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Author Topic: Soldering Iron Temperature  (Read 7415 times)
KD2E
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Posts: 231




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« on: April 02, 2011, 06:15:46 PM »

My old Weller, and now my new Hako both allow you to adjust the tip temperature.
Thing is, I've never seen any suggestions as to where to set it.
It has to melt the solder, but other than that...where should it be set?

I'm guessing 700 for circuit board work, but up higher for terminal lug type stuff and perhaps all the way up for PL259's etc?

What are your thoughts on this?

....Dave
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W8JX
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« Reply #1 on: April 02, 2011, 07:07:05 PM »

700 is too hot. 600 to 650 tops and for a PL 259 you need a bigger iron or gun not more temperature.
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KE3WD
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« Reply #2 on: April 02, 2011, 07:56:34 PM »

I run mine at home and at work at the 740 -750F mark for most work. 

There is actually less chance of damaging components with a slightly hotter iron than one where you have to hold the iron there a long time before the solder flows. 

When desoldering, beware of having so much heat that the copper starts to delaminate from the printed circuit board, though. 

73
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W8JX
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« Reply #3 on: April 02, 2011, 08:12:49 PM »

My temp range is not about component damage directly. It is about using more heat than is really needed that increases oxidation of solder and causes loose of "tin" too. over 700 is way too hot. Solder melts between 380 and 420 or so depending on alloy. I do not solder much these days but in years past did more than I care to think about. I was even "certified" to solder to a Nasa standards about 25 years ago. 
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K2OWK
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« Reply #4 on: April 02, 2011, 09:32:25 PM »

Hello, I run my very old HAKO 0926 at 700 degrees on the dial for standard 60/40 solder. I have been doing so for about 30 years now with no problems. I solder discreet component circuit boards, Miltie level circuit boards and even serface mount components. I solder PL259 connectors, BNCs and others. I turn up the heat once in while when I use a different alloy higher temperature solder. I  used the new lead free solder once and found it to be pure garbage. I am glad I still have a few pounds of 60/40 lead solder in different diameters, and am glad it is still available at Radio Shack for now. I know that lead is not so good for you to inhale, but I have been using it for 50+ years and have no health problems "YET".

My recommendation: Adjust the  heat enough to have the solder flow and to do the job properly. Different solder temperatures depending on the alloy are available on the web. Kester is one site I can think of.

73s
Barry K2OWK
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KE3WD
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« Reply #5 on: April 03, 2011, 06:41:17 AM »

My temp range is not about component damage directly. It is about using more heat than is really needed that increases oxidation of solder and causes loose of "tin" too. over 700 is way too hot. Solder melts between 380 and 420 or so depending on alloy. I do not solder much these days but in years past did more than I care to think about. I was even "certified" to solder to a Nasa standards about 25 years ago. 

I work in a shop full of CETs and 700 to 750 is where ALL the irons are at most of the time.  We use Solder/
Desolder dual iron stations exclusively, both are generally set within that zone.  For certain tasks where there is a larger solder joint or the likes to deal with, not uncommon to set the temp even higher than that in order to get in and get out quickly, which in the kind of repair work we do day in and day out, is far better than using a colder tip and waiting for the heat to spread through the joint.  Sometimes I think that latter scenario is likely to cause more heat damage to things than the hotter iron and faster time does. 

One thing about the temp settings that may make differences is the mass of the iron tip, though.  I've long noticed that irons with smaller mass in the tips - or smaller heating elements that cant recover as quickly - must be run at slightly higher settings. 

I don't know about NASA, but at one time I was certified to solder inside of Nuclear reactors.  Welding also.  But it is important to realize that there can indeed be differences in what is standard practice in each differing scenario as there can be more than one input to the problem at that point. 

At any rate, I don't think the average ham operator is going to incur any sort of damage to anything with an iron temp of 700 to 750F and they will be able to effect good joints a lot easier at that temp - IMHO. 


