The Drag Racer or the Grocery Getter?
When choosing a soldering system —
Going for the shiny, expensive one with amped up wattage may not be the best way to go. Take your time. Which one’s the best fit for the job? Consider –
- How many tips will you need hot at the same time?
- Will you need more than one hand-piece?
- Will you need to be constantly plugging in and unplugging?
- How inter-compatible are the tips with the hand tools?
Think of solder like flowing water —
Pace’s subject-matter expert and technical support go-to guy Tony Jones explains how to choose the size of the tip you’ll be using on your workpiece.
Small Tip vs. Large Tip –
If you think of solder flowing like water out of a hose, consider what’s happening if you choose a tiny tip. Like a pressure washer, you’ll be doing the same to the flow of the solder if using a small tip.
With the transition to lead-free solder, your heat requirements have changed. Digitally-controlled soldering stations help you meet the right temperature for creating good solder flow. A rule of thumb – always use the lowest temperature and the largest tip when soldering.
Considering buying a new soldering system? Pace has a buy two get one free promotion going on through May 30, 2016. Choose from the ESD-Safe ST 50 w/ PS-90 Soldering Iron or the ESD-Safe ST 50 w/ TD-100 Soldering Iron.
You know about the many features that Weller’s WX system offers. Intuitive interface, global language support, a touch screen viewable from all angles, intelligent tool recognition— the list goes on. But do you know how to log data with your WX station?
Weller University is now offering a free downloadable training document that gives you details on how to harness the power of this functionality. From connecting the WX to your PC to transferring data to other WX stations, all the bases are covered.
The main benefits in accessing these features are:
- Monitor and log performance data in real time for up to three channels simultaneously through PC software via wired USB connection
- Simple and easy data logging from station USB port to USB stick without wired connection to PC and work disruption
- Chart and save in Excel for analysis
- Use data to monitor and chart processes, operator solder training and certifications or analysis and improvement of soldering processes
Download the brochure here.
Weller soldering stations are known for being top-of-the-line. Hisco is proud to offer these Weller stations and many more Weller products to complement your soldering processes. Call us or visit us online today to learn more!
Your shiny, new soldering iron tips won’t stay that way for long. But, with proper maintenance, you can help ensure the quality results you expect from your quality iron. Hakko recommends five do’s and don’ts for lower melt times, cleaner solders and a longer iron life.
- Don’t reshape your soldering iron tip.
Filing or grinding the tip can cause permanent damage. Instead, buy replacement tips in the different shapes and sizes you need; it’s much more economical in the long run.
- Do tin your tip.
With each use, and after any long pauses, be sure to add a fresh dollop of solder to the tip in order to tin it. This helps to remove any leftover oxide. Tip tinners and cleaners that are a mixture of solder paste and flux can also be used to help remove oxides.
- Do clean your tip.
You do need to clean your tip frequently, and if you need to take a break longer than an hour, or you are working at temperatures above 665◦F, you’ll need to clean the tip before you resume soldering.
- Do use a proper sponge.
When you clean your tip, use a damp, synthetic sponge—no rags or fabrics.
- Don’t use tap water.
Tap water may contain contaminants and should be avoided. Do dip your sponge in distilled water before cleaning the tip of your soldering iron.
Following a few simple steps can extend the life of your soldering iron to its maximum and keep your tips gleaming in the process.
Equipment failure. It’s still a major problem even with the recent uptick in automated processes. Faulty mass soldering continues to require the reflow work of a deft hand. But how do you ensure successful manual soldering when the process is so highly dependent upon an individual operator’s skill level?
Consider the following best practices from CircuitMedic to streamline the hand soldering process:
- Fine-Pitch Gull Wing Soldering
- Clean and prepare pads; apply liquid flux to corner pads.
- Position the component and align pads.
- At one corner, place tip at the junction between the pad and component lead. Solder the component in place.
- Wait for solder to solidify, and solder the opposite corner.
- Place small diameter solder along the edge of the component leads.
- Place tip against the solder in line with the tip of the first component lead to be soldered. A uniform amount of solder will flow, creating a consistent solder joint.
- Move tip down the line until all leads along the side are soldered.
- Auxiliary Heat Desoldering for Multilayer Circuit Boards
- Apply a small amount of liquid flux to joints of the component to be removed.
- Place tip against the lead on the board’s component side.
- Align desoldering tip with a component lead end; contact the joint lightly.
- When solder melts, begin rotating the desoldering tip.
- Continue to rotate until a change in the motion is detected.
- As soon as the solder in the joints is completely molten, activate the vacuum and extract the solder.
- Remove the desoldering tip and the soldering tip from the component lead.
- Desolder remaining component leads using a skipping method to reduce thermal buildup.
- Probe component leads to ensure they are not soldered to the side of the plated hole; remove component.
- BGA Dog Bone Masking
- Inspect dog bones under a microscope to determine if solder mask is needed.
- Scrape away loose solder mask and solder connecting the BGA pad to the via.
- Seal the exposed copper with a small amount of high-strength epoxy.
- Process BGA normally.
Depending on your application and environment, follow the above steps and help ensure successful handiwork is always within your reach.
Oops! Found another design error? Sometimes designers who fail to validate the schematic, layout and board risk wasting time on rework and wire tacking. And, sometimes wire tacking seems to be a necessary evil in an ever-changing design environment.
Jumper wires, also called wire tacks and patch wires, are discrete electrical connections that are part of the original design. The purpose of these additional wires is to bridge portions of the conductor pattern formed on a printed board. Haywires, on the other hand, are discrete electrical connections that are added to the board in order to modify the basic conductor pattern.
When do you need to add them? Well, you might need additional wires if a design flaw appears in production and test. Also, you might need additional wires if an upgrade or modification is needed, and it’s not possible to scrap the boards. Sometimes a damaged board requires a repair involving additional wires.
However, not all rework options require jumper wires or haywires. Take a look at this rework option case study from CircuitMedic. Here, circuit patterns were corrected using flat ribbon conductors.
Whichever option you choose, experts advise careful consideration of all proposed rework methods based on your unique situation—before your board goes completely haywire.