[info] Soldering tricks & hints

Hardware inside and outside of the ECU
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AndreyB
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Re: Soldering tricks & hints

Post by AndreyB »

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AndreyB
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Re: Soldering tricks & hints

Post by AndreyB »

Just to reiterate - SMD requires soldering paste.

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blundar
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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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