droidus
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new to soldering - safety questions, etc.

Sat Jan 12, 2019 8:44 pm

I have a project where I need to solder headers to a shield. I've never soldered before. :) I live in an apartment - should I avoid any types of solder (thinking of fumes)? Can anyone recommend a good beginner kit on amazon? Any good practice exercises?

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Imperf3kt
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Re: new to soldering - safety questions, etc.

Sat Jan 12, 2019 9:12 pm

I'd suggest practising on a broken device first.
Start by trying to remove a few components, then put them back on. Or get some cheap perfboard and solder wires to it.

Watch some videos on YouTube, my soldering was okay, but then I watched a few videos on soldering and found I was doing it wrong and ended up learning a much better way.

Fumes aren't too bad, just don't breathe them in.
Let the iron heat up fully before trying to solder, and always tin (coat in wet solder) your wires.

Otherwise, it's pretty straightforward.
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Heater
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Re: new to soldering - safety questions, etc.

Sat Jan 12, 2019 9:51 pm

Use leaded solder. It's not going to kill you. Unleaded solder is a pain to use.

For the occasional small soldering job the fumes are no problem either. For longer soldering sessions have the window open and keep some air circulating. A fan can be nice to keep the immediate fumes from wafting into your face all the time.

I have no idea about kits but I suggest getting a "TS100 OLED Digital Programmable Pocket Size Smart Mini USB Portable Soldering Iron" as sold on Amazon, ebay etc.

Or perhaps the recently new TS80: https://www.amazon.de/NovelLife-Elektri ... ering+iron

These are great because they have good temperature control built in.

droidus
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Re: new to soldering - safety questions, etc.

Fri Jan 18, 2019 3:33 am

I bought these two things: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000A ... UTF8&psc=1 and https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B075W ... UTF8&psc=1. But the wire says "lead free". Is this the same thing?
I tried taking things off of a motherboard, with no luck. Could it be because it's lead free? What level should I be soldering on?

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Imperf3kt
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Re: new to soldering - safety questions, etc.

Fri Jan 18, 2019 4:07 am

According to the link, it is 63 / 37 (37% lead, 63% tin)
There doesn't seem to be any resin with that ratio (usually resin core is 2%)

A 40w iron should do the job (desoldering lead-free components) but barely. You'll have to wait for it to heat up fully, this can take up to 10 minutes or longer sometimes.

At least in my experience.
My prior 30w soldering iron could not melt non leaded solder. My current 40w one can, but I need to leave it on the part a bit longer and mix fresh leaded solder with it.
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W. H. Heydt
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Re: new to soldering - safety questions, etc.

Fri Jan 18, 2019 5:36 am

Imperf3kt wrote:
Fri Jan 18, 2019 4:07 am
According to the link, it is 63 / 37 (37% lead, 63% tin)
There doesn't seem to be any resin with that ratio (usually resin core is 2%)
63/37 is the lead-tin eutectic alloy. One also--commonly---sees 60/40, which is close enough to behave the same.

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Imperf3kt
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Re: new to soldering - safety questions, etc.

Fri Jan 18, 2019 7:47 am

W. H. Heydt wrote:
Fri Jan 18, 2019 5:36 am
Imperf3kt wrote:
Fri Jan 18, 2019 4:07 am
According to the link, it is 63 / 37 (37% lead, 63% tin)
There doesn't seem to be any resin with that ratio (usually resin core is 2%)
63/37 is the lead-tin eutectic alloy. One also--commonly---sees 60/40, which is close enough to behave the same.
All solder I've ever seen or used has been 60/38/2 - 60% tin, 38% lead, 2% flux resin.

If it doesn't include the flux resin, you'll need to buy some of that as well.
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rpdom
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Re: new to soldering - safety questions, etc.

Fri Jan 18, 2019 7:50 am

Imperf3kt wrote:
Fri Jan 18, 2019 7:47 am
All solder I've ever seen or used has been 60/38/2 - 60% tin, 38% lead, 2% flux resin.

If it doesn't include the flux resin, you'll need to buy some of that as well.
I've mainly used 60/40 60% tin, 40% lead. It has flux resin, but that isn't included in the designation.

