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Armor/AFV
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REVIEW
Digital Soldering Station
c5flies
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California, United States
Joined: October 21, 2007
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Posted: Monday, January 09, 2012 - 02:50 PM UTC
Michael McCormick takes a look at a Digital Soldering Station from Radio Shack.

Link to Item



If you have comments or questions please post them here.

Thanks!
Red4
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California, United States
Joined: April 01, 2002
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Posted: Tuesday, January 10, 2012 - 10:41 AM UTC
Nice review. I must have gotten the lemon of the bunch as mine was utter crap. Could not get it to solder anything. It would melt the solder easy enough, but when I touch it to the pieces to be joined, the melted solder would solidify again. Didn't matter how much juice I put to it, same result every time. Flux or no flux same thing. I returned it the following day. I now use a $12 wood burning tool with a fine pointed tip and haven't looked back. "Q"
MikeM670
#020
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Illinois, United States
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Posted: Tuesday, January 10, 2012 - 02:40 PM UTC
That is a shame. I've been happy so far. I'm using a liquid flux to help with solder flow now with this setup and have not had any issues so far. Like I said in the review time will tell of the unit holds up to a lot more use.

I also picked up some tinning stuff at Radio Shack which might of helped with heat transfer.
mzaborsk
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Rhode Island, United States
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Posted: Wednesday, January 11, 2012 - 02:12 AM UTC
I Like hearing about stuff like this, I was in the market for a soldering tool for PE but reluctant to purchase anything because of the price. Radio shack for me holds nothing but bad memories of things that just did not hold up.

Their was one video on the web from a mail order company that has gone under.... It made solder pe look so simple.

Solder small items are a real skill someday!

Michael
SDavies
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England - South East, United Kingdom
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Posted: Wednesday, January 11, 2012 - 02:19 AM UTC
I really dislike electric soldering irons but good review though.

Gas soldering irons are a little more expensive in terms of initial purchase and running costs but I have never had a good result with an electric iron. That is probably down to me though rather than the soldering iron
viper29_ca
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New Brunswick, Canada
Joined: October 18, 2002
KitMaker: 2,247 posts
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Posted: Wednesday, January 11, 2012 - 04:58 AM UTC

Quoted Text

Could not get it to solder anything. It would melt the solder easy enough, but when I touch it to the pieces to be joined, the melted solder would solidify again



How were you doing it? No amount of heat and flux will help if you don't have the right technique. Trick is to heat the parts from one side and add your soldier to the other. In other words don't use the soldiering iron to melt the soldier, but use the heat from the iron to heat up whatever you are trying to join, and use that heat to melt the soldier. In the end, if done right, you will use very little soldier and flux.



Quoted Text

I also picked up some tinning stuff at Radio Shack which might of helped with heat transfer.



Not sure what you mean by "tinning stuff" when I was taking Electronics Engineering you tinned your soldiering iron by melting some soldier on the tip as it was heating up, and also just before you turn your iron off...melt some soldier on the tip and leave it there while it cools down. This will protect your tips and your iron will be ready for your next session. Don't waste your money on the idiots at Radio Shack or The Source here in Canada.

Gas irons are more expensive over all...but convenient, as you aren't tethered to a wall socket. Temps are a little hard to control and be precise with as compared to an electric one, especially a digital one.
MikeM670
#020
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Illinois, United States
Joined: December 28, 2006
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Posted: Wednesday, January 11, 2012 - 06:25 AM UTC

Quoted Text


Quoted Text

Could not get it to solder anything. It would melt the solder easy enough, but when I touch it to the pieces to be joined, the melted solder would solidify again




Quoted Text

How were you doing it? No amount of heat and flux will help if you don't have the right technique. Trick is to heat the parts from one side and add your soldier to the other. In other words don't use the soldiering iron to melt the soldier, but use the heat from the iron to heat up whatever you are trying to join, and use that heat to melt the soldier. In the end, if done right, you will use very little soldier and flux.



Scott good catch on the issue Matthew was talking about with the solder solidifying. I totally missed that!

Yes you heat the metal to allows the solder to flow. I use several techniques when working with PE. One technique to applying solder is to add just a Tiny Bit to your soldering tip and then the tip is applied to the work piece and when the metal heats up the solder will flow into the joints to secure the pieces together. That is why flux is so important to allowing a good solder flow as well as bond. Another way I apply solder is to flux the parts while they in secured in place and add just a tiny piece of solder to the area to be joined and then apply the soldering tip on the opposite side from where the Tiny Bit of solder was placed. When the metal heats up and the solder melts it flows through the joint and towards the soldering tip.

With the second method where I place a tiny piece of solder I take a x-acto knife and cut a Very Small piece off the soldering spool.

I use a liquid rosin free flux and a very fine diameter solid core solder for working with photo etch.





Quoted Text

I also picked up some tinning stuff at Radio Shack which might of helped with heat transfer.



Not sure what you mean by "tinning stuff" when I was taking Electronics Engineering you tinned your soldiering iron by melting some soldier on the tip as it was heating up, and also just before you turn your iron off...melt some soldier on the tip and leave it there while it cools down. This will protect your tips and your iron will be ready for your next session. Don't waste your money on the idiots at Radio Shack or The Source here in Canada.



Here is the link to the product I was talking about.

http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2062721&filterName=Type&filterValue=Cleaners


Quoted Text

Gas irons are more expensive over all...but convenient, as you aren't tethered to a wall socket. Temps are a little hard to control and be precise with as compared to an electric one, especially a digital one.

Teaker11
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California, United States
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Posted: Wednesday, January 11, 2012 - 12:30 PM UTC
As long as you are useing good soder, I prefer 60/40 and good flux, I have a tin of kester paste flux that has to be 40 years old, and probably banned in CA and my handy old adjustable iron that goes from 0 to 800 F but I may take a ride to the Shack and get a back up. Thanks for the review
Jim
Red4
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California, United States
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Posted: Friday, January 13, 2012 - 04:23 PM UTC
I know how to solder and have for years. The digital iron I had from Radio Shack simply didn't work the way it should have.
"Q"