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Action in France - Materials & Tools. - More Practical Help - Your Model Railway Club
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 Posted: Wed Jan 13th, 2021 02:50 pm
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Petermac
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There is a chain of shops in France under the name of "Action".  Do you have them near you Bill ?

I assume they deal in bankrupt or closing down stock.  It's a bit like the UK "Poundland" type of shop in that one has to pop in regularly to see what they have and I tend to use it as an "impulse buy" type of outlet.

I've bought lots of bits and bobs from them over the last year or so, all very reasonably priced or even "cheap".  For example, I needed some matt black rattle-can paint.  In my local DIY store, it was €12.95.  My similarly sized can at "Action" cost me just €2.13  I bought a few glue sticks there for my Scalescenes viaduct project - full sized stick, Dutch manufacture and just €1.99 per stick.  Thus far, it seems to be pretty good glue.

A couple of weeks ago, I bought this cordless soldering iron for €12.95 :



Charged via a supplied USB lead, it heats up to 450C in 25 seconds and will run for 10 minutes before automatically switching off.  Press the "on" button again, and it's ready for use again within 25 seconds.  There is a green "ready to use" LED which comes on as soon as it reaches 450 C and a second LED lights up the tip and work area.

The base it's sitting in above is simply a stand, complete with sponge pad.  The charger is built into the iron itself - the USB lead plugs into the top of the iron.

I've only used it 2 or 3 times but it seems to perform admirably and, without the cable associated with mains soldering irons, is very handy indeed.  I have no idea how long it will last on a single charge - time will tell but it's no great shakes to plug it in.  It claims to be fully charged in about 2 hours and, when I bought mine, that seemed to be the case.

It's not suitable for heavy duty soldering but is ideal for electronics (decoders etc) and soldering of thin wires etc.



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 Posted: Wed Jan 13th, 2021 04:23 pm
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thespanishdriver
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Looks ideal Peter.

I have had a FERM drill for years and it is still going strong.

I treated myself to a new digital soldering station last year and it includes a hot air gun for heat shrink tubing. Brilliant piece of kit.



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 Posted: Wed Jan 13th, 2021 04:54 pm
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Petermac
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thespanishdriver wrote: Looks ideal Peter.

I have had a FERM drill for years and it is still going strong.

I treated myself to a new digital soldering station last year and it includes a hot air gun for heat shrink tubing. Brilliant piece of kit.


That does sound a useful bit of kit Gary - I use the soldering iron itself for heat-shrink but naturally, I have to be careful not to actually touch the tubing.

I dod have a variable temperature soldering station which works well enough.  It wasn't expensive - I think around £40.  It's not digital and I suspect, runs slightly colder than the dial suggests.

What make is yours and was it pricey ?  I've seen them at eye-watering prices in places like Farnell's.

Did you get any of the much publicised snow creeping down to you from Madrid at the weekend ?  Not that unusual north of Madrid but this time it hit the headlines ...............



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 Posted: Wed Jan 13th, 2021 05:40 pm
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Longchap
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Hi Peter,

There are several Action outlets near us, two of them quite close indeed and one next to Briccoman, where I'm off to buy light fittings for an outbuilding quite soon, so will pop in for a mooch.
 
I’m very fond of my digital temperature controlled Hako soldering iron, but this hands free iron sounds ideal for use in more confined areas of the layout, under the baseboards being a prime candidate.

Many thanks,

Bill



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At 6'4'', Bill is a tall chap, then again, when horizontal he is rather long and people often used to trip over him! . . . and so a nickname was born :)

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 Posted: Sat Jan 16th, 2021 01:43 am
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John Dew
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Longchap wrote[highlight= rgb(248, 248, 248);] 
I’m very fond of my digital temperature controlled Hako soldering iron, but this hands free iron sounds ideal for use in more confined areas of the layout, under the baseboards being a prime candidate.


Bill


Apologies a bit ......  :off topic


I also have a Hako but currently dont take advantage of the variable temperature control:oops:

I wonder if you could suggest the best temperatures for the following

1.    Basic droppers to Code 100

2.    Hard wiring decoders and Stay Alive

3     Brass etchings

Keep safe



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 Posted: Sat Jan 16th, 2021 12:22 pm
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Hi John,
 
I always adopt the sage philosophy of my teacher that soldering is 99% preparation and 1% wielding the iron or torch, also remembering that you need to heat up the materials to be joined, which in turn melt the solder and not intentionally apply heat directly to the solder itself! There is much therefore to learn in preparation for joining brass, copper, white metal, etc, but fortunately less so for the hazardous dangerous 1% fun bit!
 
