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Author Topic: Best Soldering Tip Size To Use  (Read 2688 times)
KD9FRR
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« on: September 11, 2017, 08:48:18 AM »

I'm wanting to start building some simple radios from kits. I currently have a junky Harbor Freight soldering iron so I'm going to purchase a new Hakko FX-888D soldering station. What size Hakko soldering tip(s) do you recommend for soldering components to the circuit board, and soldering microphone plugs, and so forth.

Thanks in advance for your help....

73
Fred  KD9FRR
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K8AXW
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« Reply #1 on: September 11, 2017, 09:05:03 AM »

Getting started.... the tip that comes with your new Hakko will be just fine.  Good choice in soldering irons I might add.  Good luck.  You've picked, in my opinion, the best facet of ham radio.  Building.....even a kit!
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N3QE
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« Reply #2 on: September 11, 2017, 09:15:23 AM »

My favorite Hakko tip for general purpose use like connectors etc is T18-S3. This is a giant screwdriver tip compared to the tiny tiny conical ones a lot of other people like and come as default.

There are some smaller "Chisel" tips that I like too like T18-D32.

In general I prefer the "Chisel" or "Screwdriver" tip shape over the conical ones. I feel the flat chisel edge tip, is way more efficient at transferring heat from tip to item being soldered. This lets me solder the joint very efficiently with maximal heat transfer over the shortest possible time.

I even use the ginormous chisel/screwdriver tips for surface mount IC's. I can heat up all the pins on one side of the small SOIC's at once.

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KD9FRR
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« Reply #3 on: September 11, 2017, 09:27:49 AM »

Getting started.... the tip that comes with your new Hakko will be just fine.  Good choice in soldering irons I might add.  Good luck.  You've picked, in my opinion, the best facet of ham radio.  Building.....even a kit!

Allen;

Thanks for the reply, which leads me into another question if I could. What type and size of solder should I use ? I see the choices are lead free or lead contained, with diameters ranging from 0.6mm through 1.5mm. I'm thinking the smaller 0.6mm would be the better choice as it would melt faster and avoid component or pcb damage from too much heat.

I appreciate your input.

73
Fred  KD9FRR
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N3QE
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« Reply #4 on: September 11, 2017, 10:04:13 AM »

Thanks for the reply, which leads me into another question if I could. What type and size of solder should I use ? I see the choices are lead free or lead contained, with diameters ranging from 0.6mm through 1.5mm. I'm thinking the smaller 0.6mm would be the better choice as it would melt faster and avoid component or pcb damage from too much heat.

If you use too-skinny solder, you actually lengthen the time it makes the joint because you might have to feed in 3 or more inches of solder just to make a larger joint. Like if you are soldering phono plugs or something.

I like the 1/16" (1.6mm) solder for everything except fine PCB work.

I strongly recommend rosin-core solder using Kester 44 flux for general purpose building and repair. I strongly recommend against the no-wash or water-wash fluxes for general purpose use.
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W8JX
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« Reply #5 on: September 11, 2017, 10:28:03 AM »

If you use too-skinny solder, you actually lengthen the time it makes the joint because you might have to feed in 3 or more inches of solder just to make a larger joint. Like if you are soldering phono plugs or something.

If you use small solder by default it gives you ore flexibility. For bigger jobs you merely double or 4x fold solder.  Too big a solder size is more of a handicap than too small

I like the 1/16" (1.6mm) solder for everything except fine PCB work.

I like it a bit smaller

I strongly recommend rosin-core solder using Kester 44 flux for general purpose building and repair. I strongly recommend against the no-wash or water-wash fluxes for general purpose use.

I strongly advise against it. Rosin core requires more clean up on circuit boards. Basically if you need it to get a good flow you did not properly clean and prep joint being soldered.
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Ham since 1969....  Old School 20wpm REAL Extra Class..
N9AOP
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« Reply #6 on: September 11, 2017, 11:25:44 AM »

Wouldn't the tip size totally depend on what the particular job is?
Art
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W8JX
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« Reply #7 on: September 11, 2017, 11:42:07 AM »

Wouldn't the tip size totally depend on what the particular job is?
Art

Yes best size of tip is job related. A larger tip not only has a bigger contact area but also has more thermal mass to heat work up quicker. I you do circuit board and general work i would use a narrow 1/16 or 3/32 chisel tip for delicate circuit board work and 1/8 to 3/16 for general purpose.
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Ham since 1969....  Old School 20wpm REAL Extra Class..
K8AXW
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« Reply #8 on: September 11, 2017, 09:07:28 PM »

Fred:

Everyone has their preferences, rather it is solder/iron tips or beer.

Since my Hakko came with the conical tip that's what I use (only recently buying other tips) quite successfully. 

