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 Soldering irons
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 Return to top of page · Post #: 1 · Written at 10:18:48 AM on 12 September 2012.
Maven's avatar
 Location: Canberra, ACT
 Member since 23 August 2012
 Member #: 1208
 Postcount: 581

I've done most of my soldering on IC circuit boards, but the fine-tip irons I use don't seem to be that suitable for the 3D jungle of thick wires and big heat-sinking components in a vintage radio. The challenge is to get enough heat and solder to a spot without burning up everything in the neighbourhood and filling the chassis with escaped solder balls.

What type of irons do experienced vintage radio guys use?

Are there tricks of the trade, or standard guides I could learn from?

Maven


 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 2 · Written at 1:00:50 PM on 12 September 2012.
Brad's avatar
 Administrator
 Location: Greenwich, NSW
 Member since 15 November 2005
 Member #: 1
 Postcount: 4322

I use either a 45 watt or 60 watt iron. It depends on the radio and the mood I am in more than anything. I also have a gas iron, purchased from Jaycar for about $200.00 and this works well though the little vent hole on the site of the tip has to be kept away from insulation or it'll get blasted with hot air.

There are two 'musts' with soldering iron tips:-

1. Always keep them clean and keep the chamfered edge in good nick.
2. Always keep it tinned. If the tip is covered in blobs of lead seperated from burnt flux then just about every joint you make will dry up when in service. In some cases, new solder simply won't take to the work area and will be collected by the tip via capillary action, making matters even worse.

Over time, tips get eaten away by the corrosive flux in the solder core. To sort this out just file the tip until the original shape returns. A large iron may need a second-cut file but smaller ones can be done with a fine or warding file. Following this, the tip should then be retinned.


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Brad.

A valve a day keeps the transistor away...

 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 3 · Written at 6:36:20 PM on 12 September 2012.
GTC's avatar
 GTC
 Location: Sydney, NSW
 Member since 28 January 2011
 Member #: 823
 Postcount: 3919

I have a number of irons, ranging from a 1970 vintage Weller temperature-controlled unit which is my standard bench iron that suits most jobs from fine to medium, and my "big guns" 75 watt and 100 watt which I use when I need to get a lot of heat on the job, such as dealing with earth lugs on chassis and automotive wiring.

Naturally, the bigger irons have thicker tips so I have to be very careful about clearing a path for them when necessary so as to avoid burning insulation, etc.

I also have a small butane gas iron for jobs where electric power isn't at hand.


 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 4 · Written at 6:55:22 PM on 12 September 2012.
Brad's avatar
 Administrator
 Location: Greenwich, NSW
 Member since 15 November 2005
 Member #: 1
 Postcount: 4322

Both my electrics are Wellers and the gas job is a Portasol, which I think is owned by the same parent company as Weller these days (CooperTools). All good gear.


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Brad.

A valve a day keeps the transistor away...

 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 5 · Written at 9:26:17 PM on 12 September 2012.
Maven's avatar
 Location: Canberra, ACT
 Member since 23 August 2012
 Member #: 1208
 Postcount: 581

I've been using Jaycar's 20/135watt iron. It sits at 20w and boosts to 135w when you hold down a "turbo" button. I guess that button bypasses a resistor.

Problem is, the extra heat takes time to work through from the ceramic element to the tip, so there's always a bit of uncertainty about tip temperature.

I think I'll get a 60w with a fairly chunky tip to hold the heat.


Maven


 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 6 · Written at 5:04:04 PM on 13 September 2012.
Brad's avatar
 Administrator
 Location: Greenwich, NSW
 Member since 15 November 2005
 Member #: 1
 Postcount: 4322

Scope irons work a bit like that because they are extra low voltage. You need to hold in a button for them to work but if you hang on too long the tip glows orange hot because of the high current. Scope irons are good but it's like learning to drive all over again.


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Brad.

A valve a day keeps the transistor away...

 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 7 · Written at 11:19:31 AM on 24 November 2012.
Duconbuster's Gravatar
 Location: Melbourne, VIC
 Member since 7 August 2009
 Member #: 526
 Postcount: 109

My weapon of choice is the venerable dick smith temperature controlled solder station, its been around since at least the late eighties. Its tip is small enough to get into those hard to reach places & it packs enough heat to solder straight to the chassis......sometimes you need to add solder to assist the heat flow....or use liquid/paste flux. The web link was strangely to large to paste for the iron. I also tried a more modern solder/desolder station sold by radio parts group in melb made by Doss. It had to be run with the heater element glowing orange just to cope, not suitable for this application. Seemed to laggy in transferring the heat to the tip & the desolder vacuum seemed unable to cope well with the old solder. To it's defense however, it was great for replacing the power socket on my friends laptop.Smile

Regards Paul


 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 8 · Written at 6:24:49 PM on 24 November 2012.
GTC's avatar
 GTC
 Location: Sydney, NSW
 Member since 28 January 2011
 Member #: 823
 Postcount: 3919

The web link was strangely to large to paste for the iron.

Here's a link:

http://dicksmith.com.au/product/T2200/temperature-controlled-soldering-station


 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 9 · Written at 6:25:53 PM on 24 November 2012.
GTC's avatar
 GTC
 Location: Sydney, NSW
 Member since 28 January 2011
 Member #: 823
 Postcount: 3919

Was talking to a mate the other night and he was giving high praise to Goot irons (made in Japan) which he has been investigating for a manufacturing workshop.

I note that Jaycar has begun to stock the Goot range:

http://www.jaycar.com.au/productView.asp?ID=TS1430

(and yes, we did the pun about them being very goot).


 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 10 · Written at 9:03:51 PM on 24 November 2012.
Brad's avatar
 Administrator
 Location: Greenwich, NSW
 Member since 15 November 2005
 Member #: 1
 Postcount: 4322

Long URLs can be pasted here. I usually change them to live links as I pass by them and can correct any formatting issues along the way so if something disastrous happens when pasting something there is nothing to worry about.

This forum once did automatically convert URL strings to hyperlinks but it interfered with the spam protection which I found more important and still do.

For the next site this will get sorted though. In the meantime I promise not to bite off anyone's head. Wink

It's good to see that some Asian products are still made in Japan rather than sweatshops elsewhere. Japan pretty much suffers the same signs of progress as Australia these days - labour and workplace laws have made secondary industries expensive to operate.


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Brad.

A valve a day keeps the transistor away...

 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 11 · Written at 11:05:38 PM on 24 November 2012.
Duconbuster's Gravatar
 Location: Melbourne, VIC
 Member since 7 August 2009
 Member #: 526
 Postcount: 109

Thanks GTC, think I had the pic zoomed when trying to copy the URL.......still trying to master the Aldi tablet I have, Smile
I use a large plastic goot solder sucker bought at jaycar, works 10 times better than the old all blue coloured metal one I previously used, Goot is good!


 
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