tools you'd use

hey! this is for a school prject so i need an answer, i was thinking of making an all in one soldering kit which is portbale. so it would have everything from the soldering iron to an exhaust... all the soldering essenetials needed. so i wanted to know if you guys would be interested in buying it so that i can determine if its commercially viable or not. also any suggestions/tips are welcome :) (Y)

Many of the members here are long into electronics and would have their own tools already. I personally would not buy a kit as I have my preferences as to what I want.

There is a fine line between what is essential and what is excess in tool kits. An extractor may be nice but it is not essential for the cost involved. Especially for beginners.

Your experience in electronics would probably not be sufficient to know what are good or bad tools. I would not use cheap tools. The tools I use would be well beyond the affordability of a student!

Weedpharma

Hi,
Desoldering Braid…http://www.radioshack.com/desoldering-braid/6402090.html#.VQfSWo6Udv8

Tip Cleaner…https://www.sparkfun.com/products/8966

Solder Roll…http://uk.rs-online.com/web/p/solders/0551665/

Tom… :slight_smile:

Temperature controlled soldering iron.

Sharp side cutters. (For Electronics, not electrical)

Small tip pliers

Isopropyl for cleaning off flux.

Soldering is one of the black arts that takes practice to do correctly. Get some old circuit boards and practice removing and replacing the components.

One of the main problems is the time the tip is in contact with the job. Too much time and you risk over heating the component or damaging the board. Too little time and you end up with a "dry joint" where the solder does not melt correctly to the component or board.

Make sure the iron is in contact with both the component and board so both are heated together and the solder will flow on both.

A correctly soldered joint has solder that resembles a ski slope with medium slope. If you end up with what looks like a sphere, you probably have a dry joint as the solder has only melted onto the component lead and not to the board.

Weedpharma

Edit: also make sure the leads and board are bright and shiny clean.

weedpharma: Soldering is one of the black arts that takes practice to do correctly. Get some old circuit boards and practice removing and replacing the components.

Good suggestion ! Removing components with a solder iron can be quite hard though. It isn't the best solution, since you will probably ruin components, but it's quite easy to remove components by desoldering 'm all at once. Just place the PCB in an old (!) oven, heat it up until the solder liquefies and wipe all components from the board. You can use a heat gun as well.

Seeing what you're doing is quite important by the way. It isn't very portable, but a magnifying glass like this is perfect for the job since you'll have a good light and you can check connections while... soldering, instead of when you're finished.

You could use a "third hand" for that as well. Personally (having worked in professional PCB-assembly) I think there are better solutions, using a large magnifying glass is much easier, certainly when you're soldering for hours and hours, but something like this might be nice as well.

You don't really need it to get the job done, but I would suggest a small fan to blow away the fumes as well.

The magnifying lamp is now one of my essential tools! Oh to have my younger eyes back!

Weedpharma

For a while I've used a $10 radioshack iron. A temperature controlled iron is much better. It's expensive though. I have hakko FX888D and weller wd1m with WMP solder pencil. The hakko is $100. The weller is $350. The price is commensurate with quality and comfort and choices of accessories warranty etc. I would recommend either one of them depending on your budget. If you will continue on electronics, either iron will serve you well. A combo tool will appeal to you but will likely break down so you are left with some working functions and rest are dead. I strongly suggest you not to get unknown brand stuff for the price and features. If you need ultimate portability, get a weller battery powered iron for around $25. You can solder up to 200 junctions on one set of fresh battery. I have a couple of those. Their tips are much better than the radioshack ones, which have to be replaced every few months under light to moderate use.

liudr: .........Their tips are much better than the radioshack ones, which have to be replaced every few months under light to moderate use.

Definitely go for a plated tip iron for this reason.

Weedpharma

weedpharma: The tools I use would be well beyond the affordability of a student!

Most things I have spent quite a bit on, however sometimes the big brands are just a rip off. I bought an automatic wire stripper for $6 once, it was excellent. I lost it while moving a few years later, so I ordered another one and still have it today.

Very well made tool. The cheapest I could find locally was $30 and it was quite flimsy.

Still can find them for the 6-7 dollar mark (beware there are similar looking cheapies which are rubbish). http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/400670267171

And here is someone trying to get $22 for the same thing (same item different logo): http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/301552388164

weedpharma: Definitely go for a plated tip iron for this reason.

Weedpharma

The plating of a radioshack tip is very thin. It wears down and the copper tip gets eaten by the solder quickly. The plating on a weller portable iron seems much thicker. I did manage to damage a weller tip on my wd1m. A part of the tip (chisel) chipped off. I didn't know when. Could have been due to damage during transportation when I gave a workshop. A radioshack tip is $3, Hakko $6 and weller $12 ;)

Hi, I have the 9000S http://thermaltronics.com.au/index.php/soldering-systems Curie point thermal system.

Unfortunately it's mass does not make it portable.

We would all like lots of stuff in our kit, but portable does hone down the numbers, I don't want to hike it around in a rucksack. :)

Tom..... :)

I find my magnifier visor to be far more useful than a stand magnifier. I got sick of moving things into view. Wherever I look, I only need to get my distance right which my Mark 1 neck manages for me.

Strong reading glasses or a clip on are other easy view options.

If you try to solder one of these resistors you play "chase the component" as it flicks up and around as the soldering iron touches it.

However it can be done. :)

(That big white thing above it is a grain of rice).

Do you use hot tweezers for that?

[quote author=Nick Gammon link=msg=2162329 date=1427610220] If you try to solder one of these resistors you play "chase the component" as it flicks up and around as the soldering iron touches it.

However it can be done. :)

(That big white thing above it is a grain of rice). [/quote]

I would not even try with something that small.

Weedpharma

Why would anybody try to solder rice?

liudr: Do you use hot tweezers for that?

No I didn't. I used (ordinary) tweezers initially, and tried to butt the resistor up against something and dob solder on the other end. It usually flew up at that point, pointing at the ceiling. I then tapped it back down into place using my hand holding the solder (with the solder, of course, not my finger).

Why would anybody try to solder rice?

Have you heard of puffed rice?

Use curved tweezers in the reverse profile position to grip the component. Flux all PCB pads to receive the component. Melt solder on ONE pad only, heat the solder then slide the SMD into place. Solder the other pad(s)