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Author Topic: New soldering iron suggestions  (Read 1265 times)

Debbie Dunkley

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Re: New soldering iron suggestions
« Reply #20 on: October 12, 2017, 10:14:10 am »

I can't believe I am the first to ask you what you are going to be doing with it.

Different irons for different applications.  Are you going to be doing PC board work on simple single layer boards like crossovers that have giant lands?  Is portability an issue?  Do you need high heat for larger connectors? 

Perhaps this is mostly for XLR's and other solder type connectors.

I too have many irons and workstations.  For general purpose work I really like myy Hexacon Therm-o-trac.   They still make them but the are $700 bucks and built the same way for 30 years.  No digital display, just a status light, temp know and power switch.  Occasionally deals can be found on eBay and they last forever so don't be scared of an old one.

Nothing very complex Scott- yes, just XLRs and connectors really.
I have always repaired my cables myself. Years ago as a typically poor musician I made every one of my cables - couldn't afford to buy them already made.

Do you guys have a preference on solder wire? Is it worth the extra for the more expensive brands? I want something nice and free flowing.

Do you use flux or rely on the flux in the solder?
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TJ (Tom) Cornish

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Re: New soldering iron suggestions
« Reply #21 on: October 12, 2017, 10:20:18 am »

Nothing very complex Scott- yes, just XLRs and connectors really.
I have always repaired my cables myself. Years ago as a typically poor musician I made every one of my cables - couldn't afford to buy them already made.

Do you guys have a preference on solder wire? Is it worth the extra for the more expensive brands? I want something nice and free flowing.

Do you use flux or rely on the flux in the solder?
Debbie, I would get the Hakko FX-888D station and lead-free rosin-core solder somewhere around .050" diameter.  No external flux should be used, and make sure you NEVER use acid-based flux, such as that used for plumbing. 
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Debbie Dunkley

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Re: New soldering iron suggestions
« Reply #22 on: October 12, 2017, 10:31:35 am »

Debbie, I would get the Hakko FX-888D station and lead-free rosin-core solder somewhere around .050" diameter.  No external flux should be used, and make sure you NEVER use acid-based flux, such as that used for plumbing.

Thanks Tom. I have never use flux but it seems popular with folks doing the same kinds of jobs as me - just basic connections.
The Hakko seems popular here and is on my wish list. I'll add the solder you suggest and hopefully Santa logs in to Amazon......
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TJ (Tom) Cornish

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Re: New soldering iron suggestions
« Reply #23 on: October 12, 2017, 10:55:40 am »

Thanks Tom. I have never use flux but it seems popular with folks doing the same kinds of jobs as me - just basic connections.
The Hakko seems popular here and is on my wish list. I'll add the solder you suggest and hopefully Santa logs in to Amazon......
External flux is needed when working on circuit boards and using hot air instead of an iron.  There is no advantage to external flux for connectors and wire, and it's probably a bad thing - even rosin-core flux is a little bit corrosive, and if it's not entirely burned away, can leave a mess.
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Debbie Dunkley

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Re: New soldering iron suggestions
« Reply #24 on: October 12, 2017, 11:08:27 am »

External flux is needed when working on circuit boards and using hot air instead of an iron.  There is no advantage to external flux for connectors and wire, and it's probably a bad thing - even rosin-core flux is a little bit corrosive, and if it's not entirely burned away, can leave a mess.

Got it.. thanks Tom.
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Tom Provenza

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Re: New soldering iron suggestions
« Reply #25 on: October 12, 2017, 11:35:38 am »

Another happy Hakko customer. Have had my 926 on my bench for at least 20 years. Also carry a Weller Portasol in my bag at all times for field work (butane).
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Tom Bourke

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Re: New soldering iron suggestions
« Reply #26 on: October 12, 2017, 11:53:51 am »

lead-free rosin-core solder
I am not a fan of lead-free.  I much prefer good old 63-37 Tin/lead with some ventilation.  Once your done just wash your hands and every things good.
I have Kester #66 / 245 on my bench, along with some other "no-clean" type products.
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Scott Holtzman

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Re: New soldering iron suggestions
« Reply #27 on: October 12, 2017, 12:22:36 pm »

I am not a fan of lead-free.  I much prefer good old 63-37 Tin/lead with some ventilation.  Once your done just wash your hands and every things good.
I have Kester #66 / 245 on my bench, along with some other "no-clean" type products.

Can of flux stripper always handy too.

+1 on the 63-37

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Mal Brown

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Re: New soldering iron suggestions
« Reply #28 on: October 12, 2017, 12:41:46 pm »

if you don't already have... add a set of 'helping hands' to that wish list
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Josh Millward

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Re: New soldering iron suggestions
« Reply #29 on: October 12, 2017, 12:44:39 pm »

Nothing very complex Scott- yes, just XLRs and connectors really.
I have always repaired my cables myself. Years ago as a typically poor musician I made every one of my cables - couldn't afford to buy them already made.

Do you guys have a preference on solder wire? Is it worth the extra for the more expensive brands? I want something nice and free flowing.

Do you use flux or rely on the flux in the solder?

That is the nice thing about the adjustable temp irons, whether you need to swap out tips to change the temp or just crank the knob to adjust the temp. You can use the appropriate setting for whatever job you are doing. Maximum temperature is a good way to melt connectors. Often you can solder at a considerably lower temperature and not risk damaging the connector.

Regarding the solder itself, I've always been a big fan of the Kester solder. Kester 44 was the standard that I used for a long, long time. Looking at the spool on my desk today, I don't see a model number but it is Kester with SN63/PB37, and of course it is rosin core with a 0.040 diameter. This is great general purpose for doing connectors and other minor tasks. More specialized work may require something smaller or larger depending.
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Josh Millward
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