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Thread: Please recommend soldering iron / equipment

  1. #1
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    Please recommend soldering iron / equipment

    Hi,

    today i managed to "glue" the psram chips to the new teensy 4.1.

    No, i will not show pictures how it looks. It is a wonder that the teensy and the chips still seem to be ok.

    I have the impression that my soldering equipment could be updated, so please suggest equipment or just write what you use and how your experience is.

    I would prefer parts that can be ordered in the eu, or even from a german shop.

    Thank you all for your suggestions!

    Cheers,

    Michael

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    Michael:

    I have been using a Weller WLC100 5W-40W Soldering Station with an ST7 tip very successfully for a number of years. I find it quite easy to use when soldering the PSRAM chips (for instance) onto the T4.1. The variable control is nice for turning the temp up or down, depending upon the intended application. Unfortunately, it seems to be available for 110VAC only. I'm not sure if/how you could use it on European power, but per your request, I thought I'd at least mention it.

    Mark J Culross
    KD5RXT

  3. #3
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    If you prefer soldering irons to stations, I use an Ersa Multitip C25 and a very, very nice TS100, which I love more and more.
    Purchased both on Amazon (IT).

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    Thanks for the answers so far.

    One question, what is a TS100?

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    It sounds like you are doing a bit more than soldering pin headers onto teensys. I would skip "irons" and get a station. I have been using a Hakko 960 for about 10 years now and love it. It's been replaced by a later model - FX888, I think. In general, I'd get something stronger than those 40W irons you see out there. Get something with a separate controller where you can dial in the right temperature and a good holder for the iron when it is hot (skip the spring style ones). It should have a place for a sponge for tip cleaning. You will want to have a selection of tips from fine to heavy. Make sure they have replacement heater elements readily available. If you live where there is a lot of static electricity, I'd get an ESD safe one as well. If I were looking for one right now, I would budget about 100 USD/Euro but there are no-name stations for a fair amount less. For about twice that, the JBC BT-2BWA gets a lot positive comments.

  6. #6
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    I'd second the Hakko. I have the FX888 which was on sale when I bought it. They were just introducing the FX888D which is identical to the FX888 except that the FX888D has a digital temperature display.
    I bought three tips. I've forgotten the precise sizes but two were chisel tips and the other was a conical tip for finer work.

    Pete

  7. #7
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    Yeah, on tips, I find myself using a chisel tip a lot, even for soldering tiny little stuff like SOT-23 and similar. Things with 0.65 mm pitch leads. You can load up the flat side with solder and then drag it along the leads to get 3 or 4 before running out of solder.

  8. #8
    Senior Member+ MichaelMeissner's Avatar
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    I don't really have a suggestion on the soldering iron.

    But I found for soldering the psram chips to the beta/regular Teensy 4.1 and flash chips to the Teensy 4.1s, to the audio shields, and to SOIC8 adapters, that getting a thinner version of the Kester solder really helps. I normally use a Kester 0.031" solder, but for the surface mount chips I found a 0.020" solder. I picked mine up at a local electronics store (probably You-do-it in Needham, MA, USA or maybe Electronics Plus in Littleton, MA, USA), but looking at Amazon I see:



    One thing that I found is helpful is having a count-down timer. Every so often I would get up and forget to turn off the soldering iron. There are some irons with motion sensors that turn themselves off if you don't use them for awhile. If you don't have a soldering iron that turns itself off, then units like this can insure you don't leave the soldering iron on for hours. Note, I have the older version with separate buttons for each amount of time (15 minutes, 30 minutes, etc.). The new version looks like you have to press a button several times to select the appropriate amount of time:



    I bought this Velleman de-solder pump with heater that works better than the normal solder sucker to pull up solder. That is because you need to hold the soldering iron in one hand, and a manual solder sucker in another. With the Velleman, you can hold the tool in one hand (with a finger on the pump button), and your your other hand to stabilize the chips. One thing that I wish the Velleman had was a light to indicate it is powered, and a separate switch to turn it off without unplugging it. I bought it at my local Microcenter, but it appears Microcenter may not carry it any more. In my experience, it works better on removing solder from pins, while the normal solder wick works better for things like flash memory chips:



    As I've posted before, my method is not the method others use. That method appears to be putting solder on the pad and then heating it up so it melts, and using the iron to break the connection).

