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Techniques and tooling

Started by vansinn, April 16, 2016, 12:32:00 AM

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Thought we should have a thread dedicated to repair techniques and tools needed et al..
So, let's kick it off. Any technique goes.


Quote from: Systematic Chaos on April 15, 2016, 10:08:52 AM
I have set my soldering station to 400°C, both desoldering and soldering.
When desoldering, I heat the solder joint just to the moment the it gets liquid and immediately push the button on the solder-sucker.
I tried desoldering braid but I personally get way better and cleaner results with the method mentioned above.
Up till now, I have yet to have any lifted traces or other nightmares.
Just make sure to just apply the soldering iron tip to the chunk of solder and don´t try to poke around into the solder joints. Immense heat + pressure + prying around = no good!  :nono: :nono: :nono:

Mostly agree, though ~380 deg is more the norm.
What I think many forgets, is to use the right soldering tip - and I've been just as lame, mostly sticking to the same versatile one.
Would be easier simply having two solder handles with each their most used tips, and swap those on my Weller station.

I also have a thin piece of iron/steel curled up to be press-fit in over a longer, thin solder tip. The end of it is shaped into a rather thin ~60 deg angled tip.
Very useful for getting into tight spaces, like when are components very close to an IC socket.

Regarding solder suckers, I have two: a small one for more delicate PCB works and such, and a large mother sucker that'll rip everything not being sturdy; good for larger removals (suck it baby, suck it dry). Really goes chunks-slurps.

I find solder braids mostly useful for flat-cleaning an area, once the sucker has paid due visit.

Holders and fixtures

Also for soldering, yes I do have one of those stands with magnifier glass and flex arms with clamps.
And yet, I still find myself often securing one wire with a heavy tool, and holding the solder between my teeth. Two big drags of air, hold it, solder :facepalm:
Folks, don't do this. Solder wire isn't heathy, weren't meant to be licked and drooled upon, and solder fumes are even worse than ordinary smoking :nono:

PCB holes and mounting components

Make sure to get the right sized components. Some have been known to order capacitors with fatter legs than the original, and tried to push it through the PCB holes.
Might work, or could easily damage / rip loose the copper pads, and especially might easily damage the via in a dual/multilayer board, i.e. the metal things connecting the layers. These via's are essentially pretty thin metal tubes.

A PCB drill can be used handheld to clean/smooth a PCB hole, sortof like using a very thin round file.
I have a fairly small handheld electric (12 volt) PCB drill; neat for minor things like repairs or making smaller custom boards (not for production).

Larger components may be subject to physical vibrations, so secure those with heat gun plastic or a designated compound.


Hey Van good idea  :thumb-up: so I made it a child board  :wave:
Studio Rig: Stuff; Live Rig: More Stuff; Guitars: A few


Nice  :thumb-up:

What kind of soldering tips should i use for which kind of work?


Ok so here's a few iron temps to consider (all in degrees C BTW),
MJMP uses 360 to solder, 380 to desolder
SC uses 400 C for everything, not a bad way to go, efficient (well he is German LoL) but be quick and organised.
I find 350 quite good for leads etc

Now I've seen on blogs where they say 310 for soldering, my experience (and no idea how accurate my solder station is (but I can dial in the numbers)) is that higher temps work better, with 310 (which I've seen recommended) you end up hanging around way to long.  Get in, melt it, get out and if it's problematic, have a break, let it all cool down, come back later.

Tips for irons, seems to me a 2mm chisel tip is good for most of what we all want to do. The better irons give you some choices, worst choice (unless you really need to) is to use pointed non chisel tips as they don't convey the heat as efficiently as chisel tips.

Having used a plug into the wall iron for many years (hey it did most of what I needed to do) and more recently bought a decent soldering station. I'd advise buy a good quality soldering station, they are really worth having.  I bought a good one (it wasn't particularly expensive) so I can now dial in the temp. Also came with a few different tips to suit different jobs.

Now I also bought a desolder station (decent ones are not that expensive anymore), and on the whole it does a good job. But I also discovered the desolder braid, I find it also works well depending what you are doing (probably 2 and 4 mm braid is most useful (for the stuff we do)) and here the chisel tip comes into its own  :thumb-up: Heat the braid, let it suck up the solder, high temp, quickly, get out of there.