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bensimmo
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Re: new to soldering - safety questions, etc.

Fri Jan 18, 2019 8:00 am

What I did with my son he was 11 (and always recommend to do)
Buy some prototyping strip board and some resistors, led etc.
Have a go with that, just soldering to get used to it.
After that, it is holding components, for headers... A prototyping breadboard can be useful as you can stick the header in it and then position the hat on that (propping up the other corners.).
Tag the ends corners in then it's a quick run down to do the rest.
My son soldered his first header in remarkably well, quite proud ;-)
It's not always like that, I had kids at senior school 'electronic kit building clubs' and they can make all sorts of mess with them. The practice on the stripboard though, best learning tool.

Fumes will be fine, don't chew the solder.
Rosin free is the healthier fume varient, but harder to use (we have it in schools).

What you have look good.

Another 'tip' I've found is use a small spade tip or point on the iron for headers, the larger spades just make it harder to get in.


Have fun


Edit, never seen the flux mentioned in solders percentage either.

achrn
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Re: new to soldering - safety questions, etc.

Fri Jan 18, 2019 8:12 am

Imperf3kt wrote:
Fri Jan 18, 2019 4:07 am
According to the link, it is 63 / 37 (37% lead, 63% tin)
There doesn't seem to be any resin with that ratio (usually resin core is 2%)
Are we looking at the same link?

The one I follow (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B075W ... UTF8&psc=1) says "Rosin core solder wire" and "Flux content 1.8%".

For the OP:

The link says it is a lead-based solder (which is good), but I don't understand why your post says that the wire says lead free. It either has lead or it doesn't - it can't be 37% lead and be lead free.

My opinion:

Use leaded solder. Lead-free is more difficult, and if you were doing it on an industrial scale the lead contamination is a problem. If you're only doing it at hobbiest scale, it's not a problem as long as you wash your hands and don't let dust and specks of solder accumulate. Lead-free doesn't have lead, but the flux fumes can be worse (health-wise) than those of leaded solder, so you don't actually make a health gain (and it's easier to wash your hands afterwards than to not breathe).

Weller is a tursted brand of soldering oron. 40W is a decent power. I admit I use a 50W temperature-controlled iron now, but I used a 25W for hobbiest electronics for a long time. Just give it time to warm up and don't rush the soldering.

If you haven't seen it already: https://mightyohm.com/files/soldercomic ... mic_EN.pdf is good in all respects except don't de-solder by banging the board on the table - that spatters lead dust all over the place. Buy some 'desolder braid' if you need to desolder.

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davidcoton
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Re: new to soldering - safety questions, etc.

Fri Jan 18, 2019 9:58 am

droidus wrote: I bought these two things: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000A ... UTF8&psc=1 and https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B075W ... UTF8&psc=1. But the wire says "lead free". Is this the same thing?
I tried taking things off of a motherboard, with no luck. Could it be because it's lead free? What level should I be soldering on?
Looks like a good iron. Just wind the temp up until it works -- maybe the instructions will give a clue about what each setting means as a temperature. Certainly melting lead-free solder on modern commercial electronics will need a higher setting than constructing your own board with 60/40 or similar solder like you bought.

If you are serious about dismantling old boards then a "solder sucker" (desoldering pump) can be useful, but use it with caution because if things get too hot you can suck tracks right off boards :( . Get an "antistatic" one. Sample link (not a specific recommendation) here.
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Burngate
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Re: new to soldering - safety questions, etc.

Fri Jan 18, 2019 11:43 am

A solder sucker like that is a must, but be aware that as you trigger it and the piston moves back, the tip jumps forward. That'll knock your iron and can mess up other things!

Also useful: https://cpc.farnell.com/search?st=solder%20wick

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Imperf3kt
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Re: new to soldering - safety questions, etc.

Fri Jan 18, 2019 12:00 pm

Never been able to get a solder sucker to work, they just suck.
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mahjongg
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Re: new to soldering - safety questions, etc.