    Instead, I carefully place the chip so each leg is centered in the pads. I attach the chip with either a piece of clear tape (i.e. Scotch [tm] tape) on one side, or use an alligator clip to hold it in place. I start with the iron on the leg and use the thin solder to draw out a line. I do not put solder underneath the legs, but instead have the solder form a bridge from the legs to the pads. After doing one side, I remove the tape or alligator clip and work on the other side. I make sure there are no shorts between the separate pads with a voltage meter in connection mode (i.e. a buzzer rings if the ground/power wires are connected electrically). Make sure you have plenty of solder wick available. I think I've had to redo one or two connections on each memory chip.

    On the Teensy 4.1, I attach the memory chips first before attaching the male, female, or stacking headers.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by mstiller View Post
    One question, what is a TS100?
    A soldering iron:
    https://hackaday.com/2017/07/24/revi...oldering-iron/

  10. #10
    All these comments are good, but there is one more thing you need. Get yourself a rosin flux pen. The one I use is made by MG Chemicals, Part #835P. You don't want to use very much but it sure helps the solder flow, and makes precision work much easier because you can apply it precisely where you want it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by willie.from.texas View Post
    All these comments are good, but there is one more thing you need. Get yourself a rosin flux pen. The one I use is made by MG Chemicals, Part #835P. You don't want to use very much but it sure helps the solder flow, and makes precision work much easier because you can apply it precisely where you want it.
    Yup, plus:
    - good pair of very skinny tweezers
    - fine solder wick
    - isopropyl alcohol for cleaning rosin
    - old tooth brush for cleaning rosin
    - microscope or magnifier for inspecting your work
    - lots of lighting
    - fume extractor

  12. #12
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    A Weller or Hakko soldering iron should last you for 10 years or longer - get something with a good steady holster. Needle nose pliers. Rosin. Isopropyl. Fan. Desk lamp.

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    Thank you all for your suggestions, they are very helpful.

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    the heated desoldering pump paul mentioned is brilliant, available in the eu:

    https://www.amazon.de/Velleman-Entl%...1006122&sr=8-1
    Last edited by maxman; 06-01-2020 at 10:08 AM.

  15. #15
    Senior Member+ defragster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by maxman View Post
    the heated desoldering pump paul mentioned is brilliant, available in the eu:
    MichaelM it seems mentioned that heated desolder pump some time back and I got one - very handy when needed and it fits the job at hand:

    velleman-vtdesol3u-desoldering-vacuum-pump-with-heated-tip

    Have used it a couple time for more than a few pins - especially useful when simple pins that can be cut and leave a clean unsoldered through hole again. Needs a bit of room - and adding flux can help reheating - but makes some smoke poofs.

  16. #16
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    For what it is worth, I have two: an older Weller WSL and a Hakko. The Weller I keep a fine tip on it and the Hakko and heaver duty one. I use the WSL more often, but if what I am soldering is a just a bunch of breakout pins or the like, the other one is quicker.

    As mentioned having a good magnifying lamp helps. Also a set of decent tweezers helps to pick up and align parts. I think my current ones are from Sparkfun. The solder and Flux were mentioned earlier.

    I also have the heated desolder pump, but most of the time I use a simpler unheaded one and use the soldering iron to reheat the area and then the pump to suck up the solder. Find it is one less plug and wire going around and I have better control of what gets reheated.

  17. #17
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    My favorite pick and place tool for SMD passives is a small haemostat with an elastic band close to the pivot.

    For SOICs and similar I always tin the PCB pads with rosin core, remove excess with solderwick then secure in place with paper masking tape (no stretch) then the corner of a 2.5mm chisel or a round 1.5 does the rest.

    Mindful of soldering close to where low temp soldered SMD's say soldering pins to a T4, I do one then walk away and let the whole thing cool before moving on to the next so as to avoid heat buildup.

    Workbench ergonomics. I have a solid wooden box I put on the bench and raise the job to eye level, rest elbows on bench, wrist on edge of box, plenty of light and most importantly at my age a wider choice of glasses than soldering irons.

    Motto. Failing to prepare = preparing to fail.

  18. #18
    Senior Member PaulStoffregen's Avatar
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    Liquid flux, bright lighting and a good magnifier can make a huge difference in soldering small parts.

    Tin/lead solder is much easier than lead-free.

    A good soldering iron also helps, but often these other things are what really make hand soldering small parts successful.

  19. #19
    That's a great idea!

  20. #20
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    Thanks for all the suggestions so far. I ordered some stuff after having spend some time searching for a shop which has a Hakko in store.
    Hopefully the stuff arrives before the weekend.

  21. #21
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    My tools for SMD work:

    Fine tip soldering iron
    x7 magnifier, use for inspection
    0.3mm lead free solder
    Tweezers

    Click image for larger version. 

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  22. #22
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    Thanks again for all your suggestions.

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