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  • EEVblog #180 – Soldering Tutorial Part 1 – Tools

    Posted on June 19th, 2011 EEVblog 50 comments

    Dave takes you through everything you need to know to do good quality soldering.
    Part 1 is all about the tools you might need.
    A lot of this was already covered in my general lab tools video.

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    • Ramzi

      Thats really helpful. Thank you very much.

      Ramzi…

    • f4eru

      Speaking of the old weller stations with magnetic tips for trimming the curie temp, i had a funny experience one :
      Years ago, I repaired a CRT monitor with bad/cold soldering. just reworked all the points on the board, cassic for CRTs…
      After putting it on again, i was horrified : the monitor was badly magnetized by the iron !!
      The integrated demag was not enough to remove it, i had to put together my own demagnetizer !!

    • msr

      Another great video! I’ll be looking forward to see the 2nd part.

      If you don’t mind, I would like to suggest you another subject: SMD connectors (board-to-board, board-to-cable, etc). How to use and select them? I’ve been fighting hard to find an adequate connector for a portable device Im developing (personal project). Crimps, headers, sockets, cables… So many stuff to search for a “simple” connector!

    • Adam Lumpkins

      Dave, You nailed it like allways!!!!!! Any word on “THE STATE OF ELECTRONICS” doc. ????? I am realy looking forword to the relase!

      • http://www.eevblog.com EEVblog

        Unfortunately Karl has been overseas on paid work and hasn’t had time to work on it lately. Sorry, no update.

    • Bobo

      What do you think of the Atten AT8586 soldering and hot air rework station? It has both a soldering iron and looks like it has the same hot air rework tool that you use and reviewed.
      Looks like a great 2-in-1 solution for me (but I’m a beginner here, so…)

      I am a student and I want to get the best bang for buck equipment that I can find.

      I am really interested in what you say.
      Thanks and keep up the good work.

      • http://www.eevblog.com EEVblog

        I’d still recommend a name brand iron, because that’s something you want to last a long time, and be able to get quality tips for.
        Tips are very important, unlike hot air stations which are, well, just hot air.

        • Gerald

          The Atten takes Hakko tips.

      • Justin

        terrorble iron one of the worst ive used

    • JRR

      For desoldering, though some people like the plungers, I find that only an integrated iron and vacuum work for me. Something as simple and cheap as the iron that Radio Shack sells with the squeeze bulb on it actually works pretty well, though lately I have seen irons with one of the plunger type devices attached, which I’m sure work even better.

      I can seldom get a joint heated up hot enough to hold the solder in a liquid state until I get a separate plunger on it squarely and trigger it, so having a hollow tip with some kind of vacuum device works much better for me.

    • minifloat

      My Solder also contains Copper, maybe because Copper being much cheaper than Silver. Sn60 Pb38 Cu2 :)

      • jb

        Solder containing copper (manufactured by Multicore using the Savbit trademark) is intended to reduce erosion of bare copper soldering iron bits. As any decent soldering bit is plated these days it is generally unnecesssary.

        Solder with 2% silver is a low melting point alloy.

    • Mike

      A very timely blog. I just starting a clock kit that only uses transistors: http://tube-clock.com/ which requires 2500+ soldered joints.

      I also purchased the same Hakko and so far it has worked very well.

      Thank you!
      Mike

    • Robert

      Can’t say enough how big a difference the right tools make. I had been using a cheap no-name soldering station up until recently. I was quite pleased with it at the time and I thought it worked ok. Then, the cable started breaking and I started looking for a new one. I got lucky and scored a used JBC AD-2950 reasonably cheap and holy poop what a difference! Granted, buying that kind of station new would set you back quite a bit more cash than the mentioned Hakko but man is it wonderful to use. It’s ready to use in about 7 seconds and since it can dump so much heat into the joint I can actually solder at a lower temperature now.

      Also being able to switch tips and be back up and soldering within 15 seconds is amazing. Speaking of tips I need to get one of those tips with a well in them. Just too bad that the tips (cartridges they’re called apparently) are so expensive at $30-40 a pop.

      Right, ranting over. Just to re-iterate, if you expect to be doing a fair bit of soldering don’t skimp on the equipment, you will NOT regret spending those extra bucks.

    • Aki

      “Lead-free Solder Licensed Worldwide as EU Rules Take Effect”

      http://www.ihs.com/news/2006/lead-free-solder.htm

    • Paul_C

      I believe that the Metcal irons have a lower thermal resistance path from where the heat is generated to the tip so don’t require the temperature to be boosted for larger joints. Which is useful because then ones that I have used have a fixed temperature. They aren’t cheap though.

    • HammerFET

      I’ve been looking at some of the replacement irons you get for that Hakko station you have there and they don’t seem very expensive. It would be interesting to see if one of those irons could be modified to show a temp readout on a small display built into the iron. Then any spare bench supply can be used to power it! I have a nice little 80W switching bench supply (and I plan to get more) that would run the iron comfortably. The voltage control could control the temp, eliminating the requirement of the seemingly expensive station.

      I know it may sound like I’m fussing over a tiny amount of desk space, but between my tiny student apartment and my family home, all my gear needs to fit into a small mechanics chest where space is a premium. Cant really afford to lug bulky bits of kit around that doesn’t fit inside it.

    • http://monda.hu László Monda

      Very good tutorial! I’ll certainly try your preferred soldering tip.

