soldering temp for pcb's

anyone know what the ideal temperature to set me solder station to when soldering pcb's,
i know there are many variables, using that lead free shitty solder, pointed 1mm tip, and soldering mainly on about 1.5mm traces,
i know i can just play about till i get it right, but wondering what other people use?
i guess for the desolder gun i'd use the same temp or a little higher? (it's one of those solder/de-solder stations, de-solder is a vacuum pump operated by the guns trigger, both temp dials are calibrated pretty well using a high temp thermocouple in the multimeter)
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I used to keep the station as hot as possible [Weller 30W]. It depends on the application.
If you are doing the odd joint every hour or so, or are not too experienced with PCB's then keep the temperature hot enough to melt the solder readily in air or on a typical land on the board. You may then have to advance the heat if doing a large number of joints repeatedly.
If you are practiced and quick at producing a decent joint, then temperature [within reason] is not a major problem.
Assuming you don't burn away the flux and oxidise the solder on contact[ thermic lance stuff], then anything goes heatwise as long as the solder flows readily and "wet's" the items to be soldered, and you achieve this "wetting" in a very brief timeframe < 1 second for a 1W carbon resistor on a plated through board for instance.
If you have to ask the question, you are obviously new to the experience, so I would urge you to practice on scrap boards first.
A lot of people find it very easy to solder and pick it up instantly. Some have been practicing the art professionally for decades and would still produce better, lower resistance joints with Evo Stick.
Incidentally I never liked a pointed tip. The sharp point does not allow rapid heat transfer. When having to use one, I always applied the side of the tip to the work. Far better were the thin chisel faced tips Weller used to do. The extra bit of surface allowed the heat to flow to the joint in a more rapid predictable way.
Not sure about these new lead free solders [I did try some for plumbing once].
I used to use lead/ tin resin cored solder, I suspect the rules are the same though.
Keep everything to be joined spotless, a touch of solder on the tip to aid heat transfer and melt the solder on the joint, not the tip. Then watch the solder flow readily over the joint.
Regards
HN
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I'm still using leaded solder, because my component stock is all leaded, and I also do a lot of rework which is all on lead based soldered boards. I tend to solder with a hotter iron, because I'm rather expert at soldering, can solder very quickly, and this transfers less heat energy into the boards and components. Consequently, I buy 800F bits. (800F = 427C). I think most people use 700F bits with leaded solder (700F = 371C), because 700F bits seem to be more easily available for my iron, and that's probably better unless you are expert at soldering.
(My soldering iron's temperature is set by changing the bits, which use Curie magnet effect thermostat to control the iron's temperature.)
I haven't done lead-free electrical soldering, so I can't comment on the ideal temperature for that. I have done lots of lead-free plumbing soldering, but temperature is not so accurately controlled in that case.
--
Andrew Gabriel
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On Sat, 29 Jan 2011 13:50:05 +0000 (UTC), snipped-for-privacy@cucumber.demon.co.uk (Andrew Gabriel) wrote:

Sounds like you won't have a problem with anything new.
I tried the curie effect devices BTW, I never liked them because the plunger or whatever was supposed to move in the iron used to go intermittent or stick. I think the bits were a trifle expensive also.
I use a 25W copper tipped device now, just as it came out of the box. A bog standard uncontrolled 1\4" tipped unit. It's been used for everything including surface mount work. The only disadvantage it has is that the iron is often a write off when the tip wears too low.
Incidentally I don't think I ever once actually measured the temperature of an iron. Just screwed the temp up until the bits started failing within the week, then backed the knob off a bit.
HN
HN
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Mine's a 50W Weller TCP-1, which I bought 30 years ago. Never had any problems with it. The PSU (transformer) is even older - it was given to me as not working, but I repaired it. The bits can be expensive. They are iron plated copper, and they work really well until the iron plating fails. Last couple of times, I bought packs of 5 or 10 in the US where they're easy to find in electronics stores. (Unfortunately, they look like bullets on an X-ray machine, and in the current security hysteria, I probably wouldn't buy anymore if I'm flying;-) In UK, you have to get them mail order from one of the commercial electronics suppliers, and they are much more expensive. Also, the hotter bits I use don't last as long.
Before that, I used my father's Henley Solon 25W mains soldering iron with a copper tip (which corroded like anything and dropped dollops of copper oxide into your soldering). Having learned to solder well with such a terrible iron, I can now solder with anything. I have used screwdrivers heated on the gas stove when I've needed to solder something and don't have a soldering iron. I also have a Weller soldering gun which someone bought me, but it's even worse than the Solon soldering iron. It was when I was at university and used a decent iron (Weller TCP-1 at that time) that made me realise what I was missing out on, and I bought one for myself.
--
Andrew Gabriel
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On Sat, 29 Jan 2011 15:55:33 +0000 (UTC), snipped-for-privacy@cucumber.demon.co.uk (Andrew Gabriel) wrote:

I liked the Solon.
The Weller gun had it's uses I suppose, but I was no fan either. They were reputed to take out semiconductors by producing a current in tracks because the magnetic field was so strong. I never experienced this, but they were a pain to use, high bit usage and having to keep trying to screw the thing tight to minimise resistance was a pain.
I always had wellers supplied for professional work, but nice as they were, I would never in my wildest dreams splash out on one for home use. In fact I wouldn't use one now simply because of the footprint it needs on the bench. I never could remember to keep my sponge soggy either!
HN
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That's the same iron I began with back in the 1960s. I then progressed through a series of Antex irons which were OK (mostly with iron plated bits, like your Weller).

I now have a cheap 50 watt "temperature controlled" iron with ceramic bits, I like it, I don't do much soldering nowadays but it seems to work well, gets hot quickly and is easy to make good joints with it.
--
Chris Green

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