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Rrecommended Soldering Iron
#1
I have 6 of Kevins books but I can't see any mention of spec of soldering iron, size of tips or type/s of solder to use, tools to get? In Morgan Jones, Building Valve Amps, he mentions a thermostatically temperature controlled iron, typically 50 W as opposed to 12-25 W. He says best tip is conical with an oblique cut across the end to, produce an elliptical soldering surface. Width for a general tip he says 2.4mm, says need a range of tips.

He mentions the Weller " Magnastat"  which has a magnetic thermostat, these irons have tips that are available in different temperatures.

He also mentions earth bus-bars and the need for a more heavy duty iron to deal with these, he mentions the Weller 200 W iron.
Any advice much appreciated Smile

Have been studying Physics books from the local library, prior to working with Kevins books.

Thanks,
Peter.
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#2
Hey Peter Happy new year

Maybe I red your message wrong but it looks like you contradicted yourself. First you say KOC didn't give soldering iron details but then you list all the details he gave? I'm confused.I think the power of the iron is the most important thing. My soldering was kinda crappy until kevin told me to use a bigger iron then I had lass problems - with solder joints that is Big Grin

I think he's not a snob about brands but I also know he uses a Weller. think it's a WEP50 or something like that.

Peace
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#3
(01-15-2022, 10:52 PM)nauta Wrote: Hey Peter Happy new year

Maybe I red your message wrong but it looks like you contradicted yourself. First you say KOC didn't give soldering iron details but then you list all the details he gave? I'm confused.I think the power of the iron is the most important thing. My soldering was kinda crappy until kevin told me to use a bigger iron then I had lass problems - with solder joints that is Big Grin

I think he's not a snob about brands but I also know he uses a Weller. think it's a WEP50 or something like that.

Peace

Hi nauta,
Happy and Stay Safe New Year to you tooSmile
" First you say KOC didn't give soldering iron details but then you list all the details he gave? " The details on the iron were from Morgan Jones, amp building book.
Guy in town where I live, has a copy of Electromagnetism for Engineers: An Introductory Course by P.Hammond, author was a University lecturer in Electrical Engineering, guy selling it, had book when he was studying at Uni, said £5 for book, as a donation to towns Rotary club which he is a member of, so that's nice.
Book seems quite comprehensive, see Amazon UK for contents of book and not....... completely way over my head.
Will be interesting to see Kevins reply on iron choice etc.
Peace Smile
Peter.
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#4
Hi Guys

Nauta is correct about the soldering iron inasmuch as the power is the only important aspect: 50-60W is ideal for electronics work regardless of the construction method. Does more power help? Only if you can control the heat.

Conical tips are the best and they or a variant has a small flat area on one side - maybe that is called a "screw driver tip"? In any case, a fine-ish tip and fine solder work best to not overheat components.

Having a variable-output station is also not a requirement. It just happens that what is widely available are stations with variable output. A simple printed dial marking is adequate - no need to spring for a digital display. My soldering station is a Weller WES50. There is an article about soldering PCBs that details universal soldering techniques that will keep you from overheating components.

You can just as easily get fixed-output irons of 50W or 80W and as long as the tip is replaceable and those tips are available, then you are good to go. If you buy something from Aliexpress, say, get a spare and get the tips all at once since their offerings can change in the time it takes to receive the first order.

Have fun
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#5
I found this recent clip very useful in improving my soldering comfort level: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EN16Pi7p...Bottlehead
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#6
(01-19-2022, 11:19 AM)FabTone Wrote: I found this recent clip very useful in improving my soldering comfort level: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EN16Pi7p...Bottlehead

Cheers for that.
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#7
(01-17-2022, 08:34 PM)K O'Connor Wrote: Hi Guys

Nauta is correct about the soldering iron inasmuch as the power is the only important aspect: 50-60W is ideal for electronics work regardless of the construction method. Does more power help? Only if you can control the heat.

Conical tips are the best and they or a variant has a small flat area on one side - maybe that is called a "screw driver tip"? In any case, a fine-ish tip and fine solder work best to not overheat components.

Having a variable-output station is also not a requirement. It just happens that what is widely available are stations with variable output. A simple printed dial marking is adequate - no need to spring for a digital display. My soldering station is a Weller WES50. There is an article about soldering PCBs that details universal soldering techniques that will keep you from overheating components.

You can just as easily get fixed-output irons of 50W or 80W and as long as the tip is replaceable and those tips are available, then you are good to go. If you buy something from Aliexpress, say, get a spare and get the tips all at once since their offerings can  change in the time it takes to receive the first order.

Have fun

Spent quite a lot of time today  looking into soldering stations, irons. I was looking at a Weller W61D 60W 230V magnastat temperature controlled iron soldering Iron. Best price  in UK I could find, £93.17 inc delivery. Though tips for different temperatures are around £10 + a pop, might find cheaper if I look.

On Rob Robinettes site. https://robrobinette.com/How_To_Build_a_Tube_Amp.htm

He says, "  I'm a fan of the $99 Hakko FX888D soldering iron."Digital display £150 Amazon UK
I read the Amazon reviews, which sometimes should read with a pinch of saltSmile Also what was on YouTube, seems good kit but I just don't like the design, colour scheme, couldn't live with that. He says,"  I like to use 60/40 .031" solder for most amp soldering. " Should I get .031 and perhaps other diameters ?

