the cheap radio shack 40 watt type irons. I'm stepping up to a 100 watt gun. Costs just a little more, and a lot less frustration.
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Old Feb 17, 2013, 10:11 AM
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United States, CA, Long Beach
Joined Feb 2013
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Originally Posted by JCMorgan View Post
Sooo tired of fighting the cheap radio shack 40 watt type irons. I'm stepping up to a 100 watt gun. Costs just a little more, and a lot less frustration.
What is there to "fight" about it? Not enough wattage?
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Old Feb 17, 2013, 10:29 AM
Transmogrified.
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Southern California
Joined Feb 2006
2,809 Posts
I have the exact same iron and it works great for what I do. I even have a Cold Heat which I'd gotten as a Christmas present a few years ago. It's perfect for soldering leads onto small brushed motors. I used it all the time on my old Blade CP whenever it coughed up its tail motor.

Which, I might point out, was often.
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Old Feb 17, 2013, 10:47 AM
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winston mo
Joined Oct 2006
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I don't beleive it's the cheap Iron that is the problem.
I use a low temp iron all the time. a little flux, a clean tinned tip and the right gauge solder is the trick.
I can say this because I am IPC 610 certified.
tin the iron and clean it with a wet sponge and retin. apply a little flux to the piece. then heat it with the iron. aplly the solder beteewn the iron and piece and let it flow.
avoid over heating. look for a nice shinny joint. if it is grainy then remove the solder and do it again.
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Old Feb 17, 2013, 10:57 AM
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I'm going to give it a shot later today after a radio shack and hardware store run.
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Old Feb 17, 2013, 11:29 AM
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United States, MA, Plymouth
Joined Jan 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kerwin50 View Post
I don't beleive it's the cheap Iron that is the problem.
I use a low temp iron all the time. a little flux, a clean tinned tip and the right gauge solder is the trick.
I can say this because I am IPC 610 certified.
tin the iron and clean it with a wet sponge and retin. apply a little flux to the piece. then heat it with the iron. aplly the solder beteewn the iron and piece and let it flow.
avoid over heating. look for a nice shinny joint. if it is grainy then remove the solder and do it again.

I agree with this. Except the bold part. I try to apply the solder to the opposite side of the joint from the iron, not between where it will touch the iron itself. Don't really know if it makes a big difference, it's just the way I learned.

The low wattage soldering irons are perfectly capable of hitting the temperatures you need to solder with typical 60/40 solder. The issue is not temp, but the time it takes to heat up. When you solder a joint, clean your tip, and tin it, you've lost a good amount of temp. A good soldering station can regain the temperature quicker. However, it's really not all that hard to chill, sip some coffee, and let the iron rest a bit between joints if you've only got a 40w pencil.

Other things that can make soldering difficult:

1) Solder type. Avoid lead free, and look for a "rosin core" solder. This means there is an inner core of flux in the solder, which will make things easier. Also, for these teeny tiny little solder joints you'll be making, try to find a nice thin gauge solder. The thick stuff (.062) I use on guitars makes a huge mess on these tiny RC wires and connectors.

2) Clean everything. Flux wires. Flux the piece you're connecting to. If you're soldering to a heavy pad or back of a pot you might even want to give it a quick once over with some sandpaper.

3) WAIT! I said it already, but can't stress enough - if you're using a 40 watt pencil, you might want to give it a minute or two between uses, and make sure to clean and re-tin your tip right after use before you let it rest.

Just those three things makes the difference between my losing patience pretty badly and success.

Also, watch this video - it's excellent, short, and gives a good explanation of how big the difference can be between the right way and wrong way.

How and WHY to Solder Correctly (6 min 43 sec)
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Old Feb 17, 2013, 01:28 PM
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United States, UT, Salt Lake City
Joined May 2012
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Excellent Soldering Tutorial!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Heli Pad View Post
...
Excellent soldering tutorial HERE.
Wow! A very worthwhile link to a very well done (and entertaining) video tutorial. This guy obviously knows his stuff, provides well focused up close macro photography, and best of all, doesn't waste the viewer's time - dense-packed-accurate information galore. I learned a lot and took notes - I'm off to buy some new tools and supplies!

Thanks!

p.s. There is another really good soldering article I found to be quite helpful over on Helifreaks - How to solder correctly (a not so brief lesson) Plus tips and more...
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Old Feb 17, 2013, 01:35 PM
Eye to the sky!
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United States, NC, Concord
Joined Dec 2012
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I've found that if you are dealing w/ the lead-free joint on an untouched board it helps to add a little lead-based solder to the joint right off the bat. That way it flows very quick instead of having to hold the iron on there for a long time trying to get the lead-free solder to melt.
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Old Feb 17, 2013, 02:12 PM
ITS ME DAVID's Avatar
United States, CA, Los Angeles
Joined Apr 2011
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Originally Posted by JCMorgan View Post
Sooo tired of fighting the cheap radio shack 40 watt type irons. I'm stepping up to a 100 watt gun. Costs just a little more, and a lot less frustration.
Haha I feel u.
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Old Feb 17, 2013, 03:21 PM
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subpixel's Avatar
United Kingdom, England, Nottingham
Joined Dec 2007
760 Posts
wow you guys must suck at soldering if you needs 100w'ers

I use a cheap 25w iron for everything and that's done hundreds of laptop dc repairs without issue. There are 2 tips you need to know

the tip, it should be shiny and silver, if it isn't then it's not going to work fullstop, if it's a good bit which hasn't corroded yet then get some tinner/tip cleaner to clean the tip.
If it's an old corroded or cheap bit then you can just sand it back to the copper with some 240+ grit paper and tin with solder.

2nd is get some leaded solder as lead free is just horrible, I use a nice 63/37 rosin core solder which flows nicely

also the tip shape I find most useful is a flat one, don't think I ever use the pointy tips that irons usually come with as they tend to be poor at putting heat into the work piece
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