Fri Jan 18, 2019 12:22 pm

To test a de-solder pump, close off the tip with your thumb, and press the trigger button. If the pump is good the spring will be released slowly, if there is a leak it will release just as quick as when you do not close off the tip.

You have to clean the solder from the inside regularly, and make sure the tip is not blocked with residue.

de-solder pump should not be used with fragile instruments, as the knock the pump gives to the board might do damage, for example to crystals. Military equipment is never de-soldered with a solder pump.
Use solder wick, with flux, instead to suck up solder.

alphanumeric
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Re: new to soldering - safety questions, etc.

Fri Jan 18, 2019 12:29 pm


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rpdom
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Re: new to soldering - safety questions, etc.

Fri Jan 18, 2019 1:04 pm

Burngate wrote:
Fri Jan 18, 2019 11:43 am
be aware that as you trigger it and the piston moves back, the tip jumps forward.
I've got a new solder sucker with a silicone tube for the nozzle. Being flexible it can be pushed right up against the joint to desolder and doesn't jump as much as a regular hard plastic nozzle. It is also heat resistant, but as it will eventually wear out the sucker comes with a length of silicone tube you can cut new nozzles from and spare tubes are readily available.

Search on ebay for "silicone solder sucker"

Heater
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Re: new to soldering - safety questions, etc.

Fri Jan 18, 2019 1:07 pm

mahjongg,

That made me chuckle:

1) ...de-solder pump should not be used with fragile instruments..

2) ...Military equipment is never de-soldered with a solder pump.

Conclusion: Military equipment is fragile! :)

But, yes, solder suckers are pretty brutal, be careful.

alphanumeric
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Re: new to soldering - safety questions, etc.

Fri Jan 18, 2019 1:11 pm

rpdom wrote:
Fri Jan 18, 2019 1:04 pm
Burngate wrote:
Fri Jan 18, 2019 11:43 am
be aware that as you trigger it and the piston moves back, the tip jumps forward.
I've got a new solder sucker with a silicone tube for the nozzle. Being flexible it can be pushed right up against the joint to desolder and doesn't jump as much as a regular hard plastic nozzle. It is also heat resistant, but as it will eventually wear out the sucker comes with a length of silicone tube you can cut new nozzles from and spare tubes are readily available.

Search on ebay for "silicone solder sucker"
I have this one, https://www.adafruit.com/product/1597 I like it a lot over the solid tip ones. I bought extra silicon tube for it at the same time.

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mahjongg
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Re: new to soldering - safety questions, etc.

Fri Jan 18, 2019 1:17 pm

Heater wrote:
Fri Jan 18, 2019 1:07 pm
mahjongg,

That made me chuckle:

1) ...de-solder pump should not be used with fragile instruments..

2) ...Military equipment is never de-soldered with a solder pump.

Conclusion: Military equipment is fragile! :)
wrong conclusion. The real reason is that military equipment needs special care, because if it is not working lives depend on it, so they don't take any risks. That is why military components (MIL-SPEC components) cost ten times what commercial equivalents cost, and so they have specific instructions on how to de-solder military and avionic equipment, and using solder suckers is outlawed.

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rpdom
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Re: new to soldering - safety questions, etc.

Fri Jan 18, 2019 1:26 pm

alphanumeric wrote:
Fri Jan 18, 2019 1:11 pm
rpdom wrote:
Fri Jan 18, 2019 1:04 pm
Search on ebay for "silicone solder sucker"
I have this one, https://www.adafruit.com/product/1597 I like it a lot over the solid tip ones. I bought extra silicon tube for it at the same time.
Yes, that looks identical to the one I got from ebay.

alphanumeric
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Re: new to soldering - safety questions, etc.

Fri Jan 18, 2019 1:27 pm

When I was still working we had certain equipment we were not allowed to repair on station. It had to be sent to a central repair facility. Mostly because it was SMT stuff but also because of the above concerns. It was ground based mill spec equipment used in civil aviation. Even when repaired correctly there was a max limit on how many times a board could be repaired etc. Exceed that limit and its no longer fit for service.
We did have a nice Pace Kit for what we were qualified to repair. Foot pedal operated vacuum pump desoldering iron with a hollow tip etc.

