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Old 09-03-2011, 06:45 PM   #11
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Default Re: Soldering tools and items

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Originally Posted by Teny View Post
Alright, cool. I better write these things down before I head down there. Hopefully I can find everything I need there.

I don't really have any projects in mind. People always told me soldering is a nice skill to know. So I just thought I better buy them while I still have the money.
Acquire an old VCR (doesn't matter if functional) and desolder, then resolder all the capacitors. It's a great way to learn, and you cannot damage anything of value.

EDIT: IDK if this has been said or not, but you should probably buy the smallest gauge solder available. The larger stuff is great for certain things, but it's impossible to use with small electronic components. Also, don't buy lead free. That stuff is crap.
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Old 09-03-2011, 09:38 PM   #12
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Default Re: Soldering tools and items

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you should probably buy the smallest gauge solder available. The larger stuff is great for certain things, but it's impossible to use with small electronic components. Also, don't buy lead free. That stuff is crap.
I concur.
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Old 09-05-2011, 08:56 AM   #13
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Default Re: Soldering tools and items

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Also, don't buy lead free. That stuff is crap.
Definitely - I never got on with that stuff...
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Old 09-07-2011, 11:56 AM   #14
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Default Re: Soldering tools and items

to be honest you would struggle to find leaded solder any more.
even thought you're in America, which doesn't have ROHS.

Basically, it's now illegal to commercially manufacture circuit boards containing lead now in any country signed up to the directive, (all of europe) Japan has their own version.
most people don't solder pipes with lead any more either. (due to it's toxic nature).
without commercial people using leaded solder any more, it's getting manufactured less, and is getting more difficult to find.


Also, the "helping hands" posted above.

I've got one of those. and personally I dislike it.

The clips aren't strong enough and the base isn't heavy enough to work with anything large, and yet at the same time the clips are too big and difficult to position to work with anything small, the magnifying glass (2" diameter) is too small and the metal band around the outside of it is too thick so it gets in the way.

I'd really suggest just working on a table, and protecting the top with an old piece of wood, if you need to hold your work in place the little crocodile clips can be used without a stand. and if you really need a magnifying glass I suggest buying one of those made with a 5" diameter lens that don't have a border around the outside at all and clip to tables with goosenecks that let you position them wherever you like.
they are available from craft shops as they are really made for grannys doing cross stitch.
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Old 09-07-2011, 01:11 PM   #15
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Default Re: Soldering tools and items

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to be honest you would struggle to find leaded solder any more.
even thought you're in America, which doesn't have ROHS.
Like 90% of the solder at radioshack has lead in it. It's not hard to find.
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Old 09-07-2011, 02:08 PM   #16
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Default Re: Soldering tools and items

meh,

when I say struggle...
I can buy it online no problem.

but if i walk into my local hardware store they have 1 small tube of multicore brand lead free solder (priced far too high for my liking). if I want 60/40 lead tin solder, there I can buy 1/4" thick plumbing solder for installing central heating, but i can't really use that for electronics.

If I walk into Maplin (which is the uk equivalent of radio shack) I can't get 60/40 lead tin solder... (at all, in shop or online)

Personally I've never had a problem with lead free solder, I wonder if other people have, was it the specific brand of solder, their soldering iron, or their soldering technique that was to blame?

I guess what I'm saying is.
Leaded solder isn't as easy to find as it was ten or twenty years ago. and I have a feeling that trend will continue, until it really is impossible to get.
as I said, in America this might not be a problem. but not everybody who reads here is American.

I'd still say just learn to solder properly with lead free solder though. it's not difficult. it is different, it is more difficult... but learn to work with the most difficult materials and you're set for working with easier materials too.
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Old 09-07-2011, 02:09 PM   #17
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Default Re: Soldering tools and items

Quote:
without commercial people using leaded solder any more, it's getting manufactured less, and is getting more difficult to find.
Unless of course you've

a) stocked up
or
b) have a grandad with reels of the old stuff
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Old 09-10-2011, 02:46 PM   #18
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Default Re: Soldering tools and items

You need this. I wouldn't buy anything less than this. I use one at work and bought one to use at home on projects.


http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16882577002
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Old 09-12-2011, 09:58 AM   #19
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Default Re: Soldering tools and items

I disagree,

Not only does this bust his budget in a single item, (read post 1, he has $100 to spend right now, this iron is $125) -He won't be able to buy anything else, (solder/wire to practise on.)

also, he's only just starting out, why does he need a temp controlled station, when as he's only just starting out he's going to have no idea how to use it. what benefit will this bring him that a $10 soldering iron won't give him?

Don't get me wrong, soldering stations like this are very cool, but they are not essential, (good technique with a fixed power iron will give good results), they are expensive, and having never made mistakes with a fixed power iron, how are you going to know what power to set the iron to for any given work?
Master a fixed power iron first and then perhaps try for a solder station when you figure you've got a use for it. -unless of course you find one cheap somewhere, perhaps from someone who took advice and brought one thinking electronics would be a good hobby, but never got further than that.


the one question that hasn't been asked yet is:

What are you planning to do? what's your end game hoping to be?

do you want to be able to fix bad caps on your main board?
do surface mount soldering?
create your own projects?
just fix things when they break?
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Old 09-12-2011, 09:02 PM   #20
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Default Re: Soldering tools and items

MicroMark has a temp-controlled soldering iron for $45, I own one myself. I recommend getting the one with the replaceable tips, and a full assortment of tips.
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