At one time I would have preferred the chisel or flat blade tip because at one time I was doing point to point wiring.  This mean soldering larger parts and soldering several parts to one point, like terminal strips.  This type of soldering requires more heat and a larger surface tip like the chisel or flat blade.

However, for the past several years all of my homebrewing has been with PCBs and controls that has only one or two wires connected to them.  The conical tip provides more than enough heat for this type of work.  I have used the same conical tip for surface mount components but I avoid those things if I can.  (At age 81 and using classes and a headband magnifier I don't enjoy SMT projects.  If I did, then I would go with a smaller diameter tip)

I have always used a larger diameter solder when I was doing the point to point work but again, since 99% of my work now uses PCBs, I use Kester 44 rosin core solder, .8mm/.031 diameter.  Only once in a while does a heavier diameter solder work better.  But since I don't change tips I make due even here with the .031" and use 3 inches as one has pointed out.

I will agree with the observation that the rosin does leave a residue but have never had a problem with it "hiding" a bad joint.  Some alcohol and a swab takes care of the rosin thing if it bothers you but I consider that a waste of my time.

After burning up 3ft of soldering iron tips the past 60 years, the Hakko is indeed a joy!  Oh, you're no doubt going to need a Weller soldering gun one day soon so be thinking about that!   Grin

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WA3SKN
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« Reply #9 on: September 12, 2017, 06:39:46 AM »

I prefer a chisel.  However, if you can afford to... get several in several sizes and have them on hand, much better than not having the one you need at the time of building!
73s.

-Mike.
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KG4RUL
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« Reply #10 on: September 12, 2017, 07:00:28 AM »

A "screwdriver" tip and 63/37 solder (several diameters on my bench) are my choices.  Having a holder for the solder spool is very helpful.  Clean the tip OFTEN!
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K8AXW
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« Reply #11 on: September 12, 2017, 05:59:33 PM »

I'm having a problem visualizing this "tip changing" thing.  Say you're building a piece of gear that is predominately transistors and ICs with heavier soldering needed in say the power supply section.

Does one leave all of the "heavy stuff to do in one shot or do you change tips somehow as you need them?  And I would also like to know how the "somehow" is done since one of the tips is HOT?
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W8JX
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« Reply #12 on: September 12, 2017, 06:29:32 PM »

I used a temp controlled pencil station for components on circuit boards and a gun for big stuff on the fly. I do not change hot tips. When I worked in flight test we had two pencil stations with different tips sizes and a hot air solder/desolder Pace station on each work bench.
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Ham since 1969....  Old School 20wpm REAL Extra Class..
VK2TIL
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« Reply #13 on: September 12, 2017, 08:00:07 PM »

I "hot-swap" tips in my Micron station occasionally; the tip is retained by a screwed sleeve as in the Hakko.

I undo the knurled nut carefully with pliers and put it down in the stainless-steel tray on the main unit, then lift the hot tip off with pliers and put it in the tray also.

Put the cold tip on and, using the pliers, replace the sleeve and gently tighten the nut.

I rarely do this as a 1/16" chisel tip is fairly "all-purpose" for me but it can be done.

I don't know if the Hakko has a tray like the Micron's for storage of spare tips; if not, contrive something so that the hot tip is contained safely.

I've had my Micron for at least 30 years so it's a very old model;




This is the "hot end" of my bench; there is the Micron, a Weller 40W iron, a Micron de-soldering pump and a heat gun for heatshrink; a water bottle for the sponge is visible, as is a box containing several rolls of solder, spare tips, a 150W iron and different tools useful for soldering, picks etc.

In recent years I've found the quite-expensive Micron replacement tips of variable quality; the usual chisel shape is quite irregular.  I used to have a local Micron dealer and I could pick-through his stock to find good ones but he is now gone.

Some investigation showed that Hakko tips fit with slight modification; the 7mm stainless-steel anti-seize sleeve must be removed to clear the element in the Micron.

This is a quick & simple job.

Some Hakko tips are shorter than others and a small brass sleeve over the Micron element makes-up the shortfall.

I find the cheap "imitation-Hakko" tips quite good; a dozen can be bought on ebay for very few dollars.

Hakko have some advice on tips etc;

http://www.hakko.com/english/tip_selection/selection_1.html

But the main thing is "just do it"; you will soon find out what suits you and your work.
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G3RZP
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« Reply #14 on: September 13, 2017, 03:40:16 AM »

Most of the 'lead free' solders need an iron temperature around 240C, while the usual 60-40 eutectic tin lead alloy needs an iron tip temperature of about 200 to 210C. 'Mixing' tin lead alloy with lead free can lead to bad joints. Personally, I stick to the old tin-lead alloy and make sure I have a good stock....
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