Is My Soldering Right?

Telecaster582

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It looks to me like you are cleaning a ruined tip. How do you clean it? Do you tin it after cleaning? The tip in that picture has a coppery color. It should always be bright silver from tinning. Once they become corroded, they just don't tin properly. If you have ever cleaned the tip with sandpaper, it is also likely toast. And tips DO wear out. Cheaper tips wear out sooner because of cheaper alloys used.

Start over with one of those unused tips, tin it before you start, and tin it immediately after cleaning it. Try to buy brand name soldering stuff - it isn't that much more expensive and have more dependable tips and temperatures.
It does when I put it in the cleaning paste. It has a nice shiny tip
 

Boreas

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It does when I put it in the cleaning paste. It has a nice shiny tip
You may be able to get a shiny tip after tinning, but the tip needs to be able to transfer the heat quickly and evenly to the tinning and the work. If the metal is scratched and corroded, it cannot transfer the heat fast enough to the part. That is critical to keep from overheating the part. If it takes more than 3-5 seconds to make a joint on these small components, it is taking too long and you may be frying parts.
 

Telekarster

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make them out of something even stiffer than cardboard if you can. I go so far as to drill holes/cut slots in a slab of wood

My problem is that when I go to do something like this, I never have anything stiffer than cardboard on hand when I do LOL!!! :lol:Funny how that works ;)
 

no doz

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i just noticed OPs age. it's really cool you're learning how to solder so young! i started soldering by learning how to replace guitar electronics too. it's such a useful skill to have, especially if you're interested in music and audio

this video is great for beginner advice. he uses a circuit board for demonstration but the same advice applies to pots, jacks, etc.
 

Lowerleftcoast

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Soldering switches (and tube sockets) test your skills. Usually gravity will allow the solder to flow into the switch (or tube pin). This is usually fatal to the component. Multiple soldering attempts make this even more of an issue. The switch can be overheated causing it to fail. Pots can fail due to heat, (it is less common than switches). Sometimes solder will get inside a pot or a small piece of solder will find it's way into the opening. Stuff happens. Murphy's law.

You have some good advice here to pre-tin the backs of pots, terminals, and wires. If possible try to place the switch in a position where gravity will not help the molten solder make it's way inside the switch.

Using a little rosin on the back of a pot is helpful, as is cleaning the surface where the solder will pool. Use a name brand solder. Do not use the rohs compliant solder. It is hard to work with.

The others here have expressed their concern for a clean solder tip. Always leave a shiny layer of solder on the tip when the iron is not in use.

Unfortunately due to multiple attempts and what appears to be too much heat applied for too long, the switch looks like it may be damaged. You can try to clean it up and check for function but replacing the switch (and maybe other parts) is/are likely your best bet.

Keep practicing. You will get he knack of it.
 

corliss1

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I didn't even notice the age as another poster mentioned :D

Some day when it's warmer, I'd be happy to do a soldering lesson if you can get to the Lansing area! We can do it in the garage area so it's "plague free"
 

Davecam48

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As someone who worked in the electronics (TV/Radio, Hearing Aid, and 2Way Radio etc,) cleanliness is paramount when soldering.
Get a small (preferably metal) container like a mustard can and some stainless steel pot scrubber and push into the can. Before and during the soldering exercise plunge the heated tip of the soldering iron in and out of the pot scrubber. This cleans the tip!!!

Do not solder with a gun if you can avoid it, they tend to over-heat and "dry-joint" your work!

Only use lead based solder with the flux in the solder. When soldering, the flux can be overheated and cause the solder not to "run'' evenly to both parts being soldered. Hold the tip of the iron to the junction of the two components you have to solder and after a few seconds apply the solder to the iron tip and allow it to run to both the components and remove the iron and plunge into the tin with the pot scrubber to clean.

My training was as a TV/Radio tech for about 12 years and then as a Hearing Aid Tech manager for the Government Hearing Service here in OZ. In the hearing aid game the circuit boards were only about 1/4" x 1/4" in size so a steady hand was the first requirement when interviewing prospective new techs. Some could, most couldn't!

Now of course they don't repair, they make the client a totally new aid because it's cheaper!!!!

