Soldering help - tip shaft sizes.

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aod
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Soldering help - tip shaft sizes.

Post by aod »

Hi everyone. Wondering if anyone here can give some soldering advice?

I’m a novice at this but have been watching lots of YouTube videos and doing research.

I have a question about the shaft diameter size of tips, which I can’t find much info about.

I have this cheap iron from Screwfix https://www.screwfix.com/p/soldering-ir ... -40w/40326

Which seems to work OK, but I wanted some replacement tips, which I ordered from Amazon but they don’t fit – they are too big to go in the iron. The tips are titled ‘Gasea 10pcs 900M’ – I don’t know if 900M has anything to do with the shaft size, but is there a standard range of sizes – if so what are they called - and how do I find out which ones fit my iron?
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danielj
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Re: Soldering help - tip shaft sizes.

Post by danielj »

Tips are generally fairly iron specific, so it's hard to say what'll fit one of those generics.

If you're serious about keeping up with repairs on old computers it would be worth investing in something that's temperature controlled - the basic duratools from CPC would do the job, and the tips are readily available for those? 48W is fine, but going for more if you can afford it is generally better. Others might have other suggestions for the budget end of things! Fine tips are generally not the best - you'll probably find 2mm bevel or chisel tips to be more useful.

d.
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Re: Soldering help - tip shaft sizes.

Post by cmorley »

To echo Daniel get a budget temperature controlled iron which has a variety of replacable tips - which are readily available.

Ignore fine and conical tips - they are the devil's work and totally useless unless you're in to marquetry.

A 2-3mm chisel/scredriver bit is most useful for general purpose. You can do most things with one of these.

Ignore bevel tips too... anything you'd want a bevel for you can usually use the chisel.
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danielj
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Re: Soldering help - tip shaft sizes.

Post by danielj »

cmorley wrote:
Sat Nov 14, 2020 7:30 am
Ignore bevel tips too... anything you'd want a bevel for you can usually use the chisel.
Personally speaking I prefer bevels as they have a sharper edge and I'm better at drag soldering with them - but horses for courses :) Conical are indeed the work of the devil though!
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Re: Soldering help - tip shaft sizes.

Post by aod »

danielj wrote:
Fri Nov 13, 2020 10:29 pm
Tips are generally fairly iron specific, so it's hard to say what'll fit one of those generics.

If you're serious about keeping up with repairs on old computers it would be worth investing in something that's temperature controlled - the basic duratools from CPC would do the job, and the tips are readily available for those? 48W is fine, but going for more if you can afford it is generally better. Others might have other suggestions for the budget end of things! Fine tips are generally not the best - you'll probably find 2mm bevel or chisel tips to be more useful.

d.
Thanks very much for the reply!

I didn't realise tips were iron specific, and can't find any to fit this one - diameter is 3.7mm.

The problem is, I don't really want to throw much money at this as it is a bit of a one off - I'm not planning on doing lots of computer repairs etc. I'm just helping a friend sell some stuff from thier loft, but needed to do a small bit of servicing on a BBC Micro PSU and some simple work on the motherboard. After that, I probably won't do too much more soldering apart from the odd thing now and again.

With that in mind, I'm reluctant to invest in a better / more expensive iron as just need to do a very small amount of work, and was hoping to get away with just getting some new tips!

I'll continue looking for ones that should fit this iron, but was really trying to understand if there was any standardisation for this - which looks like there isn't so much - frustratingly!

Thanks again
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scruss
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Re: Soldering help - tip shaft sizes.

Post by scruss »

There is a semi-standard for these tips, but it depends if the tip unscrews or is just a push-fit. To be honest, I've only ever seen 45° conical and large bevel tips for those irons: probably too large for your needs. I had one like that but the tip plating was bad, so the solder corroded through the iron tip really quickly.
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1024MAK
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Re: Soldering help - tip shaft sizes.

Post by 1024MAK »

These generic irons are often hard to buy tips for. I get the impression they are sold for occasional use and are considered to be disposable when the tip eventually becomes useless.

There will likely be some replacements available from somewhere, but it will require some effort to find some for sale. Where has you looked/searched for so far?

Why do you want a new tip? The supplied tip should last for the usage you described. Or is it the wrong shape compared to what you want?

Is the tip made of copper? If yes, you can reshape the end with a suitable metal file (take the tip out of the iron and use a vice). But don’t do this if the tip has a plated coating unless the coating has had a hole worn in it.

If you really do fail to find any new tips, if it has a screw to hold the tip in, copper rod of the correct diameter can also be used, once cut to size and after the end has been shaped with a file.

