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Re: no longer melts solder with tip....
You have burned out residue on the tip. Clead it off with a damp cloth when the iron is hot. If this doesn't get it all, use steel wool. Immediately afterwards, get flux & solder onto the tip or it will get coated again.
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If you are a DiY kind of person, chances are you get in there and put your finger on a problem. I hope this tutorial expands you DiY toolkit. My intention is to present you with basic instructions for tackling soldering tasks. For this tutorial, I will be using: Chem-Wik Rosin solder wick, size .100; Tenma Rosin core, 1.0mm, 60/40 solder, a wet paper towel and my trusty 45watt Hakko soldering iron. I will demonstrate the removal and re-installation of a defective capacitor on a Samsung power supply.
Please view my poor video to see a full demonstration of the techniques detailed below.
Prep: Allow your iron to heat for a few minutes until the tip will readily melt solder, then tin the iron and clean the tip with the folded wet paper towel.
Soldering is a form of welding, metals mix to form strong bonds. In the past years, the industry has mover away from lead alloy solders due to environmental concerns. I however, recommend them for repair purposes due to the lower melting temperature and ease of use.
The PCB board I will demonstrate on is a new PCB so the solder does not flow very easily. I will add my lead alloy solder to the terminals prior to beginning the removal process. This will allow the solders to mix and create a more fluid solder which is easier to work with and which will wick away more easily.
I then heat 1 solder junction and gentle push the component over, so that the leg I am heating becomes clear of the solder junction. I repeat this process on the other solder junction and the component is free of the PCB.
By applying the solder wick to the junction first, we are able to heat the wick which will in turn heat the solder. This method will allow the hot wick to melt and wick the solder from the copper pad of the PCB. You may need to repeat this, using a clean spot on the wick, to remove all the solder from the pad. Repeat this process for the second pad.
I then insert the new part, paying close attention to the polarity (if needed) and fold the legs over once the part is fully seated. This will hold it in place as you solder the component in place.
The most sure method of soldering is to first, apply heat to the junction of the component and the PCB with the iron. Then apply the solder to the junction of the iron, PCB and component. Never apply solder to the iron and then glob it to the part, this will cause a poor electrical connection. When you have applied sufficient solder to the junction, remove the solder and then gently slide your iron tip up the component leg and away from the junction in one light sweeping motion. Your solder should be shiny and appear wet... this is a good solder junction.
I then trim the legs from the part as close as possible; so that they do not cause an electrical short.
This concludes "Soldering on the kitchen table, Class 101"
You need a small soldering iron no greater than 15 watts. Plus some good quality radio solder.
The operation is simple. Get the iron hot so that it will melt the solder. Then find the dry joints on the unit. All you have to do is heat the solder joints till they melt. Be careful not to let the solder flow into other joints and make connections that should not be made. If you do they will need to be undone using a de-soldering tool, which you can get the same time as the iron. I like the red vacuum bulb type best. If you need to add more solder do so while the iron is on the melted joint. Only apply the iron for a short time to avoid heating the components or damaging the solder tracks. Just to get it to melt.
try reshaping the tip to a dull point with a file or grinder. Then heat it up and apply solder onto the bare copper tip coating it completely. you can clean the excess off with a wet sponge. This is called "Tinning" tthe tip.
This is a common problem with this vintage Chrysler gauge cluster. To DIY repair yourself... it's easy, don;t worry: You need a low watt soldering iron... 25-35 watt. Do NOT use a high powered soldering gun or you will ruin the electronics!!! Remove the gauge cluster from the instrument panel. There will be several philips head screws you will need to take out. Be gentle on the plastic as it become brittle with age! After you get the entire cluster out... you will note it has one or perhaps 2 electrical connectors on the back side. Carefully disconnect those. Take the gauge cluster to the place where you'll be soldering and have some small screwdrivers to remove the circuit board from the gauge housing. Hold the circuit board by the edges. On the front side on the board, locate the corresponding soldering pins to the main connector in the center of the gauge assembly. Heat up your soldering iron and touch to the iron to each pin connection on the front side of the circuit board to reflow the solder. (DO NOT TRY TO DO this from the plastic connector side on the gauge assembly, as you will melt the plastic connector ruining it. and it may not melt the solder all the way through to the connection on the front side (inside the gauge). Reinstall the gauge and it will work fine for you.
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Consider the wattage of the soldering iron. A good soldering iron will have wattage of 80 to 150. A wattage of lower than 80 is not ideal for stained glass. You need a soldering iron that will melt the solder fast enough for your project. Consider the type of temperature control you want. Some irons will have a temperature control built in the tip. When the temperature drops, it will turn on and when the temperature is reached, it will turn off. Other soldering irons have a built-in rheostat. You control the temperature by turning the dial up or down. A separate rheostat can be purchased to plug your soldiering iron into. Rheostats are highly recommended. This lets you match your temperature to your soldering style and allow you to do decorative effects.
Consider the heating element. There are two types of elements, ceramic or wire-wrapped. Ceramic core irons maintain heat more efficiently than wound wire heaters. In a ceramic core, the heater core extends into the tip for faster heat transfer. This will keep the tip hot for a longer period so you can work quickly and faster. Ceramic irons maintain their temperature longer and heat up within 30 to 60 seconds.
Consider the weight of the soldering iron. You want a soldering iron that is lightweight and balanced. You will have less fatigue when using a lightweight soldering iron at long stretches of time. Check to see if it fits your hand comfortably. Check to see if it has a good rubber cushion for your hand.
Check for the ease of changing tips on your soldering iron. When soldering stained glass, you want to match your tip to the technique you want to use. There are a variety of tips on the market for soldering irons, and you want to be able to change them easily.
Check the soldering iron to see if it has a heavy-duty cord and a three-prong plug. You want a grounded three-prong plug to prevent the possibility of shock.
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What probably happened is that the tip oxidized (typically made of copper) and the oxidation layer is a very poor conductor. You should be able to go on Google or Amazon and find a new tip for your iron. They cost about $5 and it should be good as new.
I would also recommend tinning your tip everytime you are done soldering. All you have to do is put enough solder on the tip to cover it (usually only about 1/2") and then turn off the iron and let the solder dry. This will help prolong the life of the new tip.
# Never touch the element or tip of the soldering iron.
They are very hot (about 400°C) and will give you a nasty burn.
# Take great care to avoid touching the mains flex with the tip of the iron.
The iron should have a heatproof flex for extra protection. An ordinary plastic flex will melt immediately if touched by a hot iron and there is a serious risk of burns and electric shock.
# Always return the soldering iron to its stand when not in use.
Never put it down on your workbench, even for a moment!
# Work in a well-ventilated area.
The smoke formed as you melt solder is mostly from the flux and quite irritating. Avoid breathing it by keeping you head to the side of, not above, your work.