Author Topic: Good iron for busbar soldering  (Read 625 times)

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Offline ezalys

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Good iron for busbar soldering
« on: January 02, 2019, 07:15:33 pm »
Hey all. I have a Metcal MX-500 iron that I use for all my detail work, but would like to supplement it with something a little cruder and more powerful for soldering bus bars, large connectors, or even soldering large chunks of FR-4 at right angles to other pieces of FR-4 for structural purposes. Something less terrible than a fire stick but cheaper than a JBC HDE station with a similar power output.
 

Offline GreyWoolfe

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Re: Good iron for busbar soldering
« Reply #1 on: January 03, 2019, 12:27:14 am »
Why not get a bigger tip for the MX-500?  I have a 3.2 mm tip that I have soldered PL-259 connectors onto coax without an issue.  Lots of flux.  I haven't done busbars but I have done a large bleeder resistor on 3/4" pads in a 35A power supply with ease and that was a small tip.
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Online coppercone2

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Re: Good iron for busbar soldering
« Reply #2 on: January 03, 2019, 01:01:44 am »
you might be interested in the 'micronox' torch for tougher jobs, it is a nitrous oxide and butane powered portable torch that has something like a 1/32 long flame tip and it can get heat into the right places compared to a butane air torch (it runs on whipped cream and harder to get special butane cylinders.

You can actually silver braze with it.

But it will obviously destroy plastic etc.

From my experiance, you can refill the butane cylinder the vintage ones on ebay comes with, by freezing it and making some kind of ad-hock gasket out of whatever, or using a very cold funnel and well cooled butane.

Also, I found that the penetrator on the tip are not very strong when frozen, I have two of these torches that I intend to eventually repair.

They also are a bit finicky with regulation so you need to be careful moving them around, for most intents and purposes you can use a jeweled oxy/acetylene torch for the same jobs, but this solution is extremely portable. I consider it a basement tool, and I don't like bringing acetylene into the house, so it has a place for me. Very fun too. If you can get yourself on oxygen cylinders in the same form, it should work with oxygen.

For low temperature work with solder you might want to consider a soldering gun like weller ones that are sold in autoparts stores.

When I fix it I will try to do some high silver brazing with it.
« Last Edit: January 03, 2019, 01:15:09 am by coppercone2 »
 

Offline blacksheeplogic

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Re: Good iron for busbar soldering
« Reply #3 on: January 03, 2019, 08:19:26 am »
Hey all. I have a Metcal MX-500 iron that I use for all my detail work, but would like to supplement it with something a little cruder and more powerful for soldering bus bars, large connectors, or even soldering large chunks of FR-4 at right angles to other pieces of FR-4 for structural purposes. Something less terrible than a fire stick but cheaper than a JBC HDE station with a similar power output.

I don't do it often enough to warrant spending much so I bought a fire stick from the local hardware which serves the purpose very well. Since precision is not needed you might want to reconsider if one would meet your needs. I have large tips for some of my irons and could get by with those but I did not want to abuse them.
 

Offline LaurentR

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Re: Good iron for busbar soldering
« Reply #4 on: January 09, 2019, 09:01:42 am »
Why not get a bigger tip for the MX-500?  I have a 3.2 mm tip that I have soldered PL-259 connectors onto coax without an issue.  Lots of flux.  I haven't done busbars but I have done a large bleeder resistor on 3/4" pads in a 35A power supply with ease and that was a small tip.

I agree. A larger Metcal tip will go a long way. If that's still not enough, get a 80W Metcal supply. If that's not enough, Metcal is still there for you with 2 80W units:
http://www.okinternational.com/hand-soldering-systems/id-MX-HPDC/New_Dual_Cartridge_Hand-Piece

 

Offline NiHaoMike

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Re: Good iron for busbar soldering
« Reply #5 on: January 09, 2019, 03:43:11 pm »
What about a soldering gun?
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Online beanflying

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Re: Good iron for busbar soldering
« Reply #6 on: January 09, 2019, 03:53:22 pm »
Have a look around for one of these on evilbay if you want to get serious 220W 110V of Detroit made Muscle Iron  >:D

Mine gets run on a Variac because of our 240V it's major use was soldering NiMh cells end to end in sticks so heating two at a time remove the iron and slap them together. Also used for Galvanised and Copper soft soldering.

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Offline Gregg

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Re: Good iron for busbar soldering
« Reply #7 on: January 11, 2019, 05:37:50 pm »
I have a large old school soldering iron that I think is 100 Watt free if you pay shipping.  These old irons basically heat up very hot and use the thermal capacity of a fairly large copper core to keep them from cooling too fast.  A cheap light dimmer or a Variac is often used to tame them a little.  PM me if you want it; I think it would fit into a USPS medium flat rate box.
 

Offline Doofenshmirtz

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Re: Good iron for busbar soldering
« Reply #8 on: January 12, 2019, 04:44:26 am »
FWIW, in the welding world the solution isn't always to get a bigger welder, but often to preheat the area with another source so it won't wick away the heat from your joint (and also to control the joint's rate of cooling and surrounding thermal expansion).

So, maybe add a heat bath to your tool collection?  They make SMT work / rework easier too.  A hair drier may even do the trick for a one-off need, but a heat gun might make all the other parts fall off. ;-)
 


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