Monthly Archives: March 2013

  • Putting " Cold " Soldering Irons to the Test

    You may have seen ColdHeat, Cool Touch, and other brands of “cold” soldering irons advertised to hobbyists and electronics buffs. The tips of soldering irons typically reach extreme temperatures in order properly flow the solder and create a sturdy joint. Cold soldering irons claim to return their tips to a cool temperature quickly, making them safer to use.

    While such a device may be convenient for hobbyists, especially those without safety training for handling soldering tools, the graphite tips in cold soldering irons can break easily and cannot be used for professional techniques like continuous-flow soldering or desoldering. They also do not allow the user to choose the right soldering tip for the job, as these can vary in temperature, size, and shape. For example, single- or double-sided PC boards require a lower temperature tip than multiple boards.

    Professionals recommend true soldering kits, such as the Hakko soldering iron, which are more versatile and reliable than cold soldering irons. Hobbyists can learn to operate a Hakko soldering iron just as safely as the pros do, such as with the Hakko FX888D Safe Digital Soldering Station. Quick thermal recovery and a comfort grip make this model easy and safe to operate. Another option is the Hakko FX601, which allows for longer reach than most cold soldering irons allow along with a wide temperature range and fast, efficient heating via a ceramic heat element.

    Whether you choose a cold soldering iron or a professional Hakko soldering iron, remember that you are working with high-temperature materials. Always read manuals carefully and pay close attention to every project you work on.

  • A New Offering at Kimco: K-Stat ESD Shielding Bags

    When purchasing static shielding bags, companies might be tempted to simply order the same brand they always have been. After all, these ESD safe bags work, so why should the company try out a new brand? At Kimco, we are introducing a new brand of bags, which we think is worthy of looking at. We, after all, thought these K-Stat ESD control bags could add something to our already large selection of static shielding bags.

    KStat’s bags are built to the highest standards in the industry; otherwise, we at Kimco Distributing would not carry them. These metal-in bags have a four-layer construction. The outer-most layer is composed of a static dissipative coating, with polyester as the next layer. An aluminum shield and static dissipative polyethylene complete the construction. These bags:

    Have dissipative surfaces of Rtt <10^11 ohms per ANSI/ESD STM11.11 Safely protect and ground, when in contact with a grounded surface, ESD-sensitive parts Physically protect components by sustaining punctures up to 10 lbs. Are available in a variety of sizes In addition to the technical components, K-Stat’s ESD control bags provide two other important benefits. They are inexpensive and arrive quickly. Kimco Distributing Corp. has plenty of these bags in stock, so companies do not have to wait while they are on backorder.

    They also ship the same day they are ordered, as long as we do not have to wake up at 3:00 a.m. to send the order. For night owls who place orders after business hours, we promise to promptly ship orders the next business day. Kimco has partnered both with the U.S. Postal Office and UPS to provide a range of shipping options, which vary from several days to next-day delivery.

    With all of the products available on our website, we rarely add a completely new line. We felt, however, that K-Stat’s ESD shielding bags have a lot to offer companies, so we decided to include them in our inventory.

  • Static Shielding Bags: Providing Protection in All Situations

     

     

    Static shielding bags create ESD-safe environments for valuable electronic parts. In addition to carrying static control bags manufactured by Desco and 3M, Kimco Distributing Corporation is pleased to announce a new line of affordable ESD control bags. K-Stat is Kimco Distributors’ new line of bags. With these new K-Stat shielding bags, Kimco Distributors hope to offer businesses that work with electronics an affordable alternative to the brand-name bags, without sacrificing quality.

    Although their sizes and openings differ, all static shielding bags carried by Kimco Distributing Corp. have are manufactured in a similar way. They typically have three or four layers. The outermost layer is a static dissipative coating, which covers a polyester layer. Some people count these two layers as one, thus the discrepancy in three or four layers. The next inner layer is a metal shield, often made of aluminum. The final layer on the inside is another static dissipative layer, but this one is made of a polyethylene.

