[info] Soldering tricks & hints

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Re: Soldering tricks & hints

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Re: Soldering tricks & hints

Post by AndreyB »

Just to reiterate - SMD requires soldering paste.

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Re: Soldering tricks & hints

Post by blundar »

Andrey asked me to explain what I'm using for desoldering ECU connectors off OEM ECUs. I have two tools that I use for this.

One is a small wave solder machine / solder pot. It's a medium size (~100kg reservoir, ~3000W, ~150kg total machine weight) solder pot. It heats a reservoir of solder to melting point and then has mechanical pumps which will create a wave of molten solder about 1.5-2" tall. In terms of technique, you place the through-hole solder joints of the connector in the solder wave, count to 10 and pull. The wave of solder will liquify all the connections simultaneously and you can just pull the connector off effortlessly. This technique does NOT work on ECUs which have components on both sides of the circuit board as the wave of solder will indiscriminately remove components, including those other than the connector you want.
I've not tried it, but a "simple" solder pot that lacks the pump function would probably be sufficient for this technique - a dunk in the pot vs. a run through a wave.
Simple solder pots are available in different size / wattages on ebay for less than $100. Used wave solder machines vary in cost but are often cheap because of their size and weight. Most are larger and require 240 single or 208/480 three phase power

The other is a desoldering station. It's a specialized tool that is designed for removing solder. It consists of a soldering iron handpiece with a hollow body and a vacuum source. The specific tool that I have is a Pace MBT-301 base station (which has the vacuum pump and power circuity) and a SX-100 intelliheat handpiece. I have about half a dozen different diameter tips for the iron to suit different size pins. This tool is substantially more precise and controlled than using a wave solder machine / solder pot. It also takes longer, figure 5-20 seconds per pin. You apply the iron, wait for the solder to melt then activate the vacuum which removes the solder from the joint into a collection chamber in the handpiece. Using a gently circular pushing motion while liquifying the solder before applying vacuum will help removing all solder from joints. Sometimes, (especially with lead free / high melting solder) it can help to ADD 60/40 or 63/37 lead solder to the joint and then try to use the desoldering iron. Wiggling the connector / applying force after desoldering is often enough to break things free but this technique also works well when the desoldering iron doesn't remove enough solder to release the pin on the first try. Bottom line: some skill / practice is required to get good results and develop good technique. Practice on something you do not care about. :)

I've owned/used several models which worked well:
Pace MBT-301 / SX-100 / TD-100 intelliheat (current. inductive heating element, very fast heatup, very good at maintaining heat with large pads and lots of heat dissipation. Lightest handpiece with excellent thermal insulation. Still rather uncomfortable to use for more than a couple hours continuously. Purchased used from ebay ~$700 and then new tips purchased after. By far the nicest soldering setup I've owned. ~$1200 new I believe)
Xytronic LF-853D (decent but resistive heating element. cheaper. vacuum in base station, lighter handpiece with more wattage than other xytronic stations due to "lead free" rating, purchased new from https://www.howardelectronics.com/ currently $629)
Xytronic 968 (decent, budget option, resistive heating element, lighter handpiece. rebuild parts for pump and replacement tips readily available Replaced by 988 model currently ~$329 new from Howard electronics)
Hakko 808 (haven't owned but friends have. cheaper, but good quality. "gun" style with pump integrated into handpiece. Larger, heavier handpiece which I do not prefer for hours of use but great choice for casual tool. ~$220 new)
These are not the only tools that will work - they're just the only ones I've logged more than 40 hours of use with and feel qualified to comment on.
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Re: Soldering tricks & hints

Post by MHTSOS »

I made a video how to swap STM32 on a MRE with a PTC heating plate. It's super easy.
You'll need a heating plate, I got this https://www.aliexpress.com/item/4000582580757.html a set o tweezers and a little bit o flux paste.

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Re: Soldering tricks & hints

Post by AndreyB »

As an amateur I never realized that digital multimeters support thermocouples.
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Re: Soldering tricks & hints

Post by mck1117 »

Depends on the meter. I actually don't own one that supports it, but I've certainly seen them before.
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Re: Soldering tricks & hints

Post by puff »

220V? how safe is it? I've read that you shouldn't use soldering irons connected to mains for soldering electronics since you can ruin ICs..
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Re: Soldering tricks & hints

Post by mck1117 »

puff wrote:
Sun Mar 14, 2021 10:55 pm
220V? how safe is it? I've read that you shouldn't use soldering irons connected to mains for soldering electronics since you can ruin ICs..
eh? the tip of the iron isn't live, in fact it's usually connected through a small value resistor to the ground pin on the plug
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Re: Soldering tricks & hints

Post by Simon@FutureProof »

Some cheap irons are. :? I have one that turns LEDs on when I solder them with it.
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Re: Soldering tricks & hints

Post by mck1117 »

OrchardPerformance wrote:
Mon Mar 15, 2021 11:39 am
Some cheap irons are. :? I have one that turns LEDs on when I solder them with it.
Oh dear.
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Re: Soldering tricks & hints

Post by MHTSOS »

I've stopped using 220V soldering irons years ago. All my current ones are 24V with the tip grounded to earth that has the added benefit of producing fireworks if you try to work on a board you forgot to pull the plug from. Luckily haven't had this happen to me yet. The heating plate is supposed to be isolated from mains but since it's made of Chinesium I connected the earth lead to it just to be safe.

