[vcf-midatlantic] Soldering Temp and Gauge Wire?

Chris Fala chrisjpf33 at gmail.com
Wed Mar 11 09:09:49 EDT 2020

To protect the tip of the iron and keep it working efficiently for a long
time, keep it tinned (coated with solder) while it is sitting idle,
otherwise the heat will cause the tip to oxidize and solder won't flow
properly. Wipe the excess solder off with the damp sponge immediately
before soldering something, and then re-tin it right before setting it
down. I have used the same tip for years.

Temperature setting is based on solder alloy. Before Lead became
restricted, the "perfect" solder alloy for electronics manufacturing was
63% Tin and 37% Lead. Typically, the iron should be around 700°F-750°F. You
might be able to work with it at 650°F, but then you might be tempted to
hold the iron on the workpiece too long and that will cause more damage
than higher temperature. Lead-free solder requires higher temperatures,
probably 750°F and up. I don't recommend it for inexperienced solderers. To
avoid health issues when using Lead solder, just wash your hands frequently
and don't put the solder in your mouth. Also, electronics solder should
have a flux core. Generally, more flux is better, and sometimes it makes
sense to add flux in addition to what is in the solder. Just clean the
board afterwards if there is a lot, but trust me, flux is your friend.

This excellent video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IpkkfK937mU is one of
the best explanations of the proper way to solder that I have found.
Honestly, 99% of the people I see on YouTube soldering suck at it. My
opinion is based on 30+ years of soldering professionally and personally.

I hope this was helpful and I didn't go off on too much of a tangent from
your question.

On Wed, Mar 11, 2020 at 8:40 AM Neil Cherry via vcf-midatlantic <
vcf-midatlantic at lists.vcfed.org> wrote:

> On 3/11/20 8:06 AM, Bill Degnan via vcf-midatlantic wrote:
> > Everyone will give their opinion.  Start with 80% and gage how easily
> > solder is melted to the component on the board.  Its really up to you.  A
> > good tip is just as important.  Quality solder too.  Higher quality,
> lower
> > temp needed.
> > Bill
> Tip one, keep the tip clean (clean it before you put it away. Get someone
> to show
> you how to keep it clean. I prefer the wet sponge, others the 'brillo
> ball' (it
> looks like a huge ball of coiled metal).
> Tip two, never use sand paper or anything abrasive to clean the tip. Now
> you see
> why I prefer the wet sponge.
> Tip two, NEVER use the soldering iron tip to melt plastic. It's really
> difficult
> to get that junk out of the tip. If you want to melt something like heat
> shrink
> use the barrel of the soldering iron.
> Tip three: if you smell chicken, your holding the wrong end of the
> soldering iron
> ;-). Never ever attempt to catch the soldering iron if it falls.
> --
> Linux Home Automation         Neil Cherry       ncherry at linuxha.com
> http://www.linuxha.com/                         Main site
> http://linuxha.blogspot.com/                    My HA Blog
> Author of:      Linux Smart Homes For Dummies

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