Soldering Station

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The soldering station team is working on three main goals:
1. Creation of visual aids in the form of posters.
2. Creation of supplemental tutorial videos.
3. Improving upon soldering station tools and organization.

Visual Aids

Manuals and Datasheets

1200 Watt Heat Gun - GoldTool GDT 1001
http://www.jameco.com/Jameco/Products/ProdDS/254925.pdf

Weller WES51 Analog Solder Station
Datasheet: http://www.testequipmentdepot.com/weller/pdf/wes51_data.pdf
Manual: http://www.testequipmentdepot.com/weller/pdf/wes51.pdf

Weller Smoke Absorber WSA350
http://www.testequipmentdepot.com/weller/pdf/wsa350_datasheet.pdf

Supplemental Videos

1) Digikey Heat Shrink Tubing selection guide:
http://www.digikey.com/videos/en/vp/2396982423001?WT.pn_sku=A018B-4-ND&WT.z_part_id=281671&WT.z_video_source=Part_Detail

Video Outlines

The Basics

Introduction: These videos are designed to instruct students in the basic tools and usage of the solder station. For more specific procedures, please see the other video or visual aid sections available.

Part 1: Safety

In any soldering procedure, there are certain safety protocols that should always be followed.

  • Safety glasses should be worn at all times.
  • If you are using the iron, make sure to use the exhaust fan. The exhaust fan should be kept next to the iron stand.
  • Remember, the iron, solder, and solder braid get hot! Always be sure to keep your fingers clear of heated areas.
Part 2: Cutting and Stripping Wires

We will often be working with wires in soldering projects, so it is important to know how to strip wires.

  • The main tools we will be using are the aptly named wire strippers.
  • To strip the wire, first place the wire according to its gauge rating in the appropriate notch of the wire strippers.
  • From here, position the wire to remove as much of the protective cover as you need. Typically, we will only want to remove around half an inch of cover. Remember, often times removing less cover is better then removing more.
  • Now simply clamp down on the wire strippers and remove the severed cover to expose the wire.
Part 3: Using the Iron

The iron is the most basic tool of soldering and will be used often at this station.

  • To use the iron, first turn on the heating. Adjusting the dial will allow you to determine the heat in the iron, though typically it can be left around the 80 mark.
  • Remember, the iron will only heat up while it is in its stand. If the iron isn't hot enough, you won't be able to melt solder effectively.
  • Before using the iron, clean it by quickly and lightly brushing the tip against the damp sponge. Note that the sponge should be only slightly damped, not dripping. Clean the iron before each use.
  • In between uses, apply tin to the tip of the iron. This is known as "Idle Solder" and is done to keep the tip clean. After applying Idle Solder, return the iron to its stand to warm up.
Part 4: Cleaning up

Maintaining a clean work station is crucial to efficiency.

  • Please make sure any scraps of tin, de-solder braid, or wire are picked up and properly disposed of.
  • Please return all tools to their designated areas along the back of the station. Make sure that any lights, the iron, the fan, and any other electronics are turned off before leaving the station.
  • Remember, you should always try to leave the station cleaner then you found it.

Soldering

These videos are designed to instruct students in how to apply solder for various uses.

Part 1: Tinning the Leads

In order to solder a wire to something, it is often useful to apply tin to the exposed wire or "Tin the Lead".

  • First we will take our exposed wire, or "lead".
  • Now slowly use your iron and tin to apply solder across the length of the lead, giving it a thin coat of solder.
  • By doing this, the lead is easier to uniformly place and can be more easily soldered to other components.
Part 2: Attaching two wires

Many times, we will need to solder two wires together to create a connection.

  • First take your two tinned leads.
  • Now, slide the appropriate size of heat shrink over one lead and along the wire so it is out of the way. We will be using this later.
  • Next, we will place the two leads against each other and apply the iron along the area where they contact each other. In this fashion, the tin on the two leads will melt and combine. Do this slowly until you can slightly feel the metal of the two wires sliding against each other.
  • Removing the iron, the tin should cool and create a connection between the two wires. Once the two wires are connected, slide the heat shrink back up the wire and over the soldered area. Use the heat gun to seal the heat shrink around the area, covering up any additional exposed wire with electrical tape if necessary.
Part 3: Attaching to electrical components

Often, we will be working with electrical components that require soldered connections.

