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WIGGLING 'LITE' IN GUEST MODE

Advice for soldering!
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Music Tech DIY Goto page 1, 2, 3, 4  Next [all]
Author Advice for soldering!
cynical
Hello fellow DIY brainiacs
In one week am about to have my first DIY kit for soldering i chose an envelope circuit from Erica synth and a Wogglebug. i know that the are not easy but i want to try. i have done some practice on an old circuit board, trying the technique, the amount of soldering, how should looks like a good join from youtube videos etc. but as a new on this i would like to ask any advice for specific music circuit soldering if it's exists, what do i need to be careful for in the process, basically any advice would be welcomed.
thrasumachos
honestly, buy the best soldering iron you can justify spending the money on. this will do more for your soldering than anything. soldering is really pretty straightforward, there isn't any real magic skill involved. sure, you gotta walk the line of heating everything thoroughly without burning anything, so there is some finesse involved but I'm sure you will get down in very little time.

often times people just starting out have bad solder joints or other issues because they buy cheap irons that don't heat well or evenly, or are too hot because they lack temperature regulation, etc. that isn't to say that there is no skill or trick involved, but spending half an hour watching how-to-solder videos on youtube will teach you about all there is to know. but most soldering issues seem to come down to inferior tools and in my experience it is very hard to learn to solder properly with really crappy tools. I used some extremely cheap and terrible irons in school and had to learn on those, and they were a pain. once I bought a good iron everything was a hundred times easier.

I use a Weller WES51. They can be found all over the internet for less that $100USD and I cannot recommend them enough.
cynical
to tell you the truth i have a not good soldering iron not even has to fix the temperature but i thing is low temperature iron not to low but less than 350. i will try to do my best. question is in what can you burn when you hit it much and how you can see if is burned?
sixty_n
@cynical what is the wattage of your soldering iron? I have a shitty Antex XS25, 25 watt and I've built a lot of stuff with it and not burned anything. It's more about the time you leave the soldering iron in contact with the legs of the component, if its a delicate component like a poly cap or metal tin transistor just make sure you do it quickly.

I dont know whether it helps but I don't solder all legs of the same component one after the other e.g I'll place a bunch of transistors then solder all the middle legs then go back to the first and solder the second leg on all of them then the third. It means you are never heating something until it's cooled down fully.

Theres a thing called a heat shunt I think, it looks like tweezers and you can clip it onto component legs on the component side of the board and it works like a heat sink so the component doesnt heat up. You could get one of them if you find you are overheating components but I think you will be fine once youve had a bit of practice. Most common components like resistors and normal capacitors might be affected a bit by overheating but they won't fail and your circuits will be ok
mbartkow
Use plenty of flux, it's your friend. Rosin-based is good. Don't let the soldered part to wiggle while the solder cools down, or you will get a bad joint. Don't overheat the board, because the pad may come off, even together with a piece of a trace. Did I mention the flux?
batchas
thrasumachos wrote:
honestly, buy the best soldering iron you can justify spending the money on.
... ...
I use a Weller WES51. They can be found all over the internet for less that $100USD and I cannot recommend them enough.

thumbs up
The Weller changed my DIY life at the time I bought it. Nothing compared to my first iron (cheap without temp regul). I then realized that I should have bought it much earlier. Really!
Also my advice. Start with a good iron. It's not so expensive.
grenert
Some people may pooh-pooh the idea of getting an expensive soldering iron, but if you end up doing a lot of DIY, I can assure you that almost nobody who invested in the nice iron would regret it. I think back to when I had the bottom-of-the-line Radio Shack iron and the one I have now, it's no comparison. Also, quality irons are durable, so you can likely find one used for a lot less money.

And flux is awesome!

With a good iron and some flux, the solder joint is made so quickly that the component heating is minimal. There are few occasions when I bother to use a clip-on heatsink to protect the component (certain polystyrene capacitors, expensive ICs if I can't plug them into a socket).
DrReverendSeance
I am new to soldering as well - I found that getting a holder for PCBs made things signficantly better.

I found a really cheap holder with adjustable alligator clips for $6 Canadian! It works well enough for small boards (but if I start doing many kits I might want to get a Panavise).

