40 watt iron?

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40 watt iron?

Post by bennie hall on Sun Jul 21, 2013 5:44 pm

Hi guys it the new kid on the block finely received my cap's so i started to replace them .problem i just bought a 40 watt solder station off amazon and turned it on and tine it.started to solder to small wires together but the solder just dripped off my question is 40 watts hot enough for tube radios .are am i doing something wrong?bennie

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Re: 40 watt iron?

Post by Bill Cahill on Sun Jul 21, 2013 6:08 pm

On some radios it may not be enough heat, or, dirty connections, anything. Use Rosin core solder, not lead core.
Personally, for most of my old work, I use a standard sized older Weller soldering gun.
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Re: 40 watt iron?

Post by Wildcat445 on Sun Jul 21, 2013 6:38 pm

Bennie, I have found that if I use that really thin solder there is not enough flux in it to work well. I keep a can of flux handy, and dip my solder iron in it when I have a problem. Make sure that your iron tip is "seasoned" well-tinned before you try to solder. Tinning the iron will transfer the heat to the work better. This may not be the official way to do it, but it works for me, and I hope this helps you.

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Re: 40 watt iron?

Post by bennie hall on Sun Jul 21, 2013 7:52 pm

Hay men maybe i should start from the first the new iron smoked some when i plugged it in might be normal. i am using it at full power i did tinned it well?i think.guess i'll just try again.but on the good side replaced two electrolytic AND THE DAM THING WORKED.looks like s..t.but i can fix that.i think??restrung the dial cord it works good squeaks some oiled all knobs.so all in all a good start. thanks for all your quick reply's.bennie

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Re: 40 watt iron?

Post by Guest on Sun Jul 21, 2013 9:12 pm

All the above information is right on the money! I would like to add; heat the wire, lug, and/or the component lead and have that item melt the solder. Do not melt the solder with the iron and put it on the item or you will get a "cold" solder joint and it will fail. If any of your solder joints are a dull silver and not shinny, do them over!

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Re: 40 watt iron?

Post by Ragwire on Sun Jul 21, 2013 11:07 pm

Yep all good advice here. 40W should be good for most things, but 110/140 watt gun will solder larger items faster with less overheating to components if you are quick.
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Re: 40 watt iron?

Post by Guest on Mon Jul 22, 2013 12:42 am

You can get the new version of the Weller 140 watt solder gun at Lowes or Home Depot.

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Re: 40 watt iron?

Post by tuberadiogeek on Mon Jul 22, 2013 2:22 am

Just to clarify,tinning the iron tip means to take the solder and coat the tip in it until it is covered in solder. That will give you better heat transfer and make it easier to solder things. It may take you a few tries to get the hang of soldering and to get a good solid connection but just keep trying, you will get it. A 40 watt should be good for most things, except maybe soldering a ground right to the chassis. That may require a larger iron or gun. I use a large antique iron with a wooden handle with a chisel tip(175 watts) to do most of my soldering. When i do not use that i use a Weller D550, 240/325 watt gun. That is because it's what i have on hand.
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Re: 40 watt iron?

Post by Resistance is Futile on Mon Jul 22, 2013 9:52 pm

Also if you clean the solder connection with alcohol to remove dirt and grease will help tremendously. Before you solder of course.
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Re: 40 watt iron?

Post by MinnesotaHam on Mon Jul 22, 2013 10:04 pm

Work on your technique.

40 Watts will easily solder two wires together. If you are soldering to a dirty lug with old solder, this can be trouble for a newbie. Even worse if those wires are attached to the chassis. More Watts is nice, but proper technique is crucial.

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Re: 40 watt iron?

Post by Wildcat445 on Mon Jul 22, 2013 10:32 pm

I wonder sometimes if a soldering gun would not be a better instrument to learn on. They get hot nearly instantly, they develop more heat, thus being able to "burn through" dirt and contaminants in most cases. Then get a soldering iron later after your technique has improved. Missesotaham's comment about technique is well-taken. In some cases, people do not allow a soldering iron to warm up long enough to work right. Some of this new solder is more challenging to learn with than the older Kester 60/40 stuff was.

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Re: 40 watt iron?

Post by tuberadiogeek on Tue Jul 23, 2013 12:36 am

I think its better to learn with an iron, that way if you get your fingers in the way it won't hurt that bad. If you accidentally touch your fingers with a 100-300 watt gun it's going to hurt pretty good and leave a nice mark. When i was in school we had 30 watt irons for PCB soldering, but we were able to adjust them down with a dimmer switch outlet built into out benches. It also helps to get the right kind of solder. If you get anything besides rosin core, preferably 60/40 you will start running into problems.
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Re: 40 watt iron?

