The Soldering Mega Thread

John Coloccia

Cold Supporting Member
Messages
9,580
Since it seems to come up time and time again, I thought I'd see if I could get a soldering mega thread going. I'm hoping this can be a one stop shop for everything and anything related to solering, soldering equipment, supplies, etc.

I'm kicking it off with a series of videos. I've named them the world's most BORING videos. They are slow...and monotonous. They show every step in excruciating detail. I talk a lot...I say a lot of things people will agree with, and a lot of things people don't agree with. I actually build real, functional things from start to finish!

The first ones in the series will deal with basic equipment, basic technique, PCB soldering and wiring. The next ones deal with basic cable building. Then I start going into guitar specific wiring....pots, switches, trem claws, etc. Along the way, I'll go into rework, cleaning up other people's messes and things like that.

You can start with these two for now, but don't say I didn't warn you...these are easily the world's most mind numbingly BORING videos.








Now we finish the box. I really wish I had better quality on this, but it's what I can do right now. Not strictly just soldering anymore, but general wiring/project techniques that can be applied. 5 parts coming...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t0u97gBccTw

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bzyGpqKV1po

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yYgMzdX4fY4

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BTckRqG8BL0

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-vfJJJxJyzo
 
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John Coloccia

Cold Supporting Member
Messages
9,580
Added through to part 5.

Next sections will be box wiring today or tomorrow. After that, cable building, and after that, nuts and bolts guitar wiring.
 

John Coloccia

Cold Supporting Member
Messages
9,580
LOL. I'm afraid not. I know, I know...it's very long and boring but the only way to do this right is to go slow, take my time, and show each step in mind numbing detail. The whole point is to once and for all lift the veil of mystery that seems to surround this stuff. I know there will be plenty of others that chime in with their own, differing techniques and equipment, and then newbies can pick and choose and decide how to proceed on their own projects. :)
 

Steve Foley

Member
Messages
1,766
Great idea, man! Thanks!

I get by okay, now, but I sure could have used this a few years ago. This will really help out some folks! :aok
 

David Collins

Member
Messages
2,246
So, how much do we owe you? ;)

It's a long series to watch all the way through, but for anyone who wants to work with electronics, I tell you there is an incredible wealth of value packed in there. Absolutely fantastic, and thanks so much for sharing this!
 

John Coloccia

Cold Supporting Member
Messages
9,580
Here's some equipment links. These may not be the absolute best prices, but they are good prices and from reputable sources.


Kimwipes
http://www.techni-tool.com/134UN011

Here's my dispensing bottle for the IPA:
http://www.techni-tool.com/548CH5367

For the alcohol itself, I suggest you just get it from your local Grainger if you can. You will spend a little more, but you will save on Hazmat fees, so it often ends up being cheaper.
http://www.grainger.com/product/TECHSPRAY-Isopropyl-Alcohol-6KCK5?s_pp=false

solder:
http://www.techni-tool.com/488SO162
http://www.techni-tool.com/488SO160

It says #66/44 but it's Kester 44. The 66 refers to the size of the rosin flux core. It's the largest available and is the standard size...it's what you want.

flux:
http://www.techni-tool.com/488CH0186

solder wick:
http://www.techni-tool.com/754SO187

Flux Off (pretty good prices here at the moment):
http://www.all-spec.com/products/Cleaners_and_Aerosols|Cleaning_Supplies|CLN-04/ES1035B.html
http://www.all-spec.com/products/ES1035.html
Prices on this stuff are crazy and highly variable. I've paid as little as $15 for the non-brush cleaner, and as much as $25 for the brush one. When you're blasting without the brush, it goes FAST....very fast...shockingly fast. You can easily spend a few bucks per cleaning if you're not careful, and that adds up very quickly if you're in production. For occasional use, I guess it doesn't matter much

Alcohol Based Flux Remover:
http://www.techni-tool.com/758CH752


round nose pliers
http://www.techni-tool.com/294PL200
There are cheaper ones that would probably be fine too.

cutters:
http://www.techni-tool.com/812PL170
Instead of the 170, you can also try the 175. It's the same cutter with a safety clip to keep the wire leads from flying off (like you were seeing in my video). I plan on getting a set of those on my next order, but usually I would simply have a little pressure on the lead as I'm cutting...when I'm not trying to get a clear shot for the camera, that is. These cutters are only designed for electronics work...20AWG wire max. Use them on anything heavier and you'll destroy them right quick.

The other big name in cutters is Xuron. I have Xurons as well. I'm not sure which I like better, honestly. I just happen to have the Xcelite on that particular bench. Just so you know, all of these cutters are considered to be "disposable". They're just a little more expensive than the really cheap cutters but come on...they're still only a few bucks. Believe it or not, despite being called disposable for about $5.00 you can get cutters that will last YEARS with a little care and normal use. Incredible.

solder stations and tips:

JBC:
http://www.janelonline.com/jbc-tools-soldering-station-cd-1bc-p/jbc-tools-cd-1bc.htm
http://www.janelonline.com/jbc-tools-soldering-tip-for-soldering-iron-p/jbc-tools-c245-944.htm
http://www.janelonline.com/jbc-tools-soldering-tip-for-soldering-iron-p/jbc-tools-c245-407.htm

Hakko:
Please note....there are a LOT of fake Hakkos out there, especially the 936. Only buy from reputable sources. Some of the fakes are not only garbage in terms of performance, but they're not even safe.
http://www.hmcelectronics.com/product/Hakko/FX888D
http://www.hmcelectronics.com/product/Hakko/T18D16
http://www.hmcelectronics.com/product/Hakko/T18D24
http://www.hmcelectronics.com/product/Hakko/T18D32

I recommend that last tip for heavy work with the Hakko. It doesn't have near the thermal capacity of the JBC, so you will benefit from a really large tip for some stubborn work. These tips are cheap, so no worries.

