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'[EE:] Soldering iron advice'
2004\04\06@021155 by Denny Esterline

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I just picked up a second hand Weller WTCPT station off e-bay, and I'm
having some issues with the tip (PTA8). I can't get the very end of it to
tin (the iron plating may be damaged), and it seems to run a lot hotter
than the other irons I've used. If I clean it off and tin it, it'll oxidize
in a matter of seconds. The temperature regulating device appears to be
working, I can here and feel a very light click every few seconds while
it's on.

Clearly, I'm looking to buy a new tip (maybe several). I was wondering what
tips other people prefer, I'm doing mixed assembly - through hole and SMT,
nothing smaller than SOIC. I was also wondering what temperature tips
others prefer. I can't verify if this tip is running at the spec'd 800F or
not, but it sure seems too hot.

Recommendations on where is the best place to buy them would also be
appreciated.

Thanks,
-Denny

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2004\04\06@021817 by David Duffy

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face
Denny Esterline wrote:

>I just picked up a second hand Weller WTCPT station off e-bay, and I'm
>having some issues with the tip (PTA8). I can't get the very end of it to
>tin (the iron plating may be damaged), and it seems to run a lot hotter
>than the other irons I've used. If I clean it off and tin it, it'll oxidize
>in a matter of seconds. The temperature regulating device appears to be
>working, I can here and feel a very light click every few seconds while
>it's on.
>
>Clearly, I'm looking to buy a new tip (maybe several). I was wondering what
>tips other people prefer, I'm doing mixed assembly - through hole and SMT,
>nothing smaller than SOIC. I was also wondering what temperature tips
>others prefer. I can't verify if this tip is running at the spec'd 800F or
>not, but it sure seems too hot.
>
>

Hi Denny,
Way back when I had a Weller, I used the 700 degree tips.
You'll need a couple of different sizes to do the job properly.
David...

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2004\04\06@023100 by Russell McMahon

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> than the other irons I've used. If I clean it off and tin it, it'll
oxidize
> in a matter of seconds.

You can greatly extend the life of both plated and non-plated tips and also
sometimes recover ones such as you have got by using a "bit restoration
compound". AFAIK this is a strong flux plus solder mixture. AFAIR "sal
ammoniac" is commonly used. This is a stiff to hard crumbly mix that smokes
and behaves badly when hot tip is pressed into it but which produces a much
improved tip surface after a few tens of seconds of use. Ersin sell a
version in a small tin that lasts for a very long time (probably years in
home use).

I have heard mention of people re-iron plating tips. This sounds a bit
desperate but should be quite easy to do. Once a tip gets a hole through the
plating it seems to behave rather badly - possibly a galvanic cell in
action. The rejuvenating compound helps prevent this and may? functionally
restore it. (ie it is unlikely that it magically restores the iron coat but
it seems to make them work).



       Russell McMahon

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2004\04\06@163621 by Colin Constant

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>From: Denny Esterline <spam_OUTfirmwareTakeThisOuTspamTDS.NET>
>
>
>Clearly, I'm looking to buy a new tip (maybe several). I was wondering what
>tips other people prefer, I'm doing mixed assembly - through hole and SMT,
>nothing smaller than SOIC. I was also wondering what temperature tips
>others prefer. I can't verify if this tip is running at the spec'd 800F or
>not, but it sure seems too hot.

I'm no expert on this, but 800F seems a little hot.  Here's what Kester
says:

When hand soldering with a rosin flux such as the Kester #44 or the #285 the
recommended iron tip temperature is 7500F. If you are soldering with a low
residue no clean solder such as the #245 or #275 we recommend a tip
temperature of 600-6500F.

Colin

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2004\04\06@165520 by Colin Constant

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Oops. The little degree symbol seems to have been morphed to a 0:

That should be 750 F and 650 F

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2004\04\07@140024 by Dwayne Reid

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At 12:13 AM 4/6/2004, Denny Esterline wrote:
>I just picked up a second hand Weller WTCPT station off e-bay, and I'm
>having some issues with the tip (PTA8). I can't get the very end of it to
>tin (the iron plating may be damaged), and it seems to run a lot hotter
>than the other irons I've used. If I clean it off and tin it, it'll oxidize
>in a matter of seconds. The temperature regulating device appears to be
>working, I can here and feel a very light click every few seconds while
>it's on.
>
>Clearly, I'm looking to buy a new tip (maybe several). I was wondering what
>tips other people prefer, I'm doing mixed assembly - through hole and SMT,
>nothing smaller than SOIC. I was also wondering what temperature tips
>others prefer. I can't verify if this tip is running at the spec'd 800F or
>not, but it sure seems too hot.