Post by Resistance is Futile on Tue Jul 23, 2013 1:49 am

tuberadiogeek wrote:I think its better to learn with an iron, that way if you get your fingers in the way it won't hurt that bad. If you accidentally touch your fingers with a 100-300 watt gun it's going to hurt pretty good and leave a nice mark. When i was in school we had 30 watt irons for PCB soldering, but we were able to adjust them down with a dimmer switch outlet built into out benches. It also helps to get the right kind of solder. If you get anything besides rosin core, preferably 60/40 you will start running into problems.

700 degrees makes no distinction between 30 watts or 300 watts to da poor fingers. Ouch ow, ow!
and 300 degrees don't either. Its how long you insist in having your fingers take the torture. study 
you still have to have them at a minimum of 361.4 °F for 63/37 eutectic solder. Guaranteed to burn your whiskers.
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Re: 40 watt iron?

Post by Bill Cahill on Tue Jul 23, 2013 11:10 am

I agree with Cliff on that point. It's not the wattage. It's how long you want to torture your body.

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Re: 40 watt iron?

Post by 75X11 on Thu Jul 25, 2013 1:53 am

If I were teaching myself soldering these days, I would go to a thrift store and get a few electronic items to practice on before working with new components. Try soldering a few wire joints with an eye to getting results that are well formed and glossy as opposed to crystally, flat and with gaps or holes. If your solder station does not have a wiping sponge to remove the crystally crust from your iron tip, get a couple of cellulose sponges and cut them to fit the recess in your stand and keep it moist, not sopping wet. I would strongly advise the purchase of some good soldering flux. applying it to the points where you will apply the solder will make it flow so much better, and give you good joints much more easily. Get a vacuum solder extractor to remove solder from the joint to allow the untwisting of wires from lugs and each other and get some solder wick to absorb solder from joints. You will find yourself using both. To make your tips last a bit longer, get a tip tinner. It has powdered solder in chemicals that will rejuvenate a burnt out iron tip. If you have a harbor freight nearby, a set of dental picks can be useful for prying apart joints where wire is wrapped. I used to teach soldering when I worked at Unisys.
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Re: 40 watt iron?

Post by Wildcat445 on Thu Jul 25, 2013 10:20 am

Excuse me. I think I must have missed something. Who holds on to a hot soldering iron with their fingers? On purpose? Is not whether certain temps will cause more harm to the fingers a moot point? How about just not touching a hot iron with your fingers? That's the way I do it. You all can jump in here and correct me if I am wrong.

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Re: 40 watt iron?

Post by Resistance is Futile on Tue Jul 30, 2013 8:16 pm

tuberadiogeek wrote:I think its better to learn with an iron, that way if you get your fingers in the way it won't hurt that bad. If you accidentally touch your fingers with a 100-300 watt gun it's going to hurt pretty good and leave a nice mark. When i was in school we had 30 watt irons for PCB soldering, but we were able to adjust them down with a dimmer switch outlet built into out benches. It also helps to get the right kind of solder. If you get anything besides rosin core, preferably 60/40 you will start running into problems.

That's why the topic of 300 watts vs 30 watts. As part of the discussion, we do give leeway in discussions pertaining to relative points of view. And just general observations related to the subject at hand. Just like sitting on the back porch and passing the time of day as it were.Very Happy

I, the great an wonderful Poobah has opined.
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Re: 40 watt iron?

Post by jerryhawthorne on Wed Jul 31, 2013 7:15 pm

Soldering is somewhat of an art that I have not totally perfected. I use a 20/40 watt iron with a fine tip, should probably change the tip over to a flat tip. Guess I'm just lazy. I run it at 40 watts unless I'm building an SSTrans transmitter. My key is to clean the tip prior to every use on a wet sponge, it gets off the crud. I happened to have a very fine small diameter rosin 60/40 solder, just what I have. After cleaning the tip, a little touch to the solder to give a nice coating on the tip. Off to solder. I also have a small tin of rosin and I will put a touch on the connection. Particularly if you are using old wire. Then tip to the connection and add a little solder at the point of contact.
Works well for me. I also have a larger iron, I use that for those connections that may go to the chassis or areas where there are a lot of "heat sink".
Everyone has their on way of doing things.
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Re: 40 watt iron?

Post by Bill Cahill on Wed Jul 31, 2013 7:37 pm

The only thing I would use a 300 watt gun on is the chassis.
I use the standard dual heart Weller older model soldering guns for my other soldering. I would reccommend low heat, say 40 watts, for circuit board use.

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