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Solder Station and Liquid Flux Question!

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Solder Station and Liquid Flux Question!
Posted by Trainzman2435 on Wednesday, February 26, 2020 10:45 AM

Good day everyone, hope everyone is having a blessed day! For you guys that have been soldering rail joiners for a long time, what is a good wattage iron to use? Also, as for liquid solder flux, what brand do most of you use? I need to purchase a new iron and i am thinking of getting a solder station with variable heat range. My old iron now that needs replaced is an older Weller 30 watt but it has just about had it......Thanks everyone!

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Posted by BigDaddy on Wednesday, February 26, 2020 11:23 AM

I bought a Xytronics, at Randys'  suggestion and have been very happy with it.

https://store.assemblyoutfitters.com/soldering-desoldering-equipment/lf369d-220-45watt-soldering-system

I don't use liquid flux.  At a seminar at Timonium the speaker was raving about Kester.  There are several types and he didn't say which one.  I bought one off Ebay and it had no effect whatsoever.

Henry

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Posted by riogrande5761 on Wednesday, February 26, 2020 11:24 AM

Some hobby shops were selling Tix but I have to wonder why now.

Rio Grande.  The Action Road  - Focus 1977-1983

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Posted by BATMAN on Wednesday, February 26, 2020 11:36 AM

BigDaddy
I bought a Xytronics, at Randys'  suggestion and have been very happy with it. https://store.assemblyoutfitters.com/soldering-desoldering-equipment/lf369d-220-45watt-soldering-system

Me too and it has been great, should have bought one years ago.

Brent

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Posted by rrinker on Wednesday, February 26, 2020 12:11 PM

 They are one of the best deals going, if you can find them. There's another brand that pops up on Amazon - X-Tronic, don't be confused!

 The prices aren't as good as when I bought mine, but I'd still buy a Xytronic. The equivalent Hakko is still $40 or so more.

 And yes, I am still using mine, had it close to 15 years now, maybe more.

                           --Randy


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

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Posted by BigDaddy on Wednesday, February 26, 2020 12:40 PM

Xytronics lists the distributors on their home page.  There are fewer than you would think.

Henry

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Wednesday, February 26, 2020 1:02 PM

I have a Weller WESD51 Soldering Station and an 80 watt iron. These two tools will do anything. I use paste flux for some soldering jobs, but normally I just tin the surfaces and solder with just the rosin core in the solder.

-Kevin

Wink Happily modeling my STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD. A Class A line located in a personal fantasy world of semi-plausible nonsense on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954.

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Posted by mbinsewi on Wednesday, February 26, 2020 2:51 PM

BigDaddy
There are fewer than you would think.

I guess!  For WI., it's the link you had in your post, Assembly Outfitters. 

Mike.

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Posted by rrinker on Wednesday, February 26, 2020 3:01 PM

 There are many online, and they are available on Amazon, anywhere. The place I bought mine from, a tiny bit further West and they've be in Ontario. Also Jameco carries Xytronic.

                                            --Randy


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

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Posted by mbinsewi on Wednesday, February 26, 2020 3:09 PM

Amazon, just looked, a few bucks more than Henry's link.

But it is free shipping with Prime.

The one on Amazon is a LF-389D.  Wonder what the difference is?

Mike.

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Posted by BigDaddy on Wednesday, February 26, 2020 4:32 PM

45 vs 60 Watts.  I checked and mine is the 389 and cost $52 March 2016.

Henry

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Posted by hon30critter on Wednesday, February 26, 2020 6:08 PM

BigDaddy
I bought a Xytronics, at Randys'  suggestion and have been very happy with it.

I did exactly the same thing and I am thrilled with my Xytronics soldering station. I never had any real problems soldering with my old Weller pencil iron, but the Xytronics unit works so much better I am amazed. The Weller tip required constant tinning even though the tip wasn't very old. The last project I used the Xytronics iron for was to wire about a dozen control panels, each with numerous connections. I only had to re-tin the Xytronics unit a couple of times.

Dave

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Posted by peahrens on Wednesday, February 26, 2020 7:30 PM

I bought the LF389D as others had suggested several years back.  I use it for electronics...DCC loco installations, etc.  I had done my trackwork earlier using a Weller gun to solder rail joints.  I really like the Zytronics.  For small wiring I always use a pointy tip.  I don't recall what tips it came with.  I bought a small blade tip also and a spare pointy one, but the original tip holds up.

Jameco shows the standard tip to be a 1/32" conical.  They have optional tips available, if desired.

https://www.jameco.com/z/LF-389D-Xytronic-Industries-60W-Mini-Type-Digital-Soldering-Station_2174733.html

For flux, I use Radio Shack paste.  It really helps with DCC installations, making joints flow together quickly.

Paul

Modeling HO with a transition era UP bent

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Posted by rrinker on Wednesday, February 26, 2020 8:53 PM

 I bought a bunch of different tips when I got mine. I find the small pointy one to be much more difficult with electronics, the small chisel generally allows heating the lead and pad when soldering to a PCB. I think mine came with a chisel tip, not a conical, but again, that was a long time ago and mine is a diffeerent model - it has a knob, no digital readout. It worked well for the original use I bought it for - soldering Fast Tracks turnouts. Also building PCBs, and soldering sections of track together. I use a paste flux - whatever you do, NEVER use plumbing flux with acid. Fast Tracks actually recommends an acid flux - it does work better as it is much more agressive, but it will also corrode copper and nickel silver and cause things to fall apart if not cleaned off. For Fast Tracks, you can take the soldered together turnout (bofoer adding the glued on wood ties) and rinse the whole thing in the sink - but you can't do that with your whole layout like when soldering flex or soldering feeders - so don;t use acid flux. 