Having a holder frees up your hands, and I imagine I am not the only one who has "chased" a board around the table trying to apply heat to a lead...!
BugBrand
Having taught a good few workshops introducing people to soldering / DIY audio bits, you may find my documentation useful:
http://www.bugbrand.co.uk/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=24&pr oducts_id=120
http://www.bugbrand.co.uk/docs/workshopcrusher.pdf

My theory is that technique is most important, then the tools - you can solder fine with a shit iron IF you clean it and understand the theory of how it is meant to work.
Saying that, a nice iron is a great tool to get when you know you want to do a lot of soldering. (personally love metcal)

PS - I don't think there is anything particular to worry about for music circuits compared with more general.
I have never required heatsinks, nor flux (for through-hole - has been occasional use for SMD work)
hamildad
Really interested in this thread,

wondering if anyone can recommend solder practice / SMD solder practice kits?

I've been buying the cheap solder kits from Maplin to practice on before doing DIY modules etc, but sometimes, I'd prefer to just solder loads of cheap parts to a board to get more experience with it.

This is especially for potentiometers etc. where they are a bit different from resistors/capacitors and you'll normally only get one or two in a kit.
cynical
First of all thanks to everyone that respond to my post
My iron is 30W . When i stared my tests to the old circuit just to learn the very beginning, i realised that it was taking to long to melt the solder and make the join. After that i change the original tip, that it was from my fault destroyed ( i actually taking out the solder with a iron-brusch for the dishes nanners ) i put a new one and still takes some time, but in the best time i make a join in 5sec. to 7sec. and in bad mod i made it in 13sec.-15sec.
I improve the technique by applying a tiny tiny amount of solder to my iron by the time that i put it on the join, after that the solder is more easy to melt in less seconds. so again in my newbie good join it takes 3-5 sec to make it, with a good amount of solder.

Ps no offence but i am trying to have fun with all these and minimise the cost of my Eurorack so i will not buy a new better soldering iron. I prefer to give it to a module or a new DIY KIT.



sixty_n wrote:
@cynical what is the wattage of your soldering iron? I have a shitty Antex XS25, 25 watt and I've built a lot of stuff with it and not burned anything. It's more about the time you leave the soldering iron in contact with the legs of the component, if its a delicate component like a poly cap or metal tin transistor just make sure you do it quickly.

I dont know whether it helps but I don't solder all legs of the same component one after the other e.g I'll place a bunch of transistors then solder all the middle legs then go back to the first and solder the second leg on all of them then the third. It means you are never heating something until it's cooled down fully.

Theres a thing called a heat shunt I think, it looks like tweezers and you can clip it onto component legs on the component side of the board and it works like a heat sink so the component doesnt heat up. You could get one of them if you find you are overheating components but I think you will be fine once youve had a bit of practice. Most common components like resistors and normal capacitors might be affected a bit by overheating but they won't fail and your circuits will be ok
BugBrand
cynical wrote:
I improved the technic by applying a tiny tiny amount of solder to my iron by the time that i put it on the join, after that the solder is more easy to melt in less seconds. so again in my newbie good join it takes 3-5 sec to make it, with a good amount of solder.


That is called 'tinning the tip' - it is *part* of keeping the tip clean and ready to solder. As I suggest, read my documentation - and get a tip cleaner like this:


Dip the tip into this, tin the tip, apply heat, apply solder.
Also, when putting down the iron, do not leave it without any solder on - best is to reclean and re-tin it before putting it down.
cynical
BugBrand wrote:

Also, when putting down the iron, do not leave it without any solder on - best is to reclean and re-tin it before putting it down.



i do already this thing for clean it and live solder on it, thank you for the advise, i already start reading the documents. Mr. Green
Kirr
One thing I haven't seen mentioned here yet, and which improved my soldering a lot: Try to get a very thin solder wire, preferably 0.5 mm or thinner. With thicker solder wire it's difficult to control the amount of solder you feed into the joint, you end up with crappy ball-like joints.

