Author Topic: How long to keep pen on  (Read 221 times)

Harvest_Time

How long to keep pen on
« on: March 21, 2020, 06:19:05 PM »
Hello all! I hope today finds you in good health. I have a very beginner question that I couldn't find any resolution on when I tried looking it up. How long can I keep my pen on while working on a project? Can I work indefinitely if I clean and tin my tip once every few connections? Or should I work in timed intervals? The person who taught me how to solder advised me to clean my pens with sand paper. This, I know now, is a very bad idea, but shows how little I know. Any advise will be very appreciated. Noise boxes don't make themselfs!
Don't throw that out until you take it apart.

stallik

Re: How long to keep pen on
« Reply #1 on: March 22, 2020, 12:27:23 AM »
Welcome to the forum

Most soldering irons will last very well even if left switched on for long periods but the tip will eventually wear out, especially if you use sandpaper on them! Many soldering iron stands are fitted with a little sponge which you you keep damp to clean the tip. My preference however, is to use a silver foil scouring pad. They are very effective, last for ages and donít seem to cause any damage.

When soldering, the idea is to heat both parts then apply the solder and allow it to flow. The trick is to do this as fast as possible to avoid overheating either the track or the component and damaging it. Keeping everything clean helps. The tip of the iron, the component leads and the copper track. If Iím using a home made board which hasnít been tinned first, I clean the tracks with a little steel wool to make them shine first.
Also, itís a good idea to keep an even, thin film of solder on the tip
« Last Edit: March 22, 2020, 12:32:59 AM by stallik »
Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Albert Einstein

swamphorn

Re: How long to keep pen on
« Reply #2 on: March 22, 2020, 12:59:00 AM »
I prefer using a wet sponge myself, but I suspect this depends on the type of solder you're using. With lead-free solder (which I would never recommend; the flux makes nasty fumes) if I so much as nicked the tip with an abrasive pad it would be eaten away. I haven't had any such issue with leaded solder.

bluebunny

Re: How long to keep pen on
« Reply #3 on: March 22, 2020, 08:16:21 AM »
The only problem I've experienced with leaving the soldering iron on for extended periods is backache:icon_evil:  Take breaks and move around!  (Or like me, forget the occasional item from my BOMs so that I have to go elsewhere to find the missing piece/s.  :icon_rolleyes:)
Ohm's Law - much like Coles Law, but with less cabbage...

Harvest_Time

Re: How long to keep pen on
« Reply #4 on: March 23, 2020, 02:28:20 PM »
Thank you everyone for helping out such an absolute novice. If I understand correctly, so long as I practice proper technique when creating joints, clean and re-tin after every few joints, then I could work on projects all the do long day. By proper technique, I mean tin the tip, hold the flux where the next connection is going to be made and try to use the heat to direct the flux to the desired area.

That makes me think of another beginner question. How do I go about removing solder from a joint if I wanted to remove a component or to clean up an area?
Don't throw that out until you take it apart.

davent

Re: How long to keep pen on
« Reply #5 on: March 23, 2020, 03:21:18 PM »
My iron has an automatic shut-off so if it's been inactive for a certain period of time it shut's down. No idea how long that might be as it's never shut off while idle in use but has shut down the times i've forgotten to power off when done.

Removing solder from a joint, simplest least expensive way is with a solder sucker or with soldering braid, good to have both on hand.
Started with the bulb but use the silver one now and it is great.




dave

"If you always do what you always did- you always get what you always got." - Unknown
https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/photobucket-hotlink-fix/kegnjbncdcliihbemealioapbifiaedg

Harvest_Time

Re: How long to keep pen on
« Reply #6 on: March 25, 2020, 12:57:27 AM »
Turns out I've been using my solder sucker wrong too! Now I should be ready to take different electronics apart to find hopefully find components I can use in a pedal.
Don't throw that out until you take it apart.

rockola

Re: How long to keep pen on
« Reply #7 on: March 25, 2020, 03:15:10 AM »
I have the Engineer solder sucker and can testify that it does make a difference. It's still a bit clumsy to use though, or maybe it's just me. The PCB holder at 1:13 in the video looks really handy, anybody have a link for getting one?

davent

Re: How long to keep pen on
« Reply #8 on: March 25, 2020, 01:14:46 PM »
I have the Engineer solder sucker and can testify that it does make a difference. It's still a bit clumsy to use though, or maybe it's just me. The PCB holder at 1:13 in the video looks really handy, anybody have a link for getting one?

It's a bit small for my hand... watching the video i don't hold it like shown in the video. To actuate i hold it so the button is underneath and press with the tip of my first finger, thumb is over the back behind the release button, holding the tool almost like a pencil. Roll it into my hand to press the plunger with my thumb.

My description sucks, hopefully pictures better explain.


dave
"If you always do what you always did- you always get what you always got." - Unknown
https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/photobucket-hotlink-fix/kegnjbncdcliihbemealioapbifiaedg