For other solder stations, I won't list anything. If you can spend more than $100 on a station, I would say to save up for the JBC. I don't really think the performance increase for the "in between" stations are all that significant (if anything), and to get close to JBC performance you'll spend the same or more...so don't bother IMHO. BTW, you may want to just start with the Hakko regardless. Having the base separate from the station, and a smaller station itself, is very convenient specifically for guitar work. That's why I have my older Hakko FP-101 station in the guitar side of my shop.

To be clear, I don't think anyone needs to run out and grab all of this stuff all at once, but I've always found that a big frustration is you see something being used, and then you have to wade through a zillion different catalogs and webpages to actually find exactly the right item. For example, there are about a dozen or more different variations just of the flux remover, but only one of them is the right one.

edit:

http://www.medicbatteries.com/buy-9-volt-batteries-in-bulk-9volt-bulk-packs
 
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David Collins

Member
Messages
2,246
Thanks so much - an incredible wealth of resources here.

As to solder stations, do you have any other leads on decent rework stations in the lower price range ($400-$500 could do, but $1500+ is hard for me to justify). I've used mediocre Wellers and crappy Tenmas (which can almost work better than some Wellers with the right hand piece and tip), but I'm really sick of them all and ready for an upgrade.

I rarely touch a circuit board outside of the occasional acoustic preamp, and the bulk of my electronics work involves as much desoldering and resoldering old parts as it does assembling new ones. I'm guessing that finding a rework station with sucker and all which can perform as well as the JBC (which looks really impressive) is going to start over $1000, and I'm probably better off just getting a JBC and sticking with wick and pencil suckers. Just thought I'd check if you thought this still the best choice for primarily reworking big pots and switches, or if that might lean your preferred choice in another direction.

Thanks!
 

Tone_Terrific

Supporting Member
Messages
31,511
These vids are not available on my browsers.
Are there some restrictions or format changes on YT?
 

John Coloccia

Cold Supporting Member
Messages
9,580

John Coloccia

Cold Supporting Member
Messages
9,580
Thanks so much - an incredible wealth of resources here.

As to solder stations, do you have any other leads on decent rework stations in the lower price range ($400-$500 could do, but $1500+ is hard for me to justify). I've used mediocre Wellers and crappy Tenmas (which can almost work better than some Wellers with the right hand piece and tip), but I'm really sick of them all and ready for an upgrade.

I rarely touch a circuit board outside of the occasional acoustic preamp, and the bulk of my electronics work involves as much desoldering and resoldering old parts as it does assembling new ones. I'm guessing that finding a rework station with sucker and all which can perform as well as the JBC (which looks really impressive) is going to start over $1000, and I'm probably better off just getting a JBC and sticking with wick and pencil suckers. Just thought I'd check if you thought this still the best choice for primarily reworking big pots and switches, or if that might lean your preferred choice in another direction.

Thanks!
Well, a desoldering station CAN be very useful for reworking switches and pots and things, but as you've found out they're quite pricey. There are some cheap ones out there, but they're more or less garbage and probably won't last more than a few months in any sort of shop environment. Where the desoldering station really shines is in PCB through hole rework. You heat the joint, suck out the solder and then keep on wiggling the joint around. After the solder gets sucked out of the joint, the sucking action draws cool air over the joint and at the same time the lack of solder makes for very poor thermal conductivity with the tip. The end result is the joint cools down while you're wiggling and a lead that doesn't get stuck in the hole with a tiny little bit of solder you can't quite seem to get to release. Brilliant for multi-pin packages where it seems like you need 5 people and 10 soldering irons to perform a clean extraction!

I've used on things like switches, pots, turrets, etc. Honestly, though, I'm not sure it's that much faster than just heating the joint, pulling out the wire and hitting it with desoldering braid. I often will come back and clean the joint as well because by the time I'm done, it's a mess...all burnt and crispy. For that, I just use IPA and scrub.

I'm not sure you'll find a rework station for any reasonable price. You'll probably do better just buying a desoldering station...maybe even used. I'll look around a bit and see what's out there these days. Often times, rework stations are either designed with a bunch of things you don't need (hot air, tweezers, solder paste dispenser, etc) or are modular, and either way it often increases the cost past what separate components will if you only need one or two components.
 

David Collins

Member
Messages
2,246
Thanks, that's kind of what I was thinking. I'll probably just go with the JBC and keep going with the braid/wick removal (not like it's that big a deal really). Then if I happen upon a desoldering station for the right price some day I may pick one up, but it's certainly not a priority for this work. I don't want to compromise the important features that are really needed, for some additional features that aren't necessary.

For regular use on larger components (pot casings, switch grounds, trem claws), is the recovery rate good enough with the 120v model, or would you recommend stepping up to the 240? I could use either, but if it works the 120v would be much more convenient to be able to move it to another bench when needed.

*edit: Or maybe I'm mistaken and the higher voltage model doesn't affect the power to the iron, but is just designed for countries with 240v power?
 
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