Soldering question for the old hands out there

ahiddentableau

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This is a long shot but I figure I'll try my luck.

I'm currently building a highly modified champ style amp. Unfortunately, I built my board using some cheap turrets that I had picked up years ago. This has turned out rather badly as they are causing me a lot of grief. They are incredibly difficult to solder. Putting comps in the top was OK, but wiring the proper way with wire around the turret, which I need to be able to do in order in at least a few places to complete the design, is a full blown nightmare. They just won't take the solder. I'm very careful with cleaning them so I'm sure it's not oil from hands or shipping.

Any tips or ideas for making this less painful? I'm at the point where I'm considering putting small sections of bus wire out of the top of the turrets and attaching everything that way. It will suffice to say that at my current frustration level I'm very, very open to ideas.

Thanks for reading
 

Timbresmith1

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You can try liquid flux from a container, but if the turrets are stainless, it will still be sketchy.
I had good luck with the GC brand flux with the brush in the bottle cap.
 

King Fan

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By all means check your iron temperature, and try liquid flux (not the plumbing kind!!!!!) and use a chisel tip. What kind of solder are you using? Not lead-free by any chance?

But I'd be concerned I might end up with a whole poorly soldered kludge-fest build. It's not what you want to hear, but I might start over with decent turrets. Several builders here have reported similar problems in years past, and starting over was their path to sanity.
 

David C

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By all means check your iron temperature, and try liquid flux (not the plumbing kind!!!!!) and use a chisel tip. What kind of solder are you using? Not lead-free by any chance?

But I'd be concerned I might end up with a whole poorly soldered kludge-fest build. It's not what you want to hear, but I might start over with decent turrets. Several builders here have reported similar problems in years past, and starting over was their path to sanity.
I vote for sanity over wasting time building something that I have to tear apart and rebuild again.
 

dan40

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If you are trying to solder to the turrets with a standard pencil tip in your iron, using a larger tip as the fellas have suggested will make a world of difference. Also make sure you are tinning your tip with plenty of fresh solder just before touching it to each turret. You almost want to see a small blob of fresh solder hanging from the tip as you approach the turret to heat it. This extra solder on the tip creates a heat bridge between your tip and the turret and allows the heat to transfer into the turret much quicker. The suggestion to add a bit of extra flux on the turrets is also a good idea.
 

dsutton24

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Clean parts, enough heat and good solder are all it takes. I suspect that you're using lead-free solder. Find some 60-40 rosin core solder formulated specifically for electronics.
 

Phrygian77

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Are the turrets tarnished/oxidized? Assuming you're using 60/40 rosin core and decent iron, and you've got oxidation, you may want to try a more aggressive flux, like RA flux. It would be a lot of work though.
 

Peegoo

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All good advice above.

Sometimes we get our butt kicked by a solder job. Wash your hands well before soldering. Do not touch your face, eat food, or any other activity that may introduce oils or other contaminants to your solder connections.

Pinch each turret between finger and thumb with a small piece of green Scotchbrite or 000 steel wool and rotate your hand to clean the metal surface of each turret. Next, wipe each turret with clean cotton cloth dampened with alcohol and blow everything clean and dry with oilless air.

Another thing to do is to pre-tin all the turrets before you wrap them with component leads and wires.
 

King Fan

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This is turning into a nice tutorial on soldering. I assume your soldering skills are solid. ;) And I take it you’ve done turrets before? But while we're on the basics, once you have a chisel tip and a nice hot iron (is yours adjustable?) with a decent heat reservoir and decent solder, are you melting a nice little pool of solder on your iron to form a heat bridge to the turret? Key step.

And apologies if you're doing all this already, though. If so, I’ll repeat my note that we’ve seen experienced builders with tons of prior solder success run into an odd batch of turrets that just didn’t seem to take solder.
 

Powdog

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I’ve had trouble soldering the Chinese made jacks from Radio Shack that I bought in desperation. Some imported chrome finishes just won’t take solder easily. Personally, I’d start over with new turrets from a reputable supplier like Antique Electonics. Save yourself the frustration. A Champ circuit isn’t that big. The satisfaction you’ll get from a nice clean solder will put a smile back on your face.
 

schmee

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If your board doesn't solder right up well, throw that board away and get a good board like the original Fender type EYELET BOARD from Mojo or others.. There are universal ones if you need, but a Champ or Princeton board is what...$14?
Get some flux, it's a life saver sometimes. No Ko Rode is what I like.
 

SacDAve

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One of my Amps builds the turrets would not soldier for anything, I tried everything to clean them finally just tossed them all all bought new ones problem solved. I just got some bad turrets nothing else and I do know how to solder.
 




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