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Soldering Tips. - Electrics - DC - Getting You Started. - Your Model Railway Club
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 Posted: Mon Oct 15th, 2007 03:30 pm
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Robert
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Below is a quote from one of our members:

"The keyto soldering track easily is FLUX. When soldering track, use a 15 watt, needle tip, electronics soldering iron. This is a relatively low-wattage iron compared to most, but plenty for trackwork with little or no melting of ties. I also use a very thin rosin core electronics solder, and a water soluble flux. First dab some flux onto the outside of the rail . Use a toothpick or a fine tipped glue applicator. Next, making sure the soldering iron is fully heated; hold the tip to the rail the flux starts to bubble (about 2 seconds), let the iron drawn in about 1/8 to inch of solder and run in along the length of the rail where you want to apply solder. The whole process probably takes 5 10 seconds. I would suggest practicing this on some scrap track, but it really is easy, and the results are good.

Soldering Tips



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 Posted: Mon Oct 15th, 2007 03:31 pm
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Robert
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A couple more replies from the original thread that I think is worth preserving.

Perry wrote
I concur entirely with Bob's comments and would add that another thing that makes soldering easier is to ensure that the parts to be soldered are CLEAN. Just give them a quick rub with a little bit of emery paper or similar if you can - that should do it. Just because they LOOK clean doesn't mean they haven't got a film of grease, mould release agent or you name it, all over them.

A finished soldered joint should look smooth and have a shiny mirror finish. If it dull and/or rough, it could be what's known as a dry joint and not give a proper electrical contact.

Perry

... and Jeff wrote
That's about it really Marty. Clean, flux and full heat. I tend to "tin" the rail and the wire seperately, allow to cool, hold the both together and apply the iron, removing the iron as soon as the solder flows.

PS by tinning, I mean flux each seperately and melt a little solder on both parts seperately.

This always seems to give me a good clean and neat join.

Marty
Thanks gents, I've bought some flux and a thinner resin core solder, the one I had was quite thick. I'll practice on some spare track, cleaning the track, fluxing and tinning both track and wire and then holding together and applying heat. My soldering iron is 25W which is probably too hot but I'll see how I go.

Do you need to wash the flux off after soldering? The website mentioned that corrosion can occur if this isn't done. Anyone had any experience with this?

Bob
I must admit to never having washed mine Marty, not an easy thing to do anyway if the track is fixed down. I suppose you could use a cotton bud or something similar. Perhaps others have different ideas.

Marty
Worked a treat, thanks lads. The 25w iron completes the join in about 3 secs... but it took me about 15 mins each to do everything for the two joins I did. Practice, practice, practice.

I've used enamelled copper wire for the droppers, a quick grind with the dremel tool (wonderful birthday present from T) cleans of the enamel and leaves a flat surface to sit flush with the rail web.

The flux clean up looked difficult to me too Bob which is why I'm hoping people can reassure me that the joints won't corrode over time. The manufacturer of one of the fluxes recommended the clean up but I can only hope that it applies more to Circuit boards, etc.

Perry
As long as you're not drenching the rails in flux there should be no need to wash it off. The heat of the iron should get rid of most of it when it does its job. If there is any slight corrosion it will be so minor and take so long to have any effect that you wouldn't notice it anyway. Track and wiring deteriorates to a minor degree over a long period anyway, so I personally wouldn't worry about it.

Perry

Marty
Thanks Perry, that's good enough for me as I'm just dabbing the flux on with a toothpick.



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