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Old 23 May 2019, 17:57   #21
Hewitson
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Originally Posted by wiz12 View Post
Is there any difference in quality of solders types e.g. would lead-free solder be as good as normal solder?
I personally find lead free solder horrible to work with. Higher melting temperature, and the joints look dull even if they're good.

Also it's generally not recommended to mix leaded and lead-free solders.
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Old 23 May 2019, 17:59   #22
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It's not about the quality of the solder as such; leaded solder is easier to work when doing manual repairs, and it's also the same type as was originally used on the Amigas as covered earlier in the thread.

Lead-free is used in newly manufactured products because of environmental concerns.
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Old 23 May 2019, 18:41   #23
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Yep, and it's generally not advised to mix different solder types, so it's probably best to stick to tin/lead solder for Amiga stuff. As said, the melting point of lead-free is higher, which means longer soak times or higher temperatures (or both), which increases the risk of causing other problems.

You do, however, get different qualities of solder, even if it's nominally the same composition. The included flux can vary in quality and quantity, impurities cause problems with melting points and adhesion, and being further away from the ideal mix of 63/37 tin/lead can cause difficulty forming good joints, particularly when hand soldering. There are some known good brands of solder that it's generally a good idea to stick to to avoid issues.
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Old 23 May 2019, 20:12   #24
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Ignore this crap about sanding my tips. Obviously I have some kind of rabies. My doctor is seeing me next week. Please treat your tips with respect.

Something else i'd add, and only because it seems like me you're going to be using a budget soldering station... Grab some decent tip replacements if it takes a standard hakko type fitting, and what I do is I have a sanding block in my drawer, and every couple of days of use I give the tip a good sand/polish with the sanding block. Make sure you tin the tip straight after, mind, but I do find that this helps to replenish a tip somewhat.

You may not need to do this though - i need some better quality tips, really. There's an example of what I mean attached.

I only mention this because it might not be apparent at first just how huge a difference a nice bright, tinned iron tip can make.

John

Last edited by project23; 24 May 2019 at 13:34.
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Old 23 May 2019, 20:51   #25
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Sounds like you have some really terrible tips, if you ever have to use sandpaper.

If the tin stops sticking, there is a special tip refresher paste available that will rejuvenate it.
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Old 23 May 2019, 21:05   #26
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You probably shouldn't be sanding your soldering iron unless it looks something like this



All even semi-modern electronics soldering irons have plated tips, i.e. iron/nickel on top of the copper. They are quite durable when treated with care, and definitely should not be sanded (the plating will obviously be removed by doing so). Iron does not dissolve into the molten solder, but copper does, so once the plating is gone the tip will erode quite quickly and require more sanding or filing.
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Old 23 May 2019, 22:50   #27
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Perhaps its time for some replacement tips then. The ones I have are the cheap ones that came with it.

Disregard sanding advice! Lol

I'll have a look into that past you mentioned, jope... Any suggested brands?

I think these are hakko style tips so I'll just replace them. The iron isn't bad at all really, it just came with some real crappy tips.

Cheers,

John
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Old 24 May 2019, 00:28   #28
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Yeah, the tip can make or break an iron. The coatings on a decent tip are quite resilient, so you should get years out of a good one which makes it worth while spending the extra few quid. Regular, frequent cleaning in brass shavings or on a damp sponge, and retinning with flux-cored solder should be all you need for the life of the tip. Lead-free solder does tend to eat away the coating quicker I find, and is generally less eager to coat the tip, but don't worry about that.

If they're Hakko style, you can always go for genuine Hakko tips. Otherwise, Weller or Antex are both decent names if they fit.
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Old 24 May 2019, 01:01   #29
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Yeah I think next week i'll pick up a set of good tips. It's a long time coming really.

Before I got into this hobby, the only soldering i ever did was with an old 30w straight-into-the-wall soldering iron, and since I used to sand that down before use i guess i started doing it with this one without really thinking.

They're bad tips, mind, but i probably would have gotten longer out of them now i think about it if i hadn't done that.



Ah well, ya live ya learn

John
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Old 24 May 2019, 08:59   #30
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I don't have any favourites, there's a million different kinds. :-)

Perhaps go for a brand name like Weller or Hakko instead of some no-name stuff from aliexpress.

https://www.amazon.com/WELLER-005130.../dp/B005T9CVN6
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Old 24 May 2019, 10:09   #31
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Sanding a tip will absolutely destroy it. They rely on a magnetic coating to which the solder adheres to, once this is gone, the tip is useless.

If you're sanding your tips, then to be perfectly honest, you're using a cheap shitty soldering station. No excuses for this when a Hakko can be bought so cheaply (as can replacement tips, although a genuine Hakko tip should last a lifetime for a hobbyist).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Deadalus
Otherwise, Weller or Antex are both decent names
Yes, unless you want a mains fuse to protect your house from burning down!

