soldering

Weller Mil-Spec ESD-Safe Micro Soldering Tweezers The Weller WMRTMS micro soldering tweezers are perfect for reworking small SMD components. These tweezers are compatible with Weller RTWMS series plug-in tip cartridges, which feature parallel tips for precise alignment.

Features:

  • Compatible with Weller WD1M and WD2M stations
  • Automatically powers down when placed in WMRTH stand to conserve power and extend tip life
  • Works well in lead-free applications
  • Designed to meet the MIL STD 2000 requirement of 2mv RMS MAX
  • ESD-safe
  • 24 volts

Promotion:

We are running a large Weller sale, including 30% off the Weller WMRTMS tweezers and Weller RTWMS tips. Place an order online at www.All-Spec.com or call our customer service at (800) 537-0351 to take advantage of these offers before we run out!

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When looking for a soldering iron tip it is important to know your project. Measure and check the components that you are soldering and choose a solder tip that will be the correct size. Typically you want the face of the tip to be as wide as the soldering site for the best thermal transfer.

Solder Tip Shape If your tip is too narrow then it will take much longer for the component to heat up, causing longer dwell times which waste your time and potentially damage components.

If your tip is too wide then it may be less efficient in its heat transfer. When the tip is wider than the application it can resist heat transfer, leading to longer dwell times. Also if your tip is larger than the joint you are soldering then you may inadvertently heat the board as well. This can cause the board to deform or bubble, possibly leading to component failure.

The most important consideration for the size of your tip is the space you have to work. While it is best to get a tip that is the same size as your component, it does not help if your tip cannot fit. If you have space restrictions be sure to get a tip that can fit where you need to solder.

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Product Spotlight: Weller WSM1C

by Andy on April 25, 2012

The Weller WSM1C cordless rechargeable soldering and rework system gives you the power of a corded station with increased mobility.

Weller WSM1C Station Design:

Unlike other cordless soldering irons, the WSM1C is a full station with a wide temperature range and a short heat-up time. By having the battery in the station rather than in the soldering iron, the Weller WSM1C can have a powerful lithium-ion rechargeable battery that gives up to 1 hour of soldering capacity with a 20 minute recharge time. While the iron is still corded to the station, the unit can be easily used anywhere, from inside vehicles to outdoors. The WSM1C works well even on a normal workbench, as you have the option of plugging it into a wall outlet for long term continuous use.

Features:

  • Built-in Stop+Go function saves energy and extends tip life
  • Touch screen control
  • Temperature-locking function
  • Two programmable pre-set temperatures
  • Integrated, ergonomically designed 50W micro-soldering pencil
  • Changeable, high-efficiency RT3 micro-soldering chisel tip with integrated heating element
  • Safety rest with WDC2 dry cleaner
  • Run/Charge mode to switch between outlet power or battery.

Specifications:

  • 1 hour soldering capacity
  • Recharge time: 20 minutes
  • Energy-efficient switching power supply: 100V to 240V
  • Temperature range: 200°F to 750°F (50°C to 400°C)
  • Heat-up time: 4 seconds
  • RoHS compliant

Sale:

The Weller WSM1C is currently on sale at www.All-Spec.com. Purchase now for $252.00 and save 46% off the normal price of $468.00!

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Weller Soldering Station While tip tinning and tip cleaning are both very important to keeping your soldering tips in their best shape, there are a few general “best practices” that can help contribute to the life of your tips and of your iron.

Use the Lowest Possible Temperature Setting when Soldering

This tip is especially relevant if you have a soldering iron with temperature control. When you can, it is best to use the lowest needed temperature as it slows down the rate of oxidation, reduces the thermal shock when wiping the tip on a damp sponge, and can help prevent heat damage to the components you are soldering.

Using low temperature settings on your soldering iron can also preserve the iron itself. Near the tip of most soldering irons is a heating element and as it heats up and cools down it will expand and contract. If it changes size drastically many times there is a possibility that the sleeve around the heating element could become stuck and either be too large or too small for its tips.

Use Distilled Water on Cleaning Sponges

While not entirely necessary, if you have the choice you should use distilled water on cleaning sponges. Whenever you touch a hot iron to a wet sponge some of the water will evaporate. If you are using non-distilled water then all of the minerals and contaminants in the water will be left behind, making your sponge dirty. Dirty sponges must be replaced more often as the contaminants could hurt your soldering tip.

Use the Correct Solder for your Job

Whenever you are starting a new project double check your components and solder wire and make sure they are compatible. If you use incompatible solder then you may need to overheat your iron and parts to get the job done, which can damage both. When in doubt, contact the manufacturer of the parts and solder to find out if they will work well together.

That is all for our series on maintaining your soldering irons. Have any more questions? Leave a comment below!

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Lead-Free Soldering Tips and Tricks

by Andy on February 10, 2012

Kester Lead Free Solder Wire As the soldering industry grows and matures, more emphasis is being placed on green processes and technology. This emphasis is coming both from governmental regulations like RoHS and personal convictions to save the planet. However, it can be a struggle to find environmentally friendly alternatives to industry standards, such as leaded solder. Even when we do find a suitable replacement, the difference between the new and the old can’t be overlooked. Proper knowledge and training is needed to get past the challenges that new environmentally friendly technologies pose, and to ensure the new methods meet the standards of the old.

In the electronics industry many are finding problems with lead-free soldering. Many see lead-free solder as hard to use and think the quality is subpar when compared to leaded solder. There are many issues that may not be taken into account, and there are things you can do to increase the effectiveness of lead-free soldering. By following these tips, you can increase the quality of your soldering joints as well as the life of your soldering tips.

Make sure your soldering iron can handle the requirements of the lead-free solder

The melting point of lead-free solder is typically 70-110°F higher than leaded solder. The typical response is to increase your soldering iron temperature. However, a good soldering iron with accurate temperature control and good thermal recovery can solder lead-free solder and leaded solder without the need to increase the temperature. Using a higher temperature will burn through soldering tips faster and potentially damage your PCB’s. Using the same temperature demands a longer dwell time to heat the solder to its melting point which can also potentially damage your PCB’s.

Take your time and do not increase pressure to force solder to melt and flow

Lead-free soldering can take longer to flow due to its higher melting point, so it is important to be patient. If you try to move too fast can lead to a weak or insufficient solder joint that requires reworking. If you press your tip against a joint too hard then it can damage your soldering tip/iron and the PCB or the component/wires you are soldering. Also, increased pressure doesn’t decrease the dwell time.

Kester Lead Free Solder Bar Be prepared for lead-free solder joints to look different than leaded joints

When soldering with lead, the joints are typically shiny and smooth. However, lead-free solder joints can look dull in comparison. This is normal, so you do not necessarily need to rework your lead-free joints if they are dull.

Keep your solder tip clean and coated with solder

Due to the high temperature of lead-free soldering, tips will tend to wear out faster. Higher temperatures lead to faster rates of oxidation, which can eat through the iron coating of solder tips. By properly cleaning and preparing your soldering tips, you can ensure the longest tip life possible.

For more information you can check out the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s Life-Cycle Assessment on lead-free soldering. There is also an interesting article about some of the challenges of lead-free solder on Hakko’s site.

Have you tried lead-free soldering? Tell us in the comments below why you like or dislike lead-free soldering and if you have any tips of your own to share with us!

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