DC
 
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Boreas

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This dude is also interested in adding a Bigsby to a LP Jr. - in another thread. He has WAY too much energy!

 

Boreas

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As someone who worked in the electronics (TV/Radio, Hearing Aid, and 2Way Radio etc,) cleanliness is paramount when soldering.
Get a small (preferably metal) container like a mustard can and some stainless steel pot scrubber and push into the can. Before and during the soldering exercise plunge the heated tip of the soldering iron in and out of the pot scrubber. This cleans the tip!!!

Do not solder with a gun if you can avoid it, they tend to over-heat and "dry-joint" your work!

Only use lead based solder with the flux in the solder. When soldering, the flux can be overheated and cause the solder not to "run'' evenly to both parts being soldered. Hold the tip of the iron to the junction of the two components you have to solder and after a few seconds apply the solder to the iron tip and allow it to run to both the components and remove the iron and plunge into the tin with the pot scrubber to clean.

My training was as a TV/Radio tech for about 12 years and then as a Hearing Aid Tech manager for the Government Hearing Service here in OZ. In the hearing aid game the circuit boards were only about 1/4" x 1/4" in size so a steady hand was the first requirement when interviewing prospective new techs. Some could, most couldn't!

Now of course they don't repair, they make the client a totally new aid because it's cheaper!!!!

DC
Government Hearing Service? That's one we don't have here in the States!! The closest thing we have is the CIA!! :lol:
:lol:😂😂
 

Davecam48

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Government Hearing Service? That's one we don't have here in the States!! The closest thing we have is the CIA!! :lol:
:lol:😂😂
At least the CIA would have checked if the staff complaints were legitimate before sending an operative from one side of the country to the other to fix a non-problem. No offence to the ladies on this forum but once I had a call from a female Audiologist in Perth Western Australia asking me to come and repair her Audiometer. This model Audiometer had been modified to perform additional functions to when it was originally designed. The modification outwardly consisted of a small metal box with one switch on the top right hand corner which switched the extra function on and off.

I asked the lady if the switch paddle was down which she said it was. My female boss at the time said "You better get over there and fix it,!" Soooo three thousand miles and nearly as many dollars later I walked into the sound booth in Perth and flicked the little switch down and she cried out with joy. !!!It's working now !!!!!"

DC
 

old wrench

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I didn't even notice the age as another poster mentioned :D

Some day when it's warmer, I'd be happy to do a soldering lesson if you can get to the Lansing area! We can do it in the garage area so it's "plague free"

Thirteen is the perfect age to learn about this stuff.

Hell, I was 12 - 13 years old when I learned how to oxy-acetylene weld and braze and arc weld - I was real fortunate to have an older cousin who was not only a helluva mechanic, he was also willing to show me how to do stuff

I spent quite a few more years gaining proficiency, but it's the right age to start learning - old enough to learn and also to understand the hows and whys about safety - young minds are very teachable :)


Another little tip about soldering or brazing - your molten filler material (solder, brass, silicon bronze, etc.) will naturally flow towards the hottest spot of your work through capillary action - you can use this phenomenon along with gravity to help put your filler metal right where you want it ;)

.
 

dsutton24

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I don't have a pedal... So there's a double whammy right there! View attachment 945311

There's a lot of the trouble right there.

Get rid of that flux. Don't use it on anything electronic or wiring related. Period. If you have clean parts and enough heat you don't need additional flux. When you see people using flux on wiring, it's flux specifically formulated for electronics use.

Get yourself some good solder. You want 60/40 or 63/37 rosin core solder formulated specifically for electronics. Kester 44 is the gold standard, Multicore is also excellent. Buy the skinniest stuff you can find, you can always twist two or three strands together if you need thicker solder. Lead free solder is horrible stuff. Plumbing solder is just as bad.

The iron is fine, it's not 'too hot'. You do need a new tip that isn't contaminated with paste flux. Down the road think about a temperature controlled iron. I probably soldered for thirty years with a plain old 30 watt Weller iron before I bought my fancy soldering station. It's a really nice tool, but not a necessity.