73

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W8JX
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« Reply #6 on: April 03, 2011, 08:20:35 AM »

Many as seen by comments above run higher temps to try to stretch the wattage of a iron rather than have irons of a few different sizes and thermal masses to larger solder jobs. When doing bigger jobs, you need a bigger iron not higher heat on a smaller iron. It is the thermal mass of a iron that is properly sized for soldering task that does job not higher temps on a smaller iron that many use. I have NEVER used temps of 700 and above on my temp controlled pencil iron and never used it to try to solder PL259's either. BTW, I used many different types of solder stations in past and since it was government work they only get the best when tax payer is paying for it.
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KE3WD
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« Reply #7 on: April 03, 2011, 05:46:42 PM »

I'm talking PCB soldering, never mentioned a PL-259. 


73
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K0IZ
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« Reply #8 on: April 03, 2011, 06:03:02 PM »

Most professional shops use between 650 and 750 F.  I personally use about 680.  HIgher temperatures are a little harder on tips, but allow for faster work on PCB board. That can actually reduce possibility of damage vs lower temperature that takes longer.  Obviously mass of the tip and wattage will also determine how much temp is drawn down.  For PCB's not much of a factor.
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W8JX
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« Reply #9 on: April 03, 2011, 06:25:04 PM »

tips do indeed last longer below 700 and do not require constant re-tining
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KJ6EAD
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« Reply #10 on: April 04, 2011, 02:24:02 AM »

I use 750° F for most PCB work including surface mount. That gives me enough heat to get through joints that have a little more heat sink or ground plane on them without wasting time. A larger thermal mass iron won't fit where I need to work most of the time. I usually use 2% silver solder. I've never had any problem with tip plating erosion while using tin/lead solder but the strong fluxes and higher temperatures used with lead free solder erode platings at a horrendous rate.
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WY3X
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« Reply #11 on: April 15, 2011, 07:52:30 PM »

I use between 650 and 750 depending on the mass of metal requiring heat. Larger masses require more heat, and a lower temp tip will take longer to heat it up, and that will spread more heat to the component you're soldering in, sometimes with disastrous results. 650 for light-duty work like surface-mount or 1/8 watt leads, 700 to 750 for the rest. For PL-259's, you really should be using a big ol' 150 watt or more soldering GUN. A small tip takes too long to heat them and will melt the coax dielectric or jacket much more readily. -WY3X
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K7KBN
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« Reply #12 on: April 15, 2011, 10:07:44 PM »

I use between 650 and 750 depending on the mass of metal requiring heat. Larger masses require more heat, and a lower temp tip will take longer to heat it up, and that will spread more heat to the component you're soldering in, sometimes with disastrous results. 650 for light-duty work like surface-mount or 1/8 watt leads, 700 to 750 for the rest. For PL-259's, you really should be using a big ol' 150 watt or more soldering GUN. A small tip takes too long to heat them and will melt the coax dielectric or jacket much more readily. -WY3X

The tip on most soldering guns is smaller than that of most 40-watt irons.  You need an American Beauty iron with a truly massive tip.  Weller makes some 80 and 100 watt irons for stained glass workers, but they have tips that are perfect for PL-259s.  No gun I've ever used had enough thermal mass to do justice to good cable and good connectors.
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73
Pat K7KBN
CWO4 USNR Ret.
KD2E
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Posts: 231




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« Reply #13 on: April 16, 2011, 10:06:00 AM »

For pl259's, my American Beauty does a nice job...but the 3 prong 250 watt Weller gun is my choice for that job.
Thanks all for your input!  I've learned that around 700, depending on the work required seems to be correct.
...Dave
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W0BTU
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WWW

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« Reply #14 on: April 17, 2011, 02:34:25 PM »

If you use a good unit with tip temp feedback, you don't usually need to touch the temp control.

Whether I'm soldering IC pins on a PCB or something with a lot of mass, I usually leave it on about 550F max for 60/40 solder and 640F for silver-bearing lead-free solder. The temp-controlled Weller units we use automatically adjust the power to the tip, and there seldom is a reason to adjust the temp.

Too high a temp shortens tip life, not to mention other inconveniences while soldering. The ONLY time I ever run my tip at 750F is to melt the insulation off magnet wire.
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