  • First, place your wire or pin through the connection.
    • If you are using wire, remember that you only need a small amount of clearance through the connection. Take this into consideration when stripping your wire and creating your lead.
    • If you are using pins, you may want to place the component with the pins in the provided breadboard for additional stability.
  • Now that you have contact with component, place your tin along the connection ring up against the lead or pin. Your tin should be right along where the pin or lead makes contact with the component.
  • With your other hand, apply the iron to the other side of the pin or lead in a similar fashion, allowing the heat to draw the tin along the contact area to the iron.
  • Remove the iron and tin from the component. Remember, you only need a small amount of tin to create your connection.
  • Check around the connection between the pin or lead and the component. The tin should have uniformly surrounded the pin or lead. You will be able to see anywhere that the tin does not make contact with both the component and the pin or lead.

De-Soldering

These videos are designed to instruct students in how to remove solder.

Part 1: The Solder Sucker

Our most basic tool for removing solder is the "solder sucker".

  • To use the solder sucker, first press in and release the pump to create suction.
  • Now, use your iron to heat up the solder you wish to remove.
  • Next, remove the iron and place the solder sucker over the solder and press the button along the bottom to suck up the solder.
  • Finally, press down on the pump to eject the sucked up solder and recreate suction.
  • Repeat this process until you have removed as much solder as necessary
  • Note that this process is rather imprecise, and designed for removing relatively large amounts of solder. For smaller, more precise solder removal, use the De-Solder Braid.
Part 2: The De-Solder Braid

The de-solder braid is a more precise method for removing smaller amounts of solder.

  • First, unravel some of the de-solder braid.
  • Now, place the end of the de-solder braid against the solder you wish to remove.
  • From here, place the iron along the solder you wish to remove. As the solder warms up, it should slowly work its way up the braid.
  • After you have collected some of the solder, remove the braid and iron and cut off the part of the braid with solder on it.
  • Repeat this process until you have removed as much solder as necessary.
  • Note that the de-solder braid will also conduct the heat of the iron. Please keep fingers away from the end of the braid and only take up enough solder at a time to cover an inch of braid at most.

Station Organization

State at Beginning of Project

The soldering station leaves a lot to be desired.

  • Many key components of soldering are not available.
  • There is little organization of tools.
  • There are retention measures in effect to keep tools from "walking off," however they are bulky and often get in the way.
  • While there are three soldering irons, we only have one copy of many other essential tools.
    • Only one station can be properly used at a time.

Plans for Improvement

Materials List

Materials Still Needed
  • Wire - 14 ga to 20 ga in multiple colors
  • Shrink tube
Materials Acquired
  • Desolder braid
  • Solder - 60/40 mix with flux core in .02" or greater diameter
  • Flex Pen - Rosin Activated
  • Retractable cable for tool retention to replace chain
  • Exhaust fan
Optional Items
  • Zip tie puller (x2)
  • Zip ties
  • Zip tie attachment mounts
  • Resistor color code chart
  • Product identifier chart - displays common electrical items for identification
  • Extra soldering iron tips
  • Alcohol - to clean flux off of projects
  • D-Sub pins and connectors for crimping tool
  • Wire nuts
  • Terminal connectors

Plans for Organization

One of the main goals of this project is to achieve better organization for the soldering station.

  • We have boxed up and removed one of the irons, making two well defined stations.
  • Chains and cords have been untangled and tools have been placed along the back of the station according to their chain origin.
  • Ideally, chains would be replaced by retractable wire that could be locked into desired length for use. In this fashion, the retention controls will not get in the way as much, and it will be more evident where tools should be placed when being put away.
  • More tools have been ordered so each station will have identical sets of equipment and can be used simultaneously.
  • Posters and other visual aids should be used as reminders of tool placement and station organization.