Soldering Question

Discussion in 'Wii - Hacking' started by instigator, Feb 10, 2007.

Feb 10, 2007

Soldering Question by instigator at 11:00 PM (1,166 Views / 0 Likes) 13 replies

  1. instigator
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    Newcomer instigator Advanced Member

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    This one is for you soldering experts out there [​IMG]

    I recently bought a 15w soldering iron and all the necessary items I will require to solder in a modchip.

    The other day I sat down to practice on an old video card that I had laying around.

    The question I have is this: are you supposed to melt the solder on to the board's pad (which is also made of solder?) without melting the pad? Or are you supposed to melt the pad and then add solder, effectively increasing the amount of solder?

    I also noted that it would probably be possible to just melt the pad and place the wire effectively without adding any extra solder. Am I totally off base here?

    Any help/advice would be appreciated!
     
  2. Hooya

    Member Hooya GBAtemp Advanced Maniac

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    You're adding solder to the amount already on the board. It gives you more to work with and ensures you have something that will flow and connect.

    You also should make sure you put some solder on your wire as well (called "tinning" the wire) so that you know the solder will flow around the wire to make a good connection.

    While it may be possible to just stick the wire on the solder already on the board it might not be a very good connection and you might run into problems down the line, including the wire falling off the solder.

    You want to make sure that solder flows all around all your connections so that the connection is strong and solid. Tinning the contact point and the wire helps ensure this and also helps ensure that you can get the points together QUICKLY! You don't want to sit there with your iron on the board trying to force an un-tinned wire into a point on the board without sufficient solder.

    Someone with more experience than me can chime in if what I've said seems off base.

    My only other word of advice is to make sure that you constantly keep the tip of your soldering iron clean and oxidation free by keeping it well tinned. The moment you start getting oxidation buildup on your tip is the moment you stop being able to effectively solder. Get some good tip cleaner for when that inevitably happens.
     
  3. friedchicken

    Member friedchicken GBAtemp Regular

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    i usually add more solder by melting the solder onto the tip of the iron, apply the wire and add more solder if needed.
    dont know if its more effective but it works for me.
     
  4. shtonkalot

    Member shtonkalot Can't hold on much longer, But I'll never let go!

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    You want to add a small amount of new solder to the point you are soldering to, you can do that by heating the point and it's soldered connection whilst adding a small amount of fresh solder.
    You also want to 'tin' the solder which means adding a solder coating to the tip of the wire.
    This will enable the two points to join easily as they are the same fresh solder joining.

    DO NOT try to just sink the wire tip into the existing solder. you will end up with a poor connection.
     
  5. outphase

    Member outphase Custom title

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    Here's a good rule of thumb: It's best to reduce the amount of actual contact time of the iron to whatever board you're working with. Too much heat and it might fry whatever component you're working with.
     
  6. instigator
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    Newcomer instigator Advanced Member

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    Thanks guys -

    So if I have you right, this is what I should do:

    1) Tin the iron

    2) Tin the wires

    3) Melt solder/pad increasing amount of solder (allow to soldify?)

    4) Apply iron to tinned wire/pad insuring that the solder flows over the wire

    Guys have complained that they have accidentally lifted pads of the board. How does that happen?
     
  7. ditto_n

    Member ditto_n GBAtemp Regular

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    The pad of solder already on the board is just making a bit of contact with the traces on the pcb. If you manage to somehow accidentially get that pad to come off, you are now stuck with just the spot where the pad used to be and it can be nearly impossible to get solder to pool in that spot again.
     
  8. Hooya

    Member Hooya GBAtemp Advanced Maniac

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    You've got the right idea. Now just keep practicing. As far as the "allow to solidify" part, you really have no choice. Solder in amounts you're going to be working with cool to solid in less than 1 second. And you really only need just the littlest bit of solder to get the job done. I've heard some experienced electronic techs say to use the smallest amount of solder to get the job done.
     
  9. instigator
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    Newcomer instigator Advanced Member

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    Thanks guys for the pointers. I have it straight now. I will practice until I get good at it [​IMG]
     
  10. instigator
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    Newcomer instigator Advanced Member

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    One thing I've noticed during my practice is that my solder points tend to be "pointy" when I'm finished. Is this normal? I think it is caused by the solder cooling as am pulling the iron away. Will this impact upon a good connection?
     
  11. Hooya

    Member Hooya GBAtemp Advanced Maniac

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    It happens to me too. You can actually file those down after it's cooled for a couple minutes if you really want to. As long as it doesn't poke through the electrical tape and therefore bridge something to the metal plate that fits on top of the DVD drive or something, you should not have to worry about these unless they're really long.

    But if they bother you, like I said, you can carefully file them down.
     
  12. shtonkalot

    Member shtonkalot Can't hold on much longer, But I'll never let go!

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    This usually happens when you use too much solder, the bottom of the solder spreads out and cools before the top can and creates a point.
    If you are getting this you really want to make sure you have a good joint. Give a tug on the wire and make sure the connection holds.
     
  13. instigator
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    Newcomer instigator Advanced Member

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    I'll keep practicing with it. I have been able to get the odd perfectly round joint but the spiky ones have been more common for me. I'll try to hold back on the solder and see how that works [​IMG]

    Thanks for the advice guys. Its nice to have people around to bounce these questions off of.
     
  14. AustinS

    Newcomer AustinS Member

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    if you get the point when pulling iron off that means the iron is to hot(solder is attracted to heat). Get a damp sponge near by to take down the temp of your iron.
     

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