 The paste stoff I have - for soldering sections of flex together, my trick is to put some in the joiner, the slide the joiner on one piece, and connect the other. Then I apply heat to the outside, and solder to the inside. The solder wicks around through the joiner and unless you keep feeding in way too much solder, it stays down at the joiner on the inside so it stays clear of wheel flanges.

 I don't usually use flux with PCBs. I clean them with alcohol swabs before assembly, so the solder pads are clean and free of skin oils and any manufactuering residue. With rosin core solder, I usually find the extra flux unecessary. But for stuff like track, it helps a lot, both to clean the surface and to draw the solder the way you want it. I've had the same jar of flux since the time I bought the soldering station, and it's not even 1/4 used.

                                       --Randy


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

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Posted by oldline1 on Wednesday, February 26, 2020 9:16 PM

riogrande5761

Some hobby shops were selling Tix but I have to wonder why now. 

 

 Why are you wondering about Tix? Is there something to know we could benefit by knowing from your experience?

oldline1

 

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Posted by gmpullman on Wednesday, February 26, 2020 9:23 PM

riogrande5761

Some hobby shops were selling Tix but I have to wonder why now.

 

I have some etched brass signal and light towers to build. After trying the various types of solder I had on hand I picked up some Tix flux and solder.

 

https://www.micromark.com/Tix-Solder-Pkg-of-20-Three-Inch-Sticks

 

Expensive but worth it for brass assembly or jewelery.

It is excellent for soldering thin-section brass and for soldering parts on to brass locomotives and cars. Very easy to work with and flows beautifully.

I would not use it for electrical or rail joints.

Regards, Ed

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Posted by mbinsewi on Wednesday, February 26, 2020 9:24 PM

oldline1
 Why are you wondering about Tix?

https://www.google.com/search?q=tix+solder+kit&rlz=1C1CHBD_enUS850US850&oq=Tix+so&aqs=chrome.2.69i57j0l7.9662j0j8&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

I seems to be a soldering past, like what I use for some work, but not decoderwork. 

   

Frank (Zstripe) recommended it to me a couple of years ago.

I use it on hand rails, fencing, etc., but not decoders.

Mike.

PS. Ed posted while I typed. 

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Posted by betamax on Thursday, February 27, 2020 6:32 AM

oldline1

 

riogrande5761

Some hobby shops were selling Tix but I have to wonder why now. 

 

 

 Why are you wondering about Tix? Is there something to know we could benefit by knowing from your experience?

oldline1

 

TIX is really meant for gold/silver jewelery soldering. Which means it is very active, or corrosive, which is why it works so well.

Which is OK if you are not doing electrical stuff.

https://dccwiki.com/Soldering#Warning_Regarding_Flux_Usage 

Problem is, many modellers are using it as an all purpose flux...

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Posted by betamax on Thursday, February 27, 2020 6:45 AM

mbinsewi

 

 
oldline1
 Why are you wondering about Tix?

   

Frank (Zstripe) recommended it to me a couple of years ago.

I use it on hand rails, fencing, etc., but not decoders.

Mike.

PS. Ed posted while I typed. 

 

Be aware that this produce does contain an acid flux. At least you are not using it for decoders, as there is no faster way to void a warranty than using an acid flux.  

Anytime you see a product like this, read the data sheets first to determine if it is safe for electrical work. This one contains Zinc Ammonia Chloride as a flux, which is acidic. 

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Posted by hon30critter on Thursday, February 27, 2020 11:19 PM

betamax
Be aware that this produce does contain an acid flux.

Hey betamax,

Thanks for pointing that out! I have tried the paste solder but I'm not sold on it. It seems to take more work to get it in the right place than regular solder.

Dave

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Posted by rrinker on Friday, February 28, 2020 12:02 PM

 Solder paste is mostly used for surface mount electonics. It first serves to hold the component in place, and then is usually melted in an oven to solder the part in place. It can get complicated with temperature ramping up, hold time, and then cool down - different components can withstand different levels of heat, and various solder pastes have specific characteristics. It's usually applied to the board in a manner similar to screen printing, a stencil has cutouts where each solder pad is on the PCB, and the paste is applied over that stencil, which results in just the right amount being deposited at each solder pad. People do do this by hand, but the automated process used in manufacturing is neat to watch - once the paste is applied, the next step is a robot that picks the correct part from reels, orients it the correct way, and places it on the right pads.

I can see it being useful to solder brass parts together, since it serves to help hold the part in place. Seems otherwise not worth it for wire to wire, or wire to PCB soldering.

                                    --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

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Posted by oldline1 on Friday, February 28, 2020 7:38 PM

Thanks, everyone, for the good info on Tix. I had never seen or heard of it before and it got me curious as to what was wrong with it. 

I have always used solder from PBL and had good results especially after watching Bill's great video on the subject.

oldline1

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