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Author Topic: Soldering advice  (Read 3191 times)

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Offline jthjth

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Re: Soldering advice
« Reply #45 on: January 18, 2019, 05:57:42 PM »
Try this
https://www.amazon.co.uk/WEL-LF25-rosin-based-F-SW21-WELLER/dp/B01MQ1MS8R/ref=sr_1_6

Iíve no direct experience of this particular product, but Weller are one of the leading producers of professional soldering equipment for the electronics industry. Itís cheap enough, and although itís only 20g it ought to last you a lifetime.

Offline Ricky B

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Re: Soldering advice
« Reply #46 on: January 18, 2019, 06:15:50 PM »
Thanks jthjth. And of course it was your reference to the technique of not overheating the solder prior to joining that I noticed- and you were too modest to highlight that! Thanks so much for taking time to impart your wisdom thus far👍

Offline jthjth

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Re: Soldering advice
« Reply #47 on: January 18, 2019, 06:29:34 PM »
Soldering is like learning to ride a bike, impossible to start with and then trivially easy once you get the hang of it. Iíd strongly suggest getting hold,of some stranded copper hook up wire. Strip off half an inch or so of insulation and trust the strands to stop them fraying. Then practice tinning the exposed strands. By tinning I mean putting enough solder on such that you canít see the individual strands anymore. Keep doing this until you can quickly tin the exposed wire without significantly damaging the insulation further up the wire. Much better to practice on some cheap wire before you attack your track. Also worth practicing on some scrap track as lesson two.

Online ntpntpntp

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Re: Soldering advice
« Reply #48 on: January 18, 2019, 07:15:04 PM »
I use Fry Powerflow flux these days.  The small jar will last for years with the tiny amount you need to use - when you need it (which I agree isn't always, if you're using cored solder).  I don't use it for wiring joints, but I do use it for things like soldering rail to screws at board joints etc.

It's sold as suitable for lead-free solder, though I avoid that stuff!



https://www.amazon.co.uk/Frys-Metals-Powerflow-Flux-Small/dp/B0001P07MA/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1547838590&sr=8-7&keywords=fry+powerflow+flux
Nick.   2016 celebrating the 20th anniversary of "KŲnigshafen" exhibition layout!

Offline Platy767

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Re: Soldering advice
« Reply #49 on: January 18, 2019, 10:52:54 PM »
Hi Ricky B.

Have a look at the first 15 seconds of this video tutorial.
www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zu3TYBs65FM

The chap heats the joint and feeds the solder wire into the joint. I use a different profile soldering iron and tip and have it tinned with solder, but the solder wire feed is the same. This is a big joint of twisted wires, so when you solder droppers to your track, tin the dropper (I actually use a single strand tinned copper wire) (not much heat or solder required), use a brass or fibre brush to clean the track, then tin the track (a bit of thermal mass required in the tip, but not too long or the sleepers will melt!). After each part is tinned bring them into contact and apply the tinned iron tip. You may not even need any additional solder wire as the nice clean parts may solder without additional, but if it is required, feed the solder wire straight into the joint. A good joint is always shiny.

In N gauge, clean tinned copper wire and clean tinned nickel silver track solder very well with only the rosin flux in a rosin cored solder wire. The extra external rosin flux should only be required in larger, dirty joints or very application specific situations like hand soldering multi leg surface mount components.

Mark

Offline Old Crow

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Re: Soldering advice
« Reply #50 on: January 19, 2019, 12:27:37 AM »
Hi Ricky. I've used a few of those paste fluxes and in my opinion flux is very necessary when you are soldering to something like a rail that will absorb a lot of heat. I've also built old-style valve guitar amplifiers and flux is essential when soldering to metal parts there. Thing is first to clean the items and to tin the wire; that doesn't need flux, just put the wire in a small vice with the end free and apply resin-cored solder plus the iron and it should deposit some on the end of the wire. Now I have no time for Lead-free solder; it just doeesn't seem to flow well but of course it's a matter of judgement whether you think lead, or lead fumes are present enough to be a health hazard but I always use a 60/40 lead-based resin cored solder.

Clean the rail, even very fine sanding and apply flux paste to the area to be joined. You can try applying a little solder to the rail too - tinning it. Then comes the part where you need five hands because you have to hold the parts in position whilst applying the solder and the iron. I'll use all sorts of aids to hold parts in position from masking tape to crocodile clips on flexible wire.If you get it right, the solder should flow and make a clean joint. I even solder rails together sometimes. If making a long long curve with flex-track, the only way to get fair curve including a join is to solder the sections first.

