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Soldering guidance

Discussion in 'Battery Mods' started by etchie, Jun 21, 2014.

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  1. etchie

    etchie Super Member Verified Member ECF Veteran

    I just had my first experience, and it was a terrible one. I expected it to not be great, but it was way worse than that. I'm not confused by what goes where, I'm just not sure I have the right stuff. and I wanted to know what you guys thought. First off, I know I'm terrible (but would love to know if this is shockingly terrible, even for a first timer or if it's normal). I also wanted to know if I've done anything that might have broken my DNA30 chip (I'm really hoping not). I just wanted to know if I needed to get anything different because before I try again, I'm going to get more solder, some solder remover and a bread board to practice on. Anyway, these are the pictures from my soldering session today: Soldering DNA30 - Imgur

    The major problem that I was having was that when I would put the soldering iron on the base and fed the solder, the solder would absorb straight to the iron and barely anything would get anywhere else. Now, I didn't want to spend a fortune on anything fancy, so maybe I aimed too low. My soldering iron only has 2 settings: 15w and 30w. I was sure if this was too high/low.

    The solder I got was lead free 0.32" (diameter 96/4) silver bearing solder. I don't have any kinds of soldering attachments and have no idea which ones would help me. Once I get this soldering thing together, I think everything else should be fine. I've had everything to get this done for about a month but couldn't take the plunge and dig in. Pretty disappointed with today, but today was all I needed to finally move forward and be ready to learn.

    Seriously though, does it look like the DNA board is damaged? Thanks, guys!

    Attached Files:

  2. etchie

    etchie Super Member Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Oh yeah, and I do realize that there are 2 holes that don't have anything connected that have solder plugged into them. Totally not what I had in mind.
  3. twgbonehead

    twgbonehead Vaping Master ECF Veteran

    Apr 28, 2011
    MA, USA
    I have no experience with lead-free silver-bearing solder, but IIRC it needs VERY high temps. At those temps it will melt the pads off the board. I believe the silver solder is only intended for water pipes, jewelry, etc. which can take the high temps.

    Why aren't you using regular electrical solder? It will do the job just fine.
  4. Cool-breeze

    Cool-breeze Super Member ECF Veteran

    Nov 24, 2013
    Upstate sc
    I have no advice on the board just a tip/ idea on soldering. Try heating the wire not the solder. The wire will get hot enough to melt the solder onto it. For me it's always been a much better and cleaner connection. Good luck mate!
  5. etchie

    etchie Super Member Verified Member ECF Veteran

    This sounds like an awesome idea! Thanks bonehead (you know what I mean)! It was just the solder that was near the soldering irons and all the electronic parts. I figured since it was in the same section that that's what I was supposed to use.

    Anyone know of a good place to get a good price on the right solder online?
  6. zoiDman

    zoiDman My -0^10 = Nothing at All* ECF Veteran

    Supporting member
    Apr 16, 2010
    Something else you might try is doing a little Practicing on an Old Computer Card.

    I had to De-Solder/Solder some Capacitors on a board to get a printer I have going.

    Instead of Testing my Piss Poor soldering skills on the Actual Board, I did some Testing on an Old Video card I had. Learned a Lot about what Works. And what Didn't work so well.

    The Biggest thing I learned was to keep the Tip Clean by poking in into Flux. And to wipe it off on a Wet Sponge.

    That, and Cleaning the Board with Rubbing Alcohol helped.
  7. Buster282

    Buster282 Super Member Verified Member ECF Veteran

    May 11, 2014
    FL USA
    Soldering Tips? "Tinning" (applying a little solder to the parts before assembly) is important. also keep your soldering iron clean by applying a little solder to it then wipe the tip on a damp sponge. the tip should be clean and silver! like cool b said you want to heat the parts n then apply the solder to them. parts = wire ends, contacts, pads whatever.. oh yea, practice on old stuff 1st. hope that helps. disregard if u know this already :)
  8. etchie

    etchie Super Member Verified Member ECF Veteran

    So does my work look like "normal" first time bad, or "holy .... never do that again" first time bad?
  9. zoiDman

    zoiDman My -0^10 = Nothing at All* ECF Veteran

    Supporting member
    Apr 16, 2010
    My Theory is you get No Style Points for Soldering.

    If it Works and is a Solid Connection, It's Good. Even if there is a Ginormous Glob of solder. Or it Looks like a Semi-Melted Snowman.

    How is going to See these soldered connections anyway?
  10. zoiDman

    zoiDman My -0^10 = Nothing at All* ECF Veteran

    Supporting member
    Apr 16, 2010
    BTW - Here is Another Tip.

