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Author Topic: Solder does not stick to iron after cleaning  (Read 2261 times)
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Oh, I see. Well most likely the dimmer is actually a rheostat anyway - at least I imagine this to be the case. By turning the nob you are adjusting the resistance and limiting current to the light. Less current through the bulb filament means less heat and therefore less light.

In this application you are limiting the current to the iron and effectively lowering its power consumption (by less current) thereby making its operating temperature lower.

Thanks for the link. I think I will try this myself.
« Last Edit: August 04, 2013, 10:02:39 pm by sherrellbc » Logged

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http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/ATTEN-SOLDERING-STATION-IRON-AT80D-80W-LEAD-FREE-1-Year-SILICON-WIRE-LED-DIGITAL-/271179915565?pt=AU_B_I_Electrical_Test_Equipment&hash=item3f2395212d


The Chinese are pumping out some decent stations for the price....
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Thanks for the link. My application of soldering is typically with very small ICs and discrete components. From what I read a lower power soldering iron is preferable. I was actually suggested a 15W, but I elected instead for the 25W version. It seems to work nicely when I can get it to.
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I'd say you have one of these it's a great iron put a $5.00 dollar dimmer on it and you'll Love it.
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I use a 15w iron like below. When the tip gets oxidized it won't wet easily. Not sure of the best way to deoxidize a tip. I usually give in and get a new tip if steel wool, etc., won't remove the oxidation.

http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2062728&retainProdsInSession=1
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Thanks for the link. My application of soldering is typically with very small ICs and discrete components. From what I read a lower power soldering iron is preferable. I was actually suggested a 15W, but I elected instead for the 25W version. It seems to work nicely when I can get it to.

No, low power irons are _horrible_, they cannot keep a constant temperature under load, so they are either
too hot or too cold - thus they make unreliable joints.  40 to 60W *with temperature control* is what you need
to get good results everytime.  Also the sort with a ceramic shaft are too delicate IMO.

It doesn't matter how small the component, if its soldered to a ground-plane you will need that high-power
iron to bring it up to temperature.
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Listen to MarkT. I've been soldering for a long time. You can struggle with low power irons for a long time, then get a temp controlled iron and  kick yourself for all that wasted time spent trying to get a cheap crappy iron to work. I used fixed power irons for quite a long time, the temperature goes up and down with the temp in the room, random breezes, how large the PCB traces are, etc.

I'll never buy a Radio Shack soldering iron again.

A temperature controlled iron is absolutely necessary for lead-free solder.

As for asking a Radio Shack salesmen for advice, their motto should be: "You have questions, we have blank looks."
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I wanted to avoid using this stuff solely based on the harmful health effects of inadvertently inhaling it.

You're not geting hot enough to vaporize lead.  Anything you breathe will be flux, and lead-free flux is on average nastier than tin-lead flux.

Lead free requires a lead-free tip and iron (for the fluxes and the hotter temperatures).

Most flux does eventually go bad.

Use lead solder, keep it out of your mouth, and wash your hand when you're done.

-j
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The iron the OP has I'm sure it's the same as I posted It's a very well made but like the OP has found out it gets to dam hot to fast.

I've used a lot of irons in the last 40 years there all been usable some better then the rest but still usable big stuff big iron.
But the one were talking about is able to over heat way to fast and make the tip hard to clean. But like any thing if you learn your tools they become usable.

I slapped a dimmer on mine and its ten times better then any I've used  over the years I think they under rated it it's hotter then a 40 watt I use on grounds. And it can handle the same jobs easy.

I first got mine just because it was on sale for half price and had a nice case for my tool box on the truck. It solder two 12 gauge wires like butter till it sat in the holder then you had to clean it with tip cleaner.  I pull out a work box and a outlet and dimmer from my part box and made a cheap controller for it after a hour and two kinds of solder I tamed her down. It's better then a weller at work that cost over $400 and I have $24 in it. 
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If the tip isn't designed for lead-free, the tip will be trash quickly.  I've seen it here at work.

Sticking a rheostat (light dimmer) inline just reduces the maximum output power.  While better than nothing, it's still not as good as proper temperature control with a temp sensor in the tip (I've done it both ways).

-j
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A little off-topic here, but I was wondering why it seems that everyone spends so much time cleaning their soldering irons, when all it does is make them stop working as well?
I have a soldering iron that must be 30-40 years old (it's a second-hand iron that I got for free), and probably hasn't been cleaned at all during that time. I use it frequently, and it seems to work just fine without being cleaned.  I don't have one of those fancy iron-holders, and my soldering area is the bottom of an old cookie sheet, where the top has rusted from years of being a tray to catch the runoff if somebody accidentally over-watered the flowers.
I have never bought flux in my life, except for the small amount that RadioShack puts into their solder.  I use Lead-Free solder currently, not because of some notion about saving the earth, but simply because it was on sale for 1$/oz. (I use an old house fan to clear away the fumes from the little flux that is inside, I hate the smell.)

Evidently my set-up is far cheaper than everyone else's (including be80be's 24$ iron), so I think I have managed to prove that soldering irons don't really need much TLC to work (and continue working for several decades, at that).
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Just for the road it's not a Rheostat dimmer they are big and wast power as heat and are not stable for this.

Im using a Thyristor dimmer
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Thyristor (and briefly, thyratron) dimmers were introduced to solve some of these problems. Thyristor dimmers switch on at an adjustable time (phase angle) after the start of each alternating current half-cycle, thereby altering the voltage waveform applied to lamps and so changing its RMS effective value. Because they switch instead of absorbing part of the voltage supplied, there is very little wasted power. Dimming can be almost instantaneous and is easily controlled by remote electronics.
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Just for the road it's not a Rheostat dimmer they are big and wast power as heat and are not stable for this.

Im using a Thyristor dimmer

Doesn't matter which type dimmer you're using; a rheostat is simply limiting the amount of power going into the iron without regard to tip temperature.  It is a poor replacement for control with feedback that you get with a good quality iron.

-j
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I agree with kg4wsv. Seriously, use an actual temperature controlled iron, it makes all the difference in the world.
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A little off-topic here, but I was wondering why it seems that everyone spends so much time cleaning their soldering irons, when all it does is make them stop working as well?
Got some evidence for that last bit?

Crud on the tip cuts down on the amount of heat transferred to the solder joint, and can also deposit said crud onto/into the solder joint.  Either produces a poorer quality joint.

A clean tip works better.  I didn't notice this as much with my $12 radio shack iron, but with a good iron you can.

-j
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