#1
Ok, I've done a lot of searching and can't seem to get this simple thing figured out. After you apply some flux, do you just touch the iron to the wire as normal to heat it up and allow it to burn off before the wire is actually hot enough to add the solder?
#2
You're over-thinking it.

Flux is a nice thing to have but it's not going to ensure a good solder joint. It can even make it harder to get good solder flow if you have too much of it or if you didn't clean properly.
Cleaning properly is important. Get a toothbrush and some rubbing alcohol. Clean well. Then clean again. Then clean again. Just make sure it's clean, alright?
Then you can use another small brush to apply a small amount of flux to the solder area. Not too much. It'll help the solder to flow as long as you don't over-do it.
Note: Some solder has flux already in it.
Figure out how you're going to hold everything. A clamp can be very useful. You're going to want to keep everything steady while you're soldering. If you don't have a clamp then do what you can to make it easy on yourself. If you can use a piece of tape to secure your wire (for example) in position so that it's right against the surface that you're soldering it to then you've already won half of the battle.
Get a hot tip and "tin" it. That means you just touch it to the solder and get the tip looking like mercury. When you are ready to solder you should put the tip on the surface and you need to understand that the cold surface is going to transfer heat away. A cheap soldering iron will lose heat pretty quickly. You might need to hold the iron there for a few seconds - or if your iron is really bad maybe longer.

Warning - the solder surface is getting hot. If you're soldering an IC or a capacitor then you can damage it pretty easily. Some circuit traces are really delicate too. Having a cheap iron is really not in your best interests in that case.

If your surface is hot enough then you can touch the solder to the surface. Don't add it to the tip. Put the solder near the tip. As long as the temps are good, the surface is clean and you have a good amount of flux then the solder should flow easily and spread all around.

Once you've got the solder in place you should take the tip away but be careful not to move the parts right away. The solder will remain shiny for a moment and then if you watch very closely you'll see it turn slightly dull. Very small change but easy enough to see if you know what to look for. After it turns dull you can let go of the parts. Let it cool a little bit and then clean it again. Check for cracks or burnt areas. They may indicate a problem.


Tip - if you're soldering a braided wire to something else (potentiometer for example) then it's usually helpful to prep the wire beforehand by tinning the tip of the wire. Clean it, flux it, heat it, allow the solder to flow over it.

In that event it's important to make sure you clean the wire tip again before you solder it to the potentiometer. There's always a bit of film left over after you solder something.


Source - Navy trained.
#3
Quote by paul.housley.7
You're over-thinking it.

Flux is a nice thing to have but it's not going to ensure a good solder joint. It can even make it harder to get good solder flow if you have too much of it or if you didn't clean properly.
Cleaning properly is important. Get a toothbrush and some rubbing alcohol. Clean well. Then clean again. Then clean again. Just make sure it's clean, alright?
Then you can use another small brush to apply a small amount of flux to the solder area. Not too much. It'll help the solder to flow as long as you don't over-do it.
Note: Some solder has flux already in it.
Figure out how you're going to hold everything. A clamp can be very useful. You're going to want to keep everything steady while you're soldering. If you don't have a clamp then do what you can to make it easy on yourself. If you can use a piece of tape to secure your wire (for example) in position so that it's right against the surface that you're soldering it to then you've already won half of the battle.
Get a hot tip and "tin" it. That means you just touch it to the solder and get the tip looking like mercury. When you are ready to solder you should put the tip on the surface and you need to understand that the cold surface is going to transfer heat away. A cheap soldering iron will lose heat pretty quickly. You might need to hold the iron there for a few seconds - or if your iron is really bad maybe longer.

Warning - the solder surface is getting hot. If you're soldering an IC or a capacitor then you can damage it pretty easily. Some circuit traces are really delicate too. Having a cheap iron is really not in your best interests in that case.

If your surface is hot enough then you can touch the solder to the surface. Don't add it to the tip. Put the solder near the tip. As long as the temps are good, the surface is clean and you have a good amount of flux then the solder should flow easily and spread all around.

Once you've got the solder in place you should take the tip away but be careful not to move the parts right away. The solder will remain shiny for a moment and then if you watch very closely you'll see it turn slightly dull. Very small change but easy enough to see if you know what to look for. After it turns dull you can let go of the parts. Let it cool a little bit and then clean it again. Check for cracks or burnt areas. They may indicate a problem.


Tip - if you're soldering a braided wire to something else (potentiometer for example) then it's usually helpful to prep the wire beforehand by tinning the tip of the wire. Clean it, flux it, heat it, allow the solder to flow over it.

In that event it's important to make sure you clean the wire tip again before you solder it to the potentiometer. There's always a bit of film left over after you solder something.


Source - Navy trained.


Thanks!!