      In the next part you could elaborate on the purpose of the flux. I think it’s not so obvious for starters.

      SMD soldering is also a very interesting topic. Here’s my favorite video on the subject: http://store.curiousinventor.com/guides/Surface_Mount_Soldering/101/

    • DrFexes

      Can you comment on the flux core types in solder wire? For example, RA, RMA, no-clean, etc… There are so many options out there, not sure what the best general purpose is. Multicore brand has many versions, C400, C502, etc.

    • kostas

      Hi guys-Dave

      Between the hakko FX-888 and SP-900 OKI what you would suggest? The price of both station are about the same in my country (Greece)

      • http://www.eevblog.com EEVblog

        OKi are Metcal. Fixed temp irons. Great for heavy rework, but otherwise I’d prefer the variable temp Hakko

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    • Thiago Vasconcelos

      Hi,

      Could you list the good solder station brands, please? I’m Brazilian, i understand english, but not so well, i did’nt catch the names from the video.

      Thanks

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    • Geoff

      Dave,
      I don’t agree with your claim that you need an adjustable soldering station. You criticised the old Weller Curie point irons without any logical justification whatsoever. Maybe you can’t buy them anymore, it wouldn’t surprise me because they are so reliable that Weller probably lost money on them. I bought a Weller WTCPN soldering station about 25 years ago and it still works perfectly. Of course, I have worn out a few tips since then, but I have never needed to buy another iron to this day.
      There is no real advantage in electronically temp. controlled irons over the the ultra-reliable Curie point design.

      Think about it – 99% of the time you change your tip so you can deliver more heat – it’s more about transferring more heat to the joint than the actual temperature of the tip – which has more to do with the shape and size of the tip. So your gee-whizz electronically variable soldering iron is useless if the tip is too small to heat up the joint.

      That’s why the Weller WTCP irons were so good – they matched the size of the tip with the temperature – big tip = hotter. That is all that is required.
      And they don’t have any electronics to fail,

      • http://www.eevblog.com EEVblog

        Sure, I can get by just fine on a fixed temp iron too, if that’s all you have, that’s just fine. There are some very good reasons to have them too, like for production lines where no one can dick around with the temp. But I prefer to have a variable temp iron, it gives you extra flexibility in case you do need it, at the flick of a dial, and that’s why I recommend them over fixed temp irons. What if you need that tip and a low temp, oops, you’ve gotta keep two tips in stock and change them. No thanks. I vote for flexibility. When you have a variable temp iron available you learn the extra flexibility comes in more handy and more often than you might think. Sorry, I don’t buy your argument. If you want to buy a professional fixed temp iron, fine, it will serve you well, but it won’t ever get my recommendation over a more flexible variable temp iron. And when it comes down to it, how could it? Apart from the production thing, there is no reason against a variable temp iron, and any such argument would be skating on thin ice. And I don’t buy the reliability card. The Hakko 926/936/FX-888 irons famously last for many decades. Mine is probably 25 years old too.

    • huh

      Only problem with Hakko stuff is that they’re unavailable in Europe and shipping fees from the US are insanely high as usual for relatively heavy stuff like a soldering station.
      Therefore, unless willing to spend a fortune, we on the other side of the pond are restricted to cheap knock offs.
      I’m going to buy an Atten 938D soon, let’s hope it won’t melt in a week!:)

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    • Beginner

      Hi Dave,
      I am a beginner on hand soldering. I am wondering is 0.015inch solder better than 0.02/0.022inch solder in general/dead bug SMD hand soldering? Also, could I use cheap Radio-shack paste flux in SMD hand soldering?
      Thank you!

    • Dibarra

      Hello David,

      I’m just finising the BOM list in order to complete my bench tools… but

      You recommend to use a chisel type tip with a size below 0.5 mm, but when I looked the list of T18 tips (hakko website) I found that smallest “D” type is 0.8 mm. Where did you find the one you are using?

      Thanks

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    • Jim

      IMHO, you may want to avoid using fingerprint readers for authentication 17:50

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    • Cam

      Hi,

      Can you tell me where the Hakko FX-888 can be got for $80 !!!!!

      • http://www.eevblog.com EEVblog

        In the US, not in Australia, sorry.

    • http://www.leisto.net Yeefey Huang

      this tutorial is helpful for new users, I like it.

    • Jerry19

      Hi

      In my job (lighting – LEDs) we often working with metal core PCBs. Have you some advice for soldering on MCPCBs. How to preheat it or something like that. Soldering on this PCB is realy hard.

      Thanks.

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    • http://www.npeducations.com kiranvarma-npeducations

      really soldering is toughest work in my projects. Very neat and easy explanation david. Thank you for the soldering tips.

    • Aizen Chisei

      Can someone tell me name of this soldering tip with hole (which can do magic)? Thanks in advance.

    • Nick

      I’d been banging my head against a wall trying to do some SMD work with a little conical tip and on a whim tried the chisel tip. What a difference that made! I ended up finishing the entire thing in a quarter of the time I had spent with the conical tip. Thanks for the video!

    • http://www.solderinggunguide.com/ Naveen Kulkarni

      Great video of soldering tutorial. I was wondering for choosing a Hakko over Wellers for this tutorial.

      Well, Hakko is not bad either. I infact, did a review of Hakko fx-888d on my soldering blog

    • 68alza .

      You are a genius! your presentation and teaching is excellent. May you be blessed and have a great and enjoyable life.