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Soldering Advice Please...


I could use some tips on soldering for a novice. I have a few projects going and would like to make them look pro.

I have a good Weber solder station that has a digital temperature display. It can be set super hot (and is great for desoldering stubborn connections), as well as be turned down to a temp that won't melt stuff you don't want screwed up in the area. It’s a good commercial type model.

Some things I could use help on:
- What kind of solder is best for high end electronics? (flux core, silver, something etc...?)
- What is the best temperature range to solder wires when you don't want to melt other things in the area? (I’ve been having trouble with this! I keep melting away the wire sleeves below the cut away, but set too low I can’t get solder to take.)
- Heating the area and when to know it’s the best joint? (Color, etc?)

One of my projects right now is cutting up a high end instrument cable for my floor board. I really don’t want to be messing up and wasting any of it.




Hi Jemlite!

Setting your iron for about 675 deg. F should work well for most tasks, though it depends on the type of solder you're using and the type of connection. For solder itself, I prefer Kester type 245 cored no-clean wire. It's a eutectic composition (Sn63Pb37), which basically means it's more tolerant of slight movements or vibration while the joint cools. I don't know if they still do this, but for a while Kester would send out a couple of 1/4 pound spools of the 245 as a product sample if you filled out a request form on their site (http://www.kester.com). For modest DIY uses that amount can easily last for years!



Thanks Matt!

I didn't see any samples still available on Kesters site but I appreciate the tip. No big deal.

I'll give 675 deg a try.

Take care.


675 is a good number. Depending on the specific solder going over about 680 starts burning the flux before it can clean/wet the joint.

A second bit of advice that might help is to use the right size tip on the iron. If you're doing work on an eyelet board on large-diameter leads, the teenie-tiny pencil tip intended for small PCB work won't get the joint hot enough fast enough.

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