    Having said the ESD control bags carried by Kimco Distributors are all similar, there are three differences worth noting. First, some bags have an open top, while others have a zip-lock that allows you to easily close the bag. Second, some bags are “metal-in,” which means the metal is on the inside, while others are “metal-out,” which means the metal layer is on the outside. Finally, static control bags vary in transparency.

    These layers work together to eliminate static charges in a variety of situations. Companies use ESD control bags to store valuable parts. These bags are also used to protect components during transport. In any situation where an ESD-safe environment cannot be created, these bags from Desco, 3M or Kimco Distributing provide protection. In ESD-safe environments, they provide another level of insurance.

  • YIKES!!! Sale Ending Soon - Free shipping on SimcoION , Weller Tips and QRP Gloves

    March is half over but Kimco has still got a lion of a deal for you. Like free shipping? Who doesn't? Well, until the end of the month we are offering a great deal here on the site. Lots of great products in our catalog are going to be included in this excellent deal so read on to find out about the potential savings you can keep in your wallet by picking up the supplies your crew is going to need anyway, right now!

    Now hear this: Weller Solder Tips, SIMCO Ion units and select QRP Gloves will receive free shipping until the end of the month. That can lead to big savings. Temperatures are warming up and the economic numbers are signaling a recovery. Save money on shipping now, save time later when you do not have to stop the job to pick up extra supplies for the crew.

    These are tools and components your guys need and are going to be using this coming season anyway. Keep a few dollars in the company coffers by picking up Weller Solder Tips, SIMCO Ion units, and select QRP gloves now and we will ship them straight to your offices free of charge. That's no extra cost to you! No sending a gopher to pick up supplies and the nearest supply store, which could be miles away and costly hours of time. We will keep you stocked without a trip to the store.

    Check out our inventory to match up what we carry with your needs today. This deal is only for a limited time so be sure to jump on it to take advantage of this money saving opportunity before the chance is gone. We will keep your shelves stocked for less.

  • Two Popular Tweezers and Cutters - Aven Tweezer & Swanstrom Cutter

     

    Few industries require more precision than microelectronics does. When repairing motherboards or PCI cards, measurements must be meticulously taken and perfectly executed. Working with such tiny components requires tools that are exact. The following is a brief look at some of the precise tweezers and cutters Kimco Distributing Corp. carries.

    Aven Tweezer Kit

    Some of the most popular tweezers that Kimco Distributors stocks are manufactured by Aven. The brand’s 18480EZ E-Z Pik Stainless Steel Tweezers Kit with ESD-Safe Protective Pouch includes six of Aven’s most-used tweezers. These ESD-safe tweezers are made of anti-acid, anti-magnetic stainless steel, making them some of the most reliable tweezers available. They come in an ESD-safe pouch.

    Aven manufactures a number of different tweezers, but they are all color coded. (Kimco Distributing Corporation also sells their tweezers individually, in addition to the set). Rather than identifying tweezers by their shape, workers can simply identify them by the color of their handle. This reduces mistakes, which can be costly, and increases production speed.

    Swanstrom Cutter

    Kimco Distributing Corporation also stocks several cutters made by Swanstrom, in addition to other manufacturer’s cutters. One of the more popular cutters is the Swanstrom M405C ESD-Safe Small Carbide, Ultra-Sharp Tip Tapered Full-Flush Cutter. This cutter features an ergonomic handle, so employees can use it regularly without fatigue. It comes with a Scrivet joint system and has three adjustable opening stops. These stops also help reduce fatigue and ensure precision. Because this is a comfortable cutter to use, workers often use it for most of their cutting needs.

    These two items, Aven’s tweezer kit and Swanstrom’s cutter, are only two of the many tweezers and cutters available at Kimco Distributing Corp. While these are excellent selections, there are many other very good tools available. Businesses will be pleased with any tweezer or cutter they select from Kimco Distributing Corporation.

  • The Many Differences in Bin Storage

     

     

    Every electronics manufacturing or repair facility has a unique layout, with its own production line and storage space. Because each facility has unique needs, Kimco Distribuing Corp. carries several dozen storage bins. From these bins, every business should be able to find a storage solution that meets its needs.