It's too late for this now, but you don't want to learn to solder on anything you care about. Pull the parts out of your project and clean them up before you install your new, clean tip. Use them to learn on, just stick a pot shaft in a vise, and practice on the terminals and the pot back. With very little practice you can learn to solder better than the Fender factory, no kidding.

Look at your wires. You want to strip maybe a quarter of an inch of insulation, and you want the insulation to end up very close to the terminals. All the shiny stuff and black stuff on the control cavities and pickguard are conductive, and will cause trouble if a bare wire gets up against it. Keep things short and neat.

I was about ten or so when I learned to solder. My son was younger than that. You can do this, it's just a matter of discipline and patience.
 

Telecaster582

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This dude is also interested in adding a Bigsby to a LP Jr. - in another thread. He has WAY too much energy!

Just getting ideas! I have so many guitars that don't work I thought that they could be my test subjects. No kidding, I've got 14 guitars and only 5 work.
 

moosie

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You should be OK with 734F, as long as your tip (use a chisel tip) is in great shape. It should be clean, and tinned, and free of pits. You still might have some trouble with pot shells, but with practice it should be OK.

The proper technique for soldering guitar circuits is to use a very hot iron, and don't linger on the piece for more than three seconds. On and right off. If your iron is too cool, you'll need to linger to melt the solder. A hot iron over 3 seconds hardly warms a pot at all. Turn the same iron down to 450, linger for 20 seconds, and maybe buy a new pot.

My iron max temp is 890F, and that's what I use for pot shells. For regular guitar work I use a bit over 700. 716 usually shows on the readout.

You should be using leaded solder, not the lead-free crap. I use 60/40 rosin core, .031" diameter. The diameter isn't critical, but avoid the fat stuff.

Focus on each joint, making it perfect, before proceeding to the next. This way you're not left with a pile of non-working crap, which is what you have now.

Good luck, keep at it!
 

68Telebass

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If possible get someone to show you how to solder (a useful arsenal to have in your abilities toolkit).
Do some practice on anything (except your Strat).

If you don't know anyone who can show you how to solder, perhaps do some YouTube searching.
Warning: Some soldering advice on YouTube is crap.

Important things are: technique, timing (temp and time), and properly maintained equipment.
For example, if you don't keep the solder tip cleaned and tinned, the result will be substandard/crappy.
Soldering time around 3 seconds. Tip temp should be around 350 deg C (about 650 deg F) .... more time & temp for pot cases.

Some even recommend scuffing/sandpapering the back of pots before soldering (not mentioning names).
I 100% disagree with this idea. The plating on pot cases takes solder well without any preparation.
As for any soldering, heat up the big thing with the tip: for pot cases, heat the pot case then add the pretinned wire to the solder puddle.

When you can solder with structural integrity and without having receeding insulation due to too much heat and/or time, maybe have another go at the Strat.
You will need to take everything off, clean up the connections and restart from scratch.
Guilty as charged! I have a chemical background in polyurethanes and epoxies. :rolleyes:
Surface preparation is a mantra for me… I agree that pots are made from solder-friendly alloys!
It goes by Celsius so I'll have to look up what 400 is in Celsius
My bad!!! Celsius!!! Yes! My pen iron has a variable dial- extremely tiny- but adjustable!
 

68Telebass

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OBTW- @Telecaster582 - Great work- a few more tools will make it easier- always get the right tools for the job. I was able to get a fairly decent soldering kit from Amazon that came with a lot of great tools and an adjustable iron with different tips (I’m using the chisel tip with good results..) I’m new at this as well- but I’m getting better.
Here’s one under $20. I think it’s the one I got! (Mine had a multimeter as well)
4F77AE2B-CA21-4357-AF86-9C102DCBBF54.png


Get a silicone mat like shown here- it won’t burn!!! It has little compartments for parts and small stuff- some even magnetic!
A small plastic toolbox, and you are set for success.
322B1346-40E8-42FF-910F-7A1ADBFC61F9.jpeg

Great responses on this thread!! Thanks for sharing!! Carl-
 

Milspec

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In really tight places, I like to solder the components outside of the cavity by solding one side of the wire, but leaving the other side free. Install the components and then just solder the wire ends together.

So much easier to solder the wires than to solder the pots. Just be sure to use shrink tubing at the connections.
 




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