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I Got Solder But I'm Not A Solderer

Discussion in 'Phantom 2 Vision Discussion' started by jimdenburg, Apr 20, 2014.

  1. jimdenburg

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    I went to start up one day and lost LED/motor on one arm. Thought it was an ESC/motor, so ordered both and took the thing apart to find this...

    Now, having never soldered a thing in my life, I was apprehensive about changing out the ESC/motor...now I'm worried about messing up the whole board! My fear is warranted by a previous repeater mod experience where the only "mod" I accomplished was breaking the repeater. Any tips on how to go about this (the more dumbed down the better), would be much appreciated!!!
     

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  2. eroomomni

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    I’ve taught soldering for 30 years so I’d be happy to help. Any comments I offer are based on the topic of soldering and not the void of warrantee or whether the PC board can survive the heat. The soldering iron would probably be best to be around 700 degrees F.
    First of all keep in mind the old phrase, “The bigger the blob, the better the job” is a myth.
    1. Your stripped wire should be fairly short and be sure to tin the wire, no need to have the amount as shown in your photo. If possible trim it back, strip the wire about a quarter of an inch. Place a small amount of flux on the wire and apply a small amount solder to the tip of the iron and transfer the solder to the sripped and fluxed wires for a moment until the wire wets with solder.
    2. Tin the two lands (pads) on the PCB (Printed Circuit Board) in the same way. (Place a small amount of flux on the land, then apply a small amount solder to the tip of the iron and transfer the solder to the sripped and fluxed land for a moment until the land wets with solder.)
    3. Apply a small amount of flux to the tinned wire, place it down on the land and apply the iron to the joint (the top of the wire) until the solder melts, and then wets to the land.
    4. Remove the iron while holding the solder joint steady until the solder solidifies.
    5. Clean the flux with isopropyl alcohol.
    I will watch this thread to see if you have any followup questions.
     
  3. gunslinger

    gunslinger Moderator
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    What kind of flux should we use for this type of job... what type of solder? Any particular point style or size for the soldering iron? Is a soldering station better than a soldering iron? (man... I've got so many soldering questions. Nice to find someone out here with a great background in soldering...)

    Thanks for the information. I can solder just well enough to get by and have never tried to solder anything expensive... :shock:

    Thanks...
    -slinger
     
  4. eroomomni

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    You can get some solder at Home Depot, Radio Shack, Frys, etc. If I were you I'd try to get Sn60 (60% tin 40% lead) but many sources only sell Lead Free. That's OK. Get a rosin core solder and a rosin flux dispenser if you can, to match the flux in the solder.
    The solder I would choose is about .015" to .035 diameter.
    Use a small solder tip with a slight screwdriver shape tip. Most soldering irons out there are OK if they are temperature controlled, for what you want to do. You can spend $150 to $700 and up if you want but you can get an inexpensive Weller at a place like Fry's but hopefully it is temp controlled and grounded.
    Keep the questions coming. I'll help with what I can.
    I noticed a post earlier that said it is very difficult to do Surface Mount soldering. Not so. It is relatively simple if you have:
    1. Good eyesight
    2. Steady hand
    3. Can follow instructions
    4. Care about quality.
     
  5. jimdenburg

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    Thanks for the info as well! I'm going to have a friend with some experience (and equipment), help me with this just to be on the safe side (I'm good for about 1 & 1/2 points on your list above!). These tips will surely help me in the future though, so thanks again!
     
  6. FSJ Guy

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    Practice on something you don't care about first!! That will allow you to get the hang of it. It's not rocket science, but it does take some basic skill. Like many things, it's easy to do AFTER you've learned how. LOL!

    Good luck!
     
  7. KG4MXV

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    Great advice from the above posters,
    #1 I would be pissed as hell at DJI for the lack of quality control.
     
  8. eroomomni

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    That is excellent advice FSJ Guy. There are so many circuit boards to practice on that are available to all of us. Just break apart any old piece of electrical equipment (computers, printers, etc.) and get some practice. This goes for the experts as well. I always advise people to practice on scrap boards in the morning before getting into some critical work.
     
  9. jimdenburg

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    Fixed! You were right, it was pretty easy, especially with the right tool/tips and a neighbor who know what he's doing.
     

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  10. pault

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    @eroomomni
    Just about to start to build a Tarot hexacopter and I need to get a new Soldering iron and would appreciate your advice.

    Have been looking at soldering stations with adjustable temperatures. Some have digital displays which show the temperature of the tip. These are of course a little bit more expensive (and look cooler ;)) than simple stations but do you think it is worth spending the extra ?

    Have also read that cordless irons are very good for small detailed jobs - should I look for one of these or are corded ones acceptable ?

