How the *#(@*@#(&*@#(&*@#(&$&*^@# do you solder!!!

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Matt Till, Jul 27, 2005.

  1. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA
    *@#(*#&(#@&(#@&$*#@(($@*#& I swear 60 percent of my lifes current problems are traced to soldering, and my inability to do it. I think Trevorous suggested my iron was too weak. I don't think so, it melts my skin if I get close to it, it's hot!

    What is the process, I usually end up with a huge huge mess of solder with no connection. I just can't solder to surfaces, hooking wires to pots has literally pushed my brain to explosion.

    Right now, my ground came loose on my guitar, so it's a real easy process, hook the ground to the pot... I've spent 2 hours trying to do this... no luck. It would take any pro solderer 5 seconds. My brain is tingling with rage right now...
  2. This link might be of some use. Here's how NASA does it (watch out for falling debris! :meh: ). Here's another one…

    Good Luck -

    - Wil
  3. Minger


    Mar 15, 2004
    Rochester, NY
    Iron on metal

    Then put the other piece on

    The put the solder on.

    Just don't be like me and try to do it with solder that is used for pipes - took me forever to try and get it and then my dad comes in and is like "thats not gonna work, you're gonna need this"

    Heck, it looked like regular solder...
  4. WalterBush


    Feb 27, 2005
    Yuma, Az
    A) Use the right size solder for the purpose

    B) Use the right size iron for the purpose (both wattage and tip--I like a 30w iron w/ a weller "screwdriver" tip for instruments, jacks, etc, and I have a grounded 15w iron for pedals, etc. I use a 200w because I'm impatient for 12 guage neutrik speakon connections)

    C) Learn how and where to use flux. Flux is the key IME.
  5. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002
    First time I ever soldered something it was a thing of beauty. I did everything exactly perfectly, creating the absolute perfectly shaped globule of solder goodness that not only solved my problem but it looked good and it lasted for a long time afterward.

    Since then, I rarely ever find myself soldering things, but last time I did was a pathetic attempt that got me no where and ultimately I just gave up(I think I was using the wrong type of solder that time, not sure though)

    oh well... soldering is pretty much totally fun though, just.. like... when it works.
  6. Trevorus


    Oct 18, 2002
    Urbana, IL
    Go to radio shack and get Electronic type solder. Make sure the iron is hot. You need to get the piece you are working on hot, then prime it with a tiny bit of solder. I usually prime my wires too. Then just pree the two pieces together, add heat, and voila!
  7. Make sure not to drop solder on your impressive genitals....
  8. Keeaumoku


    Dec 29, 2004
    By burning my fingers, dripping that silver crap all over the table, and the electronics that weren't supposed to get any, inhaling too much of that infernal smoke... :scowl: Everytime I tried to solder, my efforts found a way to fail! :help:

    So, while I realize I've wasted yours, and everyone elses time with my post, I'll end this by saying: I'm better off getting the kid across the street with the coke bottle horn-rimmed glasses to solder for me. At least his connections never separate! And my wife can pay him off with a baloney sandwich and coke! :eyebrow:
  9. elros


    Apr 24, 2004
    Proprietor, Helland Musikk Teknologi
    Some important things:

    Keep the metal surfaces that are to be soldered, clean.
    The tip on your soldering iron ought to be shiny clean as well.

    Heat both parts.

    Melt the solder on those two hot parts - NOT on the soldering iron.

    If the solder doens't flow nicely around the two parts, then they aren't clean and/or you need a bit of soldering flux (check if your solder has a flux core - that usually helps quite a bit)

    (but if your solder has a flux core, check what type it is - some are organic and must be washed away, otherwise they'll corrode the solder joint; these types are most often used on PCBs, IME)

    The NASA videos are nice, but very PCB oriented.
    Perhaps I could shoot some photos today and make a guide. (soldering is a big part of my day job)
  10. DougP


    Sep 4, 2001
    are you using a pencil type iron or a gun type? it sounds like you are trying to solder to the back of the pot and the connections arent sticking to the pot? to me that sounds like your soldering iron isnt getting the metal on the pot hot enough to form a solid connection. you may need a stronger iron.
  11. Vorago

