Choice of Soldering Iron for Perfboard

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by mbird, Mar 11, 2012.

  1. mbird

    Thread Starter Member

    Jan 29, 2009
    24
    2
    Hi --

    I'd like to do some small projects on protoboard (perfboard with copper pads) (like make small component groups with pin headers on the board to then use that board on my breadboard). I read that some soldering irons are too hot for boards with copper pads? Can you recommend one to get that will be good for this? Do I need a variable temperature or just a basic Weller. I like the Weller WP35 and WP25 but is it too hot? -- do I need one like Weller WLC100 that has temp control?

    Thank you!
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2012
  2. KJ6EAD

    Senior Member

    Apr 30, 2011
    1,425
    363
    You don't need anything special. The poorer pad-per-hole prototyping boards have thin copper and low quality glues holding the copper to the board so to avoid damage, try to heat the joint for the shortest time possible to achieve good wetting and use plenty of flux.
     
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  3. StayatHomeElectronics

    Well-Known Member

    Sep 25, 2008
    864
    40
    I think something like the wlc100 is nicer than the nonadjustable ones. The price is below $50 as well.
     
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  4. IronMod

    New Member

    Jun 14, 2011
    15
    3
    I would get the Aoyue 936...its inexpensive and a variable temp with alot of selection of tips. I solder tons of SMD components without an issue. And the handle doesn't get hott.
     
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  5. #12

    Expert

    Nov 30, 2010
    16,294
    6,804
    My Weller 35 watt pencil style soldering iron has worked well on perfboard for 35 years. Just be sure to scrub the new boards clean before you start. I use green Scotchbrite with soap and water, followed by a hair dryer.
     
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  6. SgtWookie

    Expert

    Jul 17, 2007
    22,182
    1,728
    I also use the green 3M Scotchbrite pads to clean the boards prior to assembly - and Scotchbrite also works well to clean component leads if you're using surplus or "new old stock" type parts that may have some corrosion on the leads.

    Soap and water works well if you have a dryer. 90% or better isopropyl alcohol works very well to remove contaminants, and dries rapidly without requiring a hair dryer. Keep in mind that any contaminants, including finger oils, will make soldering much more difficult - if not impossible.

    Use 63/37 solder if you can find it; 60/40 can also be used but melts at a somewhat higher temperature. Use rosin flux; do NOT use acid flux. Use isopropyl alcohol to remove the flux after soldering is completed.
     
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  7. dprice

    New Member

    Mar 11, 2012
    8
    0
    I recently got a Hakko off of Amazon for pretty cheap. Changeable tips, variable temp... The tip seems to be much better than the cheaper irons too, others I have owned have visible wear after only a few hours of use, this one looks absolutely brand new after over 15 since I've had it.
     
  8. Sparky49

    Active Member

    Jul 16, 2011
    834
    417
    I'm going to echo Sgt wookie, make sure it is all clean.

    I was making a project this weekend, and was having real problems getting the solder to flow nicely. A quick clean and it was easily 100% easier to solder.

    I think I might also invest in some flux. It was very easy when I came across a piece of solder with slightly more flux in it. :)
     
  9. #12

    Expert

    Nov 30, 2010
    16,294
    6,804
    I bought a jar of liquid flux. I thought I could just paint the board, let it dry, and have that extra edge of fluxiness as I worked. Wrong. The water based flux only works when it's wet.

    Just letting you know...
     
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  10. mbird

    Thread Starter Member

    Jan 29, 2009
    24
    2
    Thanks for all the posts and information.

    I decided to get the Weller WLC100 Soldering Station ($39.99 at Amazon). I also got a Weller Conical 1/32 tip and some Kester 60/40 (0.031) solder.

    I tinned the tip and keep it tinned and clean.

    I experimented with the variable power control until I found a spot that seems good. I am not lifting any pads and the solder seems to take to the pads well.

    Attached is images of my first ever perfboard attempt (simple but loads of fun :) My next project is to try to do a bank of 8 LEDs, with 8 resistors, driven by a ULN2308 (I'll use a socket not solder the chip directly) and this time use a header to plug into breadboard instead of the hookup wire. The board can then serve as output device for FPGA board or PIC or any other digital logic.

    Thank you!
     
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  11. KJ6EAD

    Senior Member

    Apr 30, 2011
    1,425
    363
    Mbird, you're welcome and thanks for the follow up report. It's always nice to see what came of our efforts.

    One more tip (pun accepted); get yourself a jug of distilled water to use for your sponge. The mineral content in most tap water causes a buildup of black oxides.
     
  12. Sparky49

    Active Member

    Jul 16, 2011
    834
    417
    Great stuff Mbird!

    I hope to see your project in the completed projects section. It looks pretty cool. :)
     
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