Learning To Solder..Any Primers?

Texicaster

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Being a jeweler I'm quite good at flame soldering but it's been a few minutes since I did any electrical component soldering. I had a newer Weller a couple years ago ad found it frustrating...perhaps my technique or solder but I went ahead and bought a Hakko FX888D as I have accumulated a few projects that require I learn soldering....BUT...for this I'm curious about electric guitars in particular.

Here's the questions I have at the moment

Which tip(s)?

What type solder or brand of solder?

Temperatures for various components.

A practice item or two....

For the last question I assume getting an inexpensive guitar so I can easily test if I did it properly or fried a pot along the way.....Probably just grab a cheap Tele or Strat to play with.

I'm a lover of books and if a good print book can be recommended or of course YT videos etc....

ANY advice and ideas I'm not even aware about!

Last soldering project was a strobe light I made years ago! It was pretty fun and worked first time with no issues!

Thanks!
 

uriah1

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Definitely get a variable heat iron.
Finer tip for most applications.
Take time, don't blob.
When soldering to pots use a dab of flux
on pot. Most of your grounds go there
and it is hard to solder there without it.

Practice with 2 pieces of wire. Solder and
then wait and then unsolder. Try solder to
speaker type connector also.

Have fun
 

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Boreas

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You don't need a guitar to learn how to solder guitar stuff - just some old parts, caps, switches, etc.. You should use lead solder. I prefer a chisel tip because of its heat capacity, but probably more people use points.

More important than the type of tip is the way you treat it. It must stay tinned all of the time to avoid corrosion and ruining the tip prematurely. The tinning also helps with heat transfer to the part or solder. The tip should be cleaned every couple joints or so, and re-tinned. If black crud is showing up, clean and re-tin. Untill you get your timing down for the temp of your rig, it is a good idea to use heat sinks to keep from frying components with too much heat. Once you get better, they usually aren't necessary unless the components are particularly sensitive like chips or boards.

On a guitar, temp isn't too important as long as the tool melts solder quickly. A $20 iron with a good tip, lead solder, and good skills is all you need. If you see yourself working on amps and other electronics, then the variable temp is more important.
 

String Tree

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¡Bueno!™
Being a jeweler I'm quite good at flame soldering but it's been a few minutes since I did any electrical component soldering. I had a newer Weller a couple years ago ad found it frustrating...perhaps my technique or solder but I went ahead and bought a Hakko FX888D as I have accumulated a few projects that require I learn soldering....BUT...for this I'm curious about electric guitars in particular.

Here's the questions I have at the moment

Which tip(s)?

What type solder or brand of solder?

Temperatures for various components.

A practice item or two....

For the last question I assume getting an inexpensive guitar so I can easily test if I did it properly or fried a pot along the way.....Probably just grab a cheap Tele or Strat to play with.

I'm a lover of books and if a good print book can be recommended or of course YT videos etc....

ANY advice and ideas I'm not even aware about!

Last soldering project was a strobe light I made years ago! It was pretty fun and worked first time with no issues!

Thanks!
I brought a temperature controlled Soldering Station.
Not cheap but, the results speak for themselves.

You should spend some time at the Tele Home Depot section of the TDPRI.
Very good advice!
 

Ben Harmless

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+1 to all the tips here (pun intended).

My experience has just been to look at what a proper solder joint should look like, and practice. It really doesn't take that long to be decent. I mean, really, for most people I'd say if you have the right iron, solder, and temperature, it's gonna be maybe 5-10 tries at a few different types of joints and you'll be good to go. Maybe more, but you'll quickly see what works and what doesn't. Just follow the basic rules and go forth! There aren't any secrets, and it stops being an art after a little while.
 

Kandinskyesque

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Soldering is a bit like making love to a beautiful woman...

First of all, never start with a dirty tip; check it over for spots of crud and leftovers from previous jobs.
Always start with a clean tip. Always!
Tethered or untethered, that mainly corresponds with whether it's an indoors or outdoors job.
Don't just go sticking the tool in right away! Warm the tip steadily and remember the helping hands make the job much easier and increase the chances of success.
Use something to draw the heat away from the more delicate parts, a rudimentary clip works well.
Watch your fingers.
Work the tip across and in; if you leave it in the one place too long, it just creates mess and spatter.
Talking of spatter, cover the necessary areas.
After lifting the tip away, allow some brief time for things to cool down to insure a good connection. Some people advocate blowing gently on the area, others don't; just do what you feel is right at the time and also how complicated a connection you are trying to make.
Once a good connection is made avoid tugging and pulling at things.
Clean your tip afterwards in preparation for the next job.

