#1
Hey there guys. I just rounded up all the tools and stuff I needed today to start practicing soldering and desoldering so I can build pedals with less mess. I just had a few questions about some pretty basic stuff...

When I unplug my iron, is it safe or wise to run the tip under some water to cool it off quicker? I have pets and stuff that like to jump up on counters, so I was wondering if that was okay to do to cool it down quicker. Also, I am having some trouble soldering correctly. I heat the "leg" or "joint" i guess they are, and not the solder like people have been telling me, but, I cant seem to get it hot enough. How long should I have to hold it there for? I am using a broken CD players circuit board to practice on...and when I leave the iron on the leg or joint of the piece I am trying to reattach, the resistor or whatever I may be working on gets damn hot. I have a Weller 35 watt soldering iron and it seems to get very hot up almost to the hand, like the plastic attachment becomes hot enough to burn me a bit. Is that normal?

If you guys could help me out that would be great. Any advice you could give to a beginner too would be nice. I'll post again if I think of something else. Thanks
#2
i know nothing about soldering, but i know some stuff about metals.. i strongly advise against cooling the soldering tip with water because when you quickly cool metals the atomic structure changes.. and it could result in the tip breaking or becoming otherwise useless.
also, if this is like a pocket soldering iron or something that runs off electricity, water and electricity never go well together.

but i dont know anything about soldering.. so it could be different.
#3
The process of soldering in my experience (aka, 2 wires and a rewire of guitar electronics).

1) Plug in iron. Heat until solder melts when applied directly, easily.
2) Apply soldering iron to the component.
3) Apply solder to the joint (the junction between the soldering iron and the component).
4) Pull away when soldering job is complete (uses judgement and caution not to leave it on there too long).
5) Inspect solder after 10 seconds of cooling. Is it a ball or a spikey mass? Spikey=bad looking, clean it up. Are the components easily pulled away from the solder or the solder easily pulled away from the surface? If so, abrase (sp?) the area (sandpaper works) and flux it. Flux is a cleaning agent to have easier connectivity between solders.

And if it's only a bit of burning you experience when the soldering iron is touching you, your iron is obviously not hot enough from my experience. I touched hot solder last night and it easily burnt my finger to the point of a blister.

EDIT: Water is definately not a good idea. Let it cool in an area that will not be in contact with anything but the iron's base. It takes about 2 minutes or so for my iron to cool down.
#4
Quote by landloader

also, if this is like a pocket soldering iron or something that runs off electricity, water and electricity never go well together.


it's unplugged lol i was lucky and thought of that.

and with the burning, it's not the metal, it's like the handle.
#5
Quote by Maj_Tom
Hey there guys. I just rounded up all the tools and stuff I needed today to start practicing soldering and desoldering so I can build pedals with less mess. I just had a few questions about some pretty basic stuff...

When I unplug my iron, is it safe or wise to run the tip under some water to cool it off quicker? I have pets and stuff that like to jump up on counters, so I was wondering if that was okay to do to cool it down quicker. Also, I am having some trouble soldering correctly. I heat the "leg" or "joint" i guess they are, and not the solder like people have been telling me, but, I cant seem to get it hot enough. How long should I have to hold it there for? I am using a broken CD players circuit board to practice on...and when I leave the iron on the leg or joint of the piece I am trying to reattach, the resistor or whatever I may be working on gets damn hot. I have a Weller 35 watt soldering iron and it seems to get very hot up almost to the hand, like the plastic attachment becomes hot enough to burn me a bit. Is that normal?

If you guys could help me out that would be great. Any advice you could give to a beginner too would be nice. I'll post again if I think of something else. Thanks

I don't think cooling the the tip with water is advisable ... temperature differential is too big, might deform it.

The kit that came with your iron should tell you how long to wait for the tip to get sufficiently ready.

For practice, start with less dainty objects like clips and wire, instead of the CD parts or circuits.

My soldering iron's plastic handle doesn't get hot at all ...maybe yours has some kind of defect in the insulation?

It should also come with some kind of a clip that you attach to whatever you're soldering. This clip draws the heat instead of allowing it to flow to the heat-sensitive component (PU or capacitor or switch, etc.) Use it.

I have 2 dogs, one mellow and the other a spaz, they're sent out when I'm soldering.

TTT for more experienced electronics to give their tips/tricks.
#6
yeah no don't cool it with water

i have a question: what is most solder made of? is molten solder really hot, like third degree burn, or is it just really hot, as in a small blister? the reason i'm asking is if you need to wear protection, keep delicate items away, etc.
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#7
You have to use a heat sink on parts when you heat them up. Its a metal clip that you place in between the part and where you are soldering, so it doesnt overheat. If you are holding a 35watt soldering iron on a resistor for a long time, the resistor is definately dead by now. I use a 15watt soldering iron and still have to head sink it. You heat the part, but while heating you touch the solder to the part and iron a little.

