July 5th, 2012, 09:48 AM
I just got a new temperature controlled soldering station and I am having trouble dialing in the perfect temp. Where is a good starting point for guitar component soldering? I have done a whole lot of my soldering with a cheap iron and as I do love this new station I'm not exactly sure what is a good place to start. Any help will be greatly appreciated!
July 5th, 2012, 12:17 PM
Initially, put the controller in the middle of its range. When you first heat the iron up and it gets hot, dip it in some flux to get it clean and then see if the tip will melt solder. If it will, it's hot enough and doesn't need to be hotter.
Sometimes you'll run across an occasion where you may need to turn the heat up. Soldering the back of a volume or tone pot, for example. The reason is that the backs of pots are big heat sinks (they sap heat away from where you're trying to melt the solder) so you need more heat to counteract that. If you properly clean and flux the back of a pot, a 25W iron will get the case hot enough to melt solder so you can add/remove ground wires. The key, as in all soldering jobs, is proper surface/wiring cleanliness and preparation.
July 5th, 2012, 12:23 PM
700 for general soldering, 800 for heavier duty -- pot backs, trem claws, etc. -- this works for me.
July 5th, 2012, 02:08 PM
700F for tin/lead = #7 Weller TCP bit
800F for lead-free = #8 Weller TCP bit
Just fit the right soldering bit.
A ~20W iron for component soldering, a ~50W iron for pot cans, but a 45W Weller TCP (Temperature Controlled Pencil / soldering-station) will do the lot.
A bigger iron means more heat. Most folks confuse heat with temperature. Heat is not temperature, it's how-fast things get to temperature. It's like the big burner on the cooker for the stock pot and the small burner for the omelette pan.
July 5th, 2012, 03:35 PM
Use as big a tip as you can fit between the switch and pot lugs. For printed circuitboards or repairing/building effects I switch to real tiny .060 or .090" screwdriver tips but for guitar wiring I stay with the big 1/8" chisel. Some of the pickup winders have online videos where they use huge tips on their soldering irons.
July 5th, 2012, 05:26 PM
Thank you all for the help! It has cleared up a lot of confusion. I've always had the cheap ones from radio shack and decided to upgrade and I just want to get the best out of my equipment.
July 8th, 2012, 05:13 PM
Typical solder melts @475 Degrees...I have never had any issues running any hotter than that....Does less damage to other components...Less heat sinking required.....Tip size matters only for larger joints.....As does wattage....
July 8th, 2012, 06:22 PM
Hmm, 60/40 tin/lead solder melts at 375°F = 188°C
But the Weller TCP bit for that is a #7 which controls at 700°F (370°C)and is the correct temperature bit to flow tin/lead solder.
If you need to re-flow lead-free (good luck with that) then you want the #8 800°F (427°C) bit and a drop of tin/lead.
The Weller TCP is a professional tool and doubt their temperature settings are wrong.