In my (limited) experience, you don't really need separate flux for ordinary through hole soldering, because solder wire has a flux core inside (don't use solder without it) - usually it's enough.
mbartkow
I beg to differ. The tiny amount of flux that is contained in the solder wire may be enough for an experienced builder, but in my opinion it is definitely *not* enough for a beginner. You will have some bad joints in the beginning, it is inevitable. You will need to re-flow them by touching again with the tip of the iron, and at this moment flux has already evaporated, and it is very easy to cause oxidation and make things even worse. A drop of additional flux makes a huge difference. It makes the solder to flow easily.

Furthermore, some parts come with their terminals not being factory tinned. This often happens for cheap parts, ribbon cable headers. Also, when you strip a copper wire, or have some old parts - tinning them with bare iron needs some practice. It is really much much easier to operate if you apply a dash of flux at the beginning, because it dissolves all the oxides that otherwise prevent the bare metal to join with your solder.
Biotron345
IMHO people talk to much about spending loads on an iron. I think technique is more important. Just my opinion Guinness ftw!
Poldenstein
Kirr wrote:
One thing I haven't seen mentioned here yet, and which improved my soldering a lot: Try to get a very thin solder wire, preferably 0.5 mm or thinner. With thicker solder wire it's difficult to control the amount of solder you feed into the joint, you end up with crappy ball-like joints.

This is the most sensible advice I got when I began, and the first I pass on to beginners.
Also: (quoting monobass) never solder when you're tired.
Patience here (and in many other fields) is the key.
thumbs up
AlanP
And remember, soldering irons are like sharp knives. (Using blunt knives is like making a rod for your own back.)

If you drop one, do NOT try and grab it. Let it fall and pick it up from the ground.
JohnLRice
Make sure to watch this video a couple times, the best soldering tutorial I've ever seen! thumbs up
Kirr
Biotron345 wrote:
IMHO people talk to much about spending loads on an iron. I think technique is more important. Just my opinion Guinness ftw!

For the longest time I was convinced that I am just not able to solder well. To the point that I gave up completely. Until some day I decided to finally get a temperature-controlled iron and proper solder (thin wire). Instantly I was making perfect joints.

A couple more of very nice instruction videos (first one about tools, second about actual soldering) - they are half an hour each, but totally worth it for beginner:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J5Sb21qbpEQ
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fYz5nIHH0iY
banedox
anyone have actual links for solder and flux to buy say from like Amazon?

I have A Hakko HX880 iron
TripJ
Thanks, for the thread cynical and to everyone on the experience and videos.

I'm in practically the same boat and have done very minimal soldering.
Also leaning toward the Erica Synth line.
My guess is an experienced solderer can get good or better results even from a cheap iron(like mine) but a good iron will save a beginner a world of frustration and troubleshooting time until they've gained experience. I think I'm going to pluck down the $$ for a decent iron before I get started even though it is about the cost of a good kit.
bensaddiction
Watch those nerdy YouTube vids, and artir by curious inventor. They are invaluable.

The golden rules for through hole soldering (which you will be doing) is clean the tip before each joint; heat BOTH the component lead and the solder hole with your iron;and then introduce your solder from the other side; then smoothly glide your iron away from the connection up the length of the component lead.

The video posted above is fantastic

Solder is attracted to clean hot metal, the flux in the solder is there to help ensure everything is clean.
BugBrand
bensaddiction wrote:
..The golden rules for through hole soldering (which you will be doing) is clean the tip before each joint...


Clean the tip *AND* tin the tip
(possibly you include this, but worth clearly pointing it out!)

By the way, cleaning before every joint is probably good to start with, but once you've got the chops going, you can do at least a few joints (quickly) between cleans.
_maker
Just to add as well - there are different tip sizes and shapes (chisel, needle, fine point) so you could try out a couple.... I personally prefer a 2.3mm chisel tip for most audio PCB work, for smaller pins or pad sizes like SMT pads a 1.0mm chisel or fine point tip can be better.

Tin the tip every time you solder! With proper tinning technique a tip can last a very long time.

Here is the "Soldering is easy" page from our build guides -



Download (Hi-Res) - http://maker.ie/s/LVLS_Assembly_Guide.pdf[/quote]
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