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How is your soldering?


catman

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G'day all, another fault on another DIY project today and yes it was 'mostly' (my) bad soldering!  This was one of my DIY ESP P05 power supply boards, generating plus and minus 15 volt rails.  This power supply was built a few years ago and has been faultless and very reliable until just the other day when I went to use this power supply which was hardwired into one of my DIY ESP P06 phono stages, and no go! 

 

A quick visual check of the power supply revealed an intermittent connection on the negative rail output but that was only partially the problem.  Measuring the voltages revealed something interesting, 15 volts on the good positive rail, but only around 13.8 volts on the intermittent negative rail! 

 

The actual pcb track on the negative rail also looked a bit 'suspect', so I cleaned it up then soldered in a short wire strip to the output connection and wired in a new PCB pin and connected the wire link accordingly.  Measuring the voltages on both rails then revealed rock steady positive and negative 15 volt rails.  I think that my less than perfect soldered was probably at the heart of the problem.  Oh well, alI is ok now!  Regards, Felix.  

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Yeah, for years I struggled with crappy solder joints until I realized that it was the crappy soldering iron I bought from Bunnings. Someone told me that a more powerful soldering iron is less likely to overheat your components because it melts solder faster. Since I bought a soldering station from Jaycar for a very reasonable $50, my soldering has improved tremendously. 

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13 hours ago, Keith_W said:

Someone told me that a more powerful soldering iron is less likely to overheat your components because it melts solder faster.

That is true, to a point. For example, trying to solder larger joints with an under powered iron, or a tip that doesn't have enough thermal mass, means you have to keep heat applied to the joint for longer.. But obviously you need to match the iron to the job you are performing, which is the point..

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SMD usually quote thermal tolerance on the spec sheet.   The trick is to ensure the points are cleaned and use flux.   Basically the best way is to use a slightly hotter iron setting,  get it in and once the solder wraps its self around get the iron off as soon as possible.   Never had an issue.   With SMD,  make sure you do this in less than 1/2 the time to what’s specified 

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