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Soldering iron temperature question

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by chunger, Apr 27, 2010.

  1. chunger


    Jan 10, 2006
    Albany, CA
    Chunger basses by Studio 939
    In my recent bass mucking, I've fried 2 expensive push/pull pots and decided to buy a temperature regulated soldering iron.

    I ended up getting an Aoyue 937+ unit from Amazon. Now I'm wondering what a good baseline temperature would be to set the iron at for soldering your typical guitar electronics without damaging the components.

    I was using your run of the mill 25 watt iron before.
  2. darkstorm


    Oct 13, 2009
    A std 25 watt solder iron should not fry pots unless left on them for way too long. How long did it take you to get the wire soldered on? My policy is no more then a couple seconds. And thats taking too long to do the soldering imo. And no solder iron touching the pot or switch untill is applying solder. But, if youve not had this problem before and you didnt have the solder iron on it for more then a couple seconds. I'd not buy that brand again if it was me.
  3. Silent Fly

    Silent Fly Supporting Member Commercial User

    May 8, 2006
    London - UK
    Owner/designer [sfx]
    If you google "soldering iron temperature" you should find plenty of links.

    I keep my soldering iron temperature around 300-320C. But I sometimes change the setting to a higher or lower temperature.

    It is difficult to say without actually seeing it but I suspect the problem you had is not strictly related to temperature. I fear you kept the solder attached to the pots for too long.
  4. testing1two

    testing1two Supporting Member

    Feb 25, 2009
    Southern California
    For soldering pots, the hotter the better IMO. Frying a pot is a matter of time not temperature. I can solder pots with my iron set at 800F/427C because it only takes a few seconds to get solder to stick. The lower the temperature the longer you have to leave the iron on the part. Also be sure you are using decent rosin core solder (and it doesn't hurt to have some paste flux on hand although with the right solder it shouldn't be necessary).
  5. electroken


    Sep 2, 2008
    Shelton, CT
    I prefer to set the iron at 680F/360C for eutectic tin/lead solder and 750F/400C for the lead-free alloys. Given the choice, I'll use the tin/lead every time.
  6. I've got a 50 watt variable soldering iron (it's just a dial, no temp read out), had a 30 watt straight to plug iron before.

    The only thing I've managed to fry was a tiny poly cap (cant remember the value, but it was in the pico-F range) when working on a pedal, frying pots tho? I think you are maybe holding the iron on for too long!
  7. Tone Meister

    Tone Meister

    Dec 9, 2009

    ^^ This is absolutely correct. Also, heat the "work", not the solder or the wires. In this case the terminals on the pots are the "work." Using silver solder will makes a simple job like this a snap. SS comes pre-fluxed in most cases IME.

    Good luck!
  8. kcjewel


    Nov 22, 2009
    Paso Robles, CA
    Ive been using the same Weller soldering gun with a high and a low on the trigger since 1964 and had no problem damaging parts.
    John and the crew
  9. +1 I set mine at 630F/650F and that seems to work best for that size of work.
    Be sure to heat up the joint for a second before you apply the solder that way it will flow out more quickly which will actually put less heat to the part and give you a better solder joint IMOP.
  10. chunger


    Jan 10, 2006
    Albany, CA
    Chunger basses by Studio 939
    It confounds me a little because I'm not even soldering onto the backs of the pots. I'm star grounding. I don't think I'm using excessive heat or time. I typically heat my work just until the solder flows and "sucks" onto the lug and I get off of it right away. When I de-solder, I heat until the solder flows, hit it immediately with the solder sucker, and get off.

    I soldered a pretty "safe" project tonight (instrument cable) to get a feel for the new iron and it's temp settings. It seems to work very smoothly. . . similar to the regulated weller my dad had at home growing up. Hopefully I'll figure out a way to stop breaking things.
  11. PCR


    Apr 11, 2008
    How do you know you're blowing pots? The reason why I ask this is because I've kept a soldering iron on a pot for a fair amount of time, and still not blown a pot.

    When you de-solder, don't bother with sucking the solder, just pull the wire out. If you want to remove solder, then you've probably used too much solder to begin with. That aside, use Solder Braid (or sometimes called Wick).

    Here are a couple of tips regardless of temp and iron size.
    - Make sure the tip is clean (oxidation is an insulates heat)
    - Clean the tip on a wet sponge EVERY time you pick up the iron
    - Add a little solder EVERY time just after you wipe the tip (even when removing wire)
    - Make sure the wire, lug or pot is clean (sand the spot on the pot lightly)
    - Use paste flux (but only use a VERY small amount)
    - Keep that 700 degree iron as far away from your mega dollar bass as possible.

    Build yourself a soldering station. I used a chinese take out container (it's gatta be pork low mein if you want killer vintage tone).


    Hope this helps.
  12. bassbenj


    Aug 11, 2009

    This is pretty much what I use too or perhaps just a tad lower. You just have to experiment and see what works best.

    By the way, the real reason to fork for a temperature controlled iron isn't to keep from frying things, but so that it reaches temperature in a very short time and then doesn't slowly drift past the temperature if you don't use it or take time to get back to temperature after you've wiped it on a wet sponge. In short the T.C. irons are just SO much less frustrating then the cheapo pencil types. But on the other hand, that sanity comes at a price.
  13. chunger


    Jan 10, 2006
    Albany, CA
    Chunger basses by Studio 939
    I hope it's going to be a helpful new tool. It's a 50 watt TC iron and set me back $50. I've been really going pedal to the metal lately and have done 8 basses. Mostly it goes well, but every once in a while I mess up a part. . . especially if I need to swap things out. . .and usually on the push/pull pot. If it wasn't that I had 10 more to build in the next few months, I would have just tried to stick it out with what I've been using. Maybe the tip wasn't the best one for the job. . . a little thick. I did notice that if I left the iron for a while, it would turn into a big burnt mess on me every time.






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