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Liquid Flux, Yay or Nay?

Discussion in 'Shock Brother's DIY Amps' started by itsGiusto, Sep 15, 2020.

  1. itsGiusto

    itsGiusto Tele-Holic

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    Yesterday something really weird happened. I was trying to solder a wire to a preamp tube socket lug, and I used a drop of liquid flux, like I usually do. However, it must have dripped down onto the socket itself (where the tube pins connect). When I soldered, much of the solder dripped down into the socket as well, basically ruining that socket pin-connector. I can no longer use it for a tube, and I can't figure out how to suck the solder out of the socket.

    I think this was caused by my use of liquid flux, and it has me asking myself if I actually should use it. After all, the solder I use has flux in it already. If liquid flux is going to cause the solder to flow unpredictably, maybe I'm better off without it.
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2020
  2. WalthamMoosical

    WalthamMoosical Tele-Holic Ad Free Member

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    If your solder already has flux in it, try it as is. I only add flux if I'm trying to melt and re-flow a blob of solder that is already there.
     
  3. itsGiusto

    itsGiusto Tele-Holic

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    Cool, yeah, I've gone back and forth for years, but over the last year, I got worried that without extra liquid flux, I'd get cold solder joints, and the joints would be reliable less long-term. I don't really know if it's justified or not.
     
  4. BigDaddy23

    BigDaddy23 Tele-Holic

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    Try some solder wick to draw it out of the socket pin. It will probably work....then u don’t have to change the socket
     
  5. nvilletele

    nvilletele Friend of Leo's

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    I’d check the specs on your flux capacitor first, to make sure if it’s compatible with liquid flux.

    39166C38-0FBE-4223-83FB-F262119C572F.jpeg
     
  6. printer2

    printer2 Poster Extraordinaire

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    I miss having liquid flux. I do have the paste so I am not all lost. Not that I can't just use solder, I am old school, soldered with it fine for many decades. But the liquid and paste sure makes for a slightly easier job. Do you not have a solder sucker? I would think one should get your solder out of the socket. That is another tool I would not be without. And as far as solder going where you want, you should be able to control it with your heat and how much solder you apply.
     
  7. itsGiusto

    itsGiusto Tele-Holic

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    I am a huge solder sucker fan. But I can't figure out how to heat in that small socket at the same time I have the sucker next to it and ready to suck. I tried heating from the pin side, but it didn't get hot enough.
     
  8. printer2

    printer2 Poster Extraordinaire

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    I have no problem with a soldering gun, darn soldering iron broke a while ago and I have not replaced it yet.
     
  9. sds1

    sds1 Tele-Afflicted

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    I never owned any flux products until about 2 weeks ago, which I acquired for SMD work really. Never felt I needed it otherwise.

    I got a flux pen, which reminds me of the invisible ink markers I had as a kid. Not very wet, not like the stuff that comes in a syringe. I don't think it would drip if you used it lightly...

    Anyhow, I can see some point to flux now as it has occurred to me that you use all the rosin core up on your first soldering pass, so if I needed to desolder I might get out the flux pen someday...

    Seems like a braid could be of some use here if the solder sucker won't do it.
     
  10. sds1

    sds1 Tele-Afflicted

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    Also, in case you haven't heard of the trick where you put an old tube in the socket while you solder to it... that's one way to prevent this.
     
  11. Peegoo

    Peegoo Poster Extraordinaire

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    You can save the socket.

    1. Put on your safety gargles. <-- THIS IS IMPORTANT

    2. Use a dropper to place a drop or two of liquid flux on the boogered-up pin in question.

    3. Heat the pin with the soldering stick

    4. As soon as the solder goes to liquid state, hit it with a long blast of compressed air.

    The solder will blow out the back of the socket. Take precautions to catch the molten solder when the blobs fly out. A wadded up Kleenex tissue works better than a paper towel because it's softer and absorbs the speeding molten metal before it splatters.

    Compressed air from a can (a "duster") can work fine, but even better is a blast from an air hose connected to a compressor supplying 90 PSI or more.

    Obviously the best way to accomplish this task is to have the solder stick in one hand and the air blaster in the other. You don't want any delay time that will allow the molten solder to cool before you blast it out.

    Wear those goggles.
     
  12. Peegoo

    Peegoo Poster Extraordinaire

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    There's a better way:

    Before you join the wires to the solder tabs on any component (pots, jacks, tube sockets, etc.), first tin the tabs and the wire ends with solder. This does three things; (1) it ensures the two items to be joined are coated with solder, (2) it gives you 100% control over where the solder goes, and (3) you'll use a lot less solder on the joint.

    With both terminals tinned, you poke the wire into the tab, crimp it into place, and then heat the joint with the stick. No need to add additional solder.
     
  13. tubegeek

    tubegeek Friend of Leo's

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    Compressed air, sure, OK. Or you can just give it a good whack when the solder is molten.
     
  14. Engine Swap

    Engine Swap Tele-Holic

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    At my previous job (and career) they had one of these plugged in 24/7, for years. Super handy when prototyping to tin up all your leads.

    [​IMG]

    Still can't convince the wife that we need one for home use. I really miss it. And yes on organic, liquid flux.
     
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  15. BobSmith

    BobSmith Tele-Meister

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    I use liquid flux, a lot. I personally think it is much cleaner than paste (and the flux pens are junk in my book). I’ve booger up plenty of holes in my time too. Here are some thoughts that may help

    1. Avoid too much flux. You don’t need all that much.
    2. Gravity can be your friend, or enemy. Turn the work (if you can) to improve access or control flow
    3. Have a general idea about how much solder a joint will need. A little warning alarm should be going off if you are going past that, and stop.
    4. snugly fitted connections Pre-soldering will help improve structural integrity, and keep the solder wicking just between components (less drip potential)

    For desoldering, I use both wick and sucker. It depends.
     
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  16. GARAGE HERMIT

    GARAGE HERMIT Tele-Meister

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    get a nail a bit smaller diameter than a valve pin, stick it in the socket and heat it up with a blow torch then when hot enough shake the molten solder out, might work,

    i've always used flux paste, never bunged up a valve socket with it,
     
  17. schmee

    schmee Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    No Ko Rode soldering flux/paste.

    Have any compressed air or one of those compressed air cans for cleaning keyboards? Heat the socket tab up and blow it out quickly!
     
  18. dunehunter

    dunehunter Tele-Holic Double Platinum Supporter

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    I personally like using liquid flux; the main idea of flux is to "clean" both surfaces to be mated and this is a little difficult to do using just the flux in the solder spool. My soldering joints have improved dramatically with the use of liquid flux, I think. Never had the issue of dripping flux down into a tube socket (that sounds like just plain old bad luck), but it doesn't take a lot of flux to clean your parts. I ordered nail polish containers from Amazon and use the brush to apply the flux...doesn't seem to overdo it. My $0.02.
     
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  19. tele_savales

    tele_savales Tele-Holic Platinum Supporter

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    I had the exact same thing happen on my last new build and it wasnt due to flux, just poor technique. And I sat there for a half hour trying to unclog the pin by heating it with my iron and poking at with a little metal pick, until i finally gave up and pulled a 50 year old original fender socket out of the pile and using that. Better than holding the whole project up waiting on one in the mail.
     
  20. Buell

    Buell Tele-Meister

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    I use liquid flux ALWAYS!! I've worked in electronics most of my life and even with flux core solder, I will use the liquid as well. The flow is 100 times greater. Years ago, I had an issue similar to yours. It takes awhile, but the standard solder suckers will get that out of the socket eventually. You just have to keep at it. Best of luck, mate.
     
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