Offline Ricky B

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Re: Soldering advice
« Reply #51 on: January 19, 2019, 01:19:57 PM »
Hi Ricky B.

Have a look at the first 15 seconds of this video tutorial.
www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zu3TYBs65FM

The chap heats the joint and feeds the solder wire into the joint. I use a different profile soldering iron and tip and have it tinned with solder, but the solder wire feed is the same. This is a big joint of twisted wires, so when you solder droppers to your track, tin the dropper (I actually use a single strand tinned copper wire) (not much heat or solder required), use a brass or fibre brush to clean the track, then tin the track (a bit of thermal mass required in the tip, but not too long or the sleepers will melt!). After each part is tinned bring them into contact and apply the tinned iron tip. You may not even need any additional solder wire as the nice clean parts may solder without additional, but if it is required, feed the solder wire straight into the joint. A good joint is always shiny.

In N gauge, clean tinned copper wire and clean tinned nickel silver track solder very well with only the rosin flux in a rosin cored solder wire. The extra external rosin flux should only be required in larger, dirty joints or very application specific situations like hand soldering multi leg surface mount components.

Mark



Hi Mark,

I watched the video- it happens a bit quickly.. what are his wires attached to? Is that metallic thing his soldering iron?
I'm actually sat here at kitchen table with hot iron, Rosin core solder wire etc and some track lengths to have another practise.
I'm starting to understand the theory but the actual timing of each action is still trial and error. What Jthjth has said above, heat the joint then feed the solder wire into it otherwise the flux within will burn off. A case of timing. So the question arises, if I tin the soldering iron tip, doesn't the heat of an iron that remains hot, burn away all the flux core before it has chance to do its job, i.e., before I try introducing it to the junction of tinned dropper and underside of rail?
Many thanks for your comments.

Offline Malc

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Re: Soldering advice
« Reply #52 on: January 19, 2019, 02:16:06 PM »
The tinning of the iron is to get better contact with the thing you are soldering. If you have tinned both parts, the flux has done itís job. Itís function is to make the surface suitable for soldering. Then when you bring the parts together, you donít need the flux.
The years have been good to me, it was the weekends that did the damage.

Offline Ricky B

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Re: Soldering advice
« Reply #53 on: January 19, 2019, 02:55:50 PM »
Hi Malc,
I've been stripping the wire back and tinning it ok- am sat here at it as we speak. I've been tinning the underside of the rail and before introducing the wire to rail, adding a bit of extra solder to the iron tip. Note, I've held off using my mythical fourth hand to hold extra solder in the intersection of the joint- even with a 'helping hand' with its crocodile clips I've not worked out a method of applying a hot iron to the wire trapped against the track underside AS WELL
 AS offering solder into the joint! But my so called joints today have again been rubbish. Sometimes I hold the iron a bit too long on the joint so the wire, unattached itself after maybe being attached properly. The joints I have made that have held are hideously lumpy and bulbous - you would laugh!
When the joint doesn't 'take' my method is to add more solder (from the tinned iron) but the process is maybe too long with any flux burning off.
I keep watching examples of other modellers' work on YouTube and the pleasing hiss of flowing solder as they hold the iron against wire and rail is frustratingly elusive still😕. I do believe my iron is hot enough by the way. And I have ordered some rosin flux paste though with rosin core solder, can well see why other experienced solderman like yourself and jthjth say 'shouldn't be necessary'. But I shall persevere!


Offline Malc

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Re: Soldering advice
« Reply #54 on: January 19, 2019, 05:34:14 PM »
Hi Ricky,
All I can say is you shouldnít need to add much solder if your tinning is up to spec. I hold the track in a small vice to give me a hand to hold the wire and one to hold the iron. Place the wire on top of the solder on the track and using an iron with a small spade bit, press it onto the joint. Hold it onto the joint until the solder melts and then lift the iron off. I use a temperature controlled iron set at 400deg. The only way to solder successfully is to practice lots. A good joint should be silvery and smooth. Get a spare bit of rail, settle down and keep on at it.
If you feel the need for flux, go for it. However, flux is acidic and should be washed off after you fix the joint.
« Last Edit: January 19, 2019, 05:35:22 PM by Malc »
The years have been good to me, it was the weekends that did the damage.

Offline Ricky B

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Re: Soldering advice
« Reply #55 on: February 25, 2019, 10:28:06 PM »
Just a quick update in view of the excellent advice I've had from you lads.
My moments to practice soldering are spasmodic but- now armed with some flux paste - a good couple of sessions in last few days have moved me on to the stage where I'm fairly confidently attaching wires to the side of n gauge code 55 rail. On spare rail used for practice that is.. I'm almost at the point when I'm going for a 'take' and attaching droppers to the actual rails to be used in my layout. :claphappy:

As a slight diversion from my actual technique, I've gone away from soldering to the underside of the rail which involves too much displacement of sleepers for my liking, in favour of soldering to the side of the rail. There's less 'to aim at' but less beggaring about cutting/moving/ replacing sleepers.