But hey I'm a novice in this area...
Studio Rig: Stuff; Live Rig: More Stuff; Guitars: A few


Quote from: Griphook on April 16, 2016, 05:09:11 AM
Nice  :thumb-up:

What kind of soldering tips should i use for which kind of work?
Hey Griphook, I've found that a 2mm chisel tip works well for most things (that aren't speaker leads).  Chisel tip is important as it delivers the heat better (ie keep it flat (flat side) on the solder join).  I found this works well for re-flow (remelt all the joins)) installing new components (bring chisel tip to one side of the wire, solder to the other), desoldering with 2 or 4 mm braid and also works well for leads (jacks, XLRs etc). The fine non chisel tips work ok for really fine things but they lack contact area so are slow to heat and I'd only use one if I had to (but sometimes you need them).
These blogs are worth a watch.
Studio Rig: Stuff; Live Rig: More Stuff; Guitars: A few


Well i use weller for soldering and desoldering.Have these stations for like 15 years and never had a single problem with them.These are not cheap but for me i need something that works and doesn't let me down.

For soldering is use a WSD 80 station with a 50W antistatic soldering iron.These are temperature controlled (with PWM).This is very important.Cheap soldering irons are not and the temperature can go up to 500-550 °C if not used.So for me a big no no.

I usually use a small tip (small flat surface) but i have a few others i can use for specific use.

As for cleaning the tips i use some sort of copper culrs or a wet sponge.Now the curls are better in way that it doesn't cool off your tip.But both works great.Sometimes if the tip is really dirty i use a copper brush to clean it.

TIP!!NEVER use a file to clean a tip,you will file of the protective layer and tip will be destroyed!!!!!!!!!

For desoldering i have a weller WWD81V station also with a 50W antistatic  desoldering iron.Downside on these you need an air compressor (venturi effect) but no problem for me.I have 5 different nozzles for desoldering,depending on what needs to be desoldered.Works great.


Here are a few more pics of the stations,some nozzles,and my weller spare parts box.

For the heavy things is use a 100W weller.


Solder,no lead free for me.Don't like it.And you can still use leaded solder if you do repairs on older equipment that has leaded solder.(ROHS guide lines).

I use 60/40 rosin (flux) solder in different sizes (0.5, 0.7, 1 and 1.5 mm).For pcb's i use mostly 0.5 and 0.7.


So I have 0.9 Solder for leads and stuff, and 0.7 for PCB. My 0.9 is 38 lead, 2 copper and the rest tin. The 0.7 is 40% tin/ 60% lead.
Hey MJMP your Wellers are nice  :thumb-up: . I've got a DCSS ZD-929-C Iron (let me say this was a big move up from an iron that just plugged into the wall) and my desoldering thingy is a Duratech TS-1513. Not the cheapest but a little less than the Wellers and work fine for the home. I found 0.5 solder hard to find (as in couldn't easily) so I go with 0.7 seems ok.. For leads and general stuff the 0.9 works well..

I would say that having a decent temp controlled iron makes a huge difference so worth investing in  :thumb-up: . I spent all my life up until recently just using an iron that you plug into the wall, hey it was fine, handled most things, wire a new speaker, fix a mic lead, wire a new PU etc, a decent temp controlled iron is a very worthwhile investment IMHO. Now the Wellers seem to be the beeze neeze in this department, but the ones I purchased have been serving me well, granted I don't need them all day everyday. So you can get some decent kit for quite a bit less (given you don't use it often). But hey neither (solder/desolder station) has let me down and the whole soldering process has got easier... :whoohoo!:
Studio Rig: Stuff; Live Rig: More Stuff; Guitars: A few


Well it all depends on what you actually need.I got wellers because i use these a lot and i can easely buy spare parts from them.They also have a wide arangement of tips.For doing some occasional soldering these are overkill price wise.


My advice to someone who wants to learn how to do this type of work would be the same as anything else: PRACTICE.

Find some p.o.s. electronic device that you don't even care about and open it up.  Use the circuit board to practice desoldering, component removal, replacement, and soldering techniques.  There's usually plenty of pads (thus opportunities) to work with on any given fair sized board.  And if Bob's NOT your uncle and you completely bugger it all up, you toss it...no worries....try another.  :lol:

My station is overkill, too.  But it's handy for everything I've thrown at it.    Hakko 939


And I get that, if you want seriously good tools, then the Weller is probably (one of) the best options, but not cheap.  The ones I posted are worth a look, if you are (like me) an occasional solderer, they give you some decent  control with a "fair bit" less cost. If you want good solid tools coz it's your game, go the Wellers  :thumb-up:
Studio Rig: Stuff; Live Rig: More Stuff; Guitars: A few


Hakko is also a good brand.

R,your gear also looks good.


As Kim says, practice on old gear, desolder resolder it all helps  :thumb-up:
Studio Rig: Stuff; Live Rig: More Stuff; Guitars: A few