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Old 27-01-2019, 02:28   #31
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Re: Best Marine Soldering Practices

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Originally Posted by westsailwill View Post
Thanks so much for all the really terrific and helpful info. If it wouldn’t be too much to ask, some name brand and model recommendations on your top three picks of all round best irons would be greatly appreciated by many.
Cheers,
Will
Thanks Nolex ..... I have learned a huge amount from your posts (and thanks Gord For your too!)

And a second vote for the request from Westsailwill
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Old 27-01-2019, 06:34   #32
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Re: Best Marine Soldering Practices

We manufacture a series of electronic equipment. Over the years we have done both solder and crimp. Either one done properly seem to hold up well. Key word - properly. Our equipment has been installed in locations that literally would shake the mechanical fasteners loose, but both the crimp and solder joints hold up.

One advantage to the crimp is in assembly as it is much faster and with the proper tool more reliable for the novice. Try soldering a 50 pin dual edge connector. We used to, not any more.
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Old 27-01-2019, 08:43   #33
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Re: Best Marine Soldering Practices

I use an Edsyn Loner I picked up years ago on eBay. I’ve no love for anything but the temperature regulated soldering stations.
With any iron you need to keep the tip clean and tinned.
The newer ROHS lead free solders are not as forgiving as 63/37 lead tin, but they do work.
I like the Kester solders as well.
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Old 27-01-2019, 11:52   #34
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Re: Best Marine Soldering Practices

Quote:
Originally Posted by westsailwill View Post
Thanks so much for all the really terrific and helpful info. If it wouldn’t be too much to ask, some name brand and model recommendations on your top three picks of all round best irons would be greatly appreciated by many.
Cheers,
Will
JBC and Metcal produce the best soldering irons. All the models from these two companies use the direct heating method and all are good. These two rivals use very different technology to achieve the tip heating, but while there are pros and cons the net effect is very similar. However, these companies only produce professional, industrial soldering equipment so even their basic models (which is what you want unless you can use hot air rework equipment) are expensive.

Hakko produce good, but more consumer grade equipment. Their basic FX-888D model is frequently recommended for electronic work. Unfortunately, this model does not not have quite enough heat generating capacity for some boat work, however they have released a larger model, the FX-951, which uses the direct heating technology. I have not used this particular iron, but it looks like it would be a good boat soldering iron for a more reasonable price than the JBC or Metcal units. The only thing to watch with Hakko is there are many copies sold. The copies have become so visually good that it is impossible to tell unless you open up the unit and look at the components inside. I am not a fan of copy or clone products, but some argue that deliberately purchasing a copy, or clone Hakko FX-951 is perhaps the best value for money, capable soldering iron available. I am not sure of the USA pricing, but I think the clone Hakko FX-951 seems to sell for around $100 and the genuine thing perhaps double this price.

The wild card is the TS-100. This soldering iron has open source software and is sold without a power supply. It will run from 12-24v so it can be used directly from the boat’s 12v supply (although it really needs 19-20v to perform well).

Other options are The Pace ADS-200. They had quality control problems with some early units. These seem to be solved. They are made in USA so local pricing may be better than the rest of world where they are a little expensive for the performance, but they are still a quality company making robust products.

Weller traditionally produced good quality both consumer and professional soldering irons. I have owned several Weller irons over the years and they were great products. They seem to have lost their way a little bit in recent years and cannot quite decide if they want to compete with the cheap Chinese stations or produce professional quality soldering irons. They do both with their vast product range, but arguably currently do not excel in either area.

ERSA is another quality soldering iron manufacturer. The above comments about Weller seem to also apply to this company.

Please note that the above are personal opinions. As with any product comparisons, others will express different views. I guess the important message is there are alternatives to the $15 soldering iron and the $5 roll of solder. Spending ten times above these basic costs on products that essentially perform the same function is hard to justify. However, in absolute terms, given the cost of boat wiring terminals and components that might be wired up such as solar systems, VHF etc the extra cost in boat dollars is small.

