SODER GUN AND SODER FOR GUITAR WORK

Discussion in 'Gear Talk' started by TGBlue27, Mar 26, 2016.

  1. TGBlue27

    TGBlue27 Title Got the Upstate New York BLUES

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    FINALLY GOING TO GET INTO CHANGING ONE OF MY 3 WAY PICKUP SWITCHES AND WANT TO KNOW OF AN INEXPENSIVE SODER GUN AND THE RIGHT SODER FOR THIS KIND OF WORK. FIGURE THAT I NEED TO KNOW HOW TO DO THESE TYPE OF THINGS MYSELF. I DON'T NEED EXPENSIVE 'LUTHER' TOOLS. THANKS!
     
  2. Silicon Valley Tom

    Silicon Valley Tom It makes me happpy to play The Blues!

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    Everyone has an opinion, some based upon experience and some on – well we will not go into that! :)


    I started using a solder iron when I was 5 years old. As an electronics technician while working on the LEM/APOLLO, , I was NASA Certified to solder. Technicians and engineers are known for their inability to solder! :cry: We had to pass a test where the inspector used a 20 X loop to inspect your work.

    I was taught “NEVER USE A SOLDER GUN”! If that is all you have, then give it a try. A good soldering iron costs money, like anything of value. You know your budget. Here are two suggestions:

    Under $25:

    http://www.homedepot.com/p/Weller-25-Watt-Standard-Duty-Soldering-Iron-Kit-SP25NKUS/204195328

    About $100

    http://www.homedepot.com/p/Hakko-70-Watt-Digital-Soldering-Station-FX888D-29BY-P/204215981?cm_mmc=Shopping%7cTHD%7cG%7c0%7cG-BASE-PLA-D25T-Tools%7c&gclid=COH_sfrm3ssCFYIBaQodY2ULgw&gclsrc=aw.ds

    Use Kester rosin core 60/40 solder for electronics.

    Like anything, you get what you pay for.

    When I was a kid I used an Unger Wood burner to solder. I like chisel tips best of all.

    Look around at the local hardware stores, and the Internet, and ask more questions!


    Update:

    This looks good and is under $8.00!

    http://www.amazon.com/Meter®-Watts-High-performance-Soldering-Stand/dp/B007XCQAIE/ref=lp_13837371_1_13?s=hi&ie=UTF8&qid=1459012055&sr=1-13

    As for solder - $5.70:

    http://www.amazon.com/Kester-Pocket-Pack-Solder-0-031/dp/B00068IJNQ/ref=pd_sim_328_1?ie=UTF8&dpID=313j9Z2E56L&dpSrc=sims&preST=_AC_UL160_SR160,160_&refRID=0W419BNT9NH89B98GA15


    Tom
     
    #2 Silicon Valley Tom, Mar 26, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2016
  3. TGBlue27

    TGBlue27 Title Got the Upstate New York BLUES

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    Thanks for great advice and heading me in the right direction Tom. I haven't purchased anything yet, but going to pull the trigger based on your suggestions.
     
  4. OG_Blues

    OG_Blues Guitar Geezer

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    Good advice from Tom above. A few additional thoughts come to mind.
    For incidental / infrequent use on guitar gear, you don't need to go fancy or expensive to get the job done, but better equipment usually works better and allows you to do a better job.
    You do need to acquire some basic skills, so if you are not already experienced, I would recommend watching some youtube instructional videos and practicing on some junk electronics before you apply that much heat to your guitar parts :)
    Just rip or cut some wires off of some junk electronic gear and then solder them back in place to get some experience.
    Also, when you go to your guitar, make sure the guitar is well protected just in case of an accidental slip of the hand or the soldering tool. You will ruin the finish on a guitar in an instant with an errant hot iron tip. It would ruin your day. Unless you actually have the parts removed from the instrument to work on, "mask" off all nearby guitar parts and surfaces around the area where you will be soldering with a heavy junk towel or similar - kind of like surgeons do when they are operating on someone.
    Good luck - do a little preparation and you will find that it is not difficult.
    Tom
     
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  5. PapaBear

    PapaBear Guit Fiddlier

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    I agree with both Toms
     
  6. Silicon Valley Tom

    Silicon Valley Tom It makes me happpy to play The Blues!

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    Boy, that is important advice! I should have offered it, and thought about giving a link to youtube. By all means, experiment a bit on some wire. The "trick" is to first have a good mechanical connection and heat the part and allow the solder to flow. There are some good inexpensive tools that act as solder aids. A pair of long nose pliers can help a lot, and I mean a lot! They have solder suckers to help remove solder, and wicks can also be used. Too much heat can destroy parts and too little will not give you a good connection. :cry:


    http://www.philmore-datak.com/mc/Page 220.pdf

    http://www.alliedelec.com/gc-electronics-9065/70159823/

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Desoldering

    Tom
     
  7. OG_Blues

    OG_Blues Guitar Geezer

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    Well, we could probably go back and forth with one thought triggering another and another until we had written a book on the subject. :)
    Tom
     
  8. Fingerlick

    Fingerlick The Thrill is Gone

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    It is, as Tom said, important to have a good iron and the resin core solder. Solder guns are ok for certain things, but the guitar wires are small and often very fine and you just don't have the finesse required for soldering wires together or onto terminals. I like the chisel type in a small size like Tom. Also the soldering irons maintain a constant temperature where soldering guns just dont. They are often turned on by a trigger that turns it off as soon as you let go, thus allowing the tip to cool. Then you have to heat it up for the next terminal. This can be very frustrating causing cold wires and terminals the solder won't flow too even though the gun tip melts it freely.
    Another tip I can share is the covering of your solder connections. They should be covered wherever possible as this prevents corrosion and possible shorting. I use shrink tubing where possible. Cut enough tubing off to cover the connection, slip it down the wire away from the connection. After things have cooled slip the shrink tube over the connection then put your hot soldering closee, but not touching the tubing. The heat will shrink the tubing and if you've sized it right it will seal the connection pretty well, when tubing cannot be used I seal connectionsnwith rubber electricians tape. The rubber tape is very sticky and will mold pretty well around your connections. Don't use the plastic tape, it must be the rubber type tape. The tape and the shrink tubing can be purchased at hardware stores and home centers.
     