    Many thanks for any advice :)
     
  11. eroomomni

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    It's hard to answer that question since the "spending extra" means different things to different people. I just did a very quick Google and noticed a Weller WLC 100 / WLC 200 for $43. If it were me, I'd select Weller’s WES51D as a minimum, which I just saw on Amazon for under $130. However, some of our training center's rework equipment go for upwards to $4k depending on options for hot air and vacuum, not to mention BGA rework equipment that can be very expensive but that is only stated for reference. Simple soldering irons need to be grounded so as not to create deleterious effects on equipment/components. I do not recommend the cordless irons, which use the resistance soldering method, on circuit boards. I only mention the two above as a starting point. There are quite a few excellent brands such as, Weller, Hakko, Edsyn, Metcal, Pace, JBC, to name a few of the higher end manufacturers.
    I hope this helps.
     
  12. gunslinger

    gunslinger Moderator
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    eroomomni That picture that jimdenburg posted... Why would the solder break away right at the pad on the board like that? Could that have been a cold solder joint?

    Thanks...
    -slinger
     
  13. pault

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    That explains why I have never been much good at soldering - I have been using low quality soldering irons ;)

    Seriously though, the models you mentioned are all well above £100 (USD175) here so it is quite an investment.

    Should you have a moment could you clarify which are the main benefits of spending so much ?

    Some ideas that occur to me

    Able to maintain a consistent temp
    Ability to swop tips
    Quality of build = long life
    Manufacturer support (spares etc.)
    Some other factors I cannot think of

    The one that caught my eye is - http://www.amazon.co.uk/PROFESSIONAL-DI ... 281&sr=1-3

    Any opinion ?

    Thanks again :)
     
  14. eroomomni

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    First, solder (at least solder like lead-free or Sn63 used in electronics) is not intended to be depended on for a mechanical bond. There needs to be some stress relief and mechanical securing. While tensile strength is significant, any excessive amount of pull will remove most solder joints. It could have been cold solder joints but most people misuse the term "cold solder". A true cold solder connection is one that has not been sufficiently heated, resulting in a reliable inter metallic bond. That's why it's important to hold the iron on a connection for 2-5 seconds, in most cases depending on the thermal mass. It could have very well been cold solder unless those wires were pulled beyond their intended purpose. However, it seems to me if they were pulled with great force it would result in a lifted land.
     
  15. eroomomni

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    I totally agree with what you said. The soldering iron you linked looks to be able to do a good job. I am not one to recommend high priced soldering tools just because of the name. If you can buy an off-brand that will do the job, go for it. I am certain there are lots of solder stations out there at very low prices. In my industry we have a set of guidelines for selecting solder stations. You touched on a few in your list that seem to be excellent considerations. Here are just a few of the main points that are listed in our standards:
    1. Soldering systems are selected for their capacity to heat the connection area rapidly and maintain sufficient soldering temperature range at the connection throughout the soldering operation.
    2. Temperature controlled soldering equipment (at rest) should be controlled within ± 5°C [± 9°F] of the idle tip temperature.
    3. Resistance between the tip of soldering systems and the workstation common point ground should not exceed 5 ohms.
    If a person gets in to extensive rework and repair of PCBs they need to plan ahead for tip swapping, as you mentioned and incorporation of hot air and vacuum desoldering. Otherwise basic solder task will be easily and reliable accomplished with the iron you showed.
    Hope that helps.
     
  16. BenDronePilot

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    One other possibility is that this wasn't his first crash but one of many so the cause of this could be one or a combination of factors. It could have been a weak solder connection combined with the intense jarring and vibration of his various crashes ultimately leading to the solder joint failure.

    I've also heard that most early build Phantom 2 had some sort of problem with them which shouldn't be an issue provided you don't have any violent crashes. Could this be it? Inquiring minds want to know. And if this is a problem should all of then solder joints be redone? Or maybe some kind of glue or electrically conductive adhesive put on all critical connections.

    Also being how important a good solder joint is on an aircraft like the Phantom I've been taking time to think how I will be approaching my own soldering when I replace my motors. From full solder removal adding flux to the pads adding new solder, or reusing the existing solder and adding more if necessary. As well as what is a good soldering iron tempterature for the task and solder type, ie: Rosin Core.
     
  17. pault

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    Yes it does, thank you :)
     
  18. jimdenburg

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    ...um yeah, that could be. On the plus-side I now have a spare esc/motor & a new shell that I'm gonna paint before I use. Plus I installed a new warning sticker on top--can never be too careful! Kind of a bummer being down to 1 battery though.
     
  19. BenDronePilot

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    Yeah it really is a bummer loosing the battery and such. My Phantom came with only 1 and I would be feinding for more flying fun after it was done. Needless to say not long after I saved my pennies and got a two pack when they were on sale for $280 on dronefly. Hmm I may still need more batteries tho :shock:
     
  20. gunslinger

    gunslinger Moderator
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    Ben:

    Yeah... that's exactly my fear. Are some of the early P2Vs (or possibly all of them) prone to this type of failure due to a faulty automated process? (assuming these solder joints are done robotically) If not an automated process, a faulty manual process. Or a couple of manual solderers not complying with standard methods...

    This situation, coupled with known instances where power leads came unsoldered and bricked a few aircraft while at altitude... makes me a bit uneasy...

    -slinger