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Soldering Gun question

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by littlejimmythatcould, Jan 29, 2007.

  1. littlejimmythatcould

    littlejimmythatcould 1/2 ton status

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    I wasn't sure to post here or the tool shed, but here goes.... I bought el cheapo soldering gun tonite at the Zone for $20 and am not sure if it is supposed to be smoking from the gun and is incredably hard to hold on to (feels like I'm soldering my hand to the gun). I know soldering is supposed to smoke a little bit but it doesn't seem like it's staying hot because it is taking forever to solder. I"m desperately trying to get my Jimmy's electrical accessories hooked up right (see "electrically challenged"), but it won't solder. Please help or maybe make some recommendations on good soldering guns as I"m new to soldering. Sorry for the long post but you guys have never steered me wrong before. Thanks :bow:

    Todd
     
  2. 4X4HIGH

    4X4HIGH 1 ton status Premium Member GMOTM Winner

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    If the handle is getting hot and smoking there is something wrong with the soldering gun.
     
  3. littlejimmythatcould

    littlejimmythatcould 1/2 ton status

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    Yeah that's what I figured and felt like a 'tard asking but that would probably also explain the uneven heating while using it. Right? It should maintain a constant temp at the tip while soldering right? How much does a good soldering gun usually run?
     
  4. Avery4jc

    Avery4jc 1 ton status Premium Member GMOTM Winner

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    The handle getting hot is obviously not good but the smoking is fine...

    You can't really go wrong with the pencil type soldering units....
    http://www2.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin/wti0001p?&I=LXPR36&P=ML
    http://www2.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin/wti0001p?&I=LXKZ05&P=7

    But as far as guns go just make sure you pull the trigger for a couple seconds before you go to use it so that it has time to heat up evenly.

    But if you have a Local Hobby Shop just go there...soldering is a key part of the r.c. world and you'll have good luck there.

    As far as the smoke goes thats normal...now days they put some flux on the outside of the solder (are you using the 60/40 off the spool or tube?) So before you go to solder you can put some rubbing alcohol on a towel and unspool 12" or so of the solder then wipe it off before you solder it....people don't realize that it oxidizes on the outside of the solder so when you melt it the oxidization doesn't just go away...it gets onto the joint you are soldering.
     
  5. 4X4HIGH

    4X4HIGH 1 ton status Premium Member GMOTM Winner

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    A good name soldering gun is Weller and you can get a little kit for about $50.00
     
  6. Avery4jc

    Avery4jc 1 ton status Premium Member GMOTM Winner

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    Yep... I have a Weller that I've been running for about a year now and I like it.
     
  7. littlejimmythatcould

    littlejimmythatcould 1/2 ton status

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    I'm trying to solder 10 gauge wire and I was told at the store that the pencil type would not work so I bought the el cheapo 3000 soldering gun :doah: . Would I need to buy a weller one on line or where can I pick one up? I know you're not from my area but is it a brand that most stores carry? I"m going to go out tommorrow and find one that will work better. I"m trying to solder the connections in the fuse block in the new wiring I"m installing to get a no sh*t connection, I'm trying to go above and beyond with this wiring job in hopes it will work and not catch fire like my past wiring jobs (too much info I'm sure but I'm getting frustrated). Thanks guys for helping. I"ll go to town tommorrow and see what I can scrounge up.
     
  8. Avery4jc

    Avery4jc 1 ton status Premium Member GMOTM Winner

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    Yeah everyone should have Weller...Radio Shack...Local Hobby Shop...shoot even a place like Wally World might ;)
    As far as soldering 10guage goes if you have some experience and a game plan you can...flux will be your friend along with an iron that gets hot enough....a 60w iron with a wide tip will be fine...just twist the end of the wires together after you stip the insulation off...put some flux on it...place the tip of a hot iron on it and then slide the solder (freshly wiped down) at the very tip of where the iron and wire are touching and it'll melt right onto it.
     
  9. littlejimmythatcould

    littlejimmythatcould 1/2 ton status

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    "freshly wiped down" with the flux? Before my gun I bought fried on me I couldn't get the solder to stick both the terminals and the wire. I put that flux all over the place. This is as frustrating as welding for the first time.
     
  10. Avery4jc

    Avery4jc 1 ton status Premium Member GMOTM Winner

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    no with the rubbing alcohol...remember from above?

    It sounds like your iron wasn't nearly hot enough (or consistent enough)...with a hot iron...clean solder and flux on the spot your are trying to solder to you'll be just fine.
     
  11. HarryH3

    HarryH3 1 ton status Author

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    Another vote for the Weller. I've had one for over 30 years and it still works great! :cool1:
     
  12. 4X4HIGH

    4X4HIGH 1 ton status Premium Member GMOTM Winner

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    The thing to remember is, when soldering you want to heat the wires you are going to solder then add the solder to the wire after you've already applied flux to the wires and the solder will flow into the wires. Another thing, if you are splicing two wires together slip a piece of heat shrink on the wires before you attach the wires to each other that way you'll end up with a cleanly soldered wire joint and then once you heat the shrink it will keep the joint clean and free of corrosion.
     