  9. david moon

    david moon Attempting the Blues

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  10. Rancid Rumpboogie

    Rancid Rumpboogie Blues Mangler

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    I find a small pair of vice grips to be almost indispensable. They are just weighty enough to clamp and hold a pot or switch in one place in a position where you can easily get at the point being soldered with both hands free. And a set of very small needle-nose pliers and side-cutter.
     
    #10 Rancid Rumpboogie, Mar 26, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2016
  11. CapnDenny1

    CapnDenny1 Student Of The Blues

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    I use a Weller WTCPTS or something. I had to buy a part for it, but it is 30 years old? It is the Weller that uses a magnet that looses it magnetism at a prescibed temp and turns off power to the iron. Does a great job.

    I recently bought a Hako desoldering gun, and it works great.

    I would recommend Hakko irons based on the quality of the desolderer.

    But, if this is a once in a great while thing, a cheapo iron will work just fine. Save your money for parts.
     
  12. Fingerlick

    Fingerlick The Thrill is Gone

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    Sears has a set of micro pliers that work very well. Needle nose, diagonal cutters, nose cutters and several others. Lowe's sells the miniature vise grips more as a novelty than anything else. I have three pair and am always using them for various chores and repairs.
     
  13. tommytubetone

    tommytubetone Portage, Michigan

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    This Tom also agrees with both Toms.
     
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  14. TGBlue27

    TGBlue27 Title Got the Upstate New York BLUES

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    The above is a fantastic 'chapter' on guitar sodering and how to do it properly. Want to thank all for their input and for those added tips from Forum followers to come. I would say a lot of the 80 + who have already viewed this thread have also learned great stuff. A TIP OF THE SODER TIP TO ALL!!~!:thumbup::thumbup::thumbup:
     
  15. CaptainMoto

    CaptainMoto Blues Voyager

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  16. Silicon Valley Tom

    Silicon Valley Tom It makes me happpy to play The Blues!

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    We Tom's stick together! :)

    The expression, “Every Tom Dick, and Harry”, never made sense to me. Until I was 28, I had met one Tom, one Dick, and one Harry. Then I found myself on a job in a security room (like in the movies) which had a push button lock. We had 28 people inside. Five of us were named Tom!

    Our supervisor had a great sense of humor, and we had one telephone in the room, on his desk. When the phone rang and he would announce, “Telephone call for Tom”! Five guys would jump out of their seats like jack rabbits. Everyone would laugh. That was fun. :)

    Tom
     
  17. david moon

    david moon Attempting the Blues

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    That's a very good article. The concept of getting the joint itself hot enough to melt the solder is very important.

    Also, a good joint will be smooth and shiny after cooling. If it is disturbed while cooling it will look dull and grainy and is called a "cold" solder joint.
     
  18. mpaq

    mpaq Canfield, Ontario, Canada

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    the heat of your iron is important and dependent upon what you're soldering. Ideally an adjustable iron is best but I have two...one is higher heat for things like jacks or soldering on a pot casing and the other is a low heat iron for circuit board work....otherwise too easy to lift the pads off the boards
     
  19. panther

    panther Blues Newbie

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    I have to ditto Tom's comment about soldering guns. they are too bulky, you can't see your work as good, and work I've seen done by MANY using Guns, has collateral damage from the massive tip touching adjoining wires and components. Guns are for out of chassis work, on cables, Soldering Irons are for in chassis delicate and clean looking work.
    If anyone says they are good with a gun, and circuit board soldering,they are fooling themselves, you can't get good quality solder joints using a bulky gun. That's not JMHO, I have compared Iron work to gun work, and have never found a gun soldering job done without at least one collateral damage in the job. They always say, well you can't be perfect, I agree with a gun you can't. For component soldering, you just can't beat a pencil tip iron.

    I have a question for Tom, Is NASA using the new NON LEAD solder ? My guess is no they aren't. I have many rolls of lead/tin solder I've collected over the years, the new solder is just not as good.

    Dan
     
  20. paparaptor

    paparaptor Central Scrutinizer
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    My first soldering lesson came when I was about 11, from a radio-TV repairman, using a 100/140 Watt Weller soldering gun. I've owned probably half a dozen in my lifetime. The first guy I ever saw working on a guitar was using the very same model 140w Weller gun. Every guitar I've built was wired with a Weller gun. I've always preferred them because they get hot very quickly and they cool off almost as quickly, once power is removed. More parts get damaged by a part being heated too long by an underpowered iron, such as when building a ground blob on the back of a pot and by reheating to get a joint to "take," than by a high wattage gun.

    I was also taught when wiring through-lugs, such as a pot or on a switch to make sure you had a good mechanical connection (such as a complete loop and crimped, before applying heat to the connection). It's not necessary, but if your wiring isn't moving around while you're soldering it, you're much less likely to leave a cold solder joint.

    Of course, working on PC boards is a completely different thing and my 30+ year old Weller Soldering station is still plugging away.

    Certainly, this isn't a recommendation that everyone should use a soldering gun. If you aren't comfortable using one, don't! But like anything else, if you know how to properly use the tool, you're much less likely to leave "collateral damage" as Panther says. I don't do collateral damage and I would put the quality of my guitar wiring on my projects up against anything I've seen from a factory job.