    Vorago (((o)))

    Jul 17, 2003
    Antwerp, Belgium
  12. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    If soldering to the back of a 'fresh' pot, I usually scrape some of the coating away prior to soldering.
  13. Hollow Man

    Hollow Man Supporting Member

    Apr 28, 2003
    Springfield, VA
    Exactly what I was thinking. New pots often have a coating which prevents the solder from bonding to the pot's surface. Use a piece of sandpaper to clear away a small area that will allow you to solder directly to the pot. Other than that, soldering is just about concentration and patience. Just a few weeks ago, I soldered several very difficult circuit boards, and did a pretty good job. Other times, I can't even make two wires connect firmly. Just take your time, and don't get too crazy with the amount of solder you use. A little goes a long way.

    And for some reason, I love the way solder smells!
  14. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA
    Thanks for the info fellas, I'll give this a shot tonight.

    I remeber the first time I used a soldering iron was to defret my first fretless failure. After burning myself pretty bad, my brother told me that I jumped up, kicked the iron and yelled, "AGGHH, It burns with the fire of 12 suns!"
  15. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA

    BWAHHAHAHAH, that's how I solder, except I've got a screwdriver iron, and I'm not doing the thumbs up the end... more the middle finger.
  16. I've still got a nice big scar on my hand from where I dropped an iron on it about 5 or 6 years ago :crying:

    I think most problems people have are related to the tip of the iron. You can have the best iron, best flux, etc and if the tip isn't in good shape you aren't going to do anything but make little solder balls that snap off if you touch them. Your tip should be SUPER CLEAN. Go look at a new iron, see how shiny the tip is? That's clean. Now look at your iron, its probably all brown and gunky-lookin. There's stuff you can buy to clean it, but I find the best, easiest, cheapest way to do it is get a metal file and scrape off a layer before you do your soldering. Also, make sure you melt some solder onto the tip of the iron. This is called 'tinning' it, and helps with the heat transfer to the component. Don't put any more solder on the tip of the iron while you're doing the deed... heat one side of the part with the tinned iron, and apply your solder to the other side, letting it melt and flow into the joint. If it doesnt flow, it's probably not going to stick.. this is called a "cold" solder. If it takes longer than 2 or 3 seconds for the part to heat up and melt the solder, you're not doing it right; heat isn't transfering quickly enough and you risk damaging your part. Try cleaning and tinning the tip, and try again.
  17. Squidfinger

    Squidfinger I wish I could sing like Rick Danko.

    Jan 7, 2004
    Shreveport LA
    I'm a senior electronics student in technical college and solder almost everyday so I like to think I know what I'm talking about.

    1) Clean both parts to be soldered with denatured alcohol.

    2) Set the iron to about 600 degrees. Solder melts at 300 something degrees. The reason I recommend setting it alot higher is speed. Leaving an iron on a part too long will let heat travel up the lead and possibly damage the part (especially transistors and caps). Setting the heat high will let you get on and off really quickly.

    3) Make sure the solder tip always has solder on it with all the excess wiped off.

    4) Now here's where skill actually comes into play. You don't actually put the iron exactly where you need the solder. You put it to the side and use the heat to draw the solder to where you need it.


    Let's say the circle is the contact on a printed circuit board where you want to solder the component. You would stick the lead into the hole then lay the iron flat against the left side (left x). You would then lay the solder against the opposite side (right x) and the heat would draw the solder evenly across the contact.

    Beware: Leaving the iron on the contact too long will melt the glue that holds the contact in place and it will come up when you pull away the iron. If this happens you will have to get a knife and scrape the circuit path to expose it and solder the lead directly to it.
  18. Selta


    Feb 6, 2002
    Pacific Northwet
    Total fanboi of: Fractal Audio, AudiKinesis Cabs, Dingwall basses
    For anyone who reads CAD:

  19. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA

    There it is! My Iron is gross! This is my main problem for sure! :D
  20. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    Step ... Away ... From .... The ... soldiering ... gun .