Protoboard Soldering

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by DRock, Feb 25, 2012.

  1. DRock

    Thread Starter Member

    May 7, 2011
    68
    0
    Hey everyone,

    I have the WLC100 soldering station which is found at this link:

    http://www.cooperhandtools.com/bran...ing Stations&att2=Consumer Soldering Stations

    I also have a bunch of components such as ic holders, caps, and resistors that I want to solder onto some protoboard that I got from Radioshack like this:

    http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2102843#

    The problem I am having is I cannot solder the ic chip holder good enough so that the solder wets correctly and makes a good connection without overflowing to the next hole. I just bought a new pencil tip and tried it out but the outcome was only marginally better.

    This is my first time working with something like this and I just keep getting frustrated because my soldering is holding me back from moving forward.

    Any tips would be appreciated, maybe I need a smaller diameter solder wire...?

    Thanks for any help.
     
  2. MrChips

    Moderator

    Oct 2, 2009
    12,440
    3,361
    What is the diameter of your solder? Provide us with the full part number of the solder.
    Have you learned the proper technique for soldering?
     
  3. DRock

    Thread Starter Member

    May 7, 2011
    68
    0
    Solder is 0.062" measured with my micrometer and the link is here:

    http://www.acehardwareoutlet.com/ProductDetails.aspx?SKU=2005171

    I have soldered a bunch of stuff in the past but not many PCBs or boards such as this. I know you have to get both metals hot and wick the solder to the joint and it should flow easily but I am not sure how to prevent the components from overheating and getting damaged. Even still, I am having a tough time consolidating the solder to a single hole.
     
  4. wb2vsj

    New Member

    Feb 19, 2012
    7
    0
    Is the protoboard tarnished? If it's been sitting around a while you will need to polish off the oxidation. You need a nice clean and shiny surface to solder too. I can't speak to how good these ROHS, no-lead solders are, I still use the lead based solders.

    Try using a little soldering flux (NOT the acid paste for plumbing!)
     
  5. DRock

    Thread Starter Member

    May 7, 2011
    68
    0
    Brand new board from Radioshack, nice and shiny.

    Ill try adding some flux, might help a little.
     
  6. DerStrom8

    Well-Known Member

    Feb 20, 2011
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    Personally, I use .032" rosin core solder for my projects. It's not too big and the amount put on the joint is quite easy to control. I have even used .01" before. A bit difficult to handle, but you definitely don't get too much at once ;)

    Anyway, it's really important that you have a properly-tinned soldering iron. You'll need to tin it AS it's heating up, NOT when it's already hot. Otherwise, it will start globbing on and won't make a good joint. Also make sure you don't touch the solder directly to the iron to get it onto the joint. That's a good way to get cold solder joints, which make a real mess of the board. Flux should help, but make sure your iron is properly tinned. Also, what is the wattage of your iron? Anything higher than 25 watt is absolutely unnecessary in most electronic applications. An iron that is too hot can lead to damaged parts and bad joints. Just a few more things to consider ;)

    Regards
     
  7. ErnieM

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 24, 2011
    7,388
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    I happen to really like and frequently use RS proto boards for my breadboards.

    They seldom come in ready to use, they need to be cleaned before use. I use some fine steel wool and lightly scrub the metal till it is all shiny again.
     
  8. MrChips

    Moderator

    Oct 2, 2009
    12,440
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    Maybe the board has a protective coating to prevent tarnish. If so, clean it with acetone. This should be done in a well ventilated area.
     
  9. KMoffett

    AAC Fanatic!

    Dec 19, 2007
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    I'm with ErnieM. I use them too. Always buff the the whole copper copper side with 0000 steel wool, or very lightly with 320 sand paper before you start inserting leads.

    Ken
     
  10. shortbus

    AAC Fanatic!

    Sep 30, 2009
    4,010
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    As DerStom said, .062 solder is plumbing solder size, get the smaller diameter solder made for electronics and make life easier. And like the others said clean the places you want the solder to bond to.
     
  11. bountyhunter

    Well-Known Member

    Sep 7, 2009
    2,498
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    make sure it's not the "lead free" solder which is worthless to use.
     
  12. elec_mech

    Senior Member

    Nov 12, 2008
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    Lots of good info posted already, so in a nutshell, I think the solder you're using is too big for your application and lead-free is, as I understand it, unfriendly to work with at best . . .

    I recommend a lead-based solder such as 60/40 with a diameter of 0.020" to 0.032" such as this:

    http://www.radioshack.com/product/i...nSession=1&filterName=Type&filterValue=Solder

    Your iron looks good, just be sure you're using the right-sized tip. I'd recommend a screwdriver tip with a width of about 0.062" like an ST1: http://www.cooperhandtools.com/bran...d=WEL007&att1=Tips and Nozzles&att2=ST Series

    You don't want to go much smaller than that (don't use a tiny needlepoint tip) nor much bigger. Too small and you'll never get a good joint, if any; too big and you'll take the traces off.

    Try the #3 or #4 setting for the heat.

    Good luck!
     
  13. DRock

    Thread Starter Member

    May 7, 2011
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    0
    Thanks a bunch! I just got back from Radioshack and got 62 Sn/36 Pb/2 Ag rosin-core solder and 99.2 Sn/.3 Ag/ .5 Cu lead-free solder. I am also unfortunately using the ST7 tip but I don't want to order another because last time it took like a month to come.

    I am going to try to scrub the surfaces and hit it with the iron at 3-4 and see how it turns out.

    Which of these two would be the better solder to use?

    Thanks for all the replies!
     
  14. DerStrom8

    Well-Known Member

    Feb 20, 2011
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    Lead-free solder is hard to use because it doesn't melt as easily as leaded solder. I'd go with the 62/36/2, though personally I'd recommend using basic 60/40. The 62/36/2 should be ok though.
     
  15. DRock

    Thread Starter Member

    May 7, 2011
    68
    0
    I just tried the lead solder and wow the joints are all perfect! So much easier with this new solder and at the 4 heat setting.

    Haha I started to think I was going crazy for a second because my soldering was so bad.
     
  16. DerStrom8

    Well-Known Member

    Feb 20, 2011
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    Hahaha, well I'm glad things worked out for you :D

    Good luck, and happy soldering!
     
  17. wb2vsj

    New Member

    Feb 19, 2012
    7
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    Lead free solder has introduced a whole new bees nest of issues from manufacturing to long term reliability. Makes for some interesting reading.
     
  18. bountyhunter

    Well-Known Member

    Sep 7, 2009
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    There is a trick to soldering bare copper: if you buff it shiny, it will solder but it oxidizes rapidly. The best trick is to buff the whole board shiny bright and spray it with a light coat of clear urethane or lacquer. It keeps the copper from oxidizing as the soldering iron heats the board. It comes off easily when defluxing with acetone.
     
  19. bountyhunter

    Well-Known Member

    Sep 7, 2009
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    Amen. Glad I am no longer building customer demo boards. What a pain in the rear.
     
  20. DerStrom8

    Well-Known Member

    Feb 20, 2011
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    Not to mention it also releases toxic fumes when the lacquer burns :rolleyes::p
     
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