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Solder station


nickolp1974
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The time has come where i need more juice for my cards, so this means some hard mods :D can anyone recommend a good solder station, upto £100?? I am based in the UK so please bare this in mind.

 

And what about all the bits?? VR's etc can you buy a mixed bag of stuff?? Ideally dont want to be placing orders left right and Center.

Is a glue gun essential??

 

Thank you for your time.

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I made 3 volt mods in my time :) i used a 20€ bought new soldering station. So its good to have a good soldering iron but its not a must.

I made that on a cheap hardware, p4c800 motherboard, 8800gts and 3870 x2 gpu... If you use 300€+ gpu I think you will be more careful :)

Trimmers or vr's you can buy them mixed, but look for the ones with many turns, not those cheap one with one turn. I used them but you need to be careful turning those...

Glue gun is great, not esential of course but very handy to flue the wire when you solder so you dont break it off and to glue the vr in place. I highly recomend it, it is cheap to buy anyway.

Fot the station i cant recomend none but here weler at top of the brands.

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I bought a used Hakko 937 temp-controlled station in great condition for 40 euro. Works perfectly. It even has a chisel tip for common solder jobs and a fine tip for the small SMD, etc.

 

In any case I do recommend a temp-controlled station and 80W if you plan on modifying VRMs. And use a soldering flux!

 

Gluegun is very handy, also I recommend jumpers for mod circuits. For VRs, take a look at the mods. Usually a good quality 100K and 10K variable resistor does the job.

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If i'd noticed this thread earlier, I would have posted.

 

A 30W soldering iron out of Maplin will do the job. If they have a bundle offer on 30W iron + solder + stand = bargain.

 

If you need spare sponges: Ebay.

 

VR: I buy all my parts from this Ebay seller: http://www.ebay.co.uk/usr/lyn3009?_trksid=p2047675.l2559 Buy in bulk, save postage. They're already about 1/4 of what Maplin charge.

 

You'll also need:

 

 

a multimeter. Don't mod without one. Ever.

 

tweezers. I use thin, square tipped, non paddle ones, but that's a personal preference.

 

wire strippers: http://www.ipatools.com/products/index.php/ipa-7870a.html

 

Wire: despite the price, I buy mine from Maplin. I like to know what i'm getting and a lot of Ebay sellers mis-list or don't know what they're posting :/ (my experience) As long as you buy multi-core, most other specs are user-preference.

 

I use Uhu glue to stick VR to PCB's, but it needs 24hr to set. It's in Poundland et al. NOT supermarket equivalent, because it's crap.... and more expensive.

 

 

 

 

 

My secret weapon: http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Solder-Soldering-Paste-10cc-Flux-Grease-RMA223-RMA-223-/181679456588?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_3&hash=item2a4cf0814c

 

That stuff is **^^&$£ amazing.

Edited by K404
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Thanks for the reply's chaps, i ended up getting a 30w weller standard iron from maplin, its got a smallish pointy tip may need to grab a smaller one yet, already trashed a 3870 practising, also grabbed a glue gun whilst there. Theres one thing i forgot though and that was a magnifying glass, eyes aint as good as they used to be!!

 

Never soldered before so any tips?? Watched a vid on the tube but that was just splicing 2 wires together!! Dealing with very small points on a pcb appears to be a whole different ball game :(

 

Got a couple of 295's coming and that looks straight forward, just removing the correct resistors shouldn't be too difficult :/

 

Whats the flux stuff for, is it Kenny(K404)??

Edited by nickolp1974
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The flux keeps the solder to where it's meant to be... and the paste part keeps the flux where it's meant to be :)

 

Practice, practice, practise. Now that the 3870 is trashed, use it as a guinea pig. Practice adding wires to SMC, removing them, removing components, add them back on etc.

 

Fine tips are good, yes.

 

Keep a little solder on the tip of the iron and wipe it off/replace it fairly frequently. You'll be able to tell when it's time to replace the solder because it'll get sooty. A damp sponge is better than a soaking wet one.

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Cool thanks for the tips, on the 3870 when i was trying to solder the wire to the mod point the point disappeared!! As in the little solder dot and i could no longer get a reading there, only realised after about the 5th attempt then the iron stuck to the pcb and pulled a trace out :(

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Yea, that's a problem. :( The chances of it happening increase the longer you spend soldering a certain point. It's something else the solder paste helps with. It speeds up the solder join. That stuff is far and away the best £1 you will spend on anything soldering-related, if not electronics of any kind :D

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Also got some in Kenny's recommendation some time ago, have yet to try it out yet but from what I've seen will help a lot, especially in the slightly harder to solder places on the board.

 

In regards to tips I've found that the very small ones are actually kind if useless. They don't have the mass to keep hot enough and you end up being unable to really use the end of the tip on them for this reason. I got a medium sized one on iron as it's a nice balance of mass and size to allow you to solder the hard to reach places whilst also keeping enough heat in the iron to get the job done easily.

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A little paste on the spot you plan to solder, a little solder on the tip of the iron and a little onto each thing you're soldering (wire and pad) (this is called "tinning")

 

Place the end of the wire where you want it to be, touch the soldering iron on or near where you want the join to be. Because the solder is still warm/hot from the tinning, the solder join should form very quickly. You are unlikely to ever need much solder for a join.

 

:)

 

Pre-bend the wire so it "naturally" sits exactly where you want it. The less "stress" on the solder joins and pads, the better (caused by the wire pulling because it wants to sit somewhere else.) The small the solder point, the more important this is. Ideally, if you desolder a wire, it shouldn't "spring" away. It shouldn't move at all. I know i've just said the same thing in three different ways..... One of those instances where a video says it better than words.

Edited by K404
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Thats great and what i needed to know! ;) i have been testing with really flimsy wire(from a fan cable) and it flops everywhere!!

So i take i guess its better to solder the easy point first so you can shape the wire into position for the more difficult point?

 

Whats the easy way to remove little resistors??

 

Thank you

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I think it's always slightly easier to solder the big sturdy point first, then finish with the small, fragile one so it's handled as little as possible

 

For removing SMC, a little paste over the component, a hobby knife angled gently between the component and the PCB, then take the iron quickly back and forth to the solder points to heat and soften them, then focus on one of them. The component should start to move up or to the side as the solder melts, then you can hold the component with tweezers as you desolder the second point.

 

Floppy (thin gauge) wires aren't so bad, because the wire isn't strong enough to exert much pressure, but still ..... minimise it :)

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