    Standard Storage

    Kimco Distributing Corporation stocks several standard storage bins. These are basic storage solutions, with shelves and compartments in them for easy organizing. Standard storage bins, such as the Lyon 1080 Storage Cabinet, are not fancy, but they are an affordable solution for basic storage. Quantum QUS Series of smaller storage units are a good solution for keeping little items organized.

    ESD-Safe Storage

    Many of the companies Kimco Distributors serves require ESD-safe storage. ESD-safe storage cabinets protect the contents within them from static discharges. They are designed to prevent microelectronics from being damaged by an electric charge. Both Lewis Bins, Akro-Mils and Dr. Storage make ESD-safe storage bins in a variety of sizes and shapes.

    Dry Storage

    Microelectronics also often need to be protected from moisture. Businesses that are looking for ESD-safe and humidity-controlled storage usually end up with one of Dr. Storage’s storage bins. Kimco Distributor’s largest ESD-safe dry cabinet is the Dr. Storage XDL-1200, which has a total capacity of 1,250L. There are also several smaller units available.

    Space-Saving Storage

    In many manufacturing plants and repair facilities, space is a premium. When space is tight, creative solutions like Production Basics’ 8553 Overhead Storage Cabinet or Lewis Bins’ LP1236-CON ESD-Safe Wall Mounted Storage are usually the best solution. Production Basics’ storage unit is ideal for large items that are infrequently used, while Akro-Mils ESD-Safe Shelf Bins, like the 30-210ESD model, are designed for small electronics.

    There are many storage solutions available at Kimco Distributing Corp. Whether businesses just need a basic storage cabinet, or an ESD-safe unit that uses space efficiently, they will find it here.

  • Ask the Toolman -- User Review Loctite Digital Syringe Dispenser 883976

    The Loctite 883976 is a semi-automatic dispensing system for Loctite's excellent products. No more wadded up tubes doing weird things in the bottom of the toolbox! It really isn't that hard to set up--the operating manual is pretty straight forward and easy to understand. I'd say the worst part is setting up the timed and incremental modes but if you can deal with setting all your digital clocks forward for daylight savings time, you can do this. Most of the time in a small shop you will probably want to use the Manual Mode for greater control.

    You do have to pay attention to the warnings...use the recommended filter (5 micron Filter –Regulator –Loctite 985397) for your inlet air supply and don't be turning your barrels upside down & sideways or leaving the vacuum on because if the adhesive leaks back into the system it is not good. That same vacuum component is sweet, though; it keeps the stuff from dripping and stringing all over your project.

    Why would you want a Digital Syringe Dispenser, you ask? Control, my friend. This machine gives you control when you put the goop on the doohicky. You know how easy it is to squeeze too hard and get too much. The Loctite 883976 lets you do the foot pedal in Manual Mode but it also has Incremental Mode where the machine puts on the brakes as you previously set it or the Automatic Mode where you have programmed it to do exactly the same thing every time you step on the pedal. You can get dots all the same size, beads in even widths, or just fill syringes for a quick squirt when you want one.

    If you use Loctite a lot--and most of us do--this is a machine that belongs in your dream shop.

  • Why You Need to Keep Electronic Components Dry with Desiccants

     

    In the electronics manufacturing and repair industries, moisture is a constant threat. Any amount of water can damage delicate components and delay assembly schedules. Protecting against moisture, however, requires much more than a roof overhead and not allowing drinks near electrical parts. Kimco Distributing Corp. provides businesses with dry cabinets to provide comprehensive moisture protection.

    When seeking a system of moisture control, electronics companies have three main options. A simple solution for small components is to keep parts in moisture barrier bags, but these have several drawbacks. Moisture barrier bags are limited in size, and they often are left open for extended periods of time. When first purchased, nitrogen cabinets effectively reduce moisture. Over time, however, their seals break down and render them useless. For these reasons, many of Kimco Distributing Corporation’s clients prefer the third solution: dry cabinets.