Always tin a fresh tip or files tip as soon as it gets hot enough for solder to melt.

Mark
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Re: Soldering help - tip shaft sizes.

Post by aod »

1024MAK wrote:
Sat Nov 14, 2020 6:38 pm
These generic irons are often hard to buy tips for. I get the impression they are sold for occasional use and are considered to be disposable when the tip eventually becomes useless.

There will likely be some replacements available from somewhere, but it will require some effort to find some for sale. Where has you looked/searched for so far?

Why do you want a new tip? The supplied tip should last for the usage you described. Or is it the wrong shape compared to what you want?

Is the tip made of copper? If yes, you can reshape the end with a suitable metal file (take the tip out of the iron and use a vice). But don’t do this if the tip has a plated coating unless the coating has had a hole worn in it.

If you really do fail to find any new tips, if it has a screw to hold the tip in, copper rod of the correct diameter can also be used, once cut to size and after the end has been shaped with a file.

Always tin a fresh tip or files tip as soon as it gets hot enough for solder to melt.

Mark
Thanks!

A few reasons I want a new tip, but mainly because I think this one has corroded already, and it's a pin point shape which isn't great to use. I'd prefer a chisel type shape which I understand is easier and better to use.

I have been tinning the tip regularly, but it doesn't seem to take the solder very well. Probably because it's lead free and a rubbish tip.

I've looked on Amazon and some general googling, but struggling to find anything with 3.7mm diameter base. Most are 6.5mm.

I may just try again anyway with what I have - I need to desolder a broken motherboard power tab, then solder a new one back on.

If it doesn't feel like it'll go well, I may have to admit defeat and get a new iron with more compatible tips.
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1024MAK
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Re: Soldering help - tip shaft sizes.

Post by 1024MAK »

Have you tried searching eBay and looking at electronic supplier web sites? Google is not very good at finding results from electronic supplier web sites.

Mark
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Re: Soldering help - tip shaft sizes.

Post by JasonStonier »

danielj wrote:
Sat Nov 14, 2020 9:24 am
Personally speaking I prefer bevels as they have a sharper edge and I'm better at drag soldering with them - but horses for courses :) Conical are indeed the work of the devil though!
That's interesting - I've been meaning to talk to someone about drag soldering for a while, and since your head is above the parapet...

So, I've got a fairly good temperature controlled soldering iron and I use fine conical tips - I solder each pad individually using liquid flux and 0.4mm solder for really small stuff.

I started to look into drag soldering, but the guys at work in the repair cell (who do very small SMT repairs by hand) consider drag soldering to be (and I quote) "a party trick" - they do everything pin-by-pin.

So, what's your advice? Worth learning? How often do you have to go back and remove solder bridges?
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Re: Soldering help - tip shaft sizes.

Post by 1024MAK »

Not that I’m an expert on drag soldering (far from it in fact), but if you use plenty of flux and keep the amount of solder to a reasonable amount (a Goldilocks amount, not too much, not too little), the solder should just flow and stay on the pad and pins without bridges or shorts forming. If you do have excess solder, (de)solder wick / desoldering braid can mop it up :D

The solder resist layer does however have to be present and intact.

I’m also not a fan of conical or pointed tips. The job of the tip is to get the heat into the joint and to heat up both the pad and the component leg/pin/lead. So good thermal contact is needed. Conical or pointed tips, to me, go against this. And trying to work on small SMD devices gets harder as your eyes age...

But then, I learnt to solder in 1985/6 ish...

Mark
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danielj
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Re: Soldering help - tip shaft sizes.

Post by danielj »

Usually the first one I do has a fair few bridges, but is sorted out by some solder wick in short order. Once you get your eye in and a feel for how much you need on the tip you can pretty much operate bridge free. I always do a quick visual check as well as buzzing for a short between gnd/vcc. As Mark says, lots of flux is key. The main bonus from my point of view is that I don't need a microscope (I can just use a head magnifier), and I don't have to change tips.
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Re: Soldering help - tip shaft sizes.

Post by cmorley »

I agree with Mark. Conical tips are useless.
JasonStonier wrote:
Tue Dec 15, 2020 1:47 pm
I started to look into drag soldering, but the guys at work in the repair cell (who do very small SMT repairs by hand) consider drag soldering to be (and I quote) "a party trick" - they do everything pin-by-pin.

So, what's your advice? Worth learning? How often do you have to go back and remove solder bridges?
The IPC has drag soldering training so it is hardly a "party trick". https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nyele3CIs-U

You can do it with any tip but if you have the correct equipment it is very easy, quick and you end up with the perfect amount of solder on every joint. For leaded packages (with leads not Pb) I use a hoof tip (concave bevel). Rarely get any solder bridges even on 0.4mm with no solder mask between pins using lead free solder.