The Weller WES50 is no longer in production I could only find a couple of second hand ones on Ebay. The WES50 has been replaced by the  Weller WE 1010 (T0053298399) 70W/230V WE Digital Soldering Station Kit with UK Plug, Temperature Range 100°C – 450°C  for £157.34 and other tips are cheaper. So I'm thinking of buying the Weller WE 1010?   Though I feel I don't really know enough about construction methods to make an informed decision.
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#8
Hi Guys

If you think the Amazon reviews are questionable, then know for sure that ebay reviews are distinctly biased and planted !!

Solder should be leaded. DO NOT use lead-free solder as you will never know if the connection is good without a low-resistance meter, and the carbon footprint of it is huge. Best to use eutectic solder, which is 63-37 mix. This skips the plastic state and goes right from solid to liquid, saving some heating time and potentially saving some components from over-heating.I use 0.8mm Kester 245-series solder. The rosin dries clear.

NEVER use flux removers. Wait until the rosin is hard and chip it off if you want a cleaner look.

NEVER use water-soluble flux solders.

Leaded solder is still used and approved and REQUIRED in many classes of equipment: high reliability, medical use, military, satellites, aviation.
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#9
Hi Guys

Above I mentioned that the construction method makes no difference to the iron choice. I am referring to typical "hobbyist" methods used to build guitar amps and audio equipment - so excludes surface-mounted components.

There is no "best iron for turret boards" and a "different best iron for eyelet boards", for example. Same goes with solder.

There is NEVER a reason to solder to the chassis itself or to the backs of pots. See TUT3.
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#10
I've had a Weller Station I used and liked for over 20 years - not sure of the model but it has the exchangeable tips for different temperatures. I bought a Hakko FX888 a couple of years ago with the adjustable temp and like it even more. Influenced by the audiophile community I bought a few spools of Eutectic Silver solder which was a mistake - it is harder to get flowing and it seems to damage the tips after only modest usage although that might not be the silver content?
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#11
Hi Guys

Silver solder is terrible stuff and should only be used if everything else is silver plated. Silver loves to react with oxygen and needs a lot of heat to flow properly.

A guy with an electron microscope told me about watching electron flow over and through different metal interfaces; that is, where two metals are in contact and a current is present. When all the metal pieces are silver the electrons flowed fairly smoothly, but was extremely erratic if any piece was replaced by anything nonsilver. he said there is no benefit to using some silver here and there; the entire path needs o be silver including transformer windings. Otherwise, the minuscule benefit is not attained - very expensive to chase that portion of a percent change.

Just look at how silver tarnishes.

"Eutectic" refers to the ratio needed for direct transition from solid to liquid mix and is the 63-37 I mentioned above. But get it with JUST lead and tin. Rosin core of course. Multi-core makes no difference and is more for marketing.
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#12
Thanks for the replies Kevin. I can get in the UK the 63-37 0.8mm you mention, not the same brand name. I was just going to get a 100gm spool, thinking that a little can go a long way. Then thinking, regards a good soldering technique and results I might need to practice, so instead get a 200gm spool.
and if making amps will need more anyway and 200gm is cheaper than 100gm.

Solder I'm looking at buying Ebay UK item number  403297716225
Might just buy a 100gm spool in UK and order a 2nd from China and save a couple of bucks 224667926601

Just found this one this one even, cheaper and buy 3 spools get a discount Smile 284494894526

Been spending quite a lot of time today looking into Greenlee and clone hole punches.
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#13
Hi Guys

I use Kester solder and I buy it from Digikey or Mouser.

Generally, when you want to know what you are getting it is best to buy form a broad-line electronics distributor Usually you can click on data sheets from their site and see the product details. Most ebay and Amazon sellers offer little to no information. Yes, you can suss many things out for yourself, and take a chance on a given vendor and see for yourself if what you receive is of the quality you require or desire.
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#14
(01-20-2022, 06:51 PM)K O'Connor Wrote: Hi Guys

I use Kester solder and I buy it from Digikey or Mouser.

Generally, when you want to know what you are getting it is best to buy form a broad-line electronics distributor Usually you can click on data sheets from their site and see the product details. Most ebay and Amazon sellers offer little to no information. Yes, you can suss many things out for yourself, and take a chance on a given vendor and see for yourself if what you receive is of the quality you require or desire.

Um ok, cheers for pointing that out, will look into that. Thanks.
Ps see Digikey in UK stock Kester solder.
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#15
(01-20-2022, 06:51 PM)K O'Connor Wrote: Hi Guys

I use Kester solder and I buy it from Digikey or Mouser.

Generally, when you want to know what you are getting it is best to buy form a broad-line electronics distributor Usually you can click on data sheets from their site and see the product details. Most ebay and Amazon sellers offer little to no information. Yes, you can suss many things out for yourself, and take a chance on a given vendor and see for yourself if what you receive is of the quality you require or desire.

Hi Kevin,
You said in and earlier post, " there is an article about soldering PCBs that details universal soldering techniques that will keep you from overheating components." Where is that article?
Thanks.
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#16
Hi Guys

Look under "Technical Articles" and scroll down to "PCB Stuffing Tips".

Have fun
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#17
(01-26-2022, 07:21 PM)K O'Connor Wrote: Hi Guys

Look under "Technical Articles" and scroll down to "PCB Stuffing Tips".

Have fun

OK thanks Smile
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