    Kimco Distributor’s dry cabinets use a desiccant to reduce the humidity level in them. When the desiccant has too much moisture and can no longer eliminate water vapors, it is sealed off from the cabinet. A heater then dries the desiccant, releasing the excess moisture into the surrounding environment. With many 3M desiccants and Dr. Storage desiccator cabinets, this process takes about 45 minutes and must be completed every six hours. The specific time and frequency, though, varies from model to model.

    When the desiccant is dried, trace amounts of moisture seep back into the cabinet. On some models, the relative humidity rises by as much as four percent. Even with this minor issue, dry cabinets are the best solution Kimco Distributing has for keeping electrical components dry over long periods of time. They are effective, reliable, economical to operate and environmentally friendly solutions.


    misspelled keyword: dry cabinents

  • A Short Guide to Testing Electronic Components

    Working electronic components are crucial to operating virtually any electronic device. Components such as resistors, capacitors and transistors create circuits that allow TVs, stereos, cell phones and laptops to work properly. Each component has a specific role in a circuit. Resistors limit current. Capacitors store charge. Transistors amplify an electrical signal.

    Repairing an electronic device begins with testing these electronic components through a multimeter. Multimeters can measure resistance and voltage. They can test devices powered by either AC or DC voltages and work in or out of circuit. You can use a standard multimeter or if you are looking for a quick and easy way to test components, take a look at the Excelta TM-500 IntelliTweezer or the lower cost solution Aven 18910 Quick Test Auto-Scanning Tweezers.

    Multimeters are simple to use because of their readable display and multitude of measuring functions. A handheld multimeter is low cost, easy to use and gives accurate readings. Using one to test your electronic components lets you determine if they need to be repaired or replaced.

    When using a multimeter to check electrical components, following these steps to obtain an accurate reading:

    1. Switch on the multimeter. Turn the knob to the resistance setting marked by the symbol for the Greek letter Omega. Your knob setting should match the resistor value. If the value is unknown, start with the lowest setting and increase in gradual increments as you test the resistor.

    2. Place a multimeter probe on each resistor lead. Record the resistance. Switch probes and note the resistance again.

    3. Place the multimeter probes on other components leads. This can include diodes, capacitors and photocells. Measure the resistance using the same method as with the resistor. Photocells should be tested twice – near a light source and far away from that same light source.

    Expect varying resistance measurements for certain electrical components. With diodes, you will experience a small amount of resistance only when the probes are placed one way but not the other. Capacitor resistance, on the other hand, should be almost limitless or else it is damaged.

  • So Many Soldering Tips, Which One is Right & What Temperature?

     

    Kimco Distributing Corp. has hundreds of soldering tips available. With such a selection, every microelectronics business should be able to find the right tips that suit their work. Selecting that tip, however, can be overwhelming.

    There are two questions companies can ask to narrow down the selection of soldering tips they should be looking at to a manageable size.

    What manufacturer made the soldering equipment we use?
    Kimco Distributing carries soldering tips from a variety of manufacturers, including Edsyn, Hakko, Metcal, OK International PACE, Plato and Weller. In order to reduce compatibility issues, businesses should purchase tips made by the same company as their equipment.

    What size and shape tips should we purchase?
    Among the hundreds of tips available from Kimco Distributing Corporation, virtually any size and shape can be found. We have a previous post that will help anyone who needs advice answering this question.

    Once these questions have been answered, companies should consider the temperature at which their soldering work is performed. Many of Kimco Distributing Corp.’s soldering tips are meant to be used within the 600 - 800⁰F range, but even within this range there is a variety of applications. Tips that are designed to be used between 600 and 700⁰F work best for jobs that involve only single layer or double-sided PC boards. These lower temperatures afford enough strength for these PC boards, and they are often easier to work with than 800⁰F. Tips designed for soldering at 800⁰F, however, should be used on jobs involving multiple PC boards, especially if more than four are involved.

    After considering these factors, businesses should feel confident in their selection of soldering tips. If any further assistance is needed, the staff at Kimco Distributing will gladly assist in the decision-making process.

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