So you asked for three. The best products at different price points in order of cost:

JBC CD
Hakko FX-951 genuine
Hakko FX-951 copy
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Old 27-01-2019, 12:47   #35
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Re: Best Marine Soldering Practices

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Spending ten times above these basic costs on products that essentially perform the same function is hard to justify.

All really solid suggestions above.

The expense of doing it right is easy for me to justify when navigation systems depend on the quality of the work.
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Old 27-01-2019, 15:06   #36
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Re: Best Marine Soldering Practices

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The easiest way to avoid heating the insulation is to clamp a plier or vice grip on the cable which will conduct some of the heat off the cable.

As fo "high current" applications, the myth they necessitate crimps is hard to die. In reality, bad (I.e., high resistance) connectionon low current bad connections can produce heat hot enough to burn - this is true regardless of how the connection is made. So using crimps on high current work isn't advisable.

You can't tell if a crimp is good but you can see a bad solder connection.

I disagree on the solder vs crimp.. why?
is solder as conductive as copper? NO! its not! so is adds resistance. under high current loads this added resistance results in more heat which is not good.
in lower current situations..ok.. solder...


what about silver solder? in high current? this I don't know?


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Old 27-01-2019, 21:07   #37
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Re: Best Marine Soldering Practices

Just pointing out: The ABYC specifically prohibits soldering as the sole means of connecting 2 wires together. If a surveyor finds your connection, you are likely to have a problem.



https://www.sailangle.com/articles/details/id/6
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Old 28-01-2019, 07:06   #38
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Re: Best Marine Soldering Practices

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Originally Posted by noelex 77 View Post
JBC and Metcal produce the best soldering irons. All the models from these two companies use the direct heating method and all are good. These two rivals use very different technology to achieve the tip heating, but while there are pros and cons the net effect is very similar. However, these companies only produce professional, industrial soldering equipment so even their basic models (which is what you want unless you can use hot air rework equipment) are expensive.

Hakko produce good, but more consumer grade equipment. Their basic FX-888D model is frequently recommended for electronic work. Unfortunately, this model does not not have quite enough heat generating capacity for some boat work, however they have released a larger model, the FX-951, which uses the direct heating technology. I have not used this particular iron, but it looks like it would be a good boat soldering iron for a more reasonable price than the JBC or Metcal units. The only thing to watch with Hakko is there are many copies sold. The copies have become so visually good that it is impossible to tell unless you open up the unit and look at the components inside. I am not a fan of copy or clone products, but some argue that deliberately purchasing a copy, or clone Hakko FX-951 is perhaps the best value for money, capable soldering iron available. I am not sure of the USA pricing, but I think the clone Hakko FX-951 seems to sell for around $100 and the genuine thing perhaps double this price.

The wild card is the TS-100. This soldering iron has open source software and is sold without a power supply. It will run from 12-24v so it can be used directly from the boat’s 12v supply (although it really needs 19-20v to perform well).

Other options are The Pace ADS-200. They had quality control problems with some early units. These seem to be solved. They are made in USA so local pricing may be better than the rest of world where they are a little expensive for the performance, but they are still a quality company making robust products.

Weller traditionally produced good quality both consumer and professional soldering irons. I have owned several Weller irons over the years and they were great products. They seem to have lost their way a little bit in recent years and cannot quite decide if they want to compete with the cheap Chinese stations or produce professional quality soldering irons. They do both with their vast product range, but arguably currently do not excel in either area.

ERSA is another quality soldering iron manufacturer. The above comments about Weller seem to also apply to this company.

Please note that the above are personal opinions. As with any product comparisons, others will express different views. I guess the important message is there are alternatives to the $15 soldering iron and the $5 roll of solder. Spending ten times above these basic costs on products that essentially perform the same function is hard to justify. However, in absolute terms, given the cost of boat wiring terminals and components that might be wired up such as solar systems, VHF etc the extra cost in boat dollars is small.