LIke many skills it takes practise.
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Re: Soldering help - tip shaft sizes.

Post by JasonStonier »

cmorley wrote:
Tue Dec 15, 2020 3:05 pm
The IPC has drag soldering training so it is hardly a "party trick".
...probably says more about my company than anything else. "New techniques? Well, let's assess that for a while then make a decision in, say, 2030...". I mean, we're only the world's biggest manufacturer of electronic equipment: can't expect things to change overnight :lol:

Sounds like it's something I need to learn, then. To YouTube!
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Re: Soldering help - tip shaft sizes.

Post by 1024MAK »

Not that they use solder like us, but have you ever seen a plumber solder copper pipes together? They ‘wipe’ solder around a joint :lol:

Everyone will have their own ideas, but sometimes a different, but effective method will appear. And ‘old dogs’ sometimes are slow to try the ‘new trick’...!

When I learned to solder, the only flux that I knew of, was the flux in the multicore solder. So no liquid flux, normally no IPA, and often no solder wick. Okay, on a PCB it was all through hole, but other methods of construction were used.

Fitting press fit terminal pins on a blank (non-copper) SRBP panel. Then wiring components to these pins by soldering.

For simple circuits, not using any board at all, or using tag strips.

One hobby method that did not really catch on used cardboard instead of a PCB. You used a wiring pen to route enamel wire to the component legs/pins, then soldered them.

Who would think of doing things these ways now? Hence adapting to hand soldering SMD takes a bit of getting used to. I can, and do, bits of SMD work. But because I don’t do enough and don’t practice much, I can still solder a through hole board much faster than SMD because I’m done so much through hole over the years.

As with everything, you have to try things yourself.

Mark

PS I still think trying to solder up mini DIN connectors is the hardest, as the plastic melts as soon as you think about picking up the iron...
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Re: Soldering help - tip shaft sizes.

Post by JasonStonier »

1024MAK wrote:
Tue Dec 15, 2020 3:35 pm
the plastic melts as soon as you think about picking up the iron...
Just how many kWs does your brain operate at? That suggests some serious brain power - are you overclocked at all?
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Re: Soldering help - tip shaft sizes.

Post by 1024MAK »

JasonStonier wrote:
Tue Dec 15, 2020 3:50 pm
1024MAK wrote:
Tue Dec 15, 2020 3:35 pm
the plastic melts as soon as you think about picking up the iron...
Just how many kWs does your brain operate at? That suggests some serious brain power - are you overclocked at all?
I’m getting old now, so probably more like tens of mWs now :lol:
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Re: Soldering help - tip shaft sizes.

Post by cmorley »

1024MAK wrote:
Tue Dec 15, 2020 3:35 pm
PS I still think trying to solder up mini DIN connectors is the hardest, as the plastic melts as soon as you think about picking up the iron...
Mate the din connector. The added thermal mass of the mating half reduces plastic melt but also helps keep the pins in the right place if it does melt.
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Re: Soldering help - tip shaft sizes.

Post by 1024MAK »

cmorley wrote:
Tue Dec 15, 2020 6:11 pm
1024MAK wrote:
Tue Dec 15, 2020 3:35 pm
PS I still think trying to solder up mini DIN connectors is the hardest, as the plastic melts as soon as you think about picking up the iron...
Mate the din connector. The added thermal mass of the mating half reduces plastic melt but also helps keep the pins in the right place if it does melt.
=D>
Yeah, that’s a good tip that I already do. I have a pot with various chassis and PCB mounting sockets that gets used for this.

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Re: Soldering help - tip shaft sizes.

Post by guesser »

1024MAK wrote:
Tue Dec 15, 2020 3:35 pm
PS I still think trying to solder up mini DIN connectors is the hardest, as the plastic melts as soon as you think about picking up the iron...
Second hardest after the evil 13 pin DIN-alike :lol:
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Re: Soldering help - tip shaft sizes.

Post by 1024MAK »

guesser wrote:
Tue Dec 15, 2020 6:49 pm
1024MAK wrote:
Tue Dec 15, 2020 3:35 pm
PS I still think trying to solder up mini DIN connectors is the hardest, as the plastic melts as soon as you think about picking up the iron...
Second hardest after the evil 13 pin DIN-alike :lol:
I was actually thinking of this as well. As I have Atari’s that use 13 pin DIN connectors. Which of course are a completely different size to the 14 pin DIN connector!

Mark
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