That station is an excellent choice for through-hole and hand-wiring
work.  The tips I'd recommend having on hand are PTA7, PTB7, PTC7.  I
suspect that you will find the PTB7 the most useful - I do.

The last digit on the tip is the rated operating temperature in hundreds of
degrees F.  The first 2 letters are the series, the 3rd letter is the
size.  The tip you have is rated at 800F which is great for tinning through
solderable enameled wire but not much else.  Most electronics work is best
done with 700F tips.

You can purchase tips at most MRO type electronics supply stores - look for
those stores that sell to radio / TV service shops and other electronics
professionals (wholesalers).  You should also be able to get them via mail
order or Internet order from suppliers such as Digi-key, Mouser, Arrow,
Pioneer, etc.

The WTCPT station is not particularly useful for surface mount work.  The
problem is that you can't get tips small enough - if they were made smaller
than the PTA size, they would not be effective in delivering adequate heat
power to the tip.  In other words, its a design limitation.

Soldering stations for SMT work are readily available - Weller, Hakko,
Metcal, Pace all make suitable units.  My old favorite used to be a Weller
station that was discontinued several years ago but I now use only Metcal
stations.

Metcal simply blows all other systems that I've tried out of the water -
there simply is no comparison.  Used stations and tips can be purchased
quite reasonably from eBay.  STTC125 is an excellent general purpose SMT tip.

dwayne

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Trinity Electronics Systems Ltd    Edmonton, AB, CANADA
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2004\04\07@142550 by Denny Esterline

picon face
> That station is an excellent choice for through-hole and hand-wiring
> work.  The tips I'd recommend having on hand are PTA7, PTB7, PTC7.  I
> suspect that you will find the PTB7 the most useful - I do.
>
> The last digit on the tip is the rated operating temperature in hundreds
of
> degrees F.  The first 2 letters are the series, the 3rd letter is the
> size.  The tip you have is rated at 800F which is great for tinning
through
> solderable enameled wire but not much else.  Most electronics work is
best
> done with 700F tips.
>
> You can purchase tips at most MRO type electronics supply stores - look
for
> those stores that sell to radio / TV service shops and other electronics
> professionals (wholesalers).  You should also be able to get them via
mail
> order or Internet order from suppliers such as Digi-key, Mouser, Arrow,
> Pioneer, etc.
>
> The WTCPT station is not particularly useful for surface mount work.  The
> problem is that you can't get tips small enough -
<snip>

I haven't ordered them yet, but I've found them much smaller than the PTA
size.
http://www.cooperhandtools.com/brands/weller/index.cfm?model_list=1&att_id=WEL007&att1=Tips%20and%20Nozzles&att2=PT%20Series

(watch out for link wrap) lists many tips, including the PTS- a 0.015"
conical. And then I found http://www.platoproducts.com/page14.htm They make
some aftermarket tips for this station including the C-4794 a 0.012"
conical and the C-0551 SMD flow tip (I'm asuming this is simmilar to the
metcal "hoof" tip) Though I must admit, I haven't found a distributor for
the Plato tips yet.

I was mostly wondering which tips others found useful, and which temp range
is preferable. This tip is an 8 and I think it's way to hot for most
anything.

While we're on the subject, why do they choose to hard ground the tip?
Understandably static is an issue, but if a few mega-ohms is enough to
dissipate the static off the human body, why a 0 ohm connection to the tip?
Seems to me it just adds a new danger of potentially shorting something out
to it. (not that any of us would ever work on a live circuit :o)

Thanks,
-Denny

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2004\04\07@172933 by William Chops Westfield

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On Wednesday, Apr 7, 2004, at 10:57 US/Pacific, Dwayne Reid wrote:

> At 12:13 AM 4/6/2004, Denny Esterline wrote:
>> I just picked up a second hand Weller WTCPT station

Checked mine, and it has a PTK-8 (1/32 inch chisel tip, 800f, I think)
in it.  I think I decided that smaller tips warranted higher temps, but
it's also possible I just wasn't paying attention...

I got my tips at Frys, if that helps...  I don't see more than one
online at outpost.com, though...

BillW

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2004\04\08@040048 by Alan B. Pearce

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>The WTCPT station is not particularly useful for surface
>mount work.  The problem is that you can't get tips small
>enough - if they were made smaller than the PTA size, they
>would not be effective in delivering adequate heat power
>to the tip.  In other words, its a design limitation.

The trick to this is to get the short stubby tips instead of the long ones.
With the fine tips the long ones loose too much temperature down the taper,
but the short ones are good.

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