Seek & Destroy: Its not molten hot. I dont really move anything away from it, or wear protection, but I usually put the materials in a cardboard box top. It cools and hardens almost immediately when you remove the iron from it. I have been burned by my soldering iron and it only really hurts for a second and burns a bit, but its not like any serious burn. Its usually rosin core with a flux outside. You can buy a creamy white substance called flux that you can dip parts, and solder into for a smooth solder connection. I recommend it, and the flux is only like $3.00USD for as much as you should need.
Last edited by call1800ksmyazz at Jul 19, 2006,
#8
solder is mostly tin and a little bit of silver, lead solder i think has been banned.

It is also extremely hot, a tiny bit on the skin won't kill you, but its a pretty painful bit.
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#9
Quote by Funky P
solder is mostly tin and a little bit of silver, lead solder i think has been banned.

It is also extremely hot, a tiny bit on the skin won't kill you, but its a pretty painful bit.


silver really? and if lead solder was banned ive been using illegal substances (the stuff i have is 20% tin 80% lead or vice versa cant remember atm) its old solder too tho ( prolly a good 10 yrs old...my dad dont solder much...i have been lately tho)
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#10
I'm not sure if it's a myth, but isn't lead solder more durable and conductive?
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#12
Californians...

on the back of the package of my soldering iron:
"WARNING: This product, when used for soldering or similar applications, produces chemicals known to the state of California to cause cancer and birth defects (or other reproductive harm)."

No one could make that up.

I got a blister from hot solder, as previously stated. Tiny bits of solder splashed on to me once when I was messing around with it and making "art". That was slightly painful.
#13
Solder is almost always 40/60
That's 40% lead, 60% tin. Otherwise it wouldn't melt. I could go into an explanation, but it's so much easier to tell you to look it up on google or wikipedia.

Also, make sure that you melt some solder onto your iron, then touch that "wetted" solder surface on your iron to the the part that's being soldered, then the solder you apply to the joint will melt like butter, touching a hot ass soldering iron. Otherwise you're transfering heat via a dry surface, which would take you forever.

Also... I don't know what you guys are talking about. I've never used heatsinks, never had a problem. It's only critical when you're soldering to heat sensitive components.

Although I did recently burn myself with a soldering iron when I accidentally tripped on the power cord and the iron flipped off the stand, (the shaft) bounced off my arm, and then (the tip) burned my thigh. It then proceeded to burn my carpet. Which really irritated me. Goddamn it.


As you can see, it's actually not that bad. Though I should've ran cold water or iced it or something, but, whatever.
Last edited by greenbox at Jul 20, 2006,
#14
i always get a spikey connection when i try to rewire my guitar and i cant help it im not sure what im doing wrong will a heat sink help hold the wire to the correct spot or what because i have problems getting a clean connection and getting the wire to stay in the same spot long enough for it to cool
#16
Quote by thefaceeater
i always get a spikey connection when i try to rewire my guitar and i cant help it im not sure what im doing wrong will a heat sink help hold the wire to the correct spot or what because i have problems getting a clean connection and getting the wire to stay in the same spot long enough for it to cool

Wherever possible tin the parts before you solder them,'Tinning' means applying a small amount of solder to the parts to be soldered before you attempt to solder them.
Here's an simple example :- connecting a speaker, strip a short length 1/4"(6mm) of the speaker wire and twist it, when you iron is hot make all three (iron, solder & wire) meet at the same time and run the iron and solder along the short section a bare wire, you will then see the copper wire turn silver, repeat this with the terminals on the speaker but don't block the holes in the terminals, insert the tinned wire into the terminal hole of the speaker, apply some solder to the iron and touch both components, as they are already tinned the solder will run onto both of them, don't leave the iron on the joint any longer than is neccessary.
The spring clips of a multimetre make excellent heat sinks when working with heat sensitive components.
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#17
Yea tinning is good for stuff, especially stranded wire. If you have the flux cream, you can dip the connection in that, and then tin it and the cream burns off, allowing a smooth flow of solder to cover the connection easily.
#18
I learnt my basic soldering skills in electronics classes at school. I used to enjoy it until i got bored and read the writing on the back of the solder reel and it said it may cause birth defects.
#19
Quote by stoat_toast
I learnt my basic soldering skills in electronics classes at school. I used to enjoy it until i got bored and read the writing on the back of the solder reel and it said it may cause birth defects.


Well are you having a baby?
#20
Quote by greenbox
Also, make sure that you melt some solder onto your iron, then touch that "wetted" solder surface on your iron to the the part that's being soldered, then the solder you apply to the joint will melt like butter, touching a hot ass soldering iron. Otherwise you're transfering heat via a dry surface, which would take you forever.