So you asked for three. The best products at different price points in order of cost:

JBC CD
Hakko FX-951 genuine
Hakko FX-951 copy
Wow! Above & Beyond. Your recommendations are greatly appreciated.
Cheers,
Will
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Old 28-01-2019, 07:10   #39
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Re: Best Marine Soldering Practices

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Originally Posted by bstreep View Post
Just pointing out: The ABYC specifically prohibits soldering as the sole means of connecting 2 wires together. If a surveyor finds your connection, you are likely to have a problem.



https://www.sailangle.com/articles/details/id/6
No one has suggested solder be used as the "sole means" of connecting anything. I suspect most don't use solder to mechanically connect stuff. Thanks ABYC for stating the obvious
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Old 28-01-2019, 07:38   #40
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Re: Best Marine Soldering Practices

I have seen many a battery connection where they were soldered and not crimped. With that being said I have seen a few puddles of solder on top of batteries where a short or high current draw caused the connection to heat up and melt the solder. This is the reason why ABYC and the USCG and other inspection bureaus require a mechanical connection as well.
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Old 28-01-2019, 07:50   #41
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Re: Best Marine Soldering Practices

If you have not seen a modern high performance soldering iron, have a look at the video below (it is not mine). Maybe not the greatest soldering effort, but it does show the thermal capacity of this type of iron. With a large lump of metal like this without a capable soldering iron many would be trying to use a blow torch to melt the solder.

The video shows replacing a ground wire on an electric guitar. Not marine related, but have a look at how quickly the soldering iron heats up the large lump of metal where the ground wire is attached.

This is only a physically small soldering iron. Smaller than a 20w mains powered iron. It has been fitted with one of the larger tips available for this iron, but the tip size is still much smaller would be fitted to a large mains powered soldering iron.

The iron is temperature controlled, meaning it does not start out very hot like a large mains soldering iron. So despite needing to raise the temperature of such a large heat sink to the melting point of the solder, the temperature is never at a high level where it is more likely to burn wire insulation or evaporate all the flux.

The same iron (with the tip changed for a fine point) will just as happily solder the smallest surface mount components:


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Old 28-01-2019, 08:00   #42
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Re: Best Marine Soldering Practices

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I have seen many a battery connection where they were soldered and not crimped..l.
ABYC 11.14.5.7
Solder shall not be the sole means of mechanical connection in any circuit. If soldered, the connection shall be so located or supported as to minimize flexing of the conductor where the solder changes the flexible conductor into a solid conductor.
EXCEPTION: Battery lugs with a solder contact length of not less than 1.5 times the diameter of the conductor.
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Old 28-01-2019, 08:42   #43
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Re: Best Marine Soldering Practices

I think people are confusing the use of solder as a mechanical connection. There is nothing inherently wrong with proper soldered connections in any application to ensure continuity after first mechanically connecting the joint.
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Old 28-01-2019, 09:50   #44
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Re: Best Marine Soldering Practices

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I think people are confusing the use of solder as a mechanical connection. There is nothing inherently wrong with proper soldered connections in any application to ensure continuity after first mechanically connecting the joint.
Sure, but first, it's not obvious to everybody that high-current connections on boats must be primarily mechanical... so that's why it gets a mention.


Second... if you've made a high-quality, gas-tight mechanical connection - eg a properly crimped lug... there's usually no compelling reason to solder it as well; the crimping has done the job. I know some folks who like to apply some solder into the exposed end of a crimped lug, for example... but if you do that poorly, you've just melted some plastic and insulation, and probably made the connection more brittle.
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Old 01-02-2019, 09:12   #45
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Re: Best Marine Soldering Practices

Hi
I only solder when i have to, and i almost never use cheap crimps ( going a round my boat removing them ). Not recommending the site below just the Deutsch DT connectors, professional finish and rubber seals that keep all the moisture out, plus easy to use - There is a special crimp tool for the pins and some people solder the pins as well - its the kind of connector that engine and machine manufactures use, you can even just use the pins and heat shrink if you didn't have the plug - I carry these and a few WAGO connectors on board.

DT Series Connectors
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