  13. lak2004

    lak2004 1/2 ton status

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  14. diesel4me

    diesel4me 1 ton status Premium Member

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    Buy a Weller!..you'll only buy it ONCE..

    I'm still using the Weller soldering gun my DAD bought before I was born probably!--in fact,I just used it yesterday to solder a new dimmer switch harness in my 82 K20,so my lights might actually stay on at night when I click the dimmer switch from high to low beams!---and I also added another "hi beam" indicator lamp to my dash,because I could not get the one in the speedo cluster to work, due to a printed curcuit problem,and I didn't feel like tearing the dash out..I got warned by a cop to shut off my high beams twice in a few days,so I figured I'd better do something!..:doah:

    As for soldering wires,I find the biggest problem is lack of enough heat,and the type of flux used...don't use paste flux designed for copper tubing,it will corrode the wires later on,and it doesn't really work all that great on wires anyway..

    I use rosin core solder for wires,do not use "acid core" solder that is used on pipes and radiators either--it'll solder the wires all right--then corrode them away in short order!..if I need more flux than the solder has in it,I use a clear liquid flux called "tinners" flux..it's more for tubing or radiators too,but you only need one drop to get a stubborn wire to take solder..it doesn't seem to corrode them too bad later,and I've even been able to solder galvanized steel together with that flux and acid core solder,fixed a galvanized bucket that had some holes in it...usually steel is a SOB to solder,but this flux made it pretty easy!..

    I find soldering old GM wiring harnesses a pain..usually the wires are loaded with corrosion,all green or black inside..you MUST scrape that crud off before soldering,or it'll never stick,even with flux!..also,I think many of the wires are not all copper--some look like stainless steel inside!..those are the hardest ones to solder,using crimp connectors might work better than solder on that type of wire..I had difficulty getting my dimmer switch wires to solder--they were all black inside,moisture evidently penatrated the insulation somewhere..:mad: ...I hate corrosion and rust!..:angry1:
     
  15. littlejimmythatcould

    littlejimmythatcould 1/2 ton status

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    I think I am using the paste flux goo, kind of clear in a little round lip balm type case (came with the cheap gun). I'm going to check out Lowes and some other stores today. It was Sunday night last night so the only place open was the Zone. I kept trying to do exactly what you guys just said and the solder wouldn't melt or it would start to then ball up and fall off onto the table :( I think this is another lesson in "buy a good tool to begin with".... when will I learn... I"ll give yall a holler with what I find in town. thanks again.:bow:
     
  16. diesel4me

    diesel4me 1 ton status Premium Member

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    practice...

    It takes time to learn the soldering process..I find the trick is to let the wire your soldering melt the solder,not the soldering iron!..hold the tip under the wire,and apply solder to the wire--it will soak it up like a sponge when it gets hot enough..usually rosin core solder needs no additional flux added,unless the wire is old and corroded..:crazy:
     
  17. Avery4jc

    Avery4jc 1 ton status Premium Member GMOTM Winner

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    Something nobody has mentioned yet (the balling effect you were talking about made me think of it) is tinning...before and after you use the iron you need to heat it up and apply solder directly to the tip of the iron and thoroughly coat it then some people like to wipe it off but I like to fling it off (just tap it on the side of the work bench)...
    that'll get your iron ready to go....if it isn't tinned then the solder can ball up like you said.
     
  18. littlejimmythatcould

    littlejimmythatcould 1/2 ton status

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    I went to Lowes today and found me a Weller. Nice! It works like a champ! It made soldering easy. It was only $10 more than the crappy one I bought yesterday. I got all of my connections for my fuse block soldered on. I just didn't want to chance loose connections in the fuse block as that would defeat the purpose of trying to rewire my truck the right way. I am definately confident that my wires will make a good connection. AND I was reading on the package of the crappy gun while I was waiting in line to return it at the Zone and it said "caution: may reach temperatures of up to 230 degrees" but the solder doesn't melt until about 445 degrees! My new weller soldering gun gets up to 930 degrees or so. Thanks again for all yall's help and recommendations. Now I can press on with wiring my truck!
    :bow: :bow: :bow: :bow:
     
  19. Avery4jc

    Avery4jc 1 ton status Premium Member GMOTM Winner

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    Oh yeah man that would suck....we hit the tips of our guns/pencils with the temp. guage at work one day and they were all 900*+...it sort of doesn't work unless it's in that range.
     
  20. littlejimmythatcould

    littlejimmythatcould 1/2 ton status

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    No wonder I was getting so frustrated then. I sure do appreciate your help and keep an eye out for my "electrically challenged" thread. I'll be posting up some pics when I get done. I know it's not as exciting as a lift or frame up build thread, but it's a small personal victory.
     

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