LTolledo
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Re: new to soldering - safety questions, etc.

Fri Jan 18, 2019 1:56 pm

Some Soldering Safety Tips:

1. Have a good stand for your soldering iron/gun. Keep it dangling or un-secured, it'll crash and burn everything in it's path. And you may accidentally try to catch the falling heated soldering iron with your bare hands, then big ouch!

2. Some recommend using safety glasses when soldering, as sometimes some solders burst, but if you're already using glasses anyway it OK. You don't want your eyes getting burned by solder splatter. I've always used hobbyist glasses (the ones which you can freely change the lens with better magnification factor)during my soldering works.

3. A small fan blowing across on the near end your work area (not directly on the solder area) to divert the fumes away from you. Those old PC fans, or even USB fans should do the trick. On a hobbyist scale using a mask when soldering is counter productive.

4. As most have stated, as a hobbyist, better use leaded soldering lead, 60/40 at best with resin core. Me tried using "lead free" solders, just made a lot of mess...Anyway the choice is yours to make.

5. Also use appropriately sized soldering leads for specific soldering work. Generally I use 0.8mm for my electronics soldering. But I do use some 0.2mm for SMD works, 1.2mm for bigger ones that require more solder flow

6. Having a good soldering jig/helper tool (the ones where you clip the board/workpiece you are working with) can make a difference in your soldering, specially for small PCBs. Some use non-flammable modelling clay, masking tape, mini-vise, vise-grip, etc to keep the work piece in place. Its really hard to solder on a moving piece.

7. A good set of de-soldering tools is also good to have, specially for de-soldering components you want to re-use. As others have stated, a soldering pump (recommended for non-critical solder removal), a solder wick (usually made of copper, for sensitive parts removal ), a set of tweezers and/or spades. Careful when using the wick, as heat gets transmitted fast along its line, might get yourself burned.

8. Keep your soldering tip clean always. If you did get a soldering stand, usually it has a sponge. Make sure its a little wet (with water only!!). After every soldering application, run the tip over the sponge to clean it. Clean tips give good solder quality

9. As its for electronics works, the soldering tip is best when it's pointed (others may argue). Remove excess solder and sharpen it after every use. If it becomes too short, better replace it with a new one. Have stocks handy.

10. Be mindful of those around you when you're soldering, as you might accidentally inflict them burns as you work around.

11. Plan you soldering pattern carefully. Do some image training before the actual soldering work.

12. Practice makes you better. A lot of practice.... much better!


Think Safety First!
"Don't come to me with 'issues' for I don't know how to deal with those
Come to me with 'problems' and I'll help you find solutions"

Some people be like:
"Help me! Am drowning! But dont you dare touch me nor come near me!"

Heater
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Re: new to soldering - safety questions, etc.

Fri Jan 18, 2019 2:25 pm

mahjongg,
wrong conclusion.
It was a joke. See smiley.

Back in the Marconi Radar Research labs we used solder suckers with silicone rubber tubes on their noses to minimize shock and maximize suck.

Down on the factory floor, where they were building radars for the Sea Wolf missile, was a different matter. For a time I was allowed to test and fault find on logic boards there, certainly not allowed to go near them with a soldering iron. Didn't have the right certificate.

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rpdom
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Re: new to soldering - safety questions, etc.

Fri Jan 18, 2019 2:29 pm

LTolledo wrote:
Fri Jan 18, 2019 1:56 pm
sharpen it after every use.
This I'd strongly disagree with. Most soldering iron bits have a protective coating. Sharpening them will remove this coating and expose the unprotected core which will rapidly degrade through use.

Heater
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Re: new to soldering - safety questions, etc.

Fri Jan 18, 2019 3:38 pm

Oh my god yes, I missed that.

NEVER go sharpening your soldering tips with a file or sand paper or whatever. That will remove the protective plating. After that it will be more difficult to solder and the tip will rot away like a tooth with a cavity in Coca-Cola.

Do keep the tip clean though, some suggest whetting it with solder prior to powering down for the day.

Eventually that plating will fail anyway, at that point it better to get a new tip.

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