Also... I don't know what you guys are talking about. I've never used heatsinks, never had a problem. It's only critical when you're soldering to heat sensitive components.
Yeah, that's the technique I use and it works like a charm. I also want to buy this:

It heats up and cools down in a second, so it's not as dangerous as regular irons.
#24
matches and blowing is more effective than cold heat.

Cold and soldering are two things that should stay far away from eachother.
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#25
coldheat is a piece of ****.........it shorts out the iron which can damage the part and thats how it heats up and down so fast......also the tip is made out of graphite so it can break ****ing easy
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#26
Not graphite, it's some kind of new material, I believe Athalite, or somethign to that effect.

Anyway, solder isn't too bad to get burned by, but try to avoid your soldering iron at all costs.
I was sitting on my couch doing some work - yeah, i like to be comfortable while i work, okay?
and i definitely dropped my soldering iron onto my leg inadvertantly....Anyway, I didn't see it for a few seconds, and I didn't really feel it, until I smelled something burning....And I was looked down, and just had that kind "Holy Crip! He's a Crapple!" expression.
Soo....now I have this lovely inch or so burn on my leg.

Lesson here: Safety first, not comfort!
#28
That coldheat things supposed to be unuseful for electronics, it's supposed to be good for little things but not hot enough for something like constructing a large circuit.

Usually I just let my iron cool down on its own and just clean the tip as im working with a mildly damp sponge.

I've burned myself once with a soldering iron. I had to finish up my high school electronics assignment at home and was going crazy cause something wasn't working right and I had to keep unsoldering parts. I ended up touching the side of the iron with my finger definately hurt and I couldn't play guitar for two days. I found that an alovera plant definately helped with the burn.

I'm just curious for the starter of the thread. How do intend to practice solderig so you can build a pedal? Wouldn't building pedal be good practice on it's own?
#29
Quote by forsaknazrael
I was sitting on my couch doing some work - yeah, i like to be comfortable while i work, okay?
and i definitely dropped my soldering iron onto my leg inadvertantly....Anyway, I didn't see it for a few seconds, and I didn't really feel it, until I smelled something burning....And I was looked down, and just had that kind "Holy Crip! He's a Crapple!" expression.
Soo....now I have this lovely inch or so burn on my leg.

Lesson here: Safety first, not comfort!


be happy you didn't drop it on your balls?
#30
Stay away from the cold heat. It's a POS. I was soldering xlr ends on some mic cable, had about 20 of them to do. The f'n tip broke on the fourth one. So i had to go back to old trusty, the ten dollar iron I bought at radio shack like 10 years ago.
#32
Yesterday I burned myself again .

And why does the tip on my old sodering tip, that I used for 2 weeks, have a melted away dent type thing on one side? its like )\ instead of /\ . Wierd. I am using a new one now anyway though.
#33
Inhaling the rosin(flux) inside the solder is supposed to cause cancer(but what today doesn't?). And most solder in the US has lead AFAIK. The EU ROHS crap made it so lead solder is being phased out in Europe.
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#34
Quote by call1800ksmyazz
Yesterday I burned myself again .

And why does the tip on my old sodering tip, that I used for 2 weeks, have a melted away dent type thing on one side? its like )\ instead of /\ . Wierd. I am using a new one now anyway though.

That's just your soldering tip corroding away. It happens. That's why they sell new ones in store.
#35
That's kinda quick for it to corrode though...Maybe think of buying a different brand.
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#36
i think the cold heat thing is more for jewlery and things like that. i work at an arts/crafts store and thats what we sell it for. after reading the package, i decided that the thing wouldnt be good for anything electronic. and it just sounds like the thing doesnt work well at all. besides, even with my 40% off discount it still costs more than twice as much as an iron at radioshack. on a related note, i hate craft stores *shakes fist*
#37
Quote by Kutanmoogle
That's kinda quick for it to corrode though...Maybe think of buying a different brand.

Tips corrode away pretty fast. I wouldn't be surprised if you had to switch out tips after 3-5 major projects due to the corrosion. I mean major projects, not just swapping out humbuckers. Some tips ARE better than others however. I can tell you for a fact that copper is less susceptible to corrosion. Aluminum however doesn't fare as well (or whatever kind of tip it was, it could've been steel or something for all I know).
#38
or you could just take it out and grind a new point onto it.
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#39
Quote by metalmilitia74
or you could just take it out and grind a new point onto it.

Haha, I actually do that (i use toothed pliers and do a grip/grind kind of motion). Although, There's only so much you can get out of one tip. Plus replacements are pretty affordable anyway.