My mantra is to get in quick with as much heat as possible to do the job. Therefore the largest possible bit is used to provide that heat and I have a selection of different shaped bits in different sizes for this purpose. It is of utmost importance though to fully  consider the parameters of the soldering work and adapt the above method and my Hakko is left at 450deg C default, good for many tasks, but is adjusted up or down as required for the particular job. For instance, 450 to 500 degC is good for soldering droppers and I always cut the rail webs either side of the joint in order to move the plastic sleepers well out of harms way, although the very short time the iron is in contact with the rail should cause no harm. For metals and particularly soft metals such as white metal, consideration of their lower melting temperature is crucial and therefore the need to use low melt solder (typically 90 to 100deg C).
 
I have yet to solder decoders, which by their small delicate nature, require a small pointy tip to focus the heat in the small target area. I would need to do a little research to confirm the temperature, so will not guess here. What are you using?
 
Brass fortunately is a great heat conductor, so heats up quickly and you can use heat sinks to help focus the heat where needed. I use DCC Concepts 186deg solder and their no clean flux for etched kits. Brass melts from approx. 900deg C, and I’ve been experimenting around 500deg. However, the jury is still out on overall strategy for kits, as I want to try using a small gas torch and placing smaller quantities of solder where needed on the workpiece, then apply heat the metal work for the larger components, such as wagon / van sides in order to confirm my method.
 
Sorry for the long answer, but it needed to be more than a simple list of temperatures as this is a fascinating subject with much to learn and master and I am still an apprentice!
 
Best,
 
Bill



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At 6'4'', Bill is a tall chap, then again, when horizontal he is rather long and people often used to trip over him! . . . and so a nickname was born :)

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 Posted: Sat Jan 16th, 2021 05:39 pm
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thespanishdriver
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Hi Peter and sorry for the late reply.
The soldering station I purchased was a WEP 899D II 2 in 1 Professional LED Digital Display SMD Hot Air Rework and Soldering Iron Station (copied and pasted details from Amazon) and cost £88.99.
Loads of spare tips and works a treat.

No, living where we do, we didn't have the snow but just days of heavy rain. It is only just starting to dry out now so I have been able to start on the olive tree pruning.



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 Posted: Sun Jan 17th, 2021 05:49 pm
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John Dew
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Hi Bill
Thank you for taking the time to reply in such detail.

The comment about bits was very helpful......I only have two and being idle tend to take the one size doeseverything approach!:oops::oops:

My Haka is a U.S. model set up for Fahrenheit.........I set it up for 750o F (400o C) ......I think I got this from the DCC Concepts web site.........and just leave it there for both track and decoder installation. It sound as though I could increase it somewhat for track if your default is 450o C

 I must confess I do worry about the decoders because the wires momentarily get very hot but I have installed at least 20 at that temperature without issue. I had hoped to use it to solder wires direct to the solder pads on the decoders for stay alives but eye sight and hand co ordination were not good enough so I pay Youchoos an extra £1 to do it

I have a very delicate brass etch for the hotel fire escape.....normally I use super glue for these etches from Langley, Dart etc but I think soldering could be more robust and neater.....always provided I have the skill! I guess I should do some practising with scrap......I will let you know how I get on

Keep safe



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 Posted: Sun Jan 17th, 2021 06:46 pm
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Petermac
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Butting in here ........ :roll:

I think I've mentioned before that I think £1 to ask YouChoos to solder your stay-alive wires is an absolute steal John.  Soldering those is one of the main reasons I have yet to fit one myself - all those I have have been professionally fitted.




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 Posted: Sun Jan 17th, 2021 09:40 pm
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Longchap
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I couldn't agree more Peter. It's a no brainer, being a great insurance for not killing the decoder.

Bill

PS, no need to feel out of place for butting in on your own thread!



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At 6'4'', Bill is a tall chap, then again, when horizontal he is rather long and people often used to trip over him! . . . and so a nickname was born :)

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