Good luck!!!
 

aFewGoodTaters

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Stay away from the cheap tips on Amazon (usually sold as a set of 5 or 10, different styles). In my experience, those burn out and/or oxidize quickly and aren't worth the headache.

Soldering is fun - just takes a bit of practice. Heat the component first, then add solder. Once the sufficient solder flows to the component, remove the spool, then remove the iron. + 1 on the comment above on using flux for larger components like pots that require a lot of heat.
 

Frisco 57

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I learned how to solder in US Navy Aviation Electronics school years ago and more recently, repairing and maintaining medical electronics and patient monitoring equipment and of coarse assembling many partscaster Teles & Strats over the years.

Always keep the tip clean and tinned with fresh solder. I have a damp sponge to "heat shock" the tip and a container of paste flux that I constantly clean the tip with, dunking the hot tip in the flux to clean and than re-tin.

Always have the tip tinned with fresh rosin core solder right before you make the next solder joint. Let the molten solder on the tip do the work to heat up the joint as you add a bit more solder. Don't turn your solder station up too high. My solder station is set between 40 to 50 percent (?) on the dial.

If you screw up a joint, heat it back up and use a solder sucker to pull off the old solder and redo it.

BTW, The ground wires to the back or the pots are the hardest... Use longer heating time and plenty of solder I have a pop sickle stick that I've cut square on the end to hold the ground wires down while I wait for the fresh solder to become solid.

Relax, sit down, have all your soldering tools close at hand and take your time. EDIT: Oh, and pre-tin your wire ends before soldering them.


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doof

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I use Kester #44 solder 63/37 Sn/Pb, exclusively. Clean your tip after every join. Every time.
It was mentioned elsewhere to stay away from cheap tips. In the very beginning stages for me, I would burn through a tip at least every other project because I wouldn't clean the tip consistently and they would corrode FAST. It wasn't until I finally started to clean the tip after every join (well, almost every join), that my tips started lasting longer. Now, the same cheap tips last a year or more with 30-60 minutes soldering every week or two.
 

1stpitch

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It was mentioned elsewhere to stay away from cheap tips. In the very beginning stages for me, I would burn through a tip at least every other project because I wouldn't clean the tip consistently and they would corrode FAST. It wasn't until I finally started to clean the tip after every join (well, almost every join), that my tips started lasting longer. Now, the same cheap tips last a year or more with 30-60 minutes soldering every week or two.
Another thing I do is completely coat the tip with solder and leave it there when I turn the iron off. I think this helps tips last longer as well.
 

Milspec

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I use Kester #44 solder 63/37 Sn/Pb, exclusively. Clean your tip after every join. Every time.
That is the BIGGEST key right there....good solder. It makes all the difference.

I like the .031 size wire the best, easier to work with.
 

kbold

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1) Tips: Use a bevel or chisel tip.
Avoid pin (conical) tips

2) 63/37 or 60/40 (or anything in between) are OK. Make sure it is 'flux core' or 'multicore flux'.
Lead-free solder is harder to work with, and has more aggressive flux that needs to be removed (so avoid).

3) Temperature: For most work (wires, components, etc) a medium temp of around 350 C / 660 F
For soldering to pot cases, dime the temp to maximum. When on standby (not soldering), turn temp to minimum (longer tip life). Correct temp and time will result in a shiny solder join: if it's dull or has 'tails', temp is too high or too much time.

4) Soldering: Always use a clean and tinned tip. Immediately tin any new tip on first startup. Never use any abrasive material on the tip. PCB/component soldering, keep soldering time to below 3 seconds (if it isn't done in 3 seconds, allow to cool, then redo). Wire to wire connections; pre-tin both wires. Pot casing; pre-tin the case and the wires. Tinning pot cases will often take more than 3 seconds.

5) YouTube videos: well, chose wisely. Most advice given is OK but IMO most presenters display poor soldering ability. IMO, avoid any video where the presenter is using a conical/pin tip (it shows they don't know what they're doing when it comes to instructing a novice).

Hakko make very good soldering irons, with readily available spare parts.
 




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