Hardware Recommended soldering iron temperature for GBA?

hippy dave

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Another quick easy question. I got a new temperature controlled iron that I haven't tried out yet, I'm gonna have a quick practice on some broken gadget or other but my current project is just going to be attaching the supplied wires from the ITA ribbon cable to the points required for button control, so it shouldn't be too tricky. I've done basic soldering before but only with a shitty cheap old iron with no temp control.

Edit: using leaded solder ofc
 

FAST6191

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Baseline GBA would have used unleaded solder which tends to need a higher temperature to melt than glorious wondrous leaded. Most other things of similar vintage or newer (forget when lead free became law but it was mostly a formality at that point) will also be unleaded so practice there will be about the same. Do also go with some nice extra flux as it buys you a bit of time, transfers a bit if heat to where it is both needed and away to keep harms less, and keeps things from oxidising too.

The usual tradeoff is too low and you dwell too long on the area and cause fun (maybe not even melt it if it is a weird lead free and you have it hot enough for leaded, or do a cold joint which is possibly worse in some ways), too high and you impart more heat than needed and cause fun. If you have got used to a firestarter iron then you are probably already pretty quick to remove when you see the puddle form so I would skew hotter if the choice presents itself. Others favour gradually turning it up and testing it to see when it melts from a brief touch.
Temperatures the irons claim to be I tend to find are more of a mild suggestion as well on most things that don't cost a fortune, and your tip selection also has an impact here (your standard pencil tip from the average firestarter possibly being one of the worst designs for a lot of people, spade/flat and well tips that tend to come with something you actually want to replace the tip on when it breaks can be like a whole other world.
 

hippy dave

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Cool thank you both! I guess I can start around leaded temps for a quick test then go up to unleaded temps if I need to. I do have some lead-free solder that came with the iron, if it would make more sense to match what's already on there, tho I don't know how high quality it is.
 

0x3000027E

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Cool thank you both! I guess I can start around leaded temps for a quick test then go up to unleaded temps if I need to. I do have some lead-free solder that came with the iron, if it would make more sense to match what's already on there, tho I don't know how high quality it is.
No need for lead-free unless you are doing manufacture-level soldering with low ventilation. The leaded solder flows much nicer.
 
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ghjfdtg

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There is no universal good temperature. It depends on how accurate the temp control of your iron is and the soldering job. A rule of thumb is you should be able to solder pads within 3 seconds. Better hot and fast than cold and long. Long soldering is what destroys pads.

Start somewhere between 300-350°C.
 
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CMDreamer

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Test if the tip melts the solder before even getting it close to the board or components, in that way you don't have to keep guessing if the temperature is right or not.

Also don't forget that the faster the better, you shouldn't be applying high temp on small pads for a very long temp or you'll end up lifting and damaging them.

One more thing, use just about enough solder on small pads or you'll end up creating shorts and causing problems.
 
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tech3475

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I find it can depend on the equipment/solder and condition, I tried the ‘recommended’ temps with mine, only to find it just didn’t work.

On a recent project I even had to change the temp mid project because I was having issues.

Although the temp reading may be off because it can take a minute for the solder to start melting on the tip.

I would actually suggest buying a cheap kit to practice with, so you can get the hang of it.
 
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