Author Topic: Optimal soldering iron temp for Digital soldering station  (Read 3894 times)

Offline patdelaney

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Optimal soldering iron temp for Digital soldering station
« on: September 02, 2015, 06:01:47 AM »
While starting to assemble my F4-B I see that my current soldering iron doesn't heat components fast enough to create a clean solder joint. It works fine for non-electrical components like sockets and terminal blocks. I am going to order a digital Soldering station.

What is the optimal temperature setting that I should be using?

Thanks


Pat

Offline tbone321

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Re: Optimal soldering iron temp for Digital soldering station
« Reply #1 on: September 02, 2015, 06:09:18 AM »
I usually set mine at about 320C but it really depends on what you are working on, they way that you solder, and the solder that you are using.  If I am soldering in a triac or a regulator, I tend to crank it up a little but for the most part, 320 works well with my soldering style and the solder that I am using.

Offline JonB256

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Re: Optimal soldering iron temp for Digital soldering station
« Reply #2 on: September 02, 2015, 06:25:28 AM »
The thermal mass of the tip helps with the heavier stuff. Some irons have very little metal being heated so it cools down too quickly. Of course, that means a low wattage iron would heat more slowly if it had that extra mass.

Also, if your iron tip comes apart (changeable tips), it is a good idea to disassemble and clean the contact surfaces. Helps the heat transfer.

p.s., I solder closer to 375C and turn the temp down between runs. 400C is not ridiculous when doing heavy joints like power and fuse connections. Turn it down after, though. High Temps will eventually de-alloy the lead/tin left on the tip and contaminate the next joint.
« Last Edit: September 02, 2015, 06:31:37 AM by JonB256 »

Offline patdelaney

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Re: Optimal soldering iron temp for Digital soldering station
« Reply #3 on: September 02, 2015, 07:59:57 AM »
thanks for the suggestions.

Pat

Offline ihbar

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Re: Optimal soldering iron temp for Digital soldering station
« Reply #4 on: September 02, 2015, 11:49:19 AM »
Hello Pat

Some comment : in addition of temp, you must take care of tip size. (as stated by JonB256 the bigger mass allow bigger parts)
I don't have soldering station, but "simple" irons :
- one "JBC" simple model, with fix temp around 340C. It works fine, and compared to cheaper one, it do a good job and the tip quality is good.
- For CMS,  I use another iron with a 0.4 mm tip (goot), It is nice to work with CMS but it is almost impossible to solder big component with this small tip. 

So you need to select also the best tip size according to your need, or a station with tip easy to interchange.
Another criteria is the tip coating : some will not last very long and you will have to replace it often. Check the cost of spare parts.
And last point : the distance between your hand and the tip may be too long on some iron. I don't like when distance is too big. But this is personal preference.

Stephane

Offline patdelaney

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Re: Optimal soldering iron temp for Digital soldering station
« Reply #5 on: September 02, 2015, 12:12:26 PM »
thanks

Offline t.jo13

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Re: Optimal soldering iron temp for Digital soldering station
« Reply #6 on: September 02, 2015, 03:50:05 PM »
I solder 80% of the parts at 335 degrees, and the bigger parts at 370. I use .031 rosin core solder. The tip I prefer to use for all around soldering  is .08 chisel tip. If you dont have one I would highly recommend a tip cleaner ( pic attached )  as I have found that the foam pads they usually supply with the soldring station don't last too  long .

Joe

Offline gadgetsmith

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Re: Optimal soldering iron temp for Digital soldering station
« Reply #7 on: September 02, 2015, 04:37:58 PM »
I use 330 to 350, depending on the part.

Offline arw01

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Re: Optimal soldering iron temp for Digital soldering station
« Reply #8 on: September 03, 2015, 08:43:48 AM »
Timely topic, on a WSD51 how do you tell if you are in Fahrenheit or Celsius display?

I suspect my iron is way hotter than you folks, but perhaps I am in F. 

Alan

Offline JonB256

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Re: Optimal soldering iron temp for Digital soldering station
« Reply #9 on: September 03, 2015, 09:03:13 AM »
For starters, a 350F solder tip won't melt solder, so it must be 350C (662F)
oops, typo. see further discussion.

If I run mine up to 400C that puts me at 750F.

