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Soldering

Discussion in 'Phantom 2 Vision Discussion' started by WeaponsHot, Mar 29, 2014.

  1. WeaponsHot

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    I know some folks are considering soldering, I have been doing it for a lot of years. Its, not as intimidating as it appears. I started this thread so my brothers and sisters on this site can share experiences and ask advice. There are a lot of how-to guides on the net. I was a certified MIL-STD-2000 instructor in years past. If you really want to know http://www.electromet.com/documents/milstd2000a.pdf but its changed a lot over the years.
    and http://www.everyspec.com/MIL-STD/MIL-STD-2000-2999/

    Basic tips,
    Safety DONT GET BURNED
    Use the right Soldering Iron
    Clean the surface before and after
    Use the right size tip for the Job
    Clean the Tip
    Stay away from the one heat setting el-cheapo Irons
    Use the right Heat setting.
    Only keep the Iron in place long enough to make a proper solder joint.
    Inspect your work after. Joint should be shiny in most cases.

    Check out this guide to get started.
    http://www.aaroncake.net/electronics/solder.htm But there are a lot more.
     
  2. deepheat

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    Many Thanks for this!

    With regards to the following advice...

    and

    ...what would you consider the "right soldering iron" and the "right heat setting" for typical Phantom 2 Vision related tasks? What's your opinion on gas vs electric? Are gas irons any better than electrical ones?

    Cheers

    dp
     
  3. Hiway

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    I agree on everything you mentioned, but for all intent and purpose a cheapo single setting small tip $20 soldering iron from radio hack does everything you could want on a Phantom if you are careful, and follow that one rule up there in particular- keep the tip clean. (a little flux goes a long way)

    Now, with that said, I use a nice soldering station just the same.
     
  4. WeaponsHot

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    Here is a decent one on ebay, just browsing this is no endorsement however, just an example for 46 bucks.
    http://www.ebay.com/itm/937D-Soldering- ... 4617c85997

    Soldering Iron question, I have my own opinion based on working in the electronics industry for over 30 years. when working on electronics, you have to consider Electro Static Discharge precautions. When ever you are working on electronics there is a more that likely chance YOU WILL induce a static charge into your device if your not careful. And you will never know it until something fails later. (this is a latent defect caused by ESD that damaged the internals but not enough to kill it right away)

    I prefer a grounded solder station. More on ESD later. Ask Dr. Solder (http://www.elecraft.com/TechNotes/Ask_Dr_Solder.html) says it best:

    Q: Why is a solder station "better" than a non-temp controlled (unregulated) soldering iron?
    A: A non-temp controlled iron *continues* to increase in tip temperature the longer it's plugged in -- up to 1100 degrees-F ! A solder station controls and maintains an exact tip temperature. In the case of 700 degree-F tips, you'll be soldering at a tip temperature of 400 degrees *less* than a non-temp controlled iron. A lower tip temperature with good technique, translates to better joints with less chance of damage to sensitive components -- IC's, etc. (The 700 degree-F Weller tips will *not* exceed 710 degrees-F.)

    Q: Which tips do I use -- 700 or 800 degree-F ?
    A: The 700 degree-F tips are typically recommended for single layer and double-sided PC boards -- even four-layer PC boards. This includes practically everything in the world of amateur radio kits & homebrew. The most common tip for the WTCPT station is the Weller PTA-7 (1/16" screwdriver tip). You might also want a PTD-7 for much bigger pads/lugs, and a PTJ-7 for longer-reach work -- or <gasp> rework ;) If you want to try surface mount, pick up a PTS-7 for a start. The 800 degree-F tips are recommended for serious multi-layer boards -- 4 to 8 layer PC boards -- *not* typically used for ham radio kits ;)
    (Note: Elecraft recommends the WTCPT station with PTF-7 1/32" tip for K2 construction.)

    Q: Is the tip of a WTCPT really grounded ?
    A: YES !!! All Weller solder stations have grounded tips. You can check the integrity of the tip ground as follows:
    Turn the solder station OFF and let it cool. Pull the plug OUT of the AC mains and using your DMM (ohm meter) check for continuity between the ground plug on the Weller AC plug (you know the one) and the tip of the soldering iron. You should be reading approximately one ohm. If your resistance is considerably higher, you probably need to clean the tip (with 600 emery cloth, etc.) and possibly remove the tip and the "barrel" (the hollow part that screws the tip to the iron) and clean the threads with a brass/bronze brush to remove any oxide build-up. Never use a 3-prong to 2-prong "ground cheater plug" -- obviously, this defeats tip grounding and ESD-safety.

    Q: What is the meaning of "ESD-safe" in soldering stations?
    A: "ESD-safety" guarantees that static energy from your body (hands, etc.) will be "dumped" to ground via the plastic soldering iron handle or solder station plastic housing. Otherwise, the ESD would transfer to the soldering tip, thus destroying the IC you're soldering. The solder station essentially discharges your body's static charge to ground every time you pick up the soldering iron. (Naturally, you should take additional ESD precautions if you're handling *extremely* sensitive components -- and not rely on the solder station for all ESD-safety in the lab!)

    Q: How long should it take to make a "good" solder joint on a common solder pad?
    A: Tricky question! The time spent on the pad is called "dwell time." A dwell time of 4 seconds at 700 degrees-F might be considered destructive for some components -- however, a dwell time of 2 seconds with an 1100 degree-F unregulated soldering iron can be much more destructive. A 700 degree-F dwell time of 3-4 seconds is not uncommon, to allow for "filling the pocket" -- that's the volume of the thru-plated hole, flush to the component side and properly "feathered" evenly to the circumference of the solder pad -- on the solder side. The "pocket" should be filled -- but not over-filled -- and the solder in the center of the pad should rise evenly to the component lead that will be trimmed. Never have a solder pad with an under-filled "dimple" on the pad. The solder level at the component lead should be higher than the edges of the pad. A soldered pad should never look like a "round BLOB of solder *sitting* on the pad." Wire soldering is more of an art than a science, and with practice -- 1 to 3 second dwell times can be achieved, while safely meeting all of
    the above criteria.

    Q: What about residual flux that's left on the board?
    A: Flux removal is an issue that's best answered by the solder and board manufacturer. However, the *color* of the flux -- after soldering a pad -- is a good indicator of whether your dwell time is too long. Your residual flux should look "honey-colored" rather than "caramel colored." If you're starting to burn the flux, your dwell time is too long, OR your tip temp is too high, OR you need to consider a different tip shape, OR applying heat to the pad/component lead from a different angle. Heat primarily the pad, and catch the lead with the side of the tip -- then practice, practice... practice. Have a friend time you and inspect your work if you're serious.

    Q: Any closing remarks?
    A: Soldering stations allow for greater soldering consistency when compared to non-temp controlled irons. Overall, this translates to fewer cold joints, fewer heat-damaged components and fewer heat-damaged pads and traces. The quality of your work will be superior, compared to soldering with non-temp controlled irons. Remember to wash your hands after you're finished handling solder. Never smoke cigarettes or eat while soldering. Never allow kids to play with solder. And, practice soldering! It's still an art -- not a science!
     
  5. WeaponsHot

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