    If you have to do Anymore Soldering, pick up one these...


    It's called a "Helping Hand". And there like 10 Bucks.
  11. etchie

    etchie Super Member Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Yeah, I used one. I got a cheap one at Harbor Freight. Cheap is fine, so long as you have something to weigh down the base so it doesn't tip over when you holster the iron. :)

    Also, I just figured if it was done sloppy (no, I don't care what they look like) then they wouldn't have the best connection.
  12. etchie

    etchie Super Member Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Oh yeah, should I be using the 15w setting or the 30w?
  13. zoiDman

    zoiDman My -0^10 = Nothing at All* ECF Veteran

    Supporting member
    Apr 16, 2010
    I dunno.

    Never used a DNA30.
  14. pt1911

    pt1911 Full Member

    Apr 8, 2014
    United States
    Make a solid physical connection with the wire in the holes first. I would get some rosin core lead solder and use the 15 watt setting. Hold the tip touching both the wire and pad heat then let the solder flow.

    Sent from my XT1080 using Tapatalk
  15. Mike36609

    Mike36609 Senior Member ECF Veteran

    Mar 28, 2012
    Mobile, AL

    #1. A good solder joint will be smooth and shiny and will have a long live span and will not introduce any problems to the device/circuit. It will not be a “blob of solder,” but will have smooth flow characteristics that represent uniform heating of all attached leads/wires/components.

    #2. A bad solder joint will not look smooth and will not be shiny. It will appear irregular in shape, possibly with holes, craters and perforations, with indentations likely where leads/wires/components are attached, giving a look that they were pushed into to the connection due to poor heating of one or more components. A bad solder joint (cold joint) will likely introduce resistance into the connection where there should be none, and cause problems as far as making a good physical connection in that the component leads will be prone to detaching from the connection.

    #3. There are no exceptions to #1 and #2 above – NONE.

    #4. It is easier to make a good solder joint when you have a good physical connection prior to soldering. When soldering: Use tabs and mounting holes when possible; Twist wires and component leads together when possible; Bend or crimp wire and component leads together when possible.

    #5. Clean all wires, component leads, fixtures, connectors, etc., prior to soldering, when possible. This can be accomplished by wiping with alcohol, scrapping with a knife, exacto knife, precision file, emery board, etc. Component leads can be easily cleaned by inserting the end of the lead into needle nose pliers, applying gentle pressure to the pliers, and gently twisting and pulling the lead through the pliers as if removing a screw. They will emerge bright, shiny and eager to accept solder.

    #6. Pre-tin all wires, component leads, fixtures, connectors, etc., prior to soldering, when possible.

    #7. Keep the tip of your soldering iron in good condition, i.e., keep it tinned, and keep it clean. Keep a damp/wet (saturated, but not dripping) sponge or a paper towel folded multiple times to make a small square next to your soldering iron to clean your tip and keep it clean as you are soldering. If needed, you can file the tip of your iron into a point (or any other shape), then re-tin it properly before you start soldering.

    #8. You can use extra flux to help the solder process, but DO THIS SPARINGLY. Most all solder for electronics will have flux in the solder so in almost all cases adding additional flux is not necessary, and really shouldn’t be done. If you do use flux be sure it is only applied to the exact point that it is needed. Excess flux can flow into areas where it is not wanted, which by itself can cause problems, but will also make it easy for solder to flow into unwanted areas and really cause problems.

    #9. A bad (cold) solder joint can be frequently repaired by applying the tip of the iron to the bad joint, re-heating the solder and component leads for the solder to flow sufficiently to each lead uniformly. Applying a small amount of flux to the joint can sometimes help. There will be times that in order to repair a bad joint it is easier, and better, to remove all of the old solder and start over.

    #10. When you are soldering, always try to position the tip of your iron so that you make equal, uniform physical contact with each item/lead/wire/etc. that you are soldering. Upon making contact with the tip of the iron and the desired components, feed the solder to point of contact between the iron tip and the components, and if done properly the solder will flow evenly to all heated areas. Remove the iron and the solder from the connection simultaneously. Let the connection sit as still as possible for the joint to set properly, on small items this will be almost instantaneous, for large items this will take longer depending on the amount of heat absorbed. The process for pressing the tip to the connection, feeding the solder, removing the iron and the solder, should take only a second or two for most connections – soldering to a PC board, soldering component leads, small wires and things of this nature. Again, larger items, such as power connectors, large spade lugs, battery terminals, larger wire etc., will take longer, sometimes much longer, as the extra metal involved will sink more heat.