My method as such that has evolved is:

(By the way, I believe I am using rosin core solder by the way but have chosen to try flux as well.)

Clean/burnish area of rail where dropper is to be attached with fibre pen.
Apply flux to this area on rail side.

Strip about 10-15mm of insulation off the dropper wire to expose its multi strand wire. Twist the end together, apply a smear of flux then tin it using solder from tip of iron.

Wipe iron tip on wet pad then apply more solder to iron tip.

With length of rail held in crocodile clip of 'helping hand", hold tinned wire end against prepared area of rail and then apply tip of iron. If I've held wire in right spot and have decent amount of solder on both wire and iron's tip, a pleasing hiss of burning flux occurs. Then one of two outcomes ensue: I remember not to hold iron in place too long, remove it and a fairly solid connection between wire and rail is the result; or, the the solder doesn't flow (probably too little solder/inadequate tinning) and the wire fails to attach.

In conclusion, I'm getting the hand of it BUT! .. none of my joints retain that professional 'mercury gloss'. Instead, as they are flat and dull like lead.

But I'm getting closer and won't be long before power can flow through the lines of 'Wheldon Bywater' (my project has a name!) and I have no further excuse for not doing scenics, building etc..

Offline Barry Sutcliffe

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Re: Soldering advice
« Reply #56 on: September 18, 2019, 04:21:25 PM »
I was trained to solder in the RAF. The standard had to be high enough to solder components in military aircraft. (It was a long while ago, but I still use same techniques). I use a 28volt Weller iron with various interchangeable bits). I have a soldering iron stand with a wire spring iron holder and a sponge tray. Keep the sponge wet, not moist, but not sopping.


 1: Keep the tip of the iron clean. Tin it using flux cored solder and wipe with a wet sponge. Repeat until it is silvery shiny.

 2: At start of solder, tin the clean iron tip and introduce stripped and twisted wire to tip - touch solder to wire and allow a flow of solder. You should be able to see strands of wire in solder - not a solder blob. ( this is called tinning).

3: Clean and tin the tip of the iron and touch tip of iron to wire/component/fitting you want to solder to. Apply solder to aforesaid - just enough - don't make a blob of solder.

4: Bring two surfaces together, apply  cleaned and tinned soldering iron to the joint and touch solder on the joint. Again, don't overdo the solder.

5: tin and clean tip of iron.

You will see I clean and tin the tip of the iron before every part of the procedure.

Any questions, just ask me and I will be only too please to help.

Offline Ricky B

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Re: Soldering advice
« Reply #57 on: September 18, 2019, 10:58:53 PM »
Hi Barry,
Just seen this and just to say that's extremely kind of you - and reassuring.
I think I've sort of got the basic technique but something's undermining the whole job and reading your post (which having not soldered for a month or so acts as refresher), I think the initial tinning as well as upkeep of the iron tip may be my problem. Shiny tip- what shiny tip?

I'll say a bit more in the next few days as I'm 'going in again'. Thanks again.

Offline Lawrence

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Re: Soldering advice
« Reply #58 on: September 19, 2019, 08:04:10 PM »
Hi Ricky, I went to the same soldering school as Barry  ;) his technique is spot on, clean tip always. Practice, practice, practice, it's the only way I'm afraid, but you will get there.

Offline Ricky B

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Re: Soldering advice
« Reply #59 on: September 20, 2019, 08:40:16 AM »
Thanks for that Lawrence. The more I think about it the more I'm convinced that the state of my iron tip has been holding me back. I had wondered if the rosin core solder wasn't very good and it started to feel like I'd never see a joint that was still shiny when cold. I have managed to fix the required droppers to the bus below and track above and the 'layout ' (bit of an overstatement!) is working but none of the solder joints are 'clean'. So though I can at least 'play' a bit, I'm not yet happy with the soldering and at my most recent session (weeks ago now), the solder again wouldn't even adhere to the iron tip - so much for tinning!

I've found it hard to be certain of the relationship between the tip- tinned or otherwise- and the damp sponge. What purpose is served by touching onto the sponge afte tinning the tip? When wrapping the cold tip in solder and switching it on to try to tin it, I've never successfully had a shiny coated tip.

To be continued! Thanks for comments thus far...

 

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