With the increasing demands of modern electronics becoming ever more challenging, PCB designs in such fields as automotive and telecommunications are having to cope with higher power applications, resulting in the use of heavier copper laminate, increased number of layers, larger ground planes and larger components. This makes soldering and de-soldering much more difficult. Standard soldering and de-soldering equipment is simply not powerful enough to meet these demands as the heat applied is simply dissipated throughout the PCB tracks, layers and components. In this issue of Hakko Tech Tips, we will examine some of the issues and discuss some of the equipment relevant to modern soldering and de-soldering applications. For more than 60 years, Hakko has designed and manufactured a wide range of soldering and de-soldering solutions in keeping with the very latest technologies, All are designed to improve performance, reduce costs and improve work-in-progress.
What are the most common errors/pitfalls when soldering/desoldering?
- Soldering – Excessive temperature setting, incorrect tip selection, poor maintenance of solder tips, use of damp sponges when using Lead Free Solders (Hakko 599B cleaning wire should be used instead).
- De-Soldering – Incorrect nozzle selection, excessive applied heat (use of an Underboard Heater may be required to reduce the de-soldering time), poor maintenance of de-soldering nozzles and/or de-soldering gun, i.e. Solder reservoir, Filters, etc.
How can I optimise the de-soldering process?
To improve your de-soldering process, you can introduce a few good practices into your de-soldering procedures. First of all, choose a de-soldering nozzle with an inside diameter that matches the lead diameter as closely as possible. If the nozzle is allowed to touch the pin, then it can more effectively transfer the heat to the solder joint. Simultaneously, ensure that the outside diameter of the nozzle is equal to the PCB pad diameter. This will provide optimum heat transfer and vacuum force. We advise that the de-soldering nozzle is always held vertically at 90 degrees to the PCB surface, which ensures the best possible seal to maximise the vacuum required to remove the solder.
To optimise solder flow, you should apply a small amount of solder wire to the joint(s) to be reworked. To avoid reduced efficiency, it is essential to regularly inspect the amount of solder within the solder cartridge/filter pipe and empty when necessary, as well as inspecting and periodically replacing the pre-filter and filter within the de-soldering gun.
How Can Hakko Improve Our Processes?
Hakko is a globally recognised leader in soldering products with proven solutions that go beyond expectations. HAKKO takes tremendous pride in their people and products to deliver the highest level of soldering performance for all kinds of parts and products in a wide range of environments. The company operates a culture of total customer focus, dedicated to meeting the ever-increasing demands for maximum soldering performance and improving work-in-progress for customers across the world.
What are Hakko’s popular de-soldering stations?
An excellent tool for de-soldering the most challenging solder joints is the Hakko 300W FR-400 Ultra heavy-duty de-soldering station. Specifically designed for the difficult rework of extremely large mass components and PCB’s, where a significant amount of thermal inertia must be overcome, the FR-400 features a very efficient nozzle design which offers a quick-change capability.
The FR-400 also features a 300W heating element with a maximum controlled temperature of 932°F (500°C). The high mass of the heater and nozzles combined with the power and control of the composite ceramic heating cartridge allows for rework of some of the most challenging solder joints at only 752°F (400°C) all without preheating. The anti-clogging features also help ensure instantaneous application of peak vacuum pressure to the solder joint, and prevent the premature release of the vacuum system before the solder has cleared the heater. The solder is captured in the easy access Filter Pipe Assembly, which is 3x larger in capacity than other Hakko de-soldering stations, and can be cleaned and re-used, reducing environmental waste. Its large, easy-to-read display includes a vacuum indicator that informs the user if there is a reduction in vacuum pressure. When this is evident the solder path will need to cleaned using the tools that are supplied as standard with the station.
The high power FR-410 140W De-Soldering Station offers many of the same features of the FR400 but is slightly less powerful. However, it still allows perfect de-soldering for most components on multi-layer PCB’s which has never been an easy job at the best of times. The FR-410 operates between 330 and 450 degrees C, comes with a wider selection of nozzle configurations and has a large, easy-to-read display that again includes a vacuum level indicator. With three user-programmable presets, the FR-410 also features a password lockout to prevent any unauthorised changes to the operation or setup. As with the FR400, the FR410 has an easy-access Filter Pipe Assembly that is simple to clean and a vacuum system with improved heating ability and ACF*(Anti-Clogging Function) ensuring suctioned solder is carried to the Filter Pipe to reduce solder clogging.
What are Hakko’s popular Soldering Stations?
For larger, more industrial soldering requirements, it goes without saying that a 65W/70W solder station designed for regular PCB applications is not going to be powerful enough. In these cases, it is likely that a high power system is going to be required, e.g. Hakko FX838 (150W) and FX801 (300W).
The Hakko FX838 is a high powered soldering iron with high heat capacity. It is best suited for soldering of power-supply boards, heat sinks and shield cases, and is also applicable for multilayer boards with micro components. When used in conjunction with the FX8302 Soldering Iron the FX838 is also compatible with Hakko’s Nitrogen Soldering System for soldering in an inert atmosphere. The FX838 can comfortably handle a wide variety of applications, from large to fine components, and provides superb thermal recovery to optimise soldering performance. These features potentially allow soldering at lower set temperatures which can shorten the soldering process times, which ultimately minimises heat concerns on components and tip life.
The 300W FX801 soldering station opens up a whole new world of soldering possibilities. It is suitable for soldering PCBs with high heat capacity and high heat dissipation properties. The product provides tremendous heating performance with its high powered 300W composite heater and is also compatible with Hakko’s Nitrogen Soldering System when used in combination with an N2 iron (FX8003). Despite its increased power the FX801 Soldering Handle has almost the same weight as that of the FX838 150W soldering station, maintaining operator comfort for those jobs that require continuous use of a higher power capacity iron.
In their constant strive for perfection and improvements Hakko will soon replace the 300W FX801 Solder Station with the new 400W “super power” FX805 for an even higher specification soldering experience.
These Hakko soldering and de-soldering systems have not only met, but in most cases exceeded customer expectations.
This is one customer’s feedback on the FR-400, “The FR-400 with its combination of hi-flow vacuum pump, high power element and fine control over tip temperature allows us to remove large leaded components, such as semiconductor modules, capacitors and wound components, quickly, easily and without risk of damage to the PCB. Prior to evaluating the FR-400 we had tried many different solutions all without success. The HAKKO FR-400 is an essential tool in any electronics workshop which is involved in the rework or repair of high-power printed circuit board assemblies.”
We hope you found our advice on improving your soldering and de-soldering processes of interest. We welcome feedback from our customers and potential new customers, so please do talk to one of our team if you have any questions. Look out for next month’s Hakko Tech Tips where we will be bringing you more top tips on optimising your soldering process.