Soldering Station Inquiry
I always used to use those stick-solderers with temperature dials and had no real problems with them, other than that the cheapo bushings sometimes would bind and trap my soldering tips in there forever. I'd have to rip the end off and turn them into jailhouse nerdy-looking cigarette lighters. Or weak tasers I guess; you'd have to be attacked pretty close to an outlet for them to be effective.
Anyway, I wanted to do some SMD work because I only have certain components in the half-rice-grain format, and I splurged (for me it was splurging) and got a fly-by-nighter Aduso 937 workstation. Yes, I know it's not a Hakko or a Weller: I can't afford to pay more than $50, and even then it means skipping meals for two days. But it had a dial and a readout, and I know that my 60Sn/40Pb rosin-core solder requires 370 to 375 degrees, while my RatShack pure-silver solder needs quite a lot less. My point here is that I wanted to be able to more precisely dial in a temperature so as to not boil the SMD away with the flux.
Apologies for the noncanonical backstory but I have no idea how to explain the problem I'm having without trying to cover for the obvious errors. I know to tip the ends, and to use flux, and all that jazz. I've got more than a dozen tips and tried all of them. But this workstation really seems to be wonky, or else I'm just complaining about something everyone has trouble with, I don't know.
See, when I do through-hole work, to get it to 370ish I have to set it at around 400 degrees to start, and then back down to 380. I can do maybe two or three joints, and then the temperature dips down to 350 and my solder starts coming off like wet metallic sand. I raise it back up to 400, get a couple of joints in, and then it's back to 350. I have to keep doing this yo-yoing throughout the project and what takes other solderers I've watched online about 20 minutes to do, takes me hours. It is the most frustrating part of my experience so far.
The Chinglish manual says this is a safety feature of this workstation, though I can't imagine I would notice a difference between a 350- and a 370-degree burn, but I've no choice, as I have to dance with the one who brung me. My question is, does anyone else have this problem, and I'm just complaining about the weather? Or is there something I can do, some pot inside I can tighten to make it want to stay around 370?
Thank you all for your time!
A nerd's roots are pinouts
How much is your time worth? And how soon do you think it might be before you chuck the Aduso 937 out the window and try another el-cheapo? I've been using the same Weller soldering station for over 40 years and only used a handful of tips. I only use 60/40 rosin core solder of the smallest diameter and almost never use any additional rosin. I've probably soldered millions of connections over those 40 some years and to my knowledge anyway, I don't remember ever have gone back later to reheat a cold solder joint. Maybe to clean up a few sloppy looking joints but that's about it. I do own a Hakko dial controlled soldering/de-soldering station, but I still use my Weller almost every time. And I do SMD work with the Weller as well.
I can't emphasize enough the fact that you should invest in a top quality soldering station, unless you plan to make only a handful of solder connections for the rest of your life. After a few more el-cheapos you will have spent what's needed for a good station. Skip some meals for a stretch if needed, and your waist line will be saved as well! 🤣 😀 😎
Thank you so much for your insight, and the lulz!
Maybe the cheapo might make a rugged DC supply; it did not break apart after its contact arrival to ground from a second-story porthole after active percussive maintenance.
Today I learned SMD welds can be done with .01-inch 60/40 - I had no idea! Honestly I thought it was my inexperience and not the device, but I had one of those $5 practice SMD boards for months and a revelation today that even I could complete it with my stick-solderer.
Still, I will drag out my USAF Regulation 64-4 manual and recall those, er, salad days, to get a better kit!
I'm grateful to Bill and the forum for giving me the chance to ask dumb questions without feeling dumber for asking a question!
A nerd's roots are pinouts
I too was in the USAF, from 1966 to 1970. I was a TTY maintenance guy and still play around with old teletype machines. In fact, I just picked up a M28 ASR in very good condition this week.
@codecage I also worked on TTY in the mid 70s trough early 80's (can you believe it!) . I was DSTE/CRYPTO, but we picked up some teletypes in the comm ctr (M28-ASR) and at base weather (M28-RO).
@codecage USAF. DSTE is the Digital Subscriber Terminal Equipment. It was the big blue units in the comm centers - card punch and reader, tape reader, printer, and common control unit. To start the Common Control Unit you had 16 bat wings switches and had to manually enter the binary code into the registers. Then you hit "Run" and hopped you entered all the commands correctly. I remember the large circuit cards of core memory.
Much respect to my fellow airmen and -women, as well as the sailors (especially SeaBees!), soldiers and Marines who defended our freedoms! I honor all those who supported us and served before, with and after me. My father, US Army from the 1960s to '70s, taught me since I could speak to thank veterans: We're glad you're home!
A nerd's roots are pinouts