    #11. Don’t be afraid to use a soldering iron of sufficient wattage. Yes, heat can damage electronic components and other/attached items. But to solder effectively you have to be sure to heat everything uniformly, it is easier to do this with a 30W iron than it is with a 20W iron. Don’t apply more heat than is necessary, but EVEN, UNIFORM TRANSFER OF THE HEAT TO ALL COMPONENTS IS REQUIRED.

    #12. Use good quality solder with resin flux in the core. Never, ever, use pipe solder, this may well have an acid flux at the core. Don’t use large diameter solder. There are many different gauges of solder available, honestly this is not critical for this hobby, but generally small diameter solder will work better than larger.

    My credentials in making this list of fundamentals are fifteen years of experience as an ET working on, repairing, maintaining, calibrating and/or manufacturing diverse types of electronic equipment. Everything from high and low quality test instruments, to in the ear hearing aids, and high performance (extremely high output) ignition systems for US Customs boats, as well as racing vehicles – cars, boats, hydroplanes, airplanes, and motorcycles. In my career as an ET, I was known for the high level of my craftmanship, including and especially soldering.
  16. Luke49783

    Luke49783 Full Member Verified Member

    Mar 25, 2014
    Holland, MI
    Definitely get some regular rosin core 60/40 lead solder. Radio shack sells it in a half ounce tube for under $5. It's a lot easier to work with and will work well with your iron. You aren't sticking the board in your mouth or handling it a lot, so the lead really isn't a concern, just wash your hands when you're done working with it.

    Also, as has already been said, make sure to "tin" the tip of your soldering iron and keep it clean (a damp kitchen sponge works well).

    The pads on the DNA board don't look very broad, so you aren't going to have a very wide "volcano", but it should work. Also, when you're done and every thing is cool, you can go through and trim the wire leads down some so that they aren't sticking up as much.

    ETA: Also, make sure that you're solder doesn't flow off of the pad (metal solder connection on the board), otherwise you run the risk of creating a solder bridge with another component, which will cause a short.
  17. asdaq

    asdaq Vaping Master Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Of course follow all the other advice about soldering. Lots of good info here.

    About your DNA board, it looks like you bridged to a resistor by the filled in down button pads, which you can remove with some desoldering braid. Make sure the resistor still has some of its solder still there, as it needs it. For the filled in holes you can just heat this solder and insert a tinned wire while it is melted.

    For the long blobs you can trim them short with side cutters, that is easy enough.

    I hope the ribbon cable is not in contact with the solder next to it, but it doesn't look to be.

    You are getting too much solder as the thickness is too large to control. It sounds like you want to get something else anyhow, but you can cheat with what you have also. If you cut off small snips of solder and apply them with good tweezers you apply as little as you wish.

    Good luck, and the board looks like it will survive with the right care.

    Sent from my Nexus 4 using Tapatalk
  18. something_vague

    something_vague Full Member

    Mar 22, 2014
    Ellsworth, Maine, US
    Def practice before using the DNA board. I use silver bearing solder with no trouble but I also add flux to points and wire before soldering. Small diameter solder for these small parts is the key to melting the solder before it gets too hot.
  19. etchie

    etchie Super Member Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Thanks, that was really helpful. I'm finding it's not as easy to check responses to my posts as it should be. This site drives me crazy, and Tapatalk might be worse.
  20. something_vague

    something_vague Full Member

    Mar 22, 2014
    Ellsworth, Maine, US
    I agree that Taptalk can be a pain to work with. I usually try and view these types of forums in their original format.

    My response was rushed above, had very little time to give a decent reply. For this type of work I really prefer small diameter solder .015" to .031" at most. I have a bunch of Radio Shack 62/36/2 Silver Bearing Solder that is .015" diameter. This stuff is really nice to work with on these small jobs as it is very precise and melts much quicker than thicker solder, in my experience. I highly recommend buying a few PCB boards ( RadioShack PC-15 Round PCB : Hobby & Do-It-Yourself | ) to practice on before moving to the real thing. And tinning your wire slightly is good practice as it helps to get you off the board with your iron much faster so as not to overheat anything.

    I also highly recommend you get some flux. I always apply flux to my parts, a little bit goes a long way. Apply flux to the small amount of metal on the board you are soldering your wire to and make sure it does get past where you want the solder to end up. Solder will always follow this flux which helps to keep the solder from following your iron. I also highly recommend you clean up the metal spots on the DNA board with a real fine grit sand paper and some alcohol. All my boards have had some sort of coating on a few of the points which would def cause adhesion issues with the solder.
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