Last edited by Hewitson; 24 May 2019 at 10:15.
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Old 24 May 2019, 10:16   #32
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Yeah, like I said - time for some new tips.

The station isn't actually half bad, though obviously a Hakko would perform better. It's on my list. But I wouldn't have been able to assemble the boards i've assembled if it was utterly terrible.

For now i'll grab some new tips. Later i'll grab a Hakko or the like.

EDIT: Lets keep this on topic now guys, eh? It's clear i shouldn't have been sanding my tips, and it's clear that my developing this habit was a bit of an idiot moment on my part. It's been said now, though, rightly called out by a few people and i have corrected myself. What we certainly don't need here is a load of replies simply repeating the above and adding nothing of value.

Last edited by project23; 24 May 2019 at 10:54.
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Old 24 May 2019, 12:43   #33
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Here I am again guys... STILL confused.

Went to the electronics store, asked for "solder paste" (in my language by the way, that should equal to "pasta salda" assuming there's some other people from Italy here that might need to correct me)

I was expecting a syringe or something like that, instead I got a small plastic can, with a "deoxidant" label on it (again, "disossidante" in my language)

Asked the clerk why this product wasn't being sold in a syringe and he said "nope, that would be flux".

Problem is, if I search for "flux" in my language, I often get "deoxidant" as a result.

Now, I'm definitely even more confused than before, because I thought flux and paste were two totally different things, with the latter basically being a substitute for solder, i.e. for this.

It's a bit frustrating thinking you actually grasped a concept, only to realize you got it wrong (?)
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Old 24 May 2019, 12:53   #34
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https://dictionary.reverso.net/engli...n/solder+paste

Hard to say. Perhaps you need to go to a different electronics store or shop online.

Deoxidant could be tip rejuvenator or flux.
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Old 24 May 2019, 12:59   #35
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Perhaps you need to go to a different electronics store or shop online.
I think I'll go this route, asking here *before* I commit to a purchase.

Luckily it wasn't particularly expensive, just a couple of euros... but of course I definitely want to understand what I am doing!
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Old 24 May 2019, 13:17   #36
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Yeah i'd say shop online. If your electronics stores over there are anything like ours were (they recently closed), the guy probably didn't know what he was talking about.

That being said, a google image search does bring up some solder paste in 'tubs'.

What exactly does the product you bought look like? Are you able to get a picture up?

John
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Old 24 May 2019, 13:59   #37
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Perhaps confusingly, you can get both flux and solder paste in both syringes and tubs. But they're definitely, definitely different things If you bought flux, that will come in useful at some point anyway so no harm done.

I would suggest going for a small syringe of paste, because solder paste generally has a shelf life that makes it more difficult to work with after time, and a larger tub of paste will only result in 95% of it being wasted. This is what I use, should be available from Farnell / Element 14 in Italy too. With flux (and paste) you generally want to go for "no-clean", even though you should still clean it away afterwards, because other flux is more corrosive and *must* be carefully and thoroughly cleaned away to prevent damage to the parts.

Paste should ideally be refrigerated to extend its life, but naturally you'll have to be very careful to avoid contaminating your food if you keep it in your domestic fridge.
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Old 27 May 2019, 17:10   #38
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This is what I use, should be available from Farnell / Element 14 in Italy too.
That's great!

I'm leaning towards this one because it seems the SMD capacitors needed for the recap are slightly cheaper there... but of course feel free to correct me if this is not actually a comparable product!

[by the way... I wonder if I should move the general advice discussion to the sticky soldering thread, or if it is acceptable to keep everything in this thread - any moderator that might want to chime in?]

Quote:
Originally Posted by project23 View Post
What exactly does the product you bought look like? Are you able to get a picture up?
Yes, sure.
Please see attached photos.

[I'm also adding the photo of the flux I had already purchased, that should be fine according to the previous replies]

Unfortunately, it's all written in italian and I think there's nothing on the label about the components, unless I'm missing something.
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Old 27 May 2019, 17:54   #39
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Yeah, it's solder paste alright, a slightly different composition with 2% silver which isn't necessary, but is fine to use instead of straight 63/37.

The other stuff looks like flux. The small tube looks like standard no-clean flux (though I can't guarantee that), and the paste looks like more active flux. I would read the instructions / data sheet carefully for that one. If it says it needs to be cleaned off afterwards, it really needs to be thoroughly cleaned!
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Old 27 May 2019, 18:13   #40
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the paste looks like more active flux. I would read the instructions / data sheet carefully for that one.
Unfortunately it says absolutely... nothing, the writing is just a huge warning list (might have to do with local regulation regarding this kind of products), I think it might be a good idea to just avoid using it.

Thanks again!
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