Novice needing help with soldering LED strip lights.

Thread Starter

shimanole

Joined Feb 18, 2020
6
Hello All and thanks in advance for any suggestions or recommendations.

I'm never soldered anything a day in my life so I'm reaching out for some help. I need to build some LED strip lights that I will be recessing in floating shelf channel. I'll need to run about 4 feet of wire from each cut strip to my 24v tranformers. 4 terminated strips per transformer. I'm just soldering 2 pads and wires per strip as it is a single color LED.

1. What solder is recommended? I'm looking at MG Mechanical and Kestrel in 60/40 and 63/37. Do I need flux on the pads first?
2. Can anyone recommend a reasonably price soldering station or something I can piece together. I'm looking at a Bakon 950D
and a T12 from a forum I ran across but I can't seem to find the t12 iron.
3. Is there a typical calculation for the size of heat shrink to be used at the connection. My plans was 1/2" for 10mm strips.

If I'm skilled enough to make this work, I will expand my usage and take on some computer and HiFi projects mostly new power supplies and transistors if that is important to know for the above.

Thanks again!
 

dl324

Joined Mar 30, 2015
10,072
Welcome to AAC!
1. What solder is recommended? I'm looking at MG Mechanical and Kestrel in 60/40 and 63/37. Do I need flux on the pads first?
I prefer 63/37 because it's eutectic. For things that aren't oxidized, a flux cored solder will usually be sufficient.
2. Can anyone recommend a reasonably price soldering station or something I can piece together. I'm looking at a Bakon 950D
and a T12 from a forum I ran across but I can't seem to find the t12 iron.
Everyone has their favorite. I use an old Weller W-TCP that you can get for $50 on eBay.
3. Is there a typical calculation for the size of heat shrink to be used at the connection. My plans was 1/2" for 10mm strips.
Most shrinks 2:1. Your choice won't give a snug fit.
 

Thread Starter

shimanole

Joined Feb 18, 2020
6
Welcome to AAC!
I prefer 63/37 because it's eutectic. For things that aren't oxidized, a flux cored solder will usually be sufficient.
Everyone has their favorite. I use an old Weller W-TCP that you can get for $50 on eBay.
Most shrinks 2:1. Your choice won't give a snug fit.
Thanks a ton for all of the info Dennis. I've seen that Weller pop up a ton so I think I'll go ahead a pick one up. Appreciate you taking the time to help out.
 

Thread Starter

shimanole

Joined Feb 18, 2020
6
There are some excellent tutorials on soldering in the All About Circuits education section, e.g.:
https://forum.allaboutcircuits.com/threads/soldering-flux-the-basics.163740/

Would it not be much simpler to use screw type terminal blocks to make your connections?
Thanks for the link Rambo. All I wanted to know about flux and more. I think I'm going to go the solder route so I can mess around with a few other projects where it may be useful. Thanks again.
 

dl324

Joined Mar 30, 2015
10,072
I've seen that Weller pop up a ton so I think I'll go ahead a pick one up.
From what I've read, "new" Weller tips aren't as good as the old ones. The good news is that if you take care of the "old" tips, they'll last for decades; 4+ in my case.

I just checked eBay and it looks like prices have gone up (they wax and wane), so one like my iron will run you $75+.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/WELLER-W-TCP-SOLDERING-STATION-Controlled-Output-Iron-Stand-Xtra-2-Tips/323594651894?hash=item4b57be88f6:g:rZEAAOSwDlRcEHED

The above item doesn't mention tip temperature. They come in 600, 700, or 800F; I use 700F conical tip (PTP7) for almost everything.
 

Thread Starter

shimanole

Joined Feb 18, 2020
6
From what I've read, "new" Weller tips aren't as good as the old ones. The good news is that if you take care of the "old" tips, they'll last for decades; 4+ in my case.

I just checked eBay and it looks like prices have gone up (they wax and wane), so one like my iron will run you $75+.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/WELLER-W-TCP-SOLDERING-STATION-Controlled-Output-Iron-Stand-Xtra-2-Tips/323594651894?hash=item4b57be88f6:g:rZEAAOSwDlRcEHED

The above item doesn't mention tip temperature. They come in 600, 700, or 800F; I use 700F conical tip (PTP7) for almost everything.
Thank You!
 

Reloadron

Joined Jan 15, 2015
5,140
Practice, then practice a little more. Good soldering skills are developed over time and experience. Make sure the surfaces are clean even the best flux only works well on a clean bright surface. Lastly, always remember the bigger the blob the better the job. OK, just kidding on that last.... :)

Ron
 

dl324

Joined Mar 30, 2015
10,072
Here's a Weller article on soldering.

I bought one of these as a backup iron:
1582066762175.png
That was the model I had on my bench when I was an R&D Technician in the 70's.

When you use a sponge to wipe the tip, it should be damp, not wet.
 

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Thread Starter

shimanole

Joined Feb 18, 2020
6
Practice, then practice a little more. Good soldering skills are developed over time and experience. Make sure the surfaces are clean even the best flux only works well on a clean bright surface. Lastly, always remember the bigger the blob the better the job. OK, just kidding on that last.... :)

Ron
Thanks Reload. An electrician friend of mine gave me about 32 feet of worthless LED tape to practice on. That's about 160 copper pads. If I'm still horrible after about 5 feet of that tape, I'm just going to have my electrician do it. "Bigger the blob the better the job" Too Funny.
 
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