While solder has a melting point just over 360F (182C) , that is a horrible temperature to use since you would have to stay on the joint so long that it would fry any electronics except perhaps a resistor.

and nobody specifically mentioned this, but look for the 63/37 ratio solder. It is called Eutectic solder. Fancy name meaning that it goes from molten to solid very quickly, making it harder for component movement to create a bad joint.  The 60/40 is very common and a bit cheaper, but for electronics, 63/37 is preferred.

And while I'm at it, I use solder labeled as "No Clean" meaning that I don't have to go to the trouble of removing the flux residue when I'm done. Some solder flux (rosin core) should be removed because they'll get crumbly and flaky with age. The No Clean type can actually protect the solder. It is not a pretty as a bright, shiny board but the back side of my boards are usually hidden, anyway.
« Last Edit: September 03, 2015, 01:07:56 PM by JonB256 »

Offline tbone321

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Re: Optimal soldering iron temp for Digital soldering station
« Reply #10 on: September 03, 2015, 10:11:00 AM »
DUDE, I don't know where you are getting your temps from but unless you are using some special solder (more like brazing rod), your temps are way off.  This link is from the Kester site listing the melting temps of their solders.
http://www.kester.com/kester-content/uploads/2013/06/Alloy-Temperature-Chart-15Feb11.pdf
Running your iron so hot really just kills the heating core before its time and as you said, can delaminate and significantly shorten the tip life. 

Offline JonB256

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Re: Optimal soldering iron temp for Digital soldering station
« Reply #11 on: September 03, 2015, 11:50:05 AM »

If I run mine up to 400C that puts me at 750F.


Whoa, I wasn't recommending 400C, just using it as a Celsius to Fahrenheit example. (obviously, a scary example)

Through hole components, like those for Falcon products, would be usually be in the 350C to 370C temperature range. Another thing to keep in mind is that the temperature readout on those nice red digits is the heater temp, not always the tip temp. That is why I mentioned taking the iron apart occasionally to be sure it is making good thermal contact. I've never measured my actual tip temp because I don't have a tool for it, but I know by watching the solder flow whether I'm too cold.

Offline gadgetsmith

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Re: Optimal soldering iron temp for Digital soldering station
« Reply #12 on: September 03, 2015, 12:24:33 PM »


While solder has a melting point just over 360C, that is a horrible temperature to use since you would have to stay on the joint so long that it would fry any electronics except perhaps a resistor.

I think tbone is just reading a typo. This should say 360F (approx 180C).

For big parts, I'd suggest using a large chisel tip at a 330-350C iron than increasing an iron temp to 400C, IMHO.




Offline JonB256

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Re: Optimal soldering iron temp for Digital soldering station
« Reply #13 on: September 03, 2015, 01:05:12 PM »

I think tbone is just reading a typo. This should say 360F (approx 180C).

For big parts, I'd suggest using a large chisel tip at a 330-350C iron than increasing an iron temp to 400C, IMHO.

I must have re-read that a dozen times and not noticed my typo. Stupid metric conversions.  Thanks. (I'll change it in the prior post)

Offline AussiePhil

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Re: Optimal soldering iron temp for Digital soldering station
« Reply #14 on: September 03, 2015, 07:22:42 PM »
This is actually far more complex than a simple single figure and honestly nearly every pro and professional shop will work at temperatures higher than being recommended in this thread.

For PCB work if you can't solder the joint inside a few seconds your iron is too cold.

Soldering a joint should be a fast and simple exercise, the faster you heat the joint the less likely you are to damage any component.

A temp of 400C is far safer for components than 320C. Assuming you not heating the component for like 30 seconds.

Personally I run both my soldering stations around 425C for 1oz or heavier PCB's and even move to a large heavy 60W or 80W iron for doing heavy duty power connectors and fuse connectors to keep the soldering fast.

The only time I drop under 400C is for tiny light weight pcb's or thin wires where insulation will melt from too much heat.

36 years of soldering both professionally and as a hobby has taught me that it is better to be too hot than too cold.....

One tip that can make it far easier to get a good joint:
as you apply the iron tip to the joint, melt a small bit of your flux core solder under the tip at the same time, this gives you a small bit of flux and solder that improves the heat transfer big time and makes the whole process faster. when working with PCB's try and melt this between the tip and the pcb to reduce the amount and time of heat to the component lead.

Cheers
Phil

 

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