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Re: Soldering tricks & hints

Post by MHTSOS »

As for thermocouples, most Chinese multimeters support them and many come with one in the box.
My UNI-T UT139C and UT213C
and my Aneng AN8009 all support them with pretty good accuracy.

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Re: Soldering tricks & hints

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.. some Proteus and microRusEFI for sale in Europe ..
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Re: Soldering tricks & hints

Post by MHTSOS »

I've seen it but it's really small and tall. It's gonna be hard to balance the board on it and do actual work. Also it's only 65W so it's gonna take a while to heat up. The crappy Chinese heating plate is self regulated since it has a PTC heating element and it draws 1100w when it powers up and gradually drops to 90W when fully heated up unloaded. With a MRE board on it it draws 110w.

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Re: Soldering tricks & hints

Post by JRD McLAREN »

Well, but is 200 degC enough for solder / resolder .. ??

I'm found 270 degC version also .. and it will be better for this job ..
.. meaning ...
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Re: Soldering tricks & hints

Post by MHTSOS »

I just measured my heating plate and it reached 235° so it's good even for lead free.
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Re: Soldering tricks & hints

Post by AndreyB »

Just for the record @mck1117 has swapped a 176 chip on that tightly packaged Hellen board :)

Matt what tools and techniques were used? More or less same as above?
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Re: Soldering tricks & hints

Post by mck1117 »

Add a bunch of leaded solder over the top, partly to lower the melting point and partly for the mass so it stays hot.

Hot air, lift the old chip.

Solder wick off the old solder.

Fresh paste.

Drop new chip on.

Tack a few pins with the iron.

Hot air to reflow the new chip.

Clean up any shorts with flux and tiny braid.
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Re: Soldering tricks & hints

Post by kb1gtt »

Have you tried square hot air tips? Similar to this.
Image
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Re: Soldering tricks & hints

Post by Wonderingwobble »

For those looking at a cheap but very good Iron. I would look at the TS100. But I would re-flash the firmware with this. https://github.com/Ralim/IronOS I used the shit minware Firmware for around a year. And it was good yes, But once I flashed it with the early build of this I couldn't believe how much was left on the Table. If possible I would only run this at 24V. Super quick heat up and seems much more stable temp control. For hot air station I've been using this at https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B086GDHKYP/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 I have not constantly used this but have used this for a bit of SMD rework and have been impressed with it. I would say if you are not doing massive runs and just need something for the home I would look at this as a contender.
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Re: Soldering tricks & hints

Post by nmstec »

Andrey asked me to post this here, on soldering large chips with small footprints.

My solution has been quite simple,

Buy some high quality (I like amtech, AMTECH NC-559-ASM 100g) BGA flux, buy some nice rosin core solder 0.6/0.8mm with a large amount of lead inside. My preference is MG Chemicals 63/37 Rosin Core. Amazon sells it too.

Need a good reflow station, and a decent soldering iron with a thin tip. I like the hakko ones, where the tip is the heating element. I use FX951-66 & quick 861dw.

Easy to dirt cheap way of doing decent soldering, is bathe the pcb in flux, run some solder over the traces so they become nice and even. Clean all off with isopropanol 99%. Bathe (and I mean fucking soak it) the PCB again in fresh flux, place chip carefully on top, doesnt even have to properly line up, just as approximate as you can get it, then start heating with highish heat (360-400c), and low-mid airflow, carefully all around the chip. If properly done the chip itself will just "fall" perfectly in place, with 0 touching required.

Afterwards, clean it all off again with iso. Then again bathe it in flux, and with a 45* tiny tip soldering iron, carefully go over each pin for a second or two.

I recommend buying a cheap pos USB microscope, and some dentist tools for inspection purposes. Carefully under a microscope look at every pin and lightly push it to the side with the dentist pick, if it moves, solder it. If you did everything right, should have a perfectly soldered MCU with 0 fuckery, and you'd assume that it was professionally done by a PNP machine.
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Re: Soldering tricks & hints

Post by MHTSOS »

I agree with everything stated above with just one remark.
Amtech flux is amazing but you have to make sure you're buying it from a reputable source. The market is flooded with Chinese clones which are utterly crap. If you buy it from aliexpress you might as well use spit instead of flux. It will have the same effect.

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Re: Soldering tricks & hints

Post by nmstec »

MHT is one hundred percent right. It is made locally in the states, so if its being shipped from China, avoid it. It's fake. MG Chemicals also makes good shit, but get the clear stuff, and make sure its BGA type. BGA shit